There haven’t been many updates to Google Glass since Enterprise Edition 2 was widely available in early 2020, but on the other side of the world, Oppo thinks it’s time to launch a direct competitor — albeit only in the Chinese market. Following last year’s Oppo AR Glass concept, the new Oppo Air Glass will become available to Chinese consumers in the first quarter of 2022 at a yet-to-be-announced price. It will come in two parts: a detachable mono waveguide device (in black or white) and either a silver half frame or a full black frame. And no, you won’t be able to attach this 30g device to your eyeglasses.
Much like Google Glass, Oppo Air Glass is designed to deliver simple information for use cases such as navigation, translation, teleprompter, calendar, weather, fitness tracking, and more. Oppo calls this “assisted reality,” which keeps the package portable, functional and accessible. This is achieved using the energy-efficient “Spark Micro Projector”, which is about the size of a single coffee bean, and has a Micro LED chip to project a bright 640 x 480 image on a waveguide display – one larger than Google Glass.
The Oppo Air Glass is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100, which is similar to the chip inside some of the latest Fossil and TicWatch smartwatches. Once paired with your Oppo phone (with ColorOS 11 or later) or Oppo Watch, you can toggle notifications by tapping on the Air Glass’s slim touch bar or simply by nodding your head, tapping again or shaking your head to shut it down. To switch between apps, simply swipe the touch bar.
In the case of the teleprompter app, you can load your speech, set the text size and scroll speed via the smartphone app, and tap the touch bar to scroll manually if needed. Oppo is also testing hand gesture tracking via the Oppo Watch for more intuitive control that’s supposed to be here.
If you have Oppo Air glasses and are struggling to communicate with a foreigner, you can pair them up and have your partner wear one for instant translation – your device will translate the other person’s voice on your screen, and vice versa. However, only Chinese, English, and Japanese are supported for now, and Korean will soon follow.
For the navigation app, Oppo worked with Baidu to integrate Baidu Walk & Bike Navigation as well as nearby exploration. Don’t expect any high-end AR graphics here; Users will simply see step-by-step navigation based on a person’s location and direction, and voice commands are supported (presumably only in Chinese).
An Oppo representative added that the Air Glass is the result of two previous designs, which allowed the company to work with developers to build an ecosystem. In addition, the Chinese company will soon release the Smart Glass SDK to allow more developers – possibly from abroad as well – to enter the party.
Considering how other companies like Meta, Bose, Amazon, Snap, and Razer have focused on audio or camera-based smart glasses, Oppo’s strategy with its Air Glass is definitely a bit of a surprise. For now, this is all beta for Oppo, as the device will only be launched in China in a limited quantity, with each labeled with a unique version number on their packaging.
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