Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Qualcomm and Meta had signed a long-term agreement promising to team up on custom versions of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR chips for the “future roadmap of Quest products” and “other devices.”
However, in some ways, the aim is to extend the business as usual; the Quest 2 is powered by the Snapdragon XR2 chipset and could impart insight into Meta’s compromises as it confronts a decrease in revenue and tries to keep the ambiguous expenses of Mark’s metaverse project laid-back.
In addition, the Qualcomm protocol shows that Meta’s upcoming headsets, which include a high-end headset named Cambria and, later, new versions of its cheaper Quest headset, won’t run on completely customized Meta-designed silicon.
Inspite of this, combating companies like Apple, Amazon, and Google make product decisions around custom chip designs like M2, Graviton3, and Tensor. Meta’s had a team dedicated to doing the same since 2018. Furthermore, the press release states the chips will be “customized” for Meta’s necessity.
Still, we don’t know how much time it will take between its “premium” devices and other manufacturers’ hardware that closely resembles Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR reference designs.
According to reports, Meta employees were working with semiconductor fabs in April. The companies that manufacture the physical chips make custom chips for its so far unannounced AR headset.
Additionally, in the same month, Meta’s efforts to make custom chips were dead in the water, pushing it to use a Qualcomm chip for its second-gen Ray-Bay smart glasses instead of its silicon.
Tyler Yee, a Meta spokesperson, claimed that the company doesn’t consider details about the guidelines it has to follow and wouldn’t comment on any specific target it may have had for custom chips for Quest products.
However, Tyler Yee posted a statement on the company’s “general approach to custom silicon,” explaining that Meta doesn’t believe in a “one-size-fits-all approach” for the tech powering its future devices.
In this context, Yee said, “There could be situations where we use off-the-shelf silicon or work with industry partners on customizations while exploring our novel silicon solutions. There could also be scenarios where we use partner and custom solutions in the same product. It is all about doing what is needed to create the best metaverse experiences possible.”
Moreover, on the other hand, Meta has rationalized its VR / AR ambitions. For that, the company currently uses Android to power the Quest, but it was reportedly working on its operating system for its virtual and augmented reality devices. As per the reports, it suspended work on a specific project called XROS.
Meanwhile, the company acknowledged the article by saying it was “still working on a highly specialized OS for our devices.” Still, the “microkernel-based operating system” that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said was in the works in 2021 hasn’t been performed yet.