Qualcomm announces Snapdragon 835 VR dev kit program

Qualcomm accelerates the VR market with its HMD push alongside Snapdragon 835.

2 minutes & 44 seconds read time

MWC 2017 - Qualcomm recently launched into the stratosphere with its push for 5G technology leadership, but now the company has announced its Snapdragon 835 Virtual Reality Development Kit.

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Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 processor is the heart and soul of the new VRDK, providing developers with early access to VR HMDs powered by the Snapdragon 835, something that includes an upgraded VR SDK that works with the headset. Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President for Qualcomm Technologies., and President of QT, said: "With this new VRDK, we're providing virtual reality application developers with advanced tools and technologies to accelerate a new generation of VR games, 360-degree VR videos and a variety of interactive education, healthcare and entertainment applications".

He continued: "We see great potential for the exciting new experiences made possible by truly mobile, untethered virtual reality that's always connected to the internet, and we're excited to help mobile VR developers more efficiently deliver compelling and high-quality experiences on upcoming Snapdragon 835 VR-capable products".

Qualcomm will be supplying a VR headset, which is powered by the Snapdragon 835 VRDK, and sports a 2560x1440 AMOLED display, a fancy 6DoF (six degrees of freedom) motion tracking system: something that lets you move not just left and right, back and forward - but up, and down.

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This will be done using two monochromatic, stereo 1MP (1280x800) cameras with fish eye lenses, and an integrated sensor IMU that features gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetic compass, all providing their data to the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform sensor core, fast. There's also eye tracking, with two monochromatic VGA global shutter cameras with active depth sensing inside - impressive, huh?

Inside, we have 4GB of LPDDR4 and 64GB of storage. USB 3.1 Type-C connectivity, with Qualcomm's integrated WCD9335 CODEC for audio, and a trackpad on the right side of the HMD for input.

Technology Required for Optimal VR Experience

Qualcomm adds that there are some "crucial" technologies required for the best VR experiences, something they support in the SDK part of the VRDK, with these technologies including:

DSP sensor fusion: Utilizing the full breadth of technologies built into Snapdragon 835, the new SDK helps allow developers to create more responsive and immersive experiences with six degrees of freedom (6DoF) by easily accessing the right combination of camera positional data along with high frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers via the Snapdragon Sensor Core nd predictive head position processing with the Qualcomm Hexagon DSP.

Foveated rendering: Designed to provide enablement of a rendering technique useful for VR that senses the user's gaze direction and then focuses on processing the maximum visual detail only in the region of interest, via new Snapdragon plugin support for both Unity and Epic Game Engines.

Fast motion to photon: Supports improved asynchronous time warp with single buffer rendering and other techniques for fast transformation of rendered images in 3D space, which can help reduce latency by roughly 20% when compared to with previous Snapdragon products.

Stereoscopic rendering with lens correction: Supports 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience.

VR layering: Generation of menus, text, and other overlays so that they render correctly in a virtual world, reducing distortions that would otherwise make them difficult to read.

Advanced Application Profiling and Power management: Integration with Snapdragon Profiler and the Qualcomm Symphony System Manager SDK to provide application developers with greater visibility into the VR processing pipeline, along with cohesive CPU, GPU, and DSP power and performance management to help achieve stable frame rates for VR applications running in low-power, thermally-constrained devices.

Qualcomm will have its Snapdragon 835 VRDK available through the Qualcomm Developer Network sometime in Q2 2017, with Snapdragon 835-powered VR headsets expected to arrive in the second half of 2017.

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

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