Smartglasses maker ThirdEye has announced that its X1 model wearable will be updated by the slimmer, as yet unreleased X2 model. Both devices will be promoted and sold through its partner, brick and mortar technology retailer b8ta.
The company shared a close-to-final render of the X2, which will be officially unveiled at CES 2019. The X2 will be capable of an approximately 45-degree field of view while cramming processors, battery, and the usual array of components for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS into a smaller form factor than the X1.
ThirdEye will also offer its VisionEye SDK for developers to build apps for the X2, and the company noted that it has partnered with a "major manufacturer" in order to produce and ship the X2 at a greater scale.
"We are excited to be the first AR smartglasses retailing nationwide," said Nick Cherukuri, founder of ThirdEye, in a statement. "Our X1 Smart Glasses have received positive user feedback and our soon-to-be-released X2 Smart Glasses will have the form factor of almost a pair of sunglasses, a wider field of view, more AR/MR content, a built-in SLAM SDK development system, and a lower price point for consumer use."
Initially, the X1 will be on display at the Macy's New York City store and b8ta retail locations in San Francisco and Austin, with availability expanding to more stores over time. According to b8ta, the X1 displays have hosted roughly 850 demos for interested consumers at the company's stores.
"AR is the next major technology platform and ThirdEye is a leader in the category with its X1 Smart Glasses and hundreds of cool and useful AR/MR applications for businesses and consumers, and we are seeing strong interest," said Kayvon Banisalam, the director of partnerships at b8ta.
A relative dark horse among companies pushing to offer augmented reality headsets to consumers, ThirdEye is taking a small step forward for its own products, but a giant leap for the industry.
While being first is no guarantee in terms of becoming the long-term market leader, the company's latest retail move does carve out a significant strategic model for other makers of augmented reality wearables to follow.
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