Intel Corp.'s augmented reality division could ship consumer-focused smartglasses before the end of the year, according to reports.
On Thursday, citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reported that contract manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc. is producing the AR headset. Known internally as Superlite, the device is said to pair with smartphones via Bluetooth and projects information into the user's field of view.
At the same time, Intel is reportedly preparing to sell a majority stake of its augmented reality business, which may be called "Vaunt." The report's sources also claim that Intel is seeking multiple investors in the business at a valuation of around $350 million.
Late last year, Quanta entered into an agreement to manufacture and market AR headsets featuring optical engines from display maker Lumus. Because of Quanta's relationship with Apple, that news generated speculation that the AR devices were to be made for Apple.
"This is truly a historic deal," said Ari Grobman, the CEO of Lumus, regarding the deal with Quanta at the time. "In years to come, when we look back at the major events along the timeline toward mass adoption of augmented reality, we believe this will be recognized as a pivotal moment."
However, the Bloomberg report puts a different spin on that previous partnership deal news. Specifically, the Lumus/Quanta devices were expected to ship within 12 to 18 months, which, interestingly enough, aligns with the rumors of Intel's smartglasses.
As the saying goes, "where there's smoke, there's fire." This is the second time the smoke alarm has gone off in relation to Quanta. After years of concept videos, illustrations, and predictions, it's beginning to look like the AR smartglasses space for consumer use is finally heating up, and we'll likely see a powerful new AR wearable player sometime in 2018.
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Cover concept illustration (unrelated to Intel) via Wikitude/Flickr