Qualcomm Partners With TikTok Parent ByteDance on XR Devices and Software

Qualcomm also announced a 5G modem with built-in AI and Snapdragon Connect certification during MWC in Barcelona.

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Katie a UK-based news reporter and features writer. Officially, she is CNET's European correspondent, covering tech policy and Big Tech in the EU and UK. Unofficially, she serves as CNET's Taylor Swift correspondent. You can also find her writing about tech for good, ethics and human rights, the climate crisis, robots, travel and digital culture. She was once described a "living synth" by London's Evening Standard for having a microchip injected into her hand.
Katie Collins
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Qualcomm came to MWC 2022 with a vision that went far beyond phones.

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MWC 2022 kicked off in Barcelona on Sunday with phone launches from companies including Honor, TCL and Nokia. But one company was absolutely everywhere at the show. Qualcomm and its Snapdragon platform are the backbone upon which are built many products unveiled at the mobile trade show, such as the new Lenovo ThinkPad X13s. And the company also rocked up at the show with announcements of its own.

"Mobile technology is literally going everywhere," said Qualcomm President and CEO Cristiano Amon, as he outlined announcements that will form the basis of the company's vision for the next 10 years. Among Qualcomm's wide-ranging updates across 5G , Bluetooth and audio was the introduction of a new partnership with TikTok parent company ByteDance.

The partnership will see the two companies work on developing XR, otherwise known as spatial computing or metaverse-ready technologies, such as virtual and augmented reality. Last year ByteDance purchased virtual reality headset maker Pico, which will be the basis for its first foray into XR and the metaverse.

Qualcomm already has one major partner in this area in the form of Meta, which it works with on Oculus. But just as with phones , Qualcomm isn't limiting its XR development partnerships to just one company. It wants to cement its role as the "ticket to the metaverse," it said in its MWC presentation.

"We always believe many other ecosystems are going to embrace these technologies and bring scale," said Amon. "We're collaborating on hardware and software to enable a global XR ecosystem."

Chief among Qualcomm's other announcements was the first modem-to-antenna 5G system with integrated AI, the Snapdragon X70. AI capabilities will help to enhance 5G performance by boosting speed, coverage, latency, and power efficiency across sub-6 bandwidths and millimeter wave. We could see this modem appear in the successor to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset later this year.

Qualcomm also continues to refine its audio offering, unveiling Snapdragon Sound during its MWC press conference. This tech introduces a number of new features, including 16-bit lossless Bluetooth audio, which the company says offers CD quality over wireless earbuds. Stereo recording via earbuds, 25% lower latency for gaming and Qualcomm's latest adaptive active noise cancellation are also present.

Tying all of Qualcomm's announcements together was the launch of the Snapdragon Connect badge. This certification will provide consumers with a way to know that their devices pack the best-in-class 5G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies, signifying top-end connectivity performance across the board. Snapdragon Connect won't be limited to phones. Instead it will be present across product categories, including laptops , cars and AR and VR headsets.