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What is Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces XR?

Qualcomm made a couple of big announcements at Mobile World Congress 2023, including plans to use Snapdragon Spaces to expand the next generation of computing with new devices, experiences and initiatives. 

But what is Snapdragon Spaces XR? We’ve created this guide to explain everything you need to know about the Qualcomm XR technology. 

What is Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces XR? 

Snapdragon Spaces is a mixed-reality platform designed to power AR experiences on Qualcomm-powered devices. 

“With proven technology and an open, cross-device horizontal platform and ecosystem, Snapdragon Spaces delivers the tools to bring developers’ ideas to life and revolutionize the possibilities of headworn AR”, announced Qualcomm in November 2021

Snapdragon Spaces is optimised to deliver performance and low power for the next generation of AR glasses. The platform gives developers the tools to create head-worn AR experiences that can sense and interact with users and adapt to their physical spaces. 

Key Snapdragon Spaces features include positional tracking, local anchors and persistence, image recognition and tracking, object recognition and tracking, plane detection, spatial mapping and meshing, occlusion, scene understanding and hand tracking.

The platform leverages software developer kits for leading 3D engines, including Epic Games’ Unreal Engine and Niantic Inc.’s Lightship platform, and supports app portability and unified workflows with Unity AR Foundation and Unity MARS support. 

Qualcomm also created a developer-first Snapdragon Spaces platform to invite developers to build 3D applications for AR glasses and add head-worn AR features to existing Android mobile apps. 

When it comes to OEMs, Lenovo, Motorola, Oppo and Xiaomi were the first partners to come on board when the platform launched in early 2022. Meanwhile, global operators such as Deutsche Telekom, NTT DOCOMO, INC. and T-Mobile US, joined to help scale and bring Snapdragon Spaces-powered AR glasses tethered to smartphones to commercialisation. 

What was announced at MWC 2023? 

Qualcomm announced the latest developments for Snapdragon Spaces at MWC 2023. 

According to the chip-maker, global operators are using the cross-device and open ecosystem of the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform to lead a variety of investments around XR. 

This includes helping to define Snapdragon Spaces device requirements and compatibility, giving customers more options to wirelessly tether smartphones and AR glasses, championing the technologies on their networks and creating regional developer programmes to pioneer head-worn AR experiences. 

Numerous OEMs – including Xiaomi and Oppo – also unveiled new devices powered by Snapdragon Spaces in the Barcelona showroom.

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