Qualcomm Making Progress In VR Push

Qualcomm Making Progress In VR Push
November 29, 2016

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) may be best known for supplying chips found in many of the world’s smartphones but it's diversification into other areas—namely virtual reality (VR)—that may pay it back in the years to come if demand for PlayStation’s VR is any indication.


In an interview over the Black Friday weekend, GameStop Corp. (GME) Chief Operating Officer Tony Bartel told Bloomberg it expected to sellout of the virtual reality goggles by the close of business Sunday. GameStop open its doors to Black Friday shoppers shortly after midnight on Wednesday and the company said a lot of itsstores were already sold out of the VR goggles.


"If you find a PlayStation VR just grab it," Bartel told Bloomberg. "This year demand will definitely outstrip supply." The executive noted sales of VR games were also in demand.


Qualcomm Early Stage of VR


While Qualcomm is at the early stages of its push into the world of virtual reality, it has made some big leaps since the fall. In September, Qualcomm rolled out a reference platform for a stand-alone virtual-reality headset dubbed Snapdragon VR820. The headset, which Qualcomm developed with Chinese electronics company Goertek, is built on the company’s Snapdragon 820 mobile processor and software kit. The reference design, which it said could be easily adapted into products by other companies, is expected to be available by the end of 2016. Qualcomm predicts commercial devices based on Snapdragon VR820 will be released following quickly after that.


In November, it announced a partnership with Interactive Entertainment Group, a unit of Chinese game content provider Tencent. The two are collaborating to come up with ways to create immersive experiences for gaming and entertainment consumers and are creating a “joint innovation” center to come up with new gaming and applications for consumers. (See also: Qualcomm, Tencent Join for AR, VR Venture.)


“As virtual and augmented reality deployment accelerates, mobile has many distinct advantages, such as making it possible to enjoy incredibly immersive content wirelessly virtually anywhere you go," said Adrian Ong, vice president, business development, Qualcomm China, in a recent news release. "The relationship between Tencent and Qualcomm Wireless Communication Technologies (China) Limited will help accelerate these new, mobile AR and VR gaming and entertainment experiences, as we utilize the best of both companies' technologies and engineering expertise."

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