Qualcomm just announced a product that will help take virtual reality everywhere

  • Qualcomm's new XR1 platform will help take portable virtual reality mainstream.
  • It's designed for standalone headsets that don't need expensive computers to operate, like the Oculus Go.
  • It will support features that are currently reserved for expensive VR headsets.
Ultrawings on Oculus Go
Bit Planet Games
Ultrawings on Oculus Go

Qualcomm recently announced its XR1 "extended reality" platform that will allow companies like Facebook to make more advanced portable virtual reality headsets that you can take anywhere.

Facebook's new portable Oculus Go headset, for example, is the best portable virtual reality solution on the market right now. But it uses an older Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor that was technically built for smartphones. More powerful solutions, like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, require full-blown computers with powerful processors to operate.

XR1 will change that— and could make for a potentially great sequel to the Oculus Go.

It's a platform that's specifically designed for virtual and augmented reality and will enable some of the advanced features that, until now, were only available in headsets that require a PC to use.

The Oculus Go
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The Oculus Go

That includes support for sharper video inside of a headset — though this will ultimately also depend on the screens used in each headset — support for more "degrees of freedom," which means you can move your head around inside of a virtual environment and feel more like you're there — instead of simply looking at it through goggles, and support for better surround sound technologies.

Since it's a full platform, it should enable any of Qualcomm's partners, including those that already build smartphones with Qualcomm chips, to more easily create and sell virtual reality headsets.

This means that competition could heat up if more companies decide to enter the market.