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Oppo plans to show off two AR glasses in California next month

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Oppo, the Chinese phone maker, is one of the brands under the BBK Electronics umbrella along with OnePlus, Realme, Vivo and iQOO. OnePlus ships its phones within the US while the other brands don’t. Even Oppo, the fourth largest smartphone brand in the world after Samsung, Apple and Xiaomi, does not ship its handsets to the United States, although this could change.

Last week, Oppo announced that it would show off its Augmented Reality (AR) glasses (the OPPO Air Glass and OPPO AR Glass) at Augmented World Expo USA 2022. According to Android Central, the event will take place June 1-3 in Santa Clara, California. Oppo announced Air Glass in China last December and the device was released last January.

Oppo uses a single-lens design for its Air Glass AR wearable

Unlike most AR glasses, the Air Glass is a monocle with a single ear frame and displays data coming from an Oppo phone with an average brightness of 1400 nits. That’s brighter than the typical 1000 nits (up to 1200 nits) on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. A small Spark Micro Projector the size of a coffee bean projects images onto the microLED lens.

The Oppo Air Glass is powered by the same Snapdragon 4100 chip used on some Wear OS smartwatches like the TicWatch Pro 3. The Snapdragon 4100+ was found in the Fossil Gen 6 from last September.

The Oppo AR Glass is a more traditionally designed dual-lens device. The device provides real-time language translation and 3D depth mapping. To use tracked air gestures with the Oppo Air Glass or the Oppo AR Glass, the user must have an Oppo handset and the Oppo Watch 2 nearby.

Since Oppo doesn’t sell its handsets in North America, what’s the game plan here? One possibility is that the company wants to bring its products to North America (after all, the OnePlus subunit does). In February 2019, Oppo made some noise about selling its phones in the United States. However, there was one market that the company wanted to tap into first.

Oppo’s Alen Wu, head of overseas affairs, said through an interpreter at the time that the company needed to strengthen its position in Europe before moving to America. Another possibility is that Oppo is showing off its AR glasses in North America to attract more developers for the devices before the pair is released in Europe, where the company does sell phones.

Oppo’s Air Glass and AR Glass may work on non-Oppo Android phones

Another thing to consider is that Oppo uses Snapdragon Spaces, an open mixed-reality (XR) platform that allows companies to develop AR apps without the basic tools required to do so. Since the platform uses Qualcomm’s mobile hardware, Oppo’s Air Glass and AR Glass could theoretically work on non-Oppo-manufactured Android devices powered by Snapdragon chips.

Yi Xu, Director of XR Technology at Oppo, said: “Our belief that AR can be used to create a new digital world based entirely on the real world has been the driving force behind our investment and R&D in AR. technologies, including the development of fundamental technology, applications, user interfaces and ecosystems,”

Augmented Reality. Also known as AR, places data over an image from the real world. For example, Google Maps’ Live View uses the camera system on the back of your phone to provide a realistic view of the area right in front of you. Giant arrows are displayed on the screen to show you which way to walk to reach your destination. Live View also shows certain landmarks where you happen to be near.
Among other Chinese companies that do not, or are not allowed to sell their handsets in the US, Xiaomi has talked in the past about eventually selling its phones in the US. It is currently offering its power bank and the Mi Band fitness tracker offered in the US. In 2016, former Googler Hugo Barra, who then worked for Xiaomi, said that the company would come to the US in the “near future”.

Unless Barra confused the US with India, his comment — at least as far as handsets are concerned — never materialized.

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