Qualcomm unveils smartglasses reference hardware

AR is coming – just very very slowly
Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Qualcomm has unveiled the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 AR Smart Viewer smartglasses– a reference design to show off its XR1 augmented reality technology platform.

Reference hardware isn’t designed to end up in the hands of consumers, and is often used by chipmakers as a way to show off their capabilities.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 AR Smart Viewer looks like a pretty chunky pair of sunglasses, but pack in the Snapdragon XR1 chipset. The specs will tether to a Windows PC or to a smartphone via USB-C.

The glasses feature a 45-degree FOV, which is pretty narrow, but on par with current AR headsets such as Microsoft HoloLens.

It has dual 1920 x 1080 OLED screens with a 90Hz refresh rate.

Qualcomm unveils smartglasses reference hardware

The Snapdragon XR1 AR Smart Viewer also boasts multiple cameras, with support for an 8MP RGB camera with image stabilization and two monochrome cameras for six degree of freedom head and hand tracking.

The Qualcomm XR1 platform is designed to offer lower power consumption thanks to split processing which hands off some of the heavy work to a PC or smartphone. And it’s already made it to real hardware – the ThinkReality A3 glasses which landed at CES 2021.

There’s an undeniable business and enterprise focus, although Qualcomm is keen to point out consumer possibilities for gaming and entertainment.

It’s another glimpse at the AR world building towards an explosive 2022 and 2023. With Apple rumored to be building a headset, Facebook confirmed to be getting involved with RayBan smartglasses in 2021 and an AR headset in 2023, and Google’s purchase of North – there’s no shortage of major AR projects in the works.

But getting consumer hardware and applications that are appealing to users outside of enterprise is still elusive. Brands are starting to show us the reference hardware – we’re waiting for exciting applications.


How we test

James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

Related stories