Immersive Virtual Reality

Making immersive virtual reality possible on mobile.

Virtual reality (VR) will provide the ultimate level of immersion, creating a sense of physical presence in real or imagined worlds. VR accomplishes this by placing high emphasis on the 3 pillars of immersion—visual quality, sound quality, and intuitive interaction — to stimulate our human senses with realistic feedback. Making this happen seamlessly in a mobile wearable device is not easy, but Qualcomm Technologies is making it possible through leading mobile technologies. The time is right for mobile VR!

Unprecedented experiences. Unlimited possibilities.

VR will bring a new paradigm for how we can interact with the world, offering unprecedented experiences and unlimited possibilities that will enhance our lives in many ways—allowing us to live out our dreams on demand. We’ll be able to be virtually anywhere, do anything, and be with anyone.


VR will change how we play, learn, and communicate. Imagine being virtually transported to the best seat in the arena at the World Cup finals, to a classroom where you can learn from the best professors across the world or to a special family event. Our imagination and creativity are the only limits to the VR possibilities, and they will be stretched.


  • Immersive movies and shows
  • Live concerts, sports, and other events
  • Interactive gaming and entertainment


  • Immersive education
  • Training and demos
  • 3D design and art


  • Social interactions
  • Shared personal moments
  • Empathetic storytelling

Mobile technologies are accelerating VR adoption.

The same mobile technologies that power our smartphones are also ideal for VR. The mobile industry has driven huge technology advancements in multimedia, displays & sensors, and power & thermal efficiency — and it will only continue. For example, mobile system on chips (SoCs) will power both standalone and smartphone-mounted VR headsets. The characteristics of the mobile industry make the proliferation of new technologies very feasible for the masses, which will accelerate VR adoption.


Innovation at scale provides both cutting edge technology and cost advantages.

Rapid design cycles

Rapid design cycles initiate fast adoption of cutting edge technologies.

Mass adoption

As a result of mass smartphone adoption, mainstream consumers are adventurous and willing to try new things.

Immersive VR has extreme requirements.

Fully immersive VR can only be achieved by simultaneously focusing on visual quality, sound quality, and intuitive interactions—with extreme requirements placed on each of these dimensions. Adding to the complexity, fully immersive mobile VR must be achieved at low power and thermals so the VR headset can be sleek, lightweight, stylish, and of course, free from wires.

Visual Quality
Sound Quality
Intuitive Interactions

Visual Quality

VR visual quality requires pixels so realistic that they are eventually indistinguishable from the real world. To accomplish this, we need:

  • Extreme pixel quantity and quality: The screen of the VR headset is very close to the user’s eyes, so a high pixel resolution is required to remove the “screen door effect”—while also making sure each pixel looks accurate.
  • Spherical view: IIn VR, we are free to rotate our head in any direction—so a 360° spherical view of the visual scene is required. Even when keeping our head and eyes stationary in ”real life,” humans have an approximately 180° field-of-view, so this places high requirements on the VR display.
  • Stereoscopic display: Humans see in 3D through our binocular vision. A stereoscopic display shows slightly offset images to each eye so that objects in the scene appear at the right depth.

Sound Quality

VR sound quality needs audio so accurate that it is true to life and completely in synch with the visuals. To accomplish this, we need:

  • High resolution audio: The sampling frequency and bits-per-sample need to be up to our human hearing capabilities to create high-fidelity sound.
  • 3D audio: Humans hear sound in 3D, meaning that we can tell the direction and the distance of a sound source just by listening. Realistic 3D positional audio creates 3D surround sound that dynamically adjusts as you move your head, so that sound and visuals match as they would in real life.

Intuitive Interactions

VR interactions need to be so intuitive and responsive that you forget that you are even dealing with an interface—keeping you immersed in the moment. To accomplish this, we need:

  • Natural user interface (UI): For a VR headset, the primary input method is head movement, as there is nothing more natural than just looking around and turning your head. Other potential natural UIs include gestures or voice, both of which rely on cognitive technologies.
  • Minimal latency: Any lag in the user experience, whether visual or auditory, is very apparent in VR and detracts from full immersion. Reducing system latency is key to stabilizing the virtual world as you move. The biggest latency challenge for VR is known as “motion to photon,” which is the response time from your input interaction to the screen being updated.
  • Precise motion tracking: Accurate on-device motion tracking is needed to interact with the virtual world. If you are trying to play virtual ping pong with a friend or just turning your head to explore the virtual environment, you need precise control.

How Qualcomm Technologies is making mobile VR a reality.

Qualcomm Technologies is uniquely positioned to deliver superior mobile VR experiences by designing for the extreme requirements of fully immersive VR. By taking a system approach and custom designing specialized engines across the SoC, Snapdragon processors are engineered to provide an efficient heterogeneous computing solution that is optimized from end-to-end. For example, the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 821 processor, is designed to meet the VR processing demands within the thermal and power constraints of a wearable VR headset.

Visual Quality

  • Smooth, 3D stereoscopic, foveated rendering and support for the latest graphics processing unit (GPU) application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • 360° 4K HEVC video decoding and display at 60 FPS
  • Superior pixel quality and power savings through Qualcomm® TruPalette™ and Qualcomm® EcoPix™ features

Sound Quality

  • Positional audio & 3D surround sound
  • Fluence™ noise filtering & active noise cancellation
  • Custom audio development through low-level Digital Signal Processor (DSP) access

Intuitive Interactions

  • Predictive 6 degrees of freedom motion tracking
  • Ultra-fast sensing for minimal motion to pixel latency

Qualcomm® Snapdragon, Qualcomm® TruPalette, Qualcomm® EcoPix and Fluence are a products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

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Webinar - On-Device Motion Tracking for Immersive VR

May 14, 2018


Webinar: VR and AR are pushing connectivity limits - what role will 5G play

May 19, 2017


Webinar - Making Immersive Virtual Reality Possible in Mobile

Apr 5, 2016


Webinar - The New Era of Immersive Experiences - What’s next

Aug 24, 2015


Webinar: The Next-Gen Technologies Driving Immersion

May 14, 2018


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