Qualcomm extends its Extended Reality R&D reach into Europe

Ray Le Maistre
By Ray Le Maistre

Feb 10, 2022

  • Wireless chips giant has high hopes for its Extended Reality (XR) developments and interest in metaverse platforms 
  • It is opening XR R&D labs in six European cities initially
  • It wants to be at the heart of the burgeoning XR scene in the region
  • Deutsche Telekom is one of its partners

Keen to ensure it’s at the heart of global metaverse developments, Qualcomm has announced it is opening six Extended Reality (XR) labs in Europe to tap into the region’s already “thriving augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) community,” and that more such facilities will be added in the future. The locations of the labs have not been shared, though.

The wireless chips giant, which aims to make XR the “future of mobile computing,” says the labs will focus their R&D efforts on “XR R&D, engineering and key technology development areas such as advanced hand tracking and gesture control, 3D Mapping and SLAM/Localization services, multi-user experiences, and image recognition.”

The aim is to “help design lightweight, sleek headworn glasses and make innovative technology available for developers through Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform to build experiences that will transform everyday consumer, retail, industrial, enterprise, education and healthcare.”

Like other major companies, Qualcomm says it has been developing the underlying technologies that will enable metaverse platforms pretty much before anyone else, and there’s no doubt it’s already in the thick of the action with its existing products (particularly its Snapdragon chips), development kits and industry relationships with the likes of Microsoft and SK Telecom, which has just this week been sharing details about its early metaverse user engagements. (See SK Telecom boasts early metaverse success as it targets major sales growth.)

Deutsche Telekom is also a Qualcomm partner in this respect. “XR is the next stage of mobile computing and we are excited to see the opening of the Qualcomm XR R&D labs in Europe and we look forward to working closely with Qualcomm Technologies to bring our collective vision to reality,” noted Sean Seaton, Senior Vice President Group Partnering and Devices at Deutsche Telekom. “XR is incredibly exciting and stands to transform the way we work and live. 5G and future network innovations will empower experiences we could not have even imagined.”

Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon is bullish about the prospects for the metaverse. At the company’s Tech Summit late last year he noted: 

"Whatever version of the metaverse you like, there's going to be one thing that is going to be required – you're going to need a device that will be focused on connecting physical and digital spaces [that is] going to take you to virtual reality, or will augment what you see” with AR (augmented reality). He added that no matter which version of the metaverse people use or how they develop, “there's going to be one thing in common – we're going to be the company building the devices. 50 of the commercial devices right now are based on Qualcomm Snapdragon VR and it's a great opportunity [and] it’s already material. When we get to the multiple tens of millions of units, you can see the potential of the developer ecosystem.”

And clearly, Qualcomm doesn’t want to miss out on being close to, and interacting with, the European developer community.

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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