Qualcomm unveiled the latest version of its augmented reality glasses, the awkward name Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design†
This name will probably change when the glasses are officially launched, as the Smart Viewer is currently still in the prototype phase. Previous iterations of the glasses had to be connected to a smartphone via a USB cable. Over time, the design has been refined so that Smart Viewer is now wireless thanks to the FastConnect 6900 system.
It is unknown how much of the old software or user interface the new Smart Viewer will take. An old trailer showed that the Smart Viewer UI has floating menus decorated with popular apps and category tabs on the left. But Qualcomm did share some of the Smart Viewer’s new hardware.
The glasses were designed by the Chinese technology company Goertek, the same company that is working on the PSVR 2. Qualcomm claims that the new Goertek design is 40 percent thinner than previous models and has better weight balance for a more comfortable fit.
The lens itself is a pair of micro-OLED displays running in Full HD with a frame rate of 90Hz. Qualcomm specifically mentions that the Smart Viewer lacks motion blur for “a seamless AR experience”. On the outside are three cameras, two monochromatic with one color, which can track head and hand movements.
And all this is made possible by the Snapdragon XR2 platform. Hardware aside, Qualcomm isn’t saying how much of the XR2 chipset will be present on the Smart Viewer. The curiosity is justified. considering how much the XR2 can do: 5G connectivity, 8K video and context awareness just to name a few.
The aforementioned FastConnect 6900 is a chipset that enables Wi-Fi 6/6E and supports Bluetooth 5.3. Qualcomm states that the 6900 system can handle internet speeds of up to 3.6 Gbps.
The Smart Viewer links the 6900 to the FastConnect XR Software Suite. Together they would reduce the latency and interference between the glasses and their connection.
No launch date or battery life information has been provided. While there’s so much going on, it’s hard to imagine the Smart Viewer’s battery life being that long. It will be interesting to see the Smart Viewer in action when the time comes.
In addition to the Smart Viewer, Qualcomm also unveiled an upgrade to its smartphone chipset, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 mobile platform that the company claims has a 10 percent faster CPU.
Curious what other VR headset companies are up to? Check out this update on Meta’s Project Cambria.