It looks like Apple and Facebook aren’t the only tech giants developing a pair of augmented reality smart glasses. Over the weekend, Twitter user @WalkingCat leaked two videos allegedly from Samsung showcasing a pair of AR glasses dubbed “Glasses Lite” and what appears to be the company’s vision for “Next Wearable Computing.”
In the first “Glasses Lite” video, you can see a man wearing what appears to be a chunky pair of white sunglasses with a square-shaped embedded screen. The glasses would be capable of letting users watch movies, participate in video chats, fly drones, and project a holographic display for getting work done, according to the video. There’s also a section where it appears you can control the glasses via a Samsung Galaxy Watch. Another neat tidbit is that the Glasses Lite look like they come with a sunglasses mode for when you’re outside. That’s crucial, as many consumer-grade AR glasses have yet to solve the problem of ambient light washing out the projected display.
Meanwhile, the second video appears to be more conceptual. In it, a user wearing a pair of AR glasses types on a projected keyboard to do work, takes holographic calls, and is able to collaborate with coworkers on a project by superimposing an AR environment over his real one. It’s very Tony Stark-esque, if Ironman was way more focused on everyday office work and not building robot suits to combat supervillains.
The videos themselves feature slick production, and according to 9to5 Google, @WalkingCat’s track record for Samsung leaks as of late is pretty decent, so there’s a good chance these videos are the real thing. The question is whether the Glasses Lite is an actual product that exists, or if these videos were more or less meant to be an early-stage, internal proof-of-concept.
Regardless, we can glean a few insights. Namely, the name of the Glasses Lite suggests that there’s a more powerful version. (Perhaps the AR Glasses in the “Next Wearable Computing” video?) Plus, the design itself is similar to existing AR glasses, in that its got thick arms that likely house the battery and other audio components. What’s different is that the lenses appear much thicker from a profile view, and the embedded display isn’t something we’ve really seen thus far. Lastly, the fact that the Glasses Lite video ends with a shot of a Samsung phone, tablet, and smartwatch hints at some interoperability between the four Samsung devices.
It’s not that surprising that Samsung might be keen on getting into the AR game. After all, there’s no shortage of rumors that Apple is also working on a niche VR headset and AR glasses. Facebook is also partnering with Ray-Ban for its AR glasses. Hell, even Amazon has the Echo Frames. Meanwhile, Google and Microsoft have firmly targeted the enterprise space with the Glass Enterprise Edition 2 and the HoloLens 2. If Samsung wasn’t working on a pair of AR glasses, the company would have a lot of catching up to do should this tech really take off.