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.
The wearable falls into the tethered smartglasses category, connecting with the Vivo NEX 5G smartphone to power the experience. The Vivo AR Glass device consists of a bifocal display and is capable of six degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracking.
"Vivo's mission has always been to develop innovative products to deliver the ultimate user experience, with smart devices and smart services as the core of our business," said Spark Ni, senior vice president of Vivo, in a statement. "We hope through the introduction of new strategy and innovation we can truly make a big impact in improving people's quality of life and the society as a whole."
While the company did not reveal a launch timeline or a price for the product, it did share some details about its functionality. Rather than just tethering to a smartphone, Vivo AR Glass will rely on the smartphone as a user input interface as well, acting as a controller for games or a keyboard for work applications. In addition to mobile gaming and office apps, Vivo AR Glass will support video, facial recognition, and object recognition apps.
Interestingly, the Vivo AR Glass bears a striking resemblance to the Nreal Light, which will ship as a tethered consumer version later this year for $499, but faces a lawsuit from Magic Leap for trade secret theft.
Nonetheless, with North Focals and Vuzix Blade already offering smartglasses with non-immersive AR and smaller form factors to consumers, Vivo joins a growing field of early movers focused on fully immersive, 3D-focused AR, including Nreal and Shadow Technologies.
But that head start to the market might be all for naught if Apple's smartglasses arrive in the coming months to dominate the category as they've done with smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and even wireless headphones.