While a viable version of consumer-grade smartglasses has yet to find mainstream success, two more contenders emerged this week, as Vuzix confirmed that a leak of a fashion-forward design is legitmate and Vivo introduced tethered smartglasses designed to pair with its new 5G smartphone.
Another consumer smartglasses contender, Nreal, began the defense of a trade secrets theft lawsuit from Magic Leap with an official response this week.
In the mobile AR world, Sony Pictures continues to lean on augmented reality to promote its Spider-Man film franchise, while Gucci looks to the technology to help sell sneakers.
The recent industry whispers in augmented reality are mostly about Apple and its rumored fashion-friendly smartglasses, but one company isn't waiting for the iPhone heavyweight to enter the fray.
On Monday, a representative for Vuzix shared part of a recent investor presentation with Next Reality. That part of the presentation includes an image of the next, unreleased version of the company's smartglasses, and it looks pretty damn good.
Continue reading to see what Vuzix's new design will look like...
REALITY BITES: Epson has built a niche with the DJI drone compatibility for its Moverio line of smartglasses, but now Vuzix is moving in on its turf with a DJI app for its Blade smartglasses.
A company whose sole product line is smartphones might be worried about early proclamations that the smartphone is dead with the advent of augmented reality wearables.
So it isn't too surprising that smartphone maker Vivo has produced its own take on consumer-grade smartglasses to carry the company's banner into the future. On Wednesday, at Mobile World Congress Shanghai, the smartphone maker unveiled the Vivo AR Glass as part of the company's 5G product lineup.
Read further to find out more about Vivo AR Glass, its augmented reality capabilities, and where it stands in the growing consumer smartglasses segment...
REALITY BITES: Sir Jony Ive, Apple's revered head of design, is departing the company as an employee to start his own design firm, LoveFrom. While he will continue to consult for Apple, how does this impact the design for Apple's smartglasses? Ive told The Financial Times that he felt that "significant projects" were completed. As Ive exits, Nick Law enters, leaving his post as chief creative officer at advertising giant Publicis. Perhaps this signals the beginning of Apple's marketing planning for its smartglasses?
Earlier this year, when we met Chi Xu, the CEO and founder of Nreal and former Magic Leap employee, a second time in Barcelona, Spain at Mobile World Congress (our first meeting was last year in Silicon Valley), we asked him why he decided to leave Magic Leap. He declined to answer that question.
Now, as Magic Leap has pointed its legal arsenal at Xu and his company, it looks like at least some of the unanswered questions about Nreal will be answered in court.
Nearly a week after our first report, Nreal finally responded to the allegations from Magic Leap. Keep reading to learn more about the plaintiff and to see his company's response to the lawsuit...
REALITY BITES: There's some good news and bad news on the AR headset front. According to a report from International Data Corporation, while shipments of AR and VR headsets increased in the first quarter of 2019, more than 96% of those units were VR headsets. However, the enterprise segment, comprised of market leaders Epson, Lenovo, Vuzix, Google, and RealWear, has shown moment. Moreover, while standalone AR projects for greater growth, tethered headsets are positioned to be the favored form factor for the first wave of wearables for the consumer market.
In the Tom Holland era, it appears to be impossible to promote a new Spider-Man movie without an augmented reality experience, a trend that continues with Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Starting on Thursday, Papa John's customers who order a Superhero XL two-topping pizza can scan a Snapcode with the Snapchat app for iOS or Android and then scan the specially-labeled Spider-Man: Far From Home pizza box to unlock a pair of AR experiences. In addition, Sony Pictures has published a mobile app for iOS and Android that brings Spider-Man into fans' homes via augmented reality.
REALITY BITES: Niantic has partnered with AT&T and Simon Malls to act as hosts for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite content. AT&T stores and Simon properties will host Inns and Fortresses with increased chances of rewards and rare AR encounters. The promotion echoes the Starbucks tie-in with Pokémon GO. Meanwhile, a blog post by Ericsson, including commentary from Niantic CEO John Hanke, explains why 5G is necessary to conjure a truly magical AR experience.
While Gucci is among the most recognizable brands in fashion, you would be excused for not realizing that the company makes sneakers as well.
Yet, here we are, with Gucci adding an augmented reality try-on camera tool to its iOS mobile app, available now via the App Store, for its Ace sneakers line, which the company calls a "mainstay" of its collection.
Read more about the Ace AR Try-on app and how augmented reality has become a popular technology within the athletic footwear industry...
Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.
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