At AWE 2021, Qualcomm announced the addition of Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform, a head-worn AR software suite the company is using to kickstart a broader move towards smartphone-tethered AR glasses.
Qualcomm believes it can establish itself as a leader in the field of augmented reality coming into 2022. Snapdragon Spaces is a framework from Qualcomm that allows developers to create apps for "next generation" AR glasses.
The toolset includes software kits for 3D engines like Unreal, OpenXR support, and hooks for platforms like Niantic's Lightship and Unity's AR Foundation, as well as technology to help understand environments and users (including gesture and hand tracking from the recently acquired HINS), software kits for 3D engines like Unreal, OpenXR support, and hooks for platforms like Niantic's Lightship and Unity's AR Foundation.
“Snapdragon Spaces enables developers to build 3D applications for AR glasses from scratch or simply add head-worn AR features to existing Android smartphone applications to drive a unified, multi-screen experience between the smartphone screen in 2D and the real world in 3D,” the company says in a press release.
“Developers will also receive a robust resource library that includes documentation, sample code, tutorials, knowledge bases, and tools to help accelerate their development.” the company added.
The ultimate goal is to make augmented reality more accessible. In an ideal world, developers will make apps immediately available to you through mobile app stores, allowing you to use glasses that are connected to your smartphone.
The manufacturer's assistance will be available through selected partners. Although Spaces won't be generally available until spring 2022, Qualcomm has already lined up partners like as Lenovo (including Motorola), Oppo, and Xiaomi. Carriers such as T-Mobile and NTT DoCoMo will use Spaces to assist create "5G experiences." Lenovo will be the first to employ the technology, coupling its ThinkReality A3 glasses with a Motorola phone that has yet to be announced.
Snapdragon Spaces is based on OpenXR and offers SDKs for Unreal Engine and Unity. It will also work with Niantic's Lightship ARDK platform, which Qualcomm claims would broaden Lightship's appeal to "outdoor head-worn use cases and inspire individuals to explore outside, as well as connect and play with others in real time through multi-player functionalities."