Meta and Qualcomm have revealed that they are teaming up to design customized chipsets for future iterations of its extended reality (XR) platform for Metaverse. The two companies have recently signed an extensive multi-year partnership at the IFA 2022 in Berlin.
The partnership extends the relationship between the social media networking giant and the American chipmaker. At present, Qualcomm produces the Snapdragon XR2 that powers Meta’s Quest 2.
Meta x Qualcomm Metaverse Partnership
Both companies, going forward, expect a more significant collaboration between the two engineering and product teams to deliver next-generation platforms and core technologies to accelerate an entirely realized metaverse.
The deal currently rules out any plans by Meta to fulfill its Metaverse endeavors with its own processor. This is somewhat similar to Microsoft, which also relies on Qualcomm for augmented reality (AR) chips. However, NVIDIA, Google, and Apple design their own chips.
The Meta-Qualcomm partnership does, however, provide an opportunity to experiment with developing with Qualcomm and bring its staff a little bit closer to acquiring the necessary experience.
Metaverse, which Meta CEO Zuckerberg sees as the inheritor of the mobile internet, would need the development of an entire ecosystem of products & services, both in terms of software application & hardware.
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Further, Meta with this partnership will look to create a niche for itself, much like what Apple did with its internally created M1 and M2 chips for Macs and Google with its Tensor chip for smartphones, as well as additional AI development services. Apple is also devising the underlying hardware for its upcoming VR product in-house.
Zuckerberg mentions that as Meta continues to build more advanced capabilities and experiences for virtual and augmented reality, it has become more significant to build specialized technologies to power their future VR headsets and other devices. The CEO adds that, unlike mobile phones, building virtual reality brings novel, multi-dimensional challenges in spatial computing, cost, & form factor. These chipsets will help them keep pushing virtual reality to its limits and deliver some awesome experiences.
Besides XR, both companies are working on AR products. The partnership does not confine its AR-platform Snapdragon Spaces and that Meta’s XR products will be created on Meta’s Presence Platform.
Meta’s Reality Labs division, which is behind AR/VR/XR and Metaverse development, posted a loss of $2.806 billion in Q2 2022 against revenues of $452 million. The company anticipates revenue from Reality Labs to slide further in Q3 2022, despite the rising market for AR/VR headsets.
Nevertheless, Meta remains hopeful, given it seeks to pour in further investment in Reality Labs and is now partnering with Qualcomm. To offset AR/VR R&D costs, Meta depends on its vast advertising business, which is currently suppressed by privacy-related features introduced in Apple’s iOS 14.5 onwards, not to mention global macroeconomic headwinds.
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