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Meta and Qualcomm signed an agreement to make custom chips for VR devices

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Meta and Qualcomm signed an agreement to make custom chips for VR devices
(Image from live event of IFA Berlin 2022)

The companies declared at IFA 2022’s consumer electronics conference in Berlin on Friday that Meta and Qualcomm had signed a contract for Qualcomm to create custom chipsets for their Quest virtual reality (VR) devices (formerly Oculus Quest).

The chips, which are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon platforms, will be built in partnership with the technical and product teams of both companies, according to a statement.

The agreement reveals Meta’s dependence on Qualcomm’s technology even as it works to create its own custom silicon for its augmented, mixed, and virtual reality devices. Meta was formerly known as Facebook until last year.

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“Unlike mobile phones, building VR brings novel multidimensional challenges in spatial computing, cost and form factor,” Meta Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a video message.

“We are still in the early stages of the metaverse and this sort of deep technical integration will help VR move towards being a multifunctional computing platform,” he said.

As it works to achieve Zuckerberg‘s vision for the metaverse, a concept involving an immersive collection of virtual worlds, Meta has been aggressively investing in technologies like pass-through goggles and augmented reality glasses.

Since a few years ago, it has used Qualcomm Chipsets in its VR devices, including the most recent Quest 2 VR headset.

According to Tyler Yee, a representative for Meta, the chipsets created through the partnership won’t be proprietary to Meta but will be customized for Quest’s system requirements.

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According to Yee, the agreement only applies to VR devices, and Meta will continue to develop some of its silicon solutions.

“There could be situations where we use off-the-shelf silicon or work with industry partners on customizations, while also exploring our novel silicon solutions. There could also be scenarios where we use both partner and custom solutions in the same product,” said Yee.

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