The race for the future of AR wearables got underway this week with several pivotal developments.
First, Apple, the subject of countless reports and rumors about its alleged AR headset, is reportedly keeping an eye on a personal reveal of the device for later this year, rather than introducing it at the upcoming virtual Worldwide Developers Conference , which would usually be a great time to make a big AR hardware announcement.
Second, Snap has also scheduled its Partner Summit for May, and that virtual phase is now expected to include the unveiling of its own smartglasses.
Third, Niantic itself created a furore with a taste of what appear to be its own smartglasses, as well as the kind of immersive experiences the AR platform can evoke over 5G networks.
Fourth, Microsoft is moving into the next phase of its project to adapt HoloLens for use by US military soldiers, which will ultimately also benefit private sector customers.
Meanwhile, Google, the former parent company of Niantic, introduced new AR features to Google Maps, which could eventually become the most useful app for future smartglasses.
Apple may unveil AR headset with an in-person event later this year
At least that’s the layout of the country, based on yet another breadcrumb dropped Wednesday regarding Apple’s upcoming plans for a “mixed reality” device in the coming months.
Keep reading to learn more about Apple’s reported plans to launch the first new major computing product since the Apple Watch, and continue reading about plans for a virtual WWDC …
REALITY BITES: Healthcare AR company Augmedics has completed a $ 36 million Series C funding round, bringing total funding to $ 63 million. The funding will allow the company to expand its reach in the US and other markets, develop new AR products and pursue certification to sell in Europe.
Snap reportedly ready glasses with AR displays
The first two generations of Spectacles only functioned as face-mounted cameras, but Spectacles 3 came with dual cameras that could record depth to add 3D effects from Snapchat lenses.
Now, after flirting with the prospect of smartglasses, Snap looks poised to evolve Spectacles into legit smartglasses with mounted displays for projecting AR content.
Read on to find out when the AR version of Spectacles will reportedly debut and what to expect from it …
REALITY BITES: The 8th Wall Web platform has made its way into numerous ad campaigns, but is now making its way further up the ecommerce chain to the point of purchase. Fashion brand Carolina Herrera has leveraged the platform’s volumetric video capabilities to add AR previews of models with dresses and sweaters available from the online store.
Will Niantic start in the Smartglasses Race?
Niantic, a pioneer in mobile augmented reality gaming, is chewing on getting games like Pokémon GO off smartphones and on smartglasses, and looks like he’s taking matters into his own hands.
After reviewing a proof of concept of Pokémon GO on HoloLens 2 earlier this month, Niantic founder and CEO John Hanke shared a cropped photo of a pair of smartglasses with the company’s wordmark on the temple on Monday.
Read on to learn more about Niantic’s smartglasses tease and read on for details on a mobile AR demo Niantic test with 5G partners showing how AR games can be played on future Niantic smartglasses …
REALITY BITES: While the marketing team praises its 5G network and the future AR innovations it will facilitate, AT & T’s public policy team opposes investment in broadband infrastructure for disadvantaged communities. Joan Marsh, executive vice president of federal regulatory relations, advocates rethinking the definition of broadband speeds for disadvantaged communities to avoid overbuild. Perhaps even more baffling is her stance against the deployment of fiber in rural areas, citing unequal demand. However, public comments on the position paper clearly show that there is a demand for gigabit fiber. Maybe it’s because they’re looking forward to all those AR experiences plaguing the company?
Army awards Microsoft $ 22 billion contract for Battle-Ready HoloLens Variant
After years of testing and modifications, the US military is moving forward with Microsoft’s modified version of HoloLens 2.
In separate announcements published Wednesday, the US military gave permission to move from rapid prototyping to production and rapid field testing.
Keep reading for more details on the terms of the deal and how the military-grade HoloLens could ultimately benefit those of us in the private sector …
REALITY BITES: The national shortage of processors has reportedly hit leading chipmaker Qualcomm, which is seeing increasing demand from Android smartphone makers. The company is struggling to find sub-components for its processors, including an interruption in production due to the Texas winter storms. Given that Qualcomm has positioned its XR1 and XR2 chips for smartglasses and AR / VR headsets, these shortages could have an impact on go-to-market plans for AR wearable makers.
Google is adding indoor AR navigation to Google Maps Live View
The AR walking navigation feature in Google Maps, which is arguably one of the most useful mobile augmented reality available to consumers, is about to become even more indispensable for travelers.
On Tuesday, Google announced a number of new features for Google Maps, including an extension of Live View to indoor navigation of airports, shopping centers and transit stations.
Read on to learn more about the new indoor features and when to expect them on your travels …
Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines on the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers financing announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.