US mobile chip giant Qualcomm reckons Europeans need a big dose of extended reality so it’s opening six new labs across the continent.

Qualcomm has been trying to coin the term ‘XR’ for years, in an apparent attempt to conflate augmented reality, virtual reality and whichever other attempts to improve on mother nature the tech sector dreams up. The X signifies ‘extended’ and was presumably chosen because it’s a bit less dystopian than ‘optimised’ or ‘better’.

Improving reality requires a lot of shiny tech kit, which in turn needs chips to work, you see, so Qualcomm is keen to stake its claim as early as possible. Europe already has a thriving AR/VR community, we’re told, so it makes sense for Qualcomm to open XR labs in six cities across the continent. It’s not ready to say which ones yet, however, which makes you wonder why it didn’t just delay this announcement until it was.


“The opportunities for XR are significant,” said Enrico Salvatori, President of Qualcomm Europe. “Combine that with Europe’s rich R&D and leadership in XR and we see the XR labs in Europe as being a big contributor to XR development worldwide. Brilliant minds are already working at speed to realise our vision of XR and bring a plethora of revolutionary experiences to everyone from consumers, healthcare and industrial. These labs join our already significant R&D presence in Europe.”


“A new era of spatial computing is upon us and working behind the scenes on a new generation of experiences has been inspirational,” said Hugo Swart, GM of XR at Qualcomm. “Bringing XR to life for consumers and the enterprise is our mission and we are strengthening that commitment with the XR Labs in Europe. These labs will be the key to building out our XR portfolio which encompasses best-in-class platforms, software and innovative technology features and to make it available to all developers helping to build out the metaverse through Snapdragon Spaces. We cannot wait for everyone to see what is next.”

It looks like the metaverse is a buzzword we’re stuck with for the foreseeable future and we seem to be at the start of a dotcom bubble-like land grab around it right now. Everyone’s banging on about things like NFTs and general virtual mucking about. It remains to be seen how much appetite there is for strapping a screen to your face instead of, say, just going to the pub, but if there is one Qualcomm is determined to be well placed to exploit it.