Qualcomm Advances AR Industry with the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 AR Smart Viewer Reference Design

The Reference Design Is Engineered to Reduce Commercialization Time for OEMs to Deliver High-Quality, Immersive Experiences Using an AR Smart Viewer Architecture

Feb 23, 2021 – SAN DIEGO – Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. introduces its first augmented reality (AR) reference design based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ XR1 Platform, equipped to deliver high-performance, immersive experiences, and lower power consumption[1]. The reference design is an AR smart viewer with versatility to tether to a compatible[2] smartphone, Windows PC, or processing puck and is optimized for devices powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Platforms.

The AR smart viewer has processing in the reference design to help distribute computing workloads between the viewer and the host device, compared to an AR simple viewer which does not have any processing on the viewer. The AR smart viewer reference design packs significant performance features and premium use cases for both the enterprise and consumers, including:

  • Split-processing that enables the AR smart viewer’s on-device optimizations to deliver a 30% reduction in overall power consumption[3] on the system.
  • The 2D app framework provides a systems-level feature that helps launch smartphone applications into multiple virtual displays that can be anchored within the user’s environment.  The framework also supports protected content viewing to watch premium movies and streaming services with the smart viewer.
  • Tethering to a PC, the smart viewer combines plane detection and the ability to render multiple virtual displays to allow virtual PC windows to be anchored to planes in the real world.
  • Support for an 8MB RGB camera with image stabilization on the AR smart viewer delivers hands-free, “See What I See” use cases like remote assistance.
  • Dual monochrome cameras on the smart viewer enable six- degrees of freedom (6DoF) head tracking and hand tracking with gesture recognition.

To help drive ecosystem expansion for AR smart viewers, Microsoft shared: “The AR smart viewer category is a great vehicle to deliver immersive experiences as accessories to mobile devices, Windows PCs or other host-compute devices. We look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies to bring Azure MR services towards this ever-expanding ecosystem of Snapdragon-based Mixed-Reality end-points.”

Developed in parallel with the AR smart viewer reference design, Lenovo™ recently unveiled the ThinkReality™ A3 powered by the Snapdragon XR1 Platform. As an advanced and versatile enterprise smart glasses that will come to market starting mid-2021, the ThinkReality A3 provides virtual monitors and 3D visualization to AR assisted workflows and immersive training to transform work across many levels of the enterprise.

Longstanding viewer partner, Nreal, also shared: “With the global deployment and success of our Nreal Light device, we are committed to delivering more content and innovative user experiences in the future,” said Chi Xu, founder and CEO, Nreal. “Split-processing between a glass and smartphone or host device unlocks a new type of immersion and we look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies to drive that roadmap.”

“The Snapdragon XR1 AR smart viewer marks a new chapter for our reference design portfolio and a big step in the evolution of AR viewers,” said Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “AR simple viewers showcased viewers as an accessory to a smartphone. Now, AR smart viewers allow us to move some processing to the glass, to expand the possibilities of use cases, applications and immersion – this reference design is the first step in our roadmap to help scale the AR industry.”

In the reference design, BOE provides a micro-OLED binocular display, that allows frame rates to achieve up to 90Hz and a no-motion-blur feature to deliver a seamless AR experience.  The AR smart viewer hardware, developed by Goertek, enables manufacturers to quickly scale and develop smart AR devices for commercial use. The Snapdragon XR1 AR Smart Viewer reference design is available for select partners now, with wider availability in the coming months. For more information, please visit The Snapdragon XR1 Platform product page.

[1] Compared to an AR simple viewer.
[2] Compatible with select smartphones, host processing pucks and PC’s, including but not limited to, devices powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Platform in the 800-series or a PC powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Compute Platforms.
[3] Compared to an AR simple viewer.

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