Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 is being tweaked for mixed reality

Qualcomm is tweaking its Snapdragon 845 chipset for mixed reality use, likely boosting the virtual and augmented reality chops of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and other flagship Android phones.

The chipmaker is working with NetEase Games to optimise the latter’s Messiah game engine to act as a platform for mixed reality games, according to VRFocus.

“We are excited to work with a leading, global gaming content provider like NetEase Games,” said Sanjay Mehta, senior vice president, Qualcomm Technologies and president at QCT China.

“By working together, we aim to utilize the cutting-edge multimedia and VR/AR processing advantages of the Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform, allowing players around the globe to enjoy the immersive mobile gaming experiences with higher quality.”

The Snapdragon 845 was revealed last week and acts as a successor to the Snapdragon 835 which found its way into the Pixel 2 phones and the OnePlus 5T.

While the Snapdragon 845 offers more power it also has a few tricks up its sleeve including an artificial intelligence co-processor.

But it now also looks like the chip will have the horsepower and architecture to run mixed reality games with more aplomb, pulling extra performance from the chipset’s Adreno 630 graphics processor.

Qualcomm and NetEase are also making use of the Vulkan application programming interface (API) which aims to reduce the compute demands put on a GPU and shift some of the work onto a CPU. For system-on-a-chip hardware like the Snapdragon 845 this could help deliver smoother and more graphically rich games and virtual reality experiences, while making augmented reality apps more reactive and convincing.

With the Galaxy S9 excepted to sport the Snapdragon 845 and Samsung’s previous work on the Gear VR headset, there’s a good chance the company’s next flagship phone could come with an upgraded mixed reality headset designed to deliver more impressive virtual experiences than its predecessor.

Time will tell, but the Snapdragon 845 chip could be the shot in the arm virtual and augmented reality needs to become less of a niche area of tech.

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