LIVE FROM CES 2017, LAS VEGAS: Qualcomm outlined a vision for its upcoming Snapdragon 835 processor to move beyond just connecting the smartphone, as the vendor eyes up emerging technology like AR/VR, autonomous cars and wearables.

In a press conference at CES 2017, the company revealed more details about its new processor, the successor to the Snapdragon 820, which it described as a “connected device chip”, while revealing partnerships with wearables manufacturer ODG to release the “first” AR smartglasses, and a new women’s smartwatch in collaboration with jeweller Swarovski.

Snapdragon 835
Qualcomm said the new processor had been upgraded to not only improve the performance of upcoming smartphones, with better battery life for example, but has also been designed to enhance visual quality and sound for AR and VR.

It also said the processor will be able to connect numerous devices, including tablets, wearables and laptop, with improvements made to connectivity, while better battery and its smaller size could help tap into IoT. The chip uses 25 per cent less power than the Snapdragon 820, said Qualcomm.

“Our new flagship Snapdragon processor is designed to meet the demanding requirements of mobile virtual reality and ubiquitous connectivity, while supporting a variety of thin and light mobile designs,” said Cristiano Amon, EVP, Qualcomm Technologies.

Snapdragon 835 is now in production, and is expected to ship in commercial devices in the first half of 2017.

AR/VR smartglasses
In partnership with Osterhout Design Group (ODG), one of the first announced devices to be powered by the new processor will be the R-8 and R-9 consumer AR/VR smartglasses.

The companies said the R-8 will be targeted at the consumer early adopter, while the R-9 offers a wide variety of different experiences, and can be used as a development platform for “sophisticated mobile AR/VR and smartglasses applications”.

Announcing the partnership, Qualcomm’s Raj Talluri, SVP product management at Qualcomm Technologies, said the new processor was designed to “accelerate AR/VR experiences”, with better power efficiency and performance, and helped ODG “meet their design goals and develop lighter, smaller and sleeker smartglasses”.

Smartwatch and V2X
In a day packed with announcements, the company revealed the launch of a new Android powered smartwatch, with models released for men and women in partnership with jeweller Swarovski. The devices will launch in March but the design itself was not shown at the press conference.

Meanwhile in autonomous cars, Qualcomm will participate in a  new consortium, including Ericsson and Audi, to trial “Cellular Vehicle to X (V2X) “trials in Germany later this year, based on 3GPP’s latest Release 14 spec.