Xiaomi took off its Xiaomi AR Glass Discovery Edition at Mobile World Congress 2023. The concept glasses work with augmented reality technology. Xiaomi said the glasses are concept technology at this point.
Arjun Kharpal | CNBC
Barcelona, Spain – Xiaomi on Monday took the wraps off a pair of prototype augmented reality glasses as the Chinese tech giant looks to sell more products beyond smartphones.
The device is called Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition. Augmented reality refers to digital media that can be superimposed on the real world that a person sees in front of them.
Xiaomi said the glasses are just a concept technology and won’t go on sale yet. However, the announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the largest mobile industry trade show in the world, highlights its ambition to enter the space.
If Xiaomi officially launches the product, it will join the likes of Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google Glass Enterprise as AR products on the market.
Tech giants included Google, Microsoft and Apple are interested in augmented or mixed reality as a way to give consumers new experiences. The technology is often described as an important part of whatever the idea of a “metaverse” turns out to be.
“I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year.
Apple has not officially recognized or launched any kind of virtual or augmented reality headset.
Bloomberg reported this year, Apple will unveil its mixed reality headset this spring, with consumer shipments starting in fall 2023.
“It’s widely believed in the tech industry that AR smart glasses could be the next big form of mobile computing after the smartphone,” Leo Gebbie, an analyst at CCS Insight, told CNBC via email.
Xiaomi said its AR glasses are lightweight and connect to a smartphone wirelessly. Xiaomi also said the device offers “display on the retina” so users can see virtual objects as clearly as they would a physical object.
The Beijing, China-headquartered company also said that wearers of the headset can use gesture control to perform tasks. Users would raise their hands in front of the glasses while wearing them and then move their hand and fingers in specific ways to perform a function. For example, Xiaomi said that “the thumb sliding on the index finger is used to enter and exit applications.”
The idea is that this could remove the need for you to touch your smartphone.
“This type of interaction shows one of the directions Xiaomi believes human-computer interaction will take in the future,” the company said.
The company said the headset will work with its Xiaomi 13 and 13 Proits flagship smartphones launched globally on Sunday.
Xiaomi, one of the biggest smartphone players in the world, wants to unlock revenue from other devices. In recent years, the company has launched devices across the board, from TVs to electric scooters.
“Xiaomi’s new AR glasses feel more like a stake in the ground than a meaningful product launch. Chinese rivals including Oppo and TCL have also shown off AR devices and it’s clear no one wants to be left behind,” Gebbie said.