Qualcomm's upcoming wearable chip may help bring eye tracking to AR glasses

Snapdragon Wear 3100 may not be exclusive to future smartwatches
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Last week, we exclusively revealed that Qualcomm is preparing a new wearable chip to power the next generation of smartwatches. And now, it appears that the same chip may not be limited to just wrist-based devices.

That's according to German outlet WinFuture, who suggest that the upcoming chip will also be used to for augmented reality glasses. And that could include wearables such as Google Glass, which, for those not keeping track, last year made somewhat of a comeback in the form of its Enterprise Edition.

Read this: The history and future of Google Glass

That's not all, either, with the same report also indicating that the term "augmented reality glasses" is referenced within a Qualcomm job listing related to the new system-on-chip (SoC), adding weight to the initial claim that its powers will extend beyond the wrist when launching later this year.

But what exactly would the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip bring to AR wearables? Well, while it's all speculation at this stage, there's suggestions that it could help power eye tracking in AR devices, something that Qualcomm already has experience with through its reference VR headsets.

But while the big Q may be adept at providing the likes of foveated eye tracking (a technique whereby high-resolution textures are saved for what the user is focusing on, while the rest of the picture takes a back seat) through big headsets, doing the same through smaller devices is a much different challenge. If it is to come to fruition, though, it's these kind of efficiency techniques the company will no doubt use.

And, going back to smartwatches, it's also likely we see the same kind of efficiency for wrist-based devices, thanks to the chip. Battery life is the obvious flaw among many smartwatches currently, and it could well be that the Snapdragon 3100 allows for a stronger performance from the next generation. And don't be surprised if the rumoured Google Pixel Watch is the first to debut all the new smarts Snapdragon Wear 3100 has to offer.

Qualcomm's upcoming wearable chip may help bring eye tracking to AR glasses


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Conor Allison


Conor moved to Wareable Media Group in 2017, initially covering all the latest developments in smartwatches, fitness trackers, and VR. He made a name for himself writing about trying out translation earbuds on a first date and cycling with a wearable airbag, as well as covering the industry’s latest releases.

Following a stint as Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint, Conor returned to Wareable Media Group in 2022 as Editor-at-Large. Conor has become a wearables expert, and helps people get more from their wearable tech, via Wareable's considerable how-to-based guides. 

He has also contributed to British GQ, Wired, Metro, The Independent, and The Mirror. 

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