According to what Mark Zuckerberg referred to as “the future roadmap of Quest products” and “other devices,” Qualcomm and Meta have signed a multi-year agreement in which they promise to collaborate on developing custom versions of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR chips. These chips will be used in “other devices.”
Even while, in some respects, the move is business as usual — the Quest 2 is powered by the Snapdragon XR2 processor — it might give insight into Meta’s concessions as the company confronts decreases in income and attempts to keep the rising expenditures of Mark’s metaverse project under control.
The agreement with Qualcomm demonstrates that Meta’s upcoming headsets, which are rumored to include a high-end headset with the codename Cambria and, later, new versions of its cheaper Quest headset, will not run on entirely customized Meta-designed silicon. These headsets are expected to be released in the near future.
This is the case despite the fact that Meta’s competitors, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google, are basing their product choices on proprietary chip designs such as M2, Graviton3, and Tensor — and despite the fact that Meta has had a staff devoted to developing such technologies since 2018. According to this news release, the chips will be “customized” to meet the requirements of Meta. Still, we do not know how big of a gap may create between the hardware of its “luxury” handsets and that of other manufacturers’ hardware that adheres closely to the reference designs of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR.
It was revealed in April by The Verge that workers at Meta were working with semiconductor fabs, which are firms that actually build the physical chips, in order to develop unique chips for their augmented reality headgear, which had not yet been disclosed. In the same month, The Information published an article stating that some of Meta’s attempts to produce bespoke processors were running into difficulties, which forced the company to employ a chip manufactured by Qualcomm rather than its own silicon for its second-generation Ray-Bay smart glasses.
According to Tyler Yee, a spokeswoman for Meta, the business does not provide specifics on the development of its roadmap and refuses to comment on any particular plans it may have had for developing bespoke chips for Quest goods. However, Yee did provide a statement about the company’s “general approach to bespoke silicon,” in which he said that Meta does not believe in a “one-size-fits-all strategy” when it comes to the technology that would be powering its future gadgets.
“There may be circumstances in which we use silicon that is available off-the-shelf or collaborate with industry partners on adaptations, all the while researching our very own new silicon-based solutions. There’s also the possibility that we’ll include both partner and bespoke solutions into the same offering at some point “he stated. “It is all about doing what is necessary in order to produce the very finest experiences that the metaverse has to offer,”
There are further indicators that reveal where Meta has reduced the scope of its VR and AR goals. The Quest, the business’s virtual and augmented reality headset, is powered by Android at the present time; however, the company is apparently working on developing its own operating system for such devices. However, in response to the news, the business said that it was “still working on a highly specialized OS for our devices.” According to a report that was published by The Information, the corporation halted its work on a particular project that was known as XROS. However, the “microkernel-based operating system” that Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said in 2021 was in the works but has not yet been released has not occurred.
A corporation that is under a great deal of strain serves as the background to all of this. For the first time, Meta’s revenue has decreased (partially as a result of changes made by Apple regarding the ways in which apps are permitted to track users), and Mark Zuckerberg has made it clear that he intends to increase the pressure on employees while simultaneously admitting, “I have a feeling that some of you might decide that this isn’t the right place for you to be. And I have no problem with the fact that you chose yourself.” At the same time, he is placing a significant wager on the metaverse. His firm is now losing billions of dollars annually on the project, which consists of augmented reality and virtual reality headsets, and the stake is tremendous.
Because the stakes are so high, Meta will most likely want to keep as much of his information to himself as is humanly feasible. However, it seems that the gear that users use to access Zuckerberg’s Metaverse (assuming they are going to do that at all, rather than simply playing Beat Saber) will continue to be powered by chips manufactured by a third party for the time being.