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Qualcomm and Meta join forces to ‘revolutionise the future of computing’

Mark Zuckerberg, Meta video about the metaverse

Chip firm Qualcomm and the artist formally known as Facebook have put their heads together in order to deliver ‘multi-generation metaverse experiences’ – which seems to mean specialised chips.

Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon and Meta Founder Mark Zuckerberg announced their collaboration at trade show IFA in Germany, which they describe as a ‘multi-year broad strategic agreement to develop premium experiences that leverage custom Snapdragon XR platforms for the Meta Quest platform.’

The two firm’s engineering and product teams will apparently be working on technologies and platforms to ‘accelerate a fully realized metaverse’ and promise a ‘new era of spatial computing’ off the back of Snapdragon extended reality (XR) platforms and technologies for Meta Quest.

Boil down the hyperbole and it seems to be about producing chipsets designed specifically with the metaverse in mind. The firms have been working together for seven years, most recently on the Meta Quest 2, so this seems almost like a reaffirmation of that collaboration in an effort to muster up some enthusiasm for metaverse stuff which Zuckerberg in particular has bet the farm on.

“By partnering with Meta, we are bringing together two of the world’s metaverse leaders to revolutionize the future of computing for billions of people in the coming years,” said Amon. “Building off our joint leadership in XR, this agreement will allow our companies to deliver best-in-class devices and experiences to transform how we work, play, learn, create and connect in a fully realized metaverse.”

Zuckerberg added: “We’re working with Qualcomm Technologies on customized virtual reality chipsets – powered by Snapdragon XR platforms and technology – for our future roadmap of Quest products. As we continue to build more advanced capabilities and experiences for virtual and augmented reality, it has become more important to build specialized technologies to power our future VR headsets and other devices. Unlike mobile phones, building virtual reality brings novel, multi-dimensional challenges in spatial computing, cost, and form factor. These chipsets will help us keep pushing virtual reality to its limits and deliver awesome experiences.”

It’s easy to pour scorn on bleeding edge technology, as plenty must have done at the advent of the internet. However there is something questionable about the absolute assurance of firms like Meta that the metaverse is the inevitable next big thing, and the fact it hasn’t really been defined what it is yet, despite attempts to establish some consistency on open standards and terminology surrounding it.

Firms like Meta seem to think it’s going to change the entire nature of how we communicate, work and play, which is of course a bold claim and if that’s what they think perhaps it’s wise to steer their super tanker of a firm towards it. Other times when firms lay out their plans it sounds more like it’s going to be like The Sims but with VR – which we suppose some people might be up for.

Whether the metaverse ends up being what it advocates claim it will be – nothing short of ‘the future of computing’ – or something that disappears in the face of an uninterested mass market (as 3D TVs and every previous generation of VR did), or something in between, we shall have to wait and see. But you can guarantee they’ll be plenty more hyperbolic corporate statements on the matter in the mean time.

 

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