Qualcomm’s newest flagship processor, Snapdragon 835, will be powering a lot of the new smartphones this year; however, based on the chipmaker’s recent announcement, it seems that the system on chip (SoC) will find itself powering standalone virtual reality (VR) headsets as well.

For this new endeavor, Qualcomm has partnered with Leap Motion for a VR platform that will deliver truly immersive experiences. The Snapdragon 835 will enable positional tracking, high VR frame rates and enhanced graphics and audio, which will be integrated with Leap Motion’s hand-tracking technology. Users will be able to experience the virtual world with their own hands with precise movements and very low latency.

Also, unlike most VR devices in the market today, this platform will allow for devices that don’t need to be tethered to smartphones or PCs.

“As we deliver the new Snapdragon mobile platform for greater immersion with untethered virtual reality HMDs, natural user interfaces like hand movements will help consumers more intuitively interact with VR content and transform the consumer experience,” said Tim Leland, vice president of product management for Qualcomm.

Qualcomm has also introduced a new VR development kit (VRDK) with tools to help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) develop their own devices. The new set of tools includes a design for a head-mounted display (HMD) that hardware makers can use as a basis.

The all-in-one (AIO) VR headset features a Wide Quad high-definition (HD) active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) display with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels. There is 4 GB of random-access memory (RAM) and 64 GB of built-in storage.

Two 1-megapixel (MP) monochromatic cameras and the Snapdragon 835’s integrated sensors will be used for six degrees of freedom motion tracking while two monochromatic VGA cameras will help with eye tracking. There is also a trackpad on the right side of the HMD.

Connectivity-wise, there is Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a USB 3.1 Type-C port.

Qualcomm is expected to showcase its mobile VR technologies next week at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco and the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. Meanwhile, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835-powered VR headsets from OEMs are expected to arrive in the second half of 2017.


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