The next version of Microsoft’s HoloLens headset for augmented reality will supposedly feature Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon XR1 processor. The rumor arrives by way of an anonymous source who claims the second-generation headset packing the XR1 chip, currently dubbed as HoloLens 2, will make an appearance in January 2019.

That means we could see the headset’s debut in six months during the CES 2019 show in Las Vegas.  Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon XR1 processor in late May, a mobile chip optimized for extended reality (XR), an umbrella term that covers augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. The chip targets mainstream devices, or rather affordable products, to provide high-quality XR experiences without having to invest in high-priced hardware.

The chip is mostly optimized for augmented reality powered by artificial intelligence.  That said, unlike Qualcomm’s other Snapdragon-branded chips, the XR1 isn’t meant for smartphones. Instead, Meta, HTC’s Vive division, Pico, and Vuzix have already jumped on the XR1 bandwagon to produce new products, such as the next-generation Vuzix Blade headset for augmented reality.

Microsoft wasn’t mentioned during Qualcomm’s XR1 announcement, but speculation points to a possible hush-hush until the official HoloLens 2 reveal next year.  Currently, Microsoft has two HoloLens bundles: the $5,000 Commercial Suite and the “cheaper” $3,000 Development Edition. Based on the prices alone, neither are meant for mainstream use.

The Development Edition is designed for individual augmented reality application developers although the headset is used extensively in medical, retail, manufacturing, and other industries. The Commercial Suite adds enterprise-focused features like remote management to the developer-focused bundle.  HoloLens made its debut in March 2016 packing an Intel “Cherry Trail” processor running at 1GHz, 2GB of system memory, 1GB of memory dedicated to an embedded Holographic Processing Unit, a 2.4MP camera, and 64GB of storage. Read more from…

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