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Qualcomm unveils reference design for all-in-one, Snapdragon 820-powered VR headset

By Shawn Knight
Sep 1, 2016
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  1. With virtual reality poised to be the next big, it’s no surprise to see a gamut of technology companies jockeying for position. The latest titan to throw its name into the hat is an unsuspecting one: Qualcomm.

    The company’s venerable Snapdragon 820 SoC has served as the power plant for a large number of flagship Android smartphones and tablets this year and soon, it’ll be the star of the show in a virtual reality reference platform called the Snapdragon VR820.

    Built in collaboration with Chinese electronics firm Goertek, the VR820 is unique in that it’s a self-contained platform – no smartphone to insert or PC to connect to. Although its refresh rate is a bit low for VR at 70Hz (the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive use a 90Hz refresh rate), its two 1,440 x 1,440 resolution AMOLED displays (one per eye) top the competition’s 1,080 x 1,200 panels.

    Another interesting feature is the ability to track head movement without relying on an external array of sensors. Furthermore, the visor uses two cameras for eye tracking.

    When asked about Intel’s recently announced Project Alloy merged reality device, Qualcomm product management senior director Hugo Swart told The Verge that based on their understanding of what competitors are working on, he sees the Snapdragon VR820 as a much closer-to-commercialization product.

    Qualcomm says its VR820 should be available by the end of the year with commercial products from third-party partners arriving shortly thereafter. Pricing hasn’t been set although it’s likely to be in the range of a higher-performance tablet.

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  2. IAMTHESTIG

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 957   +273

    It is good to see lots of companies joining in for piece of the VR market. It is also good to see a slightly better resolution, although the pixel density is unknown so it may be moot point. A self-contained VR platform might be the way to go here, but hopefully it can accept some input wireless. Controllers, motion sensors, etc. need a way to communicate with the computer. The only major issues I see with this particular device, is power and heat. How do you provide plenty of power so it will last more than 20 minutes and prevent heat buildup making the wearer uncomfortable. Moving battery packs and computers off the headset is a viable idea but then you might as well just make a full on powerful PC to fit in a backpack. But maybe this is just intended for small power VR stuff, like virtual tours and museums and not full on video games.
     
  3. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,676   +780

    Things that make you go "hmmmmmmmm......"
     

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