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Qualcomm has revealed a new Mobile VR reference design based on its flagship Snapdragon 845 chipset. The Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR platform, successor to Snapdragon 835 Mobile VR, was announced by the chip-designer in Barcelona ahead of MWC 2018. Qualcomm’s standalone VR headset reference design based on Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR has some interesting new features such as foveated rendering, which combines graphics rendering with eye tracking to better gauge where the user is looking. It also including room scaling abilities using 6DoF (Degrees of Freedom) and Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) which will allow headsets based on the SD845 Mobile VR platform to track the body and location of users in a room without the need for cables or separate room sensors. This is a first for standalone Mobile VR headsets as the likes of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift use room sensors to achieve similar room scaling.
The Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform uses the latest the Adreno 630 visual processing subsystem which provides for 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. It supports two 2400 x 2400 resolution displays at 120fps as well as 3D audio.
Virtual Reality headset makers like Google, Facebook-owned Oculus and HTC have already shared their intentions to create Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR based standalone headsets.
"Daydream works well on the Snapdragon 845. Using Qualcomm Hexagon DSP, we're able to achieve significant power improvements and optimisations we aren't able to reach on other platforms,” said Amit Singh, Vice President, Business and Operations, Google VR and AR. “With Snapdragon 845, we believe we can achieve a high-quality VR experience with low latency, high frame rates and smooth head tracking performance for our users."
While Google will integrate SD845 Mobile VR in the Daydream, HTC will upgrade its existing Vive Focus standalone VR headset to the new platform. The Vive Focus, a China-only launch, is currently based on the Snapdragon 835 Mobile VR platform.
“HTC has consistently delivered VR experiences with the highest quality possible catering to the industry’s most discerning users,” said Alvin Wang Graylin, President HTC Vive, China. “By collaborating with Qualcomm and leveraging our internal hardware and software innovations, HTC has been able to deliver an uncompromising VR experience with the Vive Focus premium standalone VR headset.”
Oculus too has plans to utilise the new Mobile VR platform for future head-mounted displays.
“The Snapdragon Mobile VR Platform lends itself to highest possible level of performance to meet the high computing demands of the standalone VR product category,” said Ash Jhaveri, Vice President of Business Development for Oculus and Facebook. “Qualcomm’s technology, coupled with Oculus’ expertise opens up lots of possibilities to bring people the best standalone VR.”
Currently, there is no timeline for the launch of Snapdragon 845 Mobile VR based headsets, however we will be sure to check out the reference design at the Mobile World Congress 2018.