Qualcomm's headset adds hand tracking and more to make mobile VR better

Plus, it's launched an accelerator program
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Qualcomm has announced a new virtual reality headset development kit and the launch of an accelerator program, which it hopes will get manufacturers building better mobile VR.

The headset, an update to the model we saw last year, is powered by the company's new Snapdragon 835 chip and offers some interesting features, including eye tracking, foveated rendering, inside-out six degrees of freedom, and even hand tracking courtesy of Leap Motion.

When we spoke to Leap Motion last year it told us it was partnering with headset makers to bring its hand-tracking tech to VR, and now we know that Qualcomm was one of them. We recently tried out Leap Motion's mobile solution and walked away impressed, and it's something the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive don't currently offer.

Read next: Why modular VR could be the way forward

The rest of the specs on Qualcomm's headset are relatively meaty: a 2560 x 1440 AMOLED display, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. This is an all-in-one design, so total freedom of wires, but you won't be able to buy the reference model yourself.

To get the tech off the ground, Qualcomm has launched an accelerator program which sets out standards and gives manufacturers access to reference design products. The new reference headset will ship to manufacturers in Q2 of 2017, and hopefully we'll start seeing consumer devices by the year's end.

Qualcomm's headset adds hand tracking and more to make mobile VR better


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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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