Xiaomi has unveiled a prototype of augmented reality glasses, putting it in the same league as Microsoft and Google.

Xiaomi has unveiled a prototype of augmented reality glasses, putting it in the same league as Microsoft and Google.

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Xiaomi unveiled a pair of prototype augmented reality glasses as part of its efforts to expand its product line beyond smartphones. The Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition is the device’s name, enabling users to see digital media superimposed over the real world. Although the glasses are currently in the concept phase and not yet available for purchase, Xiaomi’s announcement at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona signals its desire to enter the augmented reality space. If and when the product is released, it will compete with existing AR devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google’s Glass Enterprise.

Leading tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple are exploring augmented or mixed reality to offer their customers novel experiences. This technology is frequently regarded as an essential component of the “metaverse” concept.

“I think AR is a profound technology that will affect everything,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year.

Although Apple has not made any official statements about releasing a virtual or augmented reality headset, Bloomberg reported this year that the company plans to introduce its mixed reality headset in the spring of 2023, with consumer deliveries scheduled for the fall of the same year.

“It’s a widespread view in the technology industry that AR smart glasses could be the next major form of mobile computing after the smartphone,” Leo Gebbie, an analyst at CCS Insight, told CNBC via email.

Gesture control

According to Xiaomi, its AR glasses are lightweight and wireless, connecting seamlessly to a smartphone. The company claims the device boasts a “retina-level display,” allowing users to perceive virtual objects with the same clarity as physical ones.

Xiaomi has also stated that wearers of the headset can use gesture control to perform various tasks. Users can execute various functions by raising their hands before the glasses and making specific hand and finger movements. For instance, Xiaomi indicated that sliding the thumb on the index finger would enable users to enter or exit applications.

This could remove the need for you to touch your smartphone.

“This kind of interaction showcases one of the directions that Xiaomi believes human-computer interaction will take in the future,” the company said.

The headset is compatible with Xiaomi’s newly launched flagship smartphones, the Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro. Xiaomi, a major player in the smartphone industry, has been expanding its revenue streams beyond smartphones by introducing various products such as TVs and electric scooters in recent years.

“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 get left behind,” Gebbie said.

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