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What is the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1?

Qualcomm has been expanding its processor portfolio in recent years, launching dedicated chips for laptops, gaming handhelds and VR headsets alongside those built for smartphones. 

Now Qualcomm has announced yet another processor range, with the launch of the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 Platform.

But what kind of device is this processor designed for, and how does it compare to Qualcomm’s other chips? We’ve created this guide to answer all of these questions. 

What is the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1?

The Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 is a new processor that’s designed specifically for lightweight smart glasses. So far, the Ray-Ban Meta Glasses is the only device confirmed to be powered by the new Snapdragon processor. 

The Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 isn’t the most powerful chip in Qualcomm’s lineup, as it’s designed to fit inside sleek, lightweight smart glasses, without risk of overheating and scorching your face. 

The chip features a premium dual ISP to allow for photo and video capture, or even live streaming directly to your social media account. Support for Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3 makes it easier for you to upload footage to the web.

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Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 breakdown
Credit: Qualcomm

Qualcomm also says that the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 chip has on-device AI, allowing for image and audio quality enhancement in a similar fashion to the AI smarts of the Google Pixel phones. The on-device AI unlocks other possibilities such as visual search and real-time translation.

The chip also makes it possible to use a full-colour virtual display with smart glasses, with up to a 1280×1280 resolution per eye. Qualcomm suggests this could prove useful for watching video content, following directions and seeing notifications. 

As the processor’s name suggests, the Snapdragon AR1 Gen 1 is Qualcomm’s very first attempt at a bespoke chip for AR devices such as smart glasses. You can expect to see further generations in future years, in a similar fashion to how Qualcomm has just announced the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 Platform, which will power VR headsets such as the Meta Quest 3

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