OPPO will show off its AR glasses in the U.S. for the first time
Could this signal that OPPO wants to bring more of its hardware to North America?
What you need to know
- OPPO is offering hands-on demos of the OPPO Air Glass and OPPO AR Glass 2nd Gen glasses in North America for the first time.
- It will showcase its AR tech at the AWE USA 2022 conference.
- It's unclear if the tech will actually sell in North America, given they rely on OPPO's phones and watch.
- OPPO Air Glass has a monocle design with MicroLED display and micro projector, and can track gestures and head movements.
OPPO doesn't sell its phones in the U.S. — not counting OnePlus phones — but it might bring its augmented reality (AR) tech here instead. On Thursday, OPPO announced it would show off the OPPO Air Glass and OPPO AR Glass 2021 devices at Augmented World Expo USA 2022, which takes place June 1-3 in Santa Clara, California.
OPPO announced Air Glass last December and launched it in China earlier this year. Unlike most AR glasses, it's designed like a monocle and showcases data from your OPPO phone at 1400 nits of average brightness. It uses a coffee-bean-sized Spark Micro Projector that shines content onto the microLED lens, and runs off the Snapdragon 4100 chip found in many Android smartwatches.
OPPO AR Glass 2nd Gen, meanwhile, are traditional AR glasses. They offer tools like AR language translation and 3D mapping transposed onto your vision.
To use either OPPO Air Glass or AR Glass, you must have an OPPO phone, as well as the OPPO Watch 2 if you want to use tracked air gestures. Given OPPO's absence from North America, it's possible the Chinese company simply wants to attract the interest of AR developers in preparation for a European launch, where it does sell phones.
This news could also mean OPPO plans to bring its devices to the U.S. officially, rather than via OnePlus as a proxy. Or it could mean OPPO wants to sell AR tech worldwide that isn't tied specifically to its phones, and is showing off these current models as prototypes.
OPPO relies on Snapdragon Spaces, the Qualcomm-backed XR platform that relies on Snapdragon hardware. In theory, OPPO could ensure that its future AR glasses work with all Android phones, not just its own.
"Our belief that AR can be used to create a new digital world entirely based on the real world has been the driving force behind our investment and R&D in AR technologies, including the development of fundamental technology, applications, user interfaces and ecosystems," said Yi Xu, Director of XR Technology at OPPO.
Android Central will be attending AWE USA 2022 this year, and plan to test OPPO's AR glasses for ourselves. Thus far among smartphone manufacturers, only OPPO and Google have significantly invested in AR hardware, making it interesting to see how OPPO AR will match up with Google's new AR glasses announced at I/O 2022.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.