Lenovo is going deeper into Augmented Reality (AR) applications with its new A3 Smart Glasses, which target business travelers, says Lenovo.
Much has been said about what AR could do in the consumer space. In reality, all the money has been going to industrial and business applications, and that trend will continue in the short-term.
For AR to gain consumer acceptance, it needs to be affordable, inconspicuous, and offer phone-like battery life. Current AR technology features none of that.
But the business world is all about productivity, and people don’t care as much about size, weight, or cost if, in the end, the product can boost their productivity and bottom-line.
That’s where the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 smart glasses can make a difference. When connected to a Windows computer, its goal is to replace physical displays with virtual displays: up to 5!
The product’s overall size is obviously larger than regular reading glasses, but if you compare it with full-size AR headsets, it seems much lighter and comfortable to wear.
As a person who uses one 43” (4K) and two 27” (portrait mode) at a desk, I find the idea to be extremely compelling and can’t wait to see if it is possible to turn a laptop into a visual productivity monster when I travel.
The ThinkReality A3 “Industrial Edition” connects to an Android device powered by Motorola’s ThinkReality software. Such an AR setup allows operators to perform hands-free actions with potentially full video/audio communications with support staff. That is one of the most popular AR industrial applications.
ThinkReality A3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform and has multiple cameras for video communications and scanning the environment in 3D. “XR” is the acronym for eXtended Reality.
Qualcomm demonstrated the Snapdragon XR2 reference platform in February 2020. Products featuring it like the Oculus Quest 2 are starting to come online, so we would not be surprised if Lenovo was to upgrade as well down the road.
The big question here is whether the image quality of virtual displays would be good enough, and we’ll have to wait a bit more to test it and see what independent reviewers think of it. The only XR headset that I know of which can display fine text is the Varjo VR-1, which I tried a while ago.
Varjo has since launched the VR-3 and XR-3 headsets that could compete in the same market as Lenovo’s ThinkReality 3, although Lenovo’s product will have a clear edge with travelers how compact it is.
While there are many competitors in the enterprise XR space, few competitors have dug deep into extending monitors as Lenovo does. There’s no word on the pricing for this product, but we know that enterprise users would be willing to pay for this type of functionality, so let’s hope that Lenovo makes an attractive offer.