Specs appeal: Qualcomm and Meta insist headgear to plug you into the metaverse will 'supersede mobile'

'You're on the go, you take it with you, it's always contextually relevant, you don't have to take it out of your pocket'

Snapdragon Tech Summit What's the next hot thing after mobile? Qualcomm and Meta execs believe it's the metaverse, and some type of headgear providing context so you don't have to pull a device out of your pocket.

"Augmented reality is the thing that ultimately will supersede mobile," claimed Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth in conversation with Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon.

The conversation was shown as happening between cartoon versions of the executives in a metaverse meeting room. The exchange was shown on screen during Amon's keynote at the Snapdragon Tech Summit being held in Hawaii.

Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth and Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon

Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth and Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon in the metaverse

"Metaverse" is a buzzword for a parallel digital world in which individuals, represented by avatars, can play, work, and interact. Second Life was an early version of a metaverse, but the concept recently gained traction through games like Minecraft and Fortnite, and platforms like Roblox.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is betting its social networking future on virtual reality, where friends meet in a virtual world instead of sending text messages.

Bosworth and Amon seemed to zero in on glasses, like Google Glass, being a person's bridge into the digital universe. Bosworth struck a hopeful tone on being able to make hardware like glasses, or equipping mobile devices with technologies so one can sense the presence of the other's avatar.

"You're on the go, you take it with you, it's always contextually relevant, you don't have to take it out of your pocket," Bosworth said, adding: "Can we pull it all together? It hinges on your ability to be efficient with power and thermal space in these tiny form factors."

Meta's clunky Oculus Quest 2 headset uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon chips. Bosworth was recently appointed Meta's CTO and is laying the technology foundation for the company's VR future.

Bosworth also said metaverse computing models will be bigger than laptops and desktops for productivity and collaboration.

"All of this will be powered by artificial intelligence that's helping users process and understand the world around them," he said.

While Bosworth painted a picture of the metaverse being in its early stages, Qualcomm's Amon said his company had been investing in metaverse technologies for 10 years. The company's Snapdragon chips are in 1,600 designs beyond smartphones, of which 50 are commercial headsets.

"It's easy to see a situation where the developer ecosystem becomes mature... whether it is for enterprise, for education, whether for entertainment, we could have convenient glasses to wear," he claimed.

He gave an example of AR glasses overlaid with information about a car, such as the lifespan of some of the components, to aid in a repair. ®

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