Oppo Air Glass is here, and it's a very different kind of wearable.
The Air Glass is an "aR device"; where the "a" stands for assisted reality and not the usual augmented reality. The difference, according to Oppo, is that the Air Glass only projects 2D images onto the lens, rather than trying to render objects out in the world in front of you.
Announced today as part of Oppo's Inno Day technology showcase event (you can read the summary here (opens in new tab)), these glasses seem to pick up where the long-dead Google Glass left off.
The "monocle waveguide," to give it its most accurate description, is powered by a Snapdragon Wear 4100, (usually found in smartwatches), and uses a coffee bean-sized "Spark Micro Projector" capable of up to 1,400 nits brightness and a microLED display to bring your notifications and apps in front of your eyes even in bright conditions. The whole thing weighs a delicate 30 grams (1.05 ounces) and comes in black or silver.
You then control Air Glass with either touches to the housing, your voice, head and hand gestures or through an app unique to Oppo phones and wearables.
Oppo lists "Weather, Calendar, Health, Teleprompter, Translation, and Navigation" as some of the apps available on the Air Glass. The translation feature, which displays a written translation of foreign language audio, apparently works only for translating between Mandarin Chinese and English currently, but support for more languages is promised down the line.
However, these apps won't be delivered to you in all-singing, all-dancing color like you may be imagining. The display only works in grayscale, either at 16 levels or 256 levels. Also, you don't wear the Air Glass by itself. It attaches to specific Oppo-designed frames, either a black normal pair of glasses (aimed at people who already need spectacles) or a silver pair of half-frame glasses.
It won't be anywhere near as sophisticated as other upcoming AR products like the long-awaited Apple Glass, but keeping things simple means Oppo's actually got a working product, even if it will be hard to get hold of outside of China. Air Glass is receiving only a "limited release" in China in Q1 of 2022.
If that didn't excite you, then perhaps some of Oppo's other announcements will. It's revealed its MariSilicon X NPU chip that will be used in the next Oppo Find X handset to improve its already excellent photography.
The last big thing to check out will be the company's first foldable, the Find N. This has already been leaked though, and it looks like a strong competitor to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 that currently rules the foldables roost. Let's just hope that the Find N isn't a China-only exclusive like the Air Glass.