Qualcomm XR2: First hint at "Project Halliday"
The Snapdragon XR2 powers Meta Quest 2 and many other standalone VR headsets. Now there are first hints about the successor.
The firmware detective Samulia found import logs that suggest that a new generation of the Snapdragon XR2 is currently being tested.
Qualcomm introduced the first Snapdragon XR2 in December 2019. In October 2020, it was used for the first time in a commercial VR headset: the then-launched Meta Quest 2.
Qualcomm's SoC has since been the de facto chip standard for Android-based standalone headsets: It works in Pico Neo 3 Link (review), Vive Focus 3 (review), and the upcoming Lynx R-1.
Qualcomm calls the first Snapdragon XR2 since May 2022 Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1, so a new generation of the chip should be called Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2.
Qualcomm sets the pace for the industry
The Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 is an XR-specialized derivative of the high-end Snapdragon 865 SoC, which was used in premium smartphones in 2020 - so it is relatively old for a processor, especially when you consider the enormous computing needs of VR and AR.
The fact that Qualcomm has still not updated the XR chip is probably due to the manageable market for VR hardware: VR headsets are sold in far lower numbers than premium smartphones.
Test platforms for the successor to Qualcomm's XR2 is starting to show in import records
It's aptly named "Project Halliday" as a reference to Ready Player One
FOC INTEGRATED CIRCUIT CP90-35514-91 / SXR2230P 000-Y1, PSP1828, 2X 4KX4K MR, 4 2 GOLD, 4XLP5, A740, 10XMONO, HTP, 3
- Brad Lynch (@SadlyItsBradley) September 12, 2022
The Meta Quest Pro (info) coming out in October will most likely also use a Snapdragon XR 2 Gen 1.
According to hardware analyst Brad Lynch, it is a revision of the chip, which could result in 30% more performance. The model number is SXR2150P in contrast to the conventional Snapdragon XR 2 Gen 1 with the model number SXR2130P, which is used in Meta Quest 2 and the like.
"Project Halliday": Codename for Next-Gen XR2
A Snapdragon XR 2 Gen 2 has been in development for quite some time and will one day power the next headset generation. Samulia found references in import logs to test platforms for a Qualcomm chip with the model number SXR2230P. The numbering ("2230" instead of "2130") points to a new generation of the XR2 chip.
The code name is "Project Halliday" - a reference to OASIS creator James Halliday from the sci-fi novel Ready Player One. The project name for the SXR2150P, i.e. the Gen 1 revision that could be used in Meta Quest Pro, was "Project Tron". Virtual reality is thus a recurring motif.
According to the import logs, the test device could resolve with 4K per eye and would thus be well-equipped for the future. Qualcomm might be preparing a new reference design with the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2, which will be unveiled in 2023.
XR2 Gen 2 presentation in winter?
The chip is likely to appear in commercial headsets next year at the earliest. Qualcomm would have to present it at the end of this year. At least, that's how Qualcomm has proceeded with high-end chips so far.
Nothing more is known about the specifications yet.
It is clear that the XR2 Gen 2 will enable a new, more powerful generation of standalone headsets, just like the Meta Quest 2. A debut in the Meta Quest 3 in 2023 or 2024 would be quite plausible.
Qualcomm and Meta recently announced a closer partnership in the development of mobile VR chips that will be used in future Quest devices.