By Tom Ffiske
VR/AR and metaverse analysis every Wednesday and Sunday // 22 May 2022
If you sing in a Japanese karaoke booth, you either strengthen bonds with strangers, or annihilate them.
Qualcomm’s wider AR strategy
Qualcomm recently unveiled a new reference design for its newest AR glasses which, unlike its predecessor, is completely wireless. In theory, the reference design can then be used by OEMs as part of their own work when developing their specs. Qualcomm is quiet on current partners, but the Verge points out that the Nreal Light and Lenovo ThinkReality A3 used earlier designs. In any case, Qualcomm cements its leadership position as a trusted partner for the future of immersive technologies.
However, some things to bear in mind:
- Battery life. While the design can run on its own, its sleek frame leaves little space for a large battery, and it can last only 30 minutes with constant use. There are workarounds to extend the battery life, but they likely draw away from the thin frames that Qualcomm focused on.
- Latency: The ‘latency’ of the machine just passes the threshold for a smooth immersive experience (20ms). While I haven’t been able to demo it myself, my hope is that the latency is consistently under the threshold, as it may cause motion sickness.
- Design: As a reference design, OEMs will adapt it heavily for their own work. Companies will prioritise different elements of these – weight, battery life etc – while drawing away from the original one. That makes it tricky to predict what elements will be used, but it still lays out a potential framework they will build on.
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A focus on different economies
Trying something different and putting my analysis for Friday below, instead of a Q&A. If you prefer this (or not), then feel free to reply to this email!
Analysis Group, a research company contracted by Meta, reported that the metaverse could add $40bn to sub-Saharan Africa’s economy over a decade. Yet it has an important caveat where it assumes adoption will be as fast as the mobile phone, which may raise a few eyebrows. (By comparison, APAC soars ahead with it being worth over $1tn by 2030).
The more distant reports go, the more nebulous the numbers become. It is fair to say that the US will adopt metaverse-like services swiftly, as the population has general access to the internet. But pinning a financial number to the new type of economy is incredibly difficult. For example, Citi says the metaverse could be worth £13tn by 2030. The team must have made assumptions about its development to pin down the high number, but it is unclear if we will hit that sum at all.
My other worry is that it is a simplified overview of a diverse continent, comparable to generalising Europe or Asia. Recently, the ITU has found that only 22% of the continent has access to the internet. While low, it also hides the sheer range of access across multiple countries. DW rightly points out that, in Malawi, people pay around 87% of gross national income (per capita) for just 1GB of mobile data. Meanwhile, Rwandans only pay around 2%.
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Curated by Tom Ffiske every Wednesday and Sunday, and enjoyed by 4,400 professionals.
Editor, Immersive Wire
Tom Ffiske is the Editor of the Immersive Wire, a twice-weekly newsletter on the immersive industry.