Augmented Reality Eyewear Is Interface of Future, But Google’s Project Glass Won’t Take Us There Yet

06 Aug 2012

​Consumers’ first taste of Augmented Reality (AR) has so far come from predominantly gimmicky marketing apps built for today’s smartphones. However, a new study from ABI Research predicts that it won’t be long before the next, more meaningful wave of AR apps will start appearing. The verticals driving this wave will include interactive print, mobile shopping, and children’s education.

Meanwhile, there is little doubt that the future of AR is not in smartphones or tablets, but in more natural, eyewear-based interfaces. The real question is when that future will actually begin. Could Google’s widely-discussed Project Glass, for example, already mark the start of this paradigm shift?

Senior analyst Aapo Markkanen advises to temper such expectations. “The issue here is that for any eyewear to enable appealing use cases it needs to have lenses that are large, light, and aesthetic. The display technology of those lenses needs to be more sophisticated than anything available today, and they will also need to support constant wireless connectivity for long periods of time. And all this needs to be delivered with a bearable battery life. It’s a circle whose squaring will take longer than five years.”

Companies providing software platforms for the development of AR applications stand to reap large rewards from the evolution of AR. Much of the current developer interest owes to Qualcomm and its Vuforia platform, but there are also a number of other players aiming high. “Vuforia’s arrival in the market has pulled augmented reality almost single-handedly to the smartphone era,” adds senior practice director Jeff Orr. “While doing so, it has also prompted industry incumbents, such as metaio and Total Immersion, to innovate further and make their software more accessible to developers. HP’s Aurasma could prove a similar catalyst for innovation, considering all the potential of its image-recognition technology.”

These findings are from ABI Research’s Mobile Application Enabling Technologies Research Service, which takes a deep dive into various technologies that enable new and transformative applications. This research involves identifying early signals of how advances in areas such as Augmented Reality, HTML5, NFC, and Voice Recognition are translating into developer activity, as well as visionary predictions on how these enablers may reshape the industry in the future.

ABI Research provides in-depth analysis and quantitative forecasting of trends in global connectivity and other emerging technologies. From offices in North America, Europe and Asia, ABI Research’s worldwide team of experts advises thousands of decision makers through 70+ research and advisory services. Est. 1990. For more information visit, or call +1.516.624.2500.


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