If you have read our article about the Past, Present, and Future of Augmented Reality, you know already that AR wearables are essential for the next big leap forward to a final breakthrough and thus ensuring that Augmented Reality becomes mainstream. Right now, there are different wearables that are either being developed or improved and we, as well as the public, are eagerly awaiting their arrival.
So, who are the biggest players in the field for wearables at the moment? In this article we will highlight three of those players, being Google, Apple, and Facebook. Apart from these, there are also other important players like Microsoft’s Hololens 2, and Magic Leap One.
We will tell you about their latest developments in AR wearables, but keep in mind not everything presented in this article might be a hard fact. There are always rumors and theories before a project is officially presented to the public.
Is Google preparing a comeback with Google Glass?
In 2012, Google presented the consumer market with its first AR glasses called Google Glass. However, they did not succeed, mostly due to the lack of software available that could be used with Google Glass. Also, there was a lack of app developers that were familiar with the technology. This resulted in the customers not knowing what use to give it and therefore not seeing the value or need for such a device. The designers of the glasses had overlooked the importance of defining its use in advance and making sure there would be enough real-world use cases.
After that, Google changed tactics and came back with Glass Enterprise Edition in 2017, focused on the business world. But in May 2019, to the surprise of many, Google announced the improved third generation AR glasses, Glass Enterprise Edition 2. Google has made this version of glasses an official Google product and it is only sold to industries like education, medicine, construction and industrial, to name a few.
These third-generation glasses come with a longer-lasting battery and a sharper price. But one of the most important improvements is probably their compatibility with Android. Previously they had linked the glasses to their own platform and by changing this, they have made it easier for app developers to make applications accessible for Google’s latest AR glasses.
Are Apple AR glasses finally coming in 2020?
According to Apple analysts, the Apple AR glasses will come out in 2020 and due to previous groundwork, they will avoid the lack of software that caused Google Glass to fail. For this reason, Apple has been developing AR for the last few years, and thanks to Arkit they have been able to create an environment for Augmented Reality apps.
So, by now the public knows what AR is and is using it already to some extent. In this way, Apple laid the groundwork to create a necessity for good wearables and avoid the problems Google Glass had with the customers not knowing the real value of Augmented Reality
Another important thing Apple analysts say about the yet to come Apple Glasses is that they will most likely need the iPhone to work, that is to say, provide the processing power and connectivity. This way Apple can make the glasses lighter, cheaper and with longer-lasting batteries, all important features if you want to appeal to the broader public.
So, the glasses will most likely need the iPhone to process all the information and send it to the glasses using an advanced version of UWB or another broadband standard. If this is the case, that means that the iPhone would do the heavy work and sent the images to the glasses, while the glasses scan the area and sent the information of what the customer is seeing back to the phone.
Is Facebook going to be the new leader in AR glasses?
The latest news we have of Facebook’s smart glasses is that they teamed up with Luxottica, the company that owns brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley. Together they are said to develop AR glasses, nicknamed ‘Orion’, that are supposed to replace smartphones and include features like phone calls, live streaming from the user’s point of view and a voice assistant with AI.
In comparison to the other players we talked about, Facebook will not bring its glasses on the market until 2023 or later but their project seems more ambitious seeing all the features they intend to include in one pair of glasses. This could make up for presenting their glasses later than the other players.
According to Mark Zuckerberg “we’re going to be able to live anywhere we want and feel like we’re present with the people and the jobs and the opportunities that we want to have access to anywhere we want”.
When it comes to using AR glasses, it is very important to keep in mind the resulting privacy issues. Like a lot of new devices, it entails new laws and ways of dealing with this new technology to be able to include it in our daily lives in a secure way and without losing our right to privacy.
One thing is for sure though, Augmented Reality has come to stay this time and both, companies and customers are starting to see its limitless potential. Something made very clear by the race that is going on between all the before-mentioned players, trying to beat each other to the punch with their Augmented Reality glasses.