TECH COMPANIES' BAFFLING perusal of augmented reality as the next best thing continues unabated.
At the Snapdragon Tech Summit - related to the mobile chip, rather than the scrophulariaceae plant family - Qualcomm revealed it would be teaming up with Pokémon Go developers Niantic to make AR reference hardware and software for augmented reality glasses.
The technical details all sound impressive. Qualcomm says that the XR2 optimised hardware will be the first 5G-enabled extended reality system, as well as being the first capable of 8K, 360-degree feedback. And Niantic obviously is the most sensible company to team up with, given its success with Pokémon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which all make use of a more limited phone screen to project various monsters onto the real world.
But while the appetite for AR games on phones is kind of proven, does anybody actually want augmented reality glasses? The world spoke with one word when Google Glass appeared, and that word was "meh".
Yes, part of that will have been down to the fact that wearing them made you look like a Comic Con cosplayer who'd got lost on the way to the ExCel Centre, but it was also down to functionality. If Pokémon Go is the best we've got, then really, who's buying? We're guessing that these won't come cheap, after all. And that's not to mention the fact that some scientists are pretty sceptical about the idea of sticking distracting things in front of the eyes at the best of times.
But hey, Niantic is excited, at least. "We're looking forward to helping move the entire AR industry forward as we work together with Qualcomm Technologies to define a true end-to-end architecture - inclusive of hardware, software, and cloud technologies," wrote co-founder and CTO Phil Keslin.
Apple is also reported to be noodling away on AR glasses, which could plausibly help adoption. But still: colour us sceptical. µ
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