The global technology provider Qualcomm has unveiled a new developer platform for building head-worn augmented reality experiences called the Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform. Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 smart glasses are the only supported device as of now, but the company plans to extend support to Oppo and Xiaomi devices in the first half of 2022.
The company has onboarded several partners for the project, including Epic Games’ Unreal Engine, Niantic’s Lightship platform, Unity, Viacom CBS, and others. Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile U.S. are also collaborating with Qualcomm to support startups using Snapdragon Spaces.
Only a handful of developers, such as Felix & Paul Studios, holo|one, Overlay, Scope AR, TRIPP, Tiny Rebel Games, NZXR, forwARdgame, Resolution Games, and TriggerGlobal, have obtained access to the program. The company plans to release the platform to more developers by the spring of next year.
The company is also taking over “the team and certain technology assets from HINS SAS and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Clay AIR, Inc.” for hand tracking and gesture recognition solutions.
“Dating back to 2007, we had R&D programs looking into augmented reality with algorithms like VIO [visual-inertial odometry] on smartphones,” said Hugo Swart, Qualcomm’s Vice President and GM of XR. “We enabled, through the last decade, devices like ODG. In 2014, we created new chips dedicated to virtual reality and augmented reality – and we are here for the long run. We know that we’re not there – it’s still going to require investment until we get to the holy grail of AR glasses that can do both fully immersive and augmented experiences.”
Qualcomm intends to diminish the barriers for developers to build remarkable AR experiences for their users. The new platform will provide the developers access to documentation, sample code, tutorial, and additional tooling to help create basic AR applications. The company is also developing another program, called Pathfinder, to provide developers early access to software tools and hardware development kits and additional funding and co-marketing opportunities with Qualcomm.
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