The world’s first announced devices powered by Qualcomm’s cutting-edge Snapdragon 835 processor are technically not Asus, Xiaomi, LeEco, Samsung or HTC’s doing. Instead, they hail from a little-known wearable tech company based in San Francisco, dubbed ODG (short for Osterhout Design Group), which worked closely with the mobile industry’s SoC global leader on two intriguing pairs of smartglasses.
Far less gimmicky and, well, fugly than ill-fated Google Glass prototypes, at least at first glance, and considerably cheaper than Microsoft HoloLens development kits, the AR/VR R-9 and R-8 should both see daylight by the end of the year.
The $1,799 ODG R-9 is the higher-end model, aimed primarily at “light enterprise” and “prosumer media consumption” use cases, as well as a sort of development platform for “sophisticated mobile AR/VR and smartglasses applications.”
Due out sometime in 2Q17, the early winner of three CES 2017 Innovation Awards sports 1080p screen resolution, a super-wide 50-degree field of view, and a built-in 13MP front-facing camera for 4K video recordings.
Meanwhile, the smaller, lighter and generally lower-key R-8 goggles are more everyday consumer-oriented, providing access to movies, sports, gaming, navigation and news articles and books on a 720p “private screen that floats in your view”, respectable 40-degree FOV included. Priced at a sensible (all things considered) $1,000, this version targets a more distant and vague H2 2017 developer unit rollout.
As for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, it’s perhaps needless to mention all that leaked intel from yesterday has officially panned out. “Immersion” is indeed one of the chip’s “key technology pillars”, as supporting “new and innovative products and experiences beyond mobile phones” becomes an important focus. New and innovative non-smartphone products like the ODG R-8 and R-9 mixed reality smartglasses.