Xiaomi – the world’s largest smartphone maker – wants to briefly turn your technical attention from the iPhone 13 launch to a new pair of AR goggles called “Xiaomi Smart GlassesThe company calls it a “concept” device, but previous Xiaomi “concept” devices have turned into genuine, for-sale products. No release date or price point yet, but it looks like it’s a working one The device is Xiaomi’s feet are firmly on the ground, and there isn’t much about the product that hasn’t been preceded by Google Glass or Snapchat Spectacles.
The smart glasses look like a slightly bulky pair of prescription glasses, with a 5MP camera in one corner and a display system in the other. The display system is rusty—a MicroLED display fires a series of lenses and then waveguide Lens for the right eye only. Coaxing a MicroLED into a pair of glasses apparently wasn’t easy—Xiaomi says the chip measures 2.4mm x 2.02mm, with individual pixels measuring 4 microns in size. The big compromise is that the MicroLED system is virtually monochrome: The glasses can only display green, so you’ll feel right at home if you’ve ever used a computer in the 1980s.
The biggest AR glass product on the market is the Snapchat Spectacles, and they take a more advanced approach to vision with two full-color waveguide lenses. Xiaomi is pushing the envelope with MicroLED, while Snapchat To appear To use small DLP projectors that project into the waveguide. Snapchat was so impressed with its display supplier that it decided To buy The company — called “WaveOptics” — in March for $500 million.
Xiaomi Smart Glasses doesn’t focus much on 3D object capabilities – with just a display lens, the glasses can’t display 3D anyway. In contrast, Snapchat Spectacles is a true augmented reality platform with two lenses, stereoscopic vision, and 3D placement of virtual objects in the real world based on the perspective of the wearer. Most of Xiaomi’s demoed interface works more like Google Glass – a 2D, smartwatch-style interface that transparently hangs over your field of vision. The one exception was translation mode, which – like Word Lens – can place translated text on top of foreign text in the real world.
Software is what makes a device useful, and one of the major problems with AR glasses is that no AR operating system, app store, or app ecosystem exists. Xiaomi showed five functions in the video: notifications, phone calls, maps, taking pictures and translation. There was no App Store or Developer API to speak of. Xiaomi is using a highly optimized version of Android for the OS and “XiaoAI AI Assistant” for voice commands. These are the primary ways of interacting with glasses.
Like a smartwatch, both have onboard processing capabilities that allow the glasses to “independently carry out tasks such as navigation, taking photos, …