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Meta drags Qualcomm to his metaverse hell for a while

Meta drags Qualcomm to his metaverse hell for a while

Image for article titled Meta's Dragging Qualcomm Into Its Metaverse Hell for the Foreseeable Future

Photo: Josh Edelson (Getty Images)

Mark Zuckerberg seeks help with his metaverse vision closer to reality.

On Friday, Meta and Qualcomm announced they’re teaming up to design custom chipsets for Meta’s virtual reality headsets that they believe could power “a new era of spatial computing.” The multi-year agreement between the two companies ensures that Meta’s Quest headsets are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon technology. The agreement means that unlike other competitors such as Google and Apple, Meta will not supply hardware with its own processor for the foreseeable future.

“As we continue to build more advanced capabilities and experiences for virtual and augmented reality, it has become more important to build specialized technologies to power our future VR headsets and other devices,” said Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a statement. “Unlike mobile phones, building virtual reality presents new, multidimensional challenges in terms of spatial computing, cost and form factor. These chipsets will help us push virtual reality to its limits and deliver great experiences.”

Meta and Qualcomm aren’t exactly strangers. The Quest 2 headset currently uses Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 chipset and the two have been working together for nearly seven years. Friday’s deal, according to Qualcomm, “solidifies a mutual commitment to deliver multiple generations of premium devices and experiences powered by custom VR platforms in the coming years.”

Whatever you think of Zuckerberg’s vision of a cartoon workforce without legs, consumer interest in headsets is clearly on the rise. Worldwide shipments for VR headsets increased 241.6% in Q1 compared to the same time last year according to IDC data. On the consumer front, Meta’s Quest products are the undisputed kings. Meta’s headsets accounted for a whopping 90% of the total market, thanks in part to the alleged strategy relying on more profitable areas of his company to artificially lower headset prices…and drive the competition away. However, all those investments are starting to add up. Company Reportedly lost $2.81 billion from just $452 million in revenue from the Reality Labs VR division in the second quarter.

“Meta continues to invest in developing the metaverse, but the strategy of promoting low-cost hardware at the expense of profitability is not sustainable in the long run,” IDC research manager Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement.

Meta resists internal chip trend

Meta’s decision to continue partnering with Qualcomm is somewhat different from other Big Tech competitors like Apple and Google, who are increasingly choosing to make their own chipsets for a variety of products. Google’s already shipped phones with its in-house Tensor chips and Reportedly plans to release a line of Chromebooks with a custom processor as early as next year. Meanwhile, Apple continues to evolve and expand its M1 and M2 custom chips in its laptops and iPads.

On the VR side, Apple would also reportedly choose to go it alone. According to a June Bloomberg reportApple’s first mixed reality headset, which could cost a whopping $3,000, could be equipped with Apple’s M2 processor and 16 gigabytes of RAM. Again, Bloomberg too discovers a patent filing this week for a “Reality Processor,” suggesting Apple could be working on its own custom chipsets for its eventual headset. That’s a lot of what ifs and maybes, but given Apple’s trajectory, it looks like their headset, which may be the only headset that can truly rival Meta’s in the consumer market, will likely come with some kind of internal chip.

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