Technology isn’t quite there yet when it comes to a stylish pair of sunglasses which have virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR) tech built-in, but steps towards that end goal are being made. Today, Qualcomm has unveiled a selection of ‘XR Viewers’ which use its XR2 5G platform slated to arrive in the next 12 months.
Some of these have already been seen before, most notably the Nreal Light and the Panasonic UHD VR Eyeglasses which appeared during CES 2020 in January and XRSpace. What all of these represent is an immersive ecosystem of companies from smartphone makers to global telecommunications operators looking to drive a new category of headsets which are consumer-friendly.
All the XR Viewers are designed to tether to the latest 5G-capable smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or 865 processors, thus providing quality XR content via 5G’s high bandwidth and low latency technology. Currently, XR viewer manufacturers include 3Glasses, iQIYI, Nreal, OPPO, Panasonic, Pico and Shadow Creator, while smartphone OEM’s who are participating are ASUS, BlackShark, OnePlus, OPPO, Smartisan, vivo and ZTE.
While devices like Nreal Light are slated for a 2020 release, Qualcomm expects most of these to arrive within a year, although some will likely be specific to certain markets like China. To ensure seamless connections for a consumer-friendly experience, Qualcomm’s XR Optimized Certification Program tests performance and validates compatibility between both devices, looking at head tracking, power, thermal, motion to photon latency and other variables.
“With the support of Qualcomm Technologies, we plan to optimize these VR glasses to work seamlessly with 5G-enabled smartphones,” said Michiko Ogawa, CTO, Appliances Company, Panasonic Corporation. “With a combination of 5G connectivity and compact, lightweight, ultra-high image quality VR glasses, we hope to deliver highly immersive experiences for live music & sports events in 2021 and beyond.”
At the same time Qualcomm has laid out its expectations for the future of this sector, envisioning that the tether will disappear within the next four years; devices wirelessly connecting to phones. While a full 5G standalone headset is somewhere between 5-10 years away.
As development continues and the XR Viewers come to market, VRFocus will bring you further updates.