By having a dedicated virtual/augmented reality chip, Qualcomm hopes to be able to drive a better experience for untethered AR/VR devices — with longer battery life, lower temperatures and better video/audio. Qualcomm is rolling out a dedicated chip targeting virtual reality/augmented reality headsets in hopes of driving the nascent market into the mainstream.

The new chip from Qualcomm, which primarily makes smartphone semiconductors today, targets virtual reality/augmented reality gear at affordable prices — in the $200 range. That is similar to the $199 price tag for Facebook’s new Oculus Go virtual reality headset, which went on sale earlier this month.

Oculus Go, a stand-alone VR headset that doesn’t require tethering to a smartphone or computer, is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 smartphone processor. Qualcomm is the first major chip designer to produce a system-on-a-chip specifically for virtual realty/augmented reality.

In the past, it has supplied smartphone processors that were sometimes tweaked for VR/AR customers. But other chipmakers could follow suit.

Both Intel and Nvidia have virtual reality programs that supply headset-makers with computer processors and graphics chips. Qualcomm is calling its AR/VR chip platform the Snapdragon XR1, and it was unveiled last week at the Augmented World Expo in the Bay Area. Read more from seattletimes.com…

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