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Qualcomm announces Microsoft collaboration to boost AR in the metaverse

Mobile chipmaker enters into collaboration with Microsoft to design custom augmented reality chips and integrate software platforms

Just as it was announcing at the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) a slew of technologies designed to drive its presence in automotive markets, chip giant Qualcomm Technologies has also hit the accelerator pedal into the metaverse, announcing a partnership with Microsoft to expand and hasten the adoption of augmented reality (AR) in the enterprise sector.

Both companies believe in the future of the metaverse, and Qualcomm Technologies said that is embarking on work with Microsoft across several initiatives to drive the ecosystem, including developing custom AR chips to enable a new wave of power efficient, lightweight AR glasses to deliver rich and immersive experiences. It also has plans to integrate software such as Microsoft Mesh and Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform.

The collaboration will tap into Qualcomm Technologies’ existing experience and expertise in spatial computing and what the firms said is its desire to create transformative experiences for the next generation of head-worn AR devices as businesses head into the metaverse.

“This collaboration reflects the next step in both companies’ shared commitment to XR and the metaverse,” said Hugo Swart, vice-president and general manager of XR at Qualcomm Technologies.

“Qualcomm Technologies’ core XR strategy has always been delivering the most cutting-edge technology, purpose-built XR chipsets and enabling the ecosystem with our software platforms and hardware referenced. We are thrilled to work with Microsoft to help expand and scale the adoption of AR hardware and software across the entire industry.”

“Our goal is to inspire and empower others to collectively work to develop the metaverse future – a future that is grounded in trust and innovation,” added Rubén Caballero, corporate vice-president of mixed reality at Microsoft.

“With services like Microsoft Mesh, we are committed to delivering the safest and most comprehensive set of capabilities to power metaverses that blend the physical and digital worlds, ultimately delivering a shared sense of presence across devices. We look forward to working with Qualcomm Technologies to help the entire ecosystem unlock the promise of the metaverse.”

The news comes just as augmented reality industry experts have noted that one aspect that has seen insufficient attention is the legal situation regarding the metaverse – specifically, around how the new world of virtual opportunities, augmented realities, and hybrid solutions will create unique, novel, and unforeseeable legal questions and regulatory challenges.

According to Martin Schwirn, vice-president at Strategic Business Insights, augmented and virtual realities will lead to complex legal issues and many legislative needs will only become obvious as metaverse environments form, gel and connect.

He added that despite the many concerns, benefits likely will outweigh nefarious uses and legal challenges, similar to the way the internet has changed most people’s lives for the better. Decision-makers and policy-makers have the opportunity to start proactively monitoring developments and envision emerging problem areas right away to avoid the most obvious legal pitfalls.

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