The augmented reality smartglasses race is getting a major new entrant that could significantly change the entire landscape.
On Tuesday, Qualcomm revealed its own XR1 AR Smart Viewer Reference Design, a pair of smartglasses that are meant to give OEMs (original equipment makers) an easy solution for launching their own smartglasses products.
Qualcomm's XR1 offers a dynamic that allows the user to connect the smartglasses to a PC, an external puck computing unit, or even a smartphone. Manufacturers adopting the XR1 will be able to harness the device's dual monochrome cameras, which enable six- degrees of freedom (6DoF), as well as image stabilization.
The device is geared to be powered by the Snapdragon XR1 platform, offering up to 30% less power consumption compared to similar smartglasses in the space, such as the Nreal Light.
Qualcomm says that the reference design was developed "in parallel" with the new ThinkReality A3, which explains some of the similarity of hardware design.
The micro-OLED binocular display, which offers "90Hz and a no-motion-blur feature," was developed with Chinese electronic components giant BOE, and the rest of the unit was developed in tandem with Goertek.
This new reference design will likely pave the way for something we've been predicting for some time, which is a wave of birth bath style AR smartglasses from China now that a simple solution for using an Android smartphone as the primary computing unit for a pair of AR smartglasses has been normalized.
Hugo Swart, Qualcomm's vice president and general manager of XR, offered Next Reality a preview of the device last week during a unique briefing in VR using Spatial. During the briefing, Swart's avatar not only walked us through the benefits of the new reference design but also allowed us to handle a virtual version of the XR1.
"The Snapdragon XR1 AR smart viewer marks a new chapter for our reference design portfolio and a big step in the evolution of AR viewers," said Swart, via his virtual avatar.
"AR simple viewers showcased viewers as an accessory to a smartphone," said Swart. "Now, AR smart viewers allow us to move some processing to the glass, to expand the possibilities of use cases, applications and immersion — this reference design is the first step in our roadmap to help scale the AR industry."