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MWC 2022: ByteDance Collaborates with Qualcomm to Develop XR Tech

Pico Interactive, a virtual reality startup that ByteDance acquired late last year, revealed that it will be working with Qualcomm to develop next-gen extended reality (XR) hardware.

The announcement, which came out at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress 2022 (MWC2022), confirms that Qualcomm and ByteDance are making a play for the hyped-up metaverse trend with what they know best – virtual and augmented reality tech.

Credit: Pico/ByteDance

For Pico and Qualcomm, what they are doing now reinforces the fact that, while Big Tech play up what they can offer in the metaverse, there are some quarters that prefer to work on new innovations that will help open more doors into this hyper-immersive digital realm.

“We always believe many other ecosystems are going to embrace these technologies and bring scale. (As such,) we’re collaborating on hardware and software to enable a global XR ecosystem. This is an opportunity that could be as huge as the cell phone market, especially as augmented reality glasses become an extension of every smartphone,” said Cristiano Amon, President and CEO, Qualcomm.

In working together with Qualcomm, all upcoming Pico XR products will be a part of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform, a dev-kit that gives partners the ability to create immersive experiences.

“We are committed to building solutions that empower developers and creators. It is very exciting to be able to work with Qualcomm in terms of hardware and software as we jointly work towards expanding the Pico ecosystem. (In fact, this is part of our) commitment to building solutions that empower developers and creators with Qualcomm’s decade-long extended reality leadership,” added Liang Rubo, CEO, ByteDance.

Notably, this could be a critical strategy for Pico to grow its market share and brand awareness. According to a Steam survey, to date, the Chinese-based XR developer only has a 0.3% global userbase. Meta's Oculus, in comparison, has captured 60% of the market.

Credit: Qualcomm

These standings might change in the coming months if ByteDance decides to spend more for Pico. After all, this new arrangement with Qualcomm is the first of many other steps that are expected to come into play later on.

Interestingly, while Qualcomm is looking to expand its place in the metaverse, ByteDance is steering away from that growth narrative.

When it acquired Pico last year, the Chinese unicorn shared to South China Morning Post that it made this purchase because it recognised the value of VR and AR. This stance is further reinforced during the launch of Paiduidao, a “party island” virtual platform that expands the Douyin video streaming service with new digital community engagement capabilities. While the new app is carving a new space in the digital realm for itself, Douyin made it very clear that it has nothing to do with the metaverse.

  • ByteDance and Qualcomm are developing new Extended Reality (XR) devices for the Pico ecosystem.

  • The arrangement will open the Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces platform to new Pico devices.

  • With this collaboration, both ByteDance and Qualcomm believes they can take on an innovation leader role.

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