Former Head of Qualcomm’s XR Division Joins Google to Guide XR Strategy

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Hugo Swart, previous head of Qualcomm’s XR division, announced he’s joined Google where he’ll lead the company’s XR Ecosystem Strategy and Technology efforts.

Swart shared the news in a LinkedIn update, noting the move happened a few months ago:

Happy to share that I joined Google couple months ago and am responsible for XR Ecosystem Strategy and Technology. Super excited to continue the XR journey and working with you all – great things ahead! Thank you Shahram Izadi for the opportunity! Looking forward to AWE this week!!

As General Manager and Vice President of XR at Qualcomm, Swart was a driving force behind the company’s Snapdragon XR series of chipsets, which currently power the majority of standalone headsets on the market, including all of Meta’s Quest headsets to date.

Hugo Swart introduces Snapdragon XR | Courtesy Qualcomm

Following Swart’s departure from Qualcomm in February, Alex Katouzian, Group GM of the Mobile, XR, and Compute Business Unit is currently overseeing XR at Qualcomm.

Swart is joining Google at a pivotal moment in XR, as the company recently announced a strategic technology partnership with Magic Leap, which is seen as an effort to keep up with Meta, Apple, and others in a race to control the burgeoning AR headset market.

This follows a notable setback last year when Google reportedly shelved its Project Iris AR glasses following mass restructuring within the company, which included layoffs, reshuffles, and the departure of Clay Bavor, Google’s then-head of AR and VR.

Meanwhile, Google is developing a new Android-based platform for Samsung’s upcoming XR headset announced back in February 2023, which is set to be powered by Qualcomm silicon. Google is also rumored to be developing a “Micro XR” platform for XR glasses, which is said to use a prototyping platform internally known as “Betty.”

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