January 30, 2023

On the first day of Snapdragon Tech Summit, Qualcomm announced its new flagship processor, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. On day 2 of the event, the company debuted the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1, which is the company’s first purpose-built platform for AR headgear. It is targeted at the next generation of sleek and highly capable AR glasses.

Qualcomm’s previous efforts have focused on mixed reality with chipsets such as the Snapdragon XR 2 Gen 1 powering the Meta Quest 2 and the newer Snapdragon XR 2 Plus Gen 1 will power the upcoming Meta Quest Pro.

With the launch of the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1, Qualcomm has shifted its focus entirely to AR glasses. While emphasizing boosts in AI performance and power efficiency to support thinner, lighter headset designs.

Qualcomm is currently working with OEMs like Lenovo, LG, Nreal, OPPO, Pico, QONOQ, Rokid, Sharp, TCL, Tencent, Vuzix, and Xiaomi to bring the new generation of AR smart glasses powered by the Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1.

So,what’s Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 all about?

The Snapdragon AR2 falls under the company’s extended reality (XR) portfolio, just like the recently announced Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 1. However, Snapdragon claims the AR2 is “purpose-built for AR.” Qualcomm made the AR2 using a multi-chip architecture that includes an AR processor, an AR co-processor and a connectivity platform that connects the AR glasses to a host device like a smartphone.

Snapdragon AR2 Gen1 Distributed Processing 1

The multi-chip design allows manufacturers to design AR glasses with a balanced weight and slimmer temple widths. Qualcomm claims the new AR2 main processor takes up to 40% smaller area compared to the Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design Qualcomm built using the Snapdragon XR2. While delivering a 2.5x better artificial intelligence performance and consuming half the power. This results in AR glasses that consume less than 1W of power.

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The AR processor supports up to nine concurrent cameras for the user and environmental understanding. The processor also includes a dedicated hardware acceleration engine for better motion tracking and an AI accelerator to reduce latency when tracking hands. A reprojection engine which prevents frame dropping for a smoother experience wearing the glasses.

Summary Slide for Snapdragon AR2 Gen 1 1

Qualcomm built the co-processor to combine data from the camera and sensors, enabling features like eye tracking and iris authentication for foveated rendering. This will optimize workloads to focus only on where the user is looking, thus reducing power consumption.

The AR2 uses Qualcomm’s FastConnect 7800 system to unlock Wi-Fi 7 connectivity and High-Band Simultaneous Multilink, thus increasing the throughput. Qualcomm claims the AR2 Gen 1’s connectivity component can deliver less than 2-millisecond latency between the AR glasses and the host device.