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Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Reference Design

Mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm has been heavily involved in pushing virtual reality (VR) technology forward for sometime now, most recently at the company’s CES 2018 press event announcing that Oculus Go and the Xi VR Standalone headset would be powered by Snapdragon 821. Today, Qualcomm has revealed far bigger plans for the mobile VR industry, unveiling its Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Reference Design.

Qualcomm 845 Mobile VR Reference Design

The announcement comes just ahead of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018 next week, which has in recent years been a hot bed of VR technology and surprises. The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform features a variety of new architectures and subsystems that will build on the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform which powers HTC’s new Vive Focus.

The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform will use the latest Qualcomm Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem, offering the latest integrated graphics, video and display processing technologies. Qualcomm reports that this translates to a 30 percent faster graphics performance, 30 percent better power efficiency, and more than twice as much display throughput compared to the Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform.

Another technology innovation is Adreno Foveation, which combines graphics rendering with eye tracking. As VRFocus has reported in the past, foveated rendering is seen as one of the key technology’s for improved visual VR performance, focusing the highest graphics resources to where the user is actually looking, for the sharpest visuals possible, whilst peripheral details are rendered in a lower quality.

Qualcomm 845 Mobile VR Reference Design

“We continue to deliver new advancements in technologies for our customers to utilise as they aim to capitalize on the growing standalone and smartphone VR industry,” said Hugo Swart, Head of Virtual and Augmented Reality Business Group, Qualcomm Technologies,Inc. in a statement. “With the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform, we’re supporting the next wave of smartphone and standalone VR headsets for our customers and developers to create the immersive applications and experiences of the future.

As shown on the images, Qualcomm’s reference design features front sensors – much like Vive Focus or Windows Mixed Reality headsets – to offer six degrees of freedom (6DoF) Roomscale tracking without the need for external sensors and  simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM). This is thanks to the new dedicated Hexagon Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and Adreno Graphics Processing Unit within the Snapdragon 845.

Qualcomm will be continuing its relationship with GoerTek allowing global manufacturers to quickly build commercial designs based on the Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR Platform, so expect to see more appear in the next year or so. For any further updates from Qualcomm, keep reading VRFocus.