There’s no question that smartphones have come a long way over the past decade or so, replacing conventional computers for a lot of people (especially from younger generations) with bigger and bigger screens, thinner and thinner bezels, more and more horsepower, and a constantly expanding scope of capabilities.
At the same time, however, it’s hard to argue with the inherent limitations of the traditional slab form factor, which have pushed a number of major mobile industry players towards foldable designs.
Are handsets soon to become a thing of the past?
Augmented reality (AR) is something that’s been around (in one form or another) for several years now, but while Google
haven’t succeeded in getting the technology off the ground and making it accessible to the masses, both Apple and Samsung are reportedly working on so-called “smart glasses” of their own that could see daylight in the not-too-distant future.
Although these might easily be confused for actual promotional videos of commercial products at first glance, their generally reliable source
seems to think they’re purely meant for internal research and development purposes. Otherwise put, these are almost certainly still conceptual devices we’re looking at here unlikely to materialize anytime soon… at least in this form.
That being said, Samsung
may have arrived at that point in its R&D process where many details are subject to change while the general design language and capabilities are already crystallized. If that’s the case, we could totally see a pair of somewhat cumbersome Glasses Lite go official sometime next year to take on the first-gen Apple Glass (and possibly, Facebook’s rookie AR hardware effort
as well) with immersive gaming, multimedia, productivity, and video calling features in tow.
Standalone is the (costly) dream
At least for the time being, Samsung is envisioning a headset capable of playing games and movies, as well as sending emails and making video calls with the help of a transparent screen of some sort and possibly little else. Unsurprisingly, the company also aims to (eventually) integrate this device with other in-house products, like Galaxy Watches and DeX software.
Before getting too excited, you should keep in mind that building such a product, untethered to a phone, PC, or other external source of power, will prove… tricky, to say the least, not to mention potentially very costly. The same goes for the “Samsung AR Glasses” showcased in the second clip leaked today, which are described by “WalkingCat”
as the “3D holographic version” of the Glasses Lite.
In other words, these could be the non-Lite Samsung Glasses designed to provide the existing Microsoft HoloLens 2 some serious competition in the business-friendly AR niche. AR Office, Holo Call, and AR Simulation are the three visionary use cases promoted in the short but incredibly exciting 30-second video embedded above.
Unfortunately, the HoloLens 2 still costs a whopping $3,500, and while it’s obviously far too early to make any specific predictions on the retail pricing of Samsung’s first Microsoft and Apple-rivaling AR headsets, something tells us they’ll probably also land in sell-a-kidney-to-afford-them territory.