For a moment, it looked like augmented reality would become a daring new arena for innovative gadgets. That may still be the case, but it seems that little of that will come to the consumer level. Take the new ThinkReality A3 glasses from Lenovo: two different models are added, both for the business market.
The ThinkReality A3 PC Edition connects to a standard Windows-powered laptop or desktop. The idea here is to give the user “virtual monitors”
Why? Lenovo says that in addition to the space and electricity savings of a conventional monitor array, you can view sensitive materials in public while maintaining absolute privacy. The feature will be available on ThinkPad devices, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t work with other hardware running Windows. Up to five virtual monitors can be displayed simultaneously.
The second version of the A3 is called the Industrial Edition and connects to “selected Motorola smartphones”. (This requires DisplayPort out functionality and at least a Snapdragon 800 series processor.) This headset is designed more for the high-speed use cases typically promoted with augmented reality devices, such as training new users on factory equipment or the adding contextual information to a retail space. It supports the existing ThinkReality platform, just like the older A6 and VR S3 designs.
The different models of the A3 are identical in terms of hardware, running a Snapdragon XR1 system on a chip with dual 8MP cameras and 1080p resolution in each eye. Additional sensors enable room-scale tracking and the headset receives both data and power through a single USB-C cable. Lenovo says the ThinkReality A3 will be available in “select markets worldwide from mid-2021,” but does not say how much they will cost.