TikTok VR headset: Qualcomm cooperates with Bytedance
With TikTok, Chinese company Bytedance is taking market share from Meta’s social platforms. Now it is attacking VR and AR as well – and finds a partner in Qualcomm.
In the summer of 2021, Bytedance announced the acquisition of Chinese VR headset maker Pico that was large by VR industry standards. Pico is one of the major manufacturers of standalone VR headsets like Meta Quest 2, along with Meta and HTC.
Qualcomm cooperates with Bytedance
As part of Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm and Bytedance announce a chip partnership for VR and “beyond.” Qualcomm currently provides the XR2 processor specialized for VR and AR in Meta Quest 2, Vive Focus 3 and Pico Neo 3.
According to Bytedance CEO Rubo Liang, the collaboration between his company and the U.S. chipmaker will include hardware and software and enable “an ecosystem around Pico.”
Most recently, Qualcomm announced a collaboration with Microsoft on a chip specializing in augmented reality and an XR expansion in Europe. Meta, on the other hand, is rumored to be working on its own processor for the Meta Quest 3 scheduled for next year and is not supposed to rely on the Snapdragon XR3 that will be available by then.
Due to the partnerships with Microsoft, Pico and HTC, Qualcomm would nevertheless have big buyers for its chip.
Bytedance expands into VR and AR
In acquiring Pico, Bytedance expressed a long-term strategic interest in virtual reality. Similar to Meta with Spark AR, Bytedance also offers an augmented reality kit for the TikTok app and later possible AR glasses.
The acquisition sum for Pico on the part of Bytedance is said to have been around 600 million US dollars. By comparison, Facebook paid a total of around three billion US dollars for Oculus in 2014, which at that time – in contrast to Pico today – had neither finished VR headsets nor a paying customer base. In this respect, Pico was almost a bargain, even if virtual reality will probably remain an investment business for a while.
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