Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 Boosts Performance for High-Resolution AR/MR, On-Device AI and ML

Offering a claimed eightfold improvement for on-device AI and ML, the new Extended Reality platform packs a punch.

Qualcomm has announced its next-generation virtual and mixed reality (VR and MR) chip, the Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 — now supporting 4.3k-resolution displays for each eye and up to 12 concurrent cameras.

"Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 unlocks 4.3k resolution which will take XR [Extended Reality] productivity and entertainment to the next level by bringing spectacularly clear visuals to use cases such as room-scale screens, life-size overlays, and virtual desktops," claims Qualcomm's Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR. "We are advancing our commitment to power the best XR devices and experiences that will supercharge our immersive future."

Succeeding the Snapdragon XR2, the plus-suffixed release boosts the graphics processor frequency by 15 percent and CPU frequency by 20 percent — allowing it to drive two 4k displays at up to 90 frames per second for higher-resolution headsets. The new chip also includes the ability to support 12 "or more" cameras concurrently, and boasts an eightfold improvement in the ability to run machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML and AI) workloads on-device including hand, head, and controller tracking, facial expression monitoring, depth estimation, and 3D reconstruction.

To help developers get to grips with the new hardware, Qualcomm has also launched a pair of reference designs in partnership with Goertek. The two variants use the XR Gen 2 and XR2+ Gen 2, using 3k or 4k displays respectively. Both include integrated eye-tracking courtesy of Tobii's technology, the companies have confirmed.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm has already confirmed support for the new chip from Google and Samsung. "We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and Samsung on the future of immersive and spatial XR," says Google's vice president of AR Shahram Izadi. "We're excited for the Android ecosystem to take advantage of Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2's capabilities and enable new experiences."

"Samsung is thrilled to collaborate with Qualcomm Technologies and Google in revolutionizing the mobile industry once more," adds Samsung's Inkang Song. "With Samsung's mobile expertise and our joint commitment, we aim to create the best-in-class XR experience for Galaxy users."

Other features of the new chip include support for Wi-Fi 7 and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity, Bluetooth 5.2 support, and an upgrade image signal processor (ISP) which allows for full-color pass-through video from cameras with a claimed 12ms latency. More information is available on the Qualcomm website — though full details are only available for "verified companies" registering on the site.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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