The maturation of ARKit, ARCore, and similar Software Development Kits (SDK) enable Augmented Reality (AR) on mobile devices to grow quickly in terms of capability. The ability to go hands-free will become the major differentiator between handheld AR devices on mobile phone and AR smart glasses or headsets. In the hope of shifting this, AR OEMs continue to enhance their smart glasses with increased resolutions, brightness, Field of View (FOV), more powerful computers, and thin waveguide see-through optics. Aside from integrating better technologies, smart glass OEMs have also adopted other strategies to gain technology leadership, such as a partnership with vertical-specific vendors, a combination of the IoT and AR, and a boost of software ecosystem.
This report starts with different use cases among AR devices, along with smart glasses and AR enabled mobile device shipments. It dives into the technology trends for display (LCD, OLED, and light field display), optics (curved mirror optical design to reflective/diffractive waveguide and holographic waveguide), sensors (IMU, GPS, proximity sensor, gesture tracking sensor, etc.), connectivity (Bluetooth, WiFi, LPWA, 5G), and user input (controller, voice, gaze & dwell, and gesture).
Major companies to watch for in the smart glasses space include (but not limited to) Vuzix, Microsoft HoloLens, Meta, ODG, RealWear, Sony, Epson, DAQRI, Magic Leap, CastAR, Google, Intel, and Apple. Not only presenting their most well-known devices, but also containing their business activities and corporate strategies. As AR smart glasses and hardware become more commonly used and widely accepted, accessories for AR devices are bound to have more types.