Enterprise hardware company Lenovo wants to end the traditional desktop with its new augmented reality smart glasses, the ThinkReality A3.
Unveiled at CES 2021, the headset can tether to a PC via USB-C or to specific Motorola smartphones for people working on the go.
Tethering the glasses keep the ThinkReality A3’s form factor relatively small as much of the augmented reality image processing is offloaded to the host device.
It’s a fairly common solution to the problem that besets AR headsets which have to compromise between the need for raw compute power to display high quality images over the local environment and the wearer’s need for a headset that is neither too bulky nor too ugly to wear.
Based off images and specs provided by Lenovo, the ThinkReality A3 appears to do a halfway decent job of providing functionality through its dual cameras for headtracking, 1080p resolution displays, and Qualcomm Snapdragon XR-1 chipset to manage distributed computation while nearly looking like a normal pair of glasses.
The ThinkReality A3 has fairly limited mobile portability (it is restricted to Motorola phones and ThinkReality software when not tethered to a PC) which does lend it somewhat toward industrial or other out-of-office uses.
Industrial use of augmented reality is an already contested market that would see Lenovo compete against Microsoft and Google which are already selling fully untethered devices backed by the power of their mammoth data intelligence operations and cloud services.
Where the ThinkReality A3 might shine more is in augmenting typical office setups.
With the ability to add five hidden virtual displays, the headset extends the capacity of a Windows machine beyond static, physical screens and could be perfect for small home office setups or other space-limited contexts.
How those five displays share the device’s total 1080p resolution will heavily impact the user experience, however.
A USB-C connection also means the office use-case for Lenovo’s headset has a far wider potential reach than its hardware-specific mobile version.
Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 headset will be available later this year.
Smart glasses were tipped as one of Information Age’s tech trends to watch in 2021.