Qualcomm Technologies to deliver XR viewers connected to 5G smartphones

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Qualcomm Technologies is working with original equipment manufacturers, operators and platform providers to deliver XR-enabled 5G smartphones.

The Qualcomm subsidiary is also expanding the HMD Accelerator Program (HAP) to include and help pre-validate components and performance between smartphones and XR viewers.

XR viewers provide a sleek, lightweight headset form factor that offers visually rich, interactive, augmented (AR) or virtual reality (VR) experiences with high-resolution displays and advanced inside-out Six Degrees of Freedom (6DoF) tracking.

These lightweight XR viewers are designed to connect to smartphones based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform, tethered via USB Type-C. With the benefits of 5G, XR viewers can be optimised and commercial-ready for the mobile industry in 2019, according to Qualcomm.

HAP has been “a critical catalyst for ecosystem partners ranging from component suppliers and original design manufacturers, to bring quality standalone XR headsets to consumers,” said Hugo Swart, senior director of product management at Qualcomm Technologies.

“Building upon the momentum of this programme, we will extend it to XR viewers and compatible smartphones, starting with smartphones enabled by the Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform. In collaboration with ecosystem stakeholders, we are working towards the common goal of transforming how the world connects and communicates by offering premium, immersive experiences over 5G.”

According to Qualcomm, XR viewers will allow smartphone manufacturers to bundle offerings and bring new experiences to customers as the ecosystem unveils 5G.

Recent examples include the the Acer OJO HMD and the Nreal light AR glasses. Additional XR viewer manufacturer announcements, including one from Pico, are anticipated to come in 2019.

With major smartphone brands including, OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi and BlackShark aiming to commercialise Snapdragon 855 smartphones in 2019, Qualcomm believes the XR viewer initiative can expand the range of offerings to bring innovative content and a greater set of services to consumers.

The likes of LG U+, KDDI Corporation, KT Corp, SK Telecom, Sprint, Swisscom, Telstra and TIM have been heavily ushering in the next generation of wireless networks to make 5G and its key benefits a commercial reality. XR viewers enable incremental service offerings making use of 5G to deliver the next generation of rich and interactive immersive experiences, Qualcomm said.

In addition to telecommunications operators, XR viewers and smartphones manufacturers, Qualcomm said platform and content providers will be critical in driving immersive content and applications over 5G.

Platforms such as the HTC-developed VIVE Wave allow for seamless cross-platform access and high-performance development to deliver extraordinary content. Other platform providers and application developers such as Arvizio, NetEase-AR, Iconic Engine, NextVR, SenseTime and Wikitude also are ready to support the initiative.

Some of the new Qualcomm Technologies partners are demonstrating at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

Later this year, Qualcomm and its HAP collaborators are expected to work towards implementing a new easily-recognisable XR viewer performance and compatibility badge icon.

Qualcomm’s work with ecosystem partners aims to enrich the lives of consumers by turning XR viewers from a concept into a new category by the end of 2019.

Partners of Qualcomm had this to say:

“Acer is enabling a XR headset with high-resolution displays and 6DoF for Snapdragon 855-based smartphones. We’re ready to work with smartphone original equipment manufacturers and operators worldwide to deliver the 5G + VR experiences.”

Andrew Chuang, general manager of presence computing in the IT product business at Acer

“During 2019, we will see a new generation of XR viewers enter the market that tether with powerful 5G smartphones to deliver highly detailed, life-size three-dimension (3D) collaboration experiences for the enterprise. Arvizio is excited to work with Qualcomm Technologies to deliver on this vision to provide rich XR experiences for multiple users extended across locations.”

Jonathan Reeves, founder and chief executive officer of Arvizio

“Qualcomm is a leading company producing powerful mobile platforms and is dedicated to developing pioneering technologies that advance the quality of digital life. We appreciate the new XR viewer initiative and believe along with the supporting next-generation ecosystem it will definitely provide consumers with a step change in the way they perceive and experience immersive content over 5G.”

Brian Tang of Asus

“Gamers have high expectations for the immersive experience of the game. The combination for XR viewers and our premium gaming smartphones will for sure give the best visual experience and game-playing experience for them.”

Peter Wu of BlackShark

“Our VIVE Wave SDK and platform has enabled mobile VR content development and interoperability across a variety of mobile VR headsets and accessories. As the mobile VR industry expands and XR viewers powered by 5G smartphones emerge, our platform will allow for easy adoption and standardisation of software and hardware support.”

Daniel O’Brien, general manager for the Americas at HTC Vive

“We look forward to providing our customers with transformative experiences through AR/VR viewers. Qualcomm Technologies continues to drive ecosystem acceleration, and our collaboration allows us to bring innovative XR experiences as an essential part in KDDI’s integration of telecommunications and life design strategy in the coming 5G era.”

Yasuhisa Yamada, administrative officer and associate executive director of product and the customer service sector at KDDI Corporation

“Qualcomm Technologies and KT has a strong history of working together to drive innovation, most recently with cutting-edge 5G technology. KT believes that new 5G-enabled offerings like XR viewers will be instrumental in helping consumers take full advantage of all the 5G benefits.”

Lee Hyeon-seuk, senior vice president of KT’s device business

“We have been working closely with Qualcomm Technologies with regards to 5G. We especially look forward to a lot of cooperation for AR/VR devices connecting with 5G smartphones to provide customers with new experiences of AR/VR content.”

Junhyung Kim, vice president of the 5G service group for LG U+

“We are big believers in AR glasses and how much change it will bring to society within the next few years. AR viewers that can be connected to Snapdragon 855 5G-enabled smartphones will pave the path for this journey to happen in 2019. NetEase-AR platform supports content providers to create, optimise, share and commercialise high-performance AR experience. We have compelling, vibrant ecosystem content and compelling content created for AR on smartphones that can easily and quickly be ported to the glass form-factor.”

Chen Zhao, head of AR for NetEase

“The increased resolution, high bandwidth, and streamlined form-factor of XR viewers connected to 5G handsets offer a big evolutionary step in immersive consumer devices. As the world’s largest global immersive live sports, music and entertainment provider, we are continuing to evolve our platform to deliver the highest fidelity and most realistic immersive experiences possible for XR viewer users.”

David Cole, chief executive officer of NextVR

“We’re pioneering the next consumer-grade mixed reality interface and by connecting Nreal light to a 5G-enabled smartphone, it augments the real world and introduces a completely new way of interacting with environments at work or at leisure. Nreal light for the first time is lightweight and comfortable enough to wear for hours and boasts a rich immersive experience thanks to a crisp 1080P resolution display and 6 degrees-of-freedom SLAM tracking processed on Snapdragon 855.”

Chi Xu, chief executive officer and founder of Nreal

“OnePlus is delighted to bring 5G-based intelligent mobile products to consumers this year. Our goal with Qualcomm Technologies is to support key industry collaborations to offer transformative 5G experiences, and XR viewers demonstrate a strong offering that will deliver superior video streaming, enhanced entertainment along with other high bandwidth applications.”

Oliver Zhang, head of product at OnePlus

“Pico has been working with Qualcomm Technologies for the past four years in the VR area and successfully launched a standalone HMD since Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. We utilised HAP to quickly commercialise products with good mobile experiences. Now we are looking forward to expanding our product portfolio to include the sleekest VR HMDs which will bring the overall user experience to a new level.”

Henry Zhou, chief executive officer of Pico

“We have been collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies on multiple fronts. AR is the next mobile computing frontier and we look forward to collaborating with smartphone OEMs and platform providers to help create the market with our AR platform.”

Dr Xiaogang Wang, co-founder of SenseTime and managing director of SenseTime Research

“Through development of AR and VR technologies, SK Telecom built ‘T real Platform’ based on which ‘oksusu Social VR’ has been commercialised to deliver new and unprecedented media experience to customers. With the commercialisation of 5G, SK Telecom will offer new AR and VR services that can be experienced by a greater number of customers, while collaborating closely with XR viewer related partners to expand overall AR and VR ecosystems.”

Jeon Jinsoo, vice president and head of media labs of SK Telecom

“We welcome the advent of XR viewers as a low-friction path for 5G smartphone customers to access immersive AR and VR experiences in 2019. We are investing significantly in our 5G network to make these types of experiences possible and look forward to the continued acceleration of the immersive compute ecosystem.”

Ryan Sullivan, vice president of product engineering and development for Sprint

“Entertainment is just one use case of these immersive experiences over 5G. We do see many additional possibilities for our enterprise customers such as field service operations, maintenance, BIM-systems in the building industry, retail and many more. We are delighted to see the emergence of XR viewers to support both consumer and enterprise use cases to reach the masses with 5G.”

Adrian Bolliger, executive vice president and head of mobile business solutions at Swisscom

“Telstra is committed to exploring new technologies and their potential use cases for Australian consumers, enterprises and the industry more broadly. We continue to work closely with Qualcomm Technologies and as part of our technology trials and testing, we continue to explore the range of possibilities that can be provided with 5G and emergent technologies including XR. This partnership is crucial to ensure Australians are among the first in the world to access 5G devices.”

Channa Seneviratne, network engineering executive at Telstra

“XR technology will allow us to deliver a truly immersive experience to our customers, by utilising 5G and multi-devices such as smartphones, visors and smart glasses. Together with Qualcomm Technologies, we are designing and testing these new services at the 5G Innovation Hub we recently opened in Rome.”

Attilio Somma, vice president of innovation at TIM

“5G will be a transformative technology that brings all types of new experiences. We are pleased to join Qualcomm Technologies in enabling the XR ecosystem to unleash amazing experiences over 5G smartphones connected to XR viewers.”

Fred Wong vice president of creativity and innovation at Vivo

“Xiaomi will bring 5G-enabled smartphones to consumers this year and XR viewers are an important step towards optimising the full potential of 5G, as a way to offer premium content and take advantage of low latency and high bandwidth, and the many other benefits stemming from 5G.”

Zhang Lei, senior director of smartphone research and development at Xiaomi