With many experts believing Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to be the driving force in the next revolution for the tech world, Intel and Qualcomm are expected to go toe to toe in what appears to be a high-stakes battle over AR/VR and AI supremacy. The Californian tech giants have been pumping in astonishing amounts of resources to ensure their monopoly over the virtual environment. While Intel is set to sponsor the 2024 Olympic Games and will provide exclusive VR apps to users worldwide, Qualcomm strongly believes Extended Reality (XR) is the way forward. For those not in the know, XR is an umbrella term encapsulating AR, VR, Mixed Reality (MR), and everything in between. Qualcomm's current Snapdragon 835 System on Chip (SoC) also supports XR which shows its heavy interest in the booming smartphone industry.
The industry further projects a substantial profit in VR, AR headset manufacturing which has led to Intel making key acquisitions in the virtual market, foremost of which is Voke Inc. which was acquired by Intel in late 2016 exclusively for VR purposes. Unlike Qualcomm, which is focusing on Mobile based virtual services, Intel has also formed various alliances in the PC market and has partnered up with the Electronics Sports League and Oculus to establish its own VR Challenger league which will focus exclusively on VR-powered online competitive games. In the entertainment sector, Intel and Sony have been pushing for a VR oriented movie experience unlike any other. Intel has also made known of its intentions to dominate the MR market with its Project Alloy which enable for a wireless mode of viewing to its users without limiting yourself in an indoor environment. Project Alloy also provides developers and manufacturers with its code for designing custom Head-Mount Displays (HMDs) and is expected to be commercially available later this year. With Intel diving head-first in the virtual world of PC and smartphone gaming and viewing, Qualcomm seems to be trying out a different approach altogether. The company has been formulating partnerships with various tech and equipment manufacturers like Goertek, Thundercomm, OmniVision, and Ximmerse. Qualcomm is aiming for low-cost and cutting edge products by on investing less in its R&D department and handing out component requirements to other companies instead, the latest example of it being the 6DOF head movement tracking technology developed by Qualcomm and included in its 650IP camera developed in association with Thundercomm. The company has also partnered up with Google for materializing a Snapdragon 835 VR platform-based Daydream HMD design.
Intel currently seems to have a significant edge over Qualcomm with its higher spending in the market for innovating and advertising products complemented by its partnerships with some of the biggest companies in this sector. Whether Qualcomm's decision of focusing solely on the smartphone industry works out in its favor is anyone guess but with the company having already launched over 20 XR products for its Snapdragon 800 series SoC and another 20 XR oriented products currently in development, it all essentially boils down to user perception, requirement, and affordability of the product in question.