Qualcomm, Meta's self-developed metaverse plan is accused of being unrealistic

Qualcomm and Facebook parent company Meta have signed a multi-year agreement to cooperate in the development of customized versions of Qualcomm's Snapdragon XR chip for "the future roadmap of Quest products" and "other." equipment".

In some respects, these moves are normal business moves, as the Quest 2 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chip. However, it may provide a better understanding of how Meta will compromise and rein in the high expenses of the Metaverse strategy in the face of declining revenue.

The partnership with Qualcomm suggests that Meta's upcoming headsets, including a high-end headset code-named Cambria and a lower-priced version of the Quest, won't use all of Meta's own chips. Meanwhile, Meta's rival companies, such as Apple, Amazon, and Google, are currently making product decisions around custom chip designs such as the M2, Graviton3, and Tensor. Meta itself has also set up a dedicated team to do similar work since 2018.

According to a press release about the partnership, these Qualcomm chips will be "custom made" based on Meta's needs. It's unclear, however, how much different Meta's "high-end devices" will be from other manufacturers' hardware. Other products are likely to strictly follow the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR reference design.

It was reported in April that Meta employees were working with chip foundries to produce custom chips for an as-yet-unannounced augmented reality headset. It was also reported in the same month that Meta had encountered some hurdles in producing custom chips, forcing it to use Qualcomm chips instead in its second-generation Ray-Bay smart glasses.

A Meta spokesperson said that Meta would not discuss specific details of the evolution of the product roadmap, nor would it comment on plans to use custom silicon in Quest products. However, Meta's overall strategy for custom chips is that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to the technology used in future devices.

The spokesperson said: "It may be the case that we use off-the-shelf chips, or work with industry partners to customize, while exploring our own new chip solutions. It is also possible that we will use both in the same product. Using partner products and custom solutions. Everything we do is about creating the best metaverse experience possible.”

There are other signs that Meta's virtual and augmented reality business has contracted. Currently, Meta uses Android in the Quest headset, but reports say the company is developing its own operating system for virtual and augmented reality devices. According to media reports, Meta has suspended a project called XROS that may involve the operating system. Meta's response to the report was that the company is "still developing a highly specialized operating system for our devices." Still, the "microkernel-based operating system" that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in 2021 was in development has yet to make an appearance.

The backdrop for all of this is that Meta is under enormous pressure. Meta's revenue fell for the first time this year as Apple's tweaks to iOS privacy settings affected targeted ad delivery. Zuckerberg made it clear that he plans to increase the pressure on employees. "I think some of you might say, this place is not for you," he says. "I have no problem with that choice." At the same time, he's betting big on metaverse strategy. Meta spends billions of dollars a year on projects in this area, including augmented and virtual reality headsets, but suffers huge losses.

It's a risky competition for Meta. But for now, users accessing Zuckerberg's envisioned metaverse through Meta's hardware will continue to use chips from other manufacturers.

Post a Comment