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Smart glasses may offer firm augmented prospects

By Ouyang Shijia | China Daily | Updated: 2019-02-13 10:37
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Attendees pass by a Huawei booth during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nevada, US, Jan 9, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

Chinese technology major Huawei Technologies Co Ltd is striking out into the emerging augmented reality field, with the help of its futuristic AR smart glasses that can connect with a smartwatch.

Huawei's newest patent, published at the World Intellectual Property Organization on Feb 7, describes lightweight and relatively inexpensive smart glasses, which can be used as an AR headset.

The new patented invention, the eyeglass frame, will not be equipped with a camera, display or microphone. The description said it will have an adapter for receiving an electronic device such as a smartwatch.

Huawei said in the description published at the WIPO that it aimed to provide an eyeglass frame for an electronic device which offers increased usability, as the current large-size AR headset is not very suitable for outdoor use.

"The large size and heavy weight makes users unwilling to wear such AR headsets on a daily basis. Also, the complexity of current AR headsets keeps the price level relatively high, which limits the possibilities for developers to concept new applications without having to make significant investments in hardware," Huawei noted.

Last November, Yu Chengdong, CEO of Huawei's consumer business group, revealed in an interview with CNBC that the company is "working on AR smart glasses which could debut in the next one or two years".

Yu said Huawei will first offer more AR experiences to the smartphone to allow users to gradually become accustomed to the technology before the release of the glasses. For instance, users now are able to use AR apps on Huawei's Mate 20 Pro.

A recent report by global market consultancy International Data Corp shows the combined AR and virtual reality headset market fared well during the third quarter last year, with a 9.4 percent year-on-year growth.

Tom Mainelli, program vice-president of devices and AR and VR at IDC, said: "With regards to AR, hardware growth remains modest, but we see strong interest in the technology from many companies. We expect new hardware shipping in 2019, from both established players and new ones, to help move the industry beyond proof of concepts and pilots into larger deployments."

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