Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

“Don’t mess with people who wear sunglasses.”

This is the golden nine silver ten of AR glasses.

Forefoot Facebook released smart glasses in collaboration with Ray Ban, a leap towards the AR future planned by Zuckerberg, and Xiaomi on the back foot launched the AR glasses concept product. In addition to large factories that expand their boundaries, star startups focusing on AR/XR are also pushing for new products. Nreal founder Xu Chi said in an interview with CNBC that the company will soon launch a new designed AR glasses product, and Rokid Ruoqi released a new generation of consumer-grade AR glasses Rokid Air. In this situation, Google glasses can only sigh that it is not in time.

After falling into a trough for several years, the XR industry has regained its footing.

“We have witnessed that XR was paid attention to by the media from the very beginning and our investors. We also invested in a number of companies, and then entered a winter. Now, it is the second spring.” Global Vice President and Director of Qualcomm Ventures General Manager Shen Jin told “Shen Xiang.” Talking about the reasons, Shen Jin said: “XR has made great strides in user experience and price cost after the development of the past 7 or 8 years.”

According to the Gartner curve, technology maturity is usually divided into several stages: the birth of technology/concept, which has received widespread attention and high expectations; after reaching the peak, it will fall and the bubble will clear; technology gradually matures and steadily climbs; technology value and potential are Accepted by the market and realized to a greater extent. “The development of the second stage is generally a more real development, which is really developing users and developing income.” Shen Jin judged that XR technology has entered a period of steady climb after experiencing a trough.

The precipitation of technology and products, coupled with the meta-universe concept blessing, and the movie “Out of Control Player” are shown online. With multiple causes and one effect, XR walks out of the cold palace.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

Gartner technology maturity curve

The concept of XR is very rich, it covers VR (Virtual Reality, virtual reality), AR (Augmented Reality, augmented reality) and MR (Mixed Reality, mixed reality). The three have many things in common, but there is a progressive relationship in terms of the difficulty of realization. In general, XR technology expected to achieve net network evolution from two-dimensional to three-dimensional space, the integration of interactive world of bits and atoms of the world. As a terminal device, AR glasses provide a solution here.

Different from the immersion created by the familiar VR headsets, the ideal AR glasses product hopes to superimpose virtual three-dimensional images into the real world, just like the sunglasses in “Out of Control Players”, and this gives the Internet Infrastructure, display technology, interactive technology, etc. bring greater challenges. Now, AR glasses have passed the stage of popular science, and ordinary consumers and business users have a certain awareness of such products. However, there is no ” epoch-making ” product available, and AR hardware devices are still far away from entering the mainstream market. How long will the future come?

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

In the movie “Out of Control Player”, the male protagonist Guy enters the world of online games after putting on sunglasses.

01Dachang grabs the ticket

Technological progress is a long process of continual approaching imagination.

As early as the 1860s, Ivan Sutherland, the father of computer graphics, had proposed a concept: the computer screen is “a window to view the virtual world.” In the ultimate display, the computer can control everything in the room, and the chair displayed in this room seems to be really sitting on. In 1968, Sutherland really took his students to create an instrument that allows viewers to see a virtual cube in the real world through this device, and the figure will shift with the movement of people. This device is so heavy that it can only be hung on the top of the head with equipment. It is named “Sword of Damocles” and is the prototype of the current VR headset and AR glasses.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

The current prototype “Sword of Damocles” of head-mounted VR/AR devices

In 2012, the release of Google Glass (Google Project Glass) brought AR smart glasses one step closer to landing.

When concepts such as VR/AR are not so well-known, this product carries Google’s obsession with wearable devices. Its form combines glasses/frames, front camera, right processor and touchpad. The usage scenarios shown in the concept video at that time seem to be exciting today: the glasses can realize navigation, photographing, messaging, telephone, video and other functions, the voice control is silky and smooth, and the screen display is clear and concise. The non-public videos published by Google on their Youtube account (with links to watch) have accumulated more than 20 million views.

However, how beautiful the concept video is, the disillusionment of reality will be as great.

In practical applications, the screen imaging effect of Google glasses is not ideal, the visible area is small, the battery life is short and the heat is serious, the application ecology is not perfect, and the realization of some functions requires the cooperation of mobile phones. Moreover, its focused photography and video functions were resisted by the public for privacy protection, and the product once fell into a whirlpool of public opinion. And, as a consumer-facing product, its $1,500 price is prohibitive, making it a niche toy for geeks and tech fans.

In 2015, Google announced the discontinuation of this form of glasses products.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

In the Google glasses promotional video, video calls via glasses are possible. Source: Google official video

In fact , Google Glass is not really AR glasses. It is essentially a combination of a miniature projector, camera, sensor and control device. The concept is more like shrinking the screen of a mobile phone and placing it in front of you.

The technology giants are reluctant to fall behind for anything that may represent the “future” and are scrambling for this ticket.

Microsoft’s Hololens is a pioneering work of AR glasses, perhaps the embodiment of the highest level in the industry. The first generation of Hololens was born in the year when Google Glasses was discontinued. Hololens weighs 600g, which is more like a helmet than glasses.

Microsoft’s choice of route has a clear separation from Google. If Google wants glasses to take on part of the smart phone’s functions, Hololens wants to accomplish more. Hololens is equipped with Windows Holographic, a new operating system based on Windows 10, which can project images onto the air and surrounding objects, and can be manipulated by gestures and voice. In the optical display solution, unlike the prism reflection technology of Google glasses, the holographic waveguide technology is adopted, which can make the optical lens thinner and smaller, and the color reproduction is more realistic. Of course, the process difficulty and cost are also higher.

Moreover, Hololens is priced at US$3,000. It will be sold to developers at the beginning, and then gradually open to the enterprise market. For the time being, there is no plan to open it to consumers in recent years. In 2019, Hololens 2 was launched. Compared with the previous generation, the upgraded version is lighter, has a larger field of view, higher display pixels, allows two-hand gesture control, and adds eye tracking technology.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

Hololens is for developers and enterprise-level users. For example, it can assist surgery in medical scenarios. Image source: Microsoft official video

Social giants are also fighting an XR technology arms race. New terminal devices and interactive forms will change the way people socialize, and they must prepare in advance. Facebook was preempted by Snap.

Snap released the latest version of Spectalces in May this year, which is also its first real AR glasses. Previously, since 2016, Snap has iterated three versions of Spectacles. But not so much smart glasses, the previous product is more like a first-view camera deeply tied to Snapchat, the so-called “what you see is what you record.” Because of the limited functions and relatively simple hardware, Snap’s glasses products can be stylish and cool in design, similar to ordinary sunglasses. The previous “chicken rib products” did not receive good market feedback. According to the business media Bussiness Insider, the original smart glasses made Snap lose $40 million, and most of the users who bought them did not insist on using them for more than one month.

But the continuous iteration laid the foundation for this AR glasses. The new version of Spectacles for developers allows users to design on Snap’s Lens Studio development platform and display the designed virtual image in the physical world.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

Snap Spectalces can achieve the display effect source: Snap official

In contrast, despite Facebook’s great success on the VR headset Oculus Quest 2, and CEO Zuckerberg’s firm support for XR, the progress on AR glasses has been a step slower. The new product Stories co-produced with Ray-Ban is basically the same as the smart glasses that Huawei previously co-produced with Gentle Monster, and has little to do with AR. It is an online celebrity fashion item with a sense of presence.

Another wave of AR glasses is the booming smartphone manufacturers.

AR shoulders the expectation of “subverting the smart phone”. Everyone is afraid of falling behind and becoming the Motorola of the new era. Mobile phone brands with strong advantages in the supply chain, hardware and software, and brand power have gotten a spot in advance.

Both vivo and OPPO released the AR glasses concept machine for the first time in 2019. Xiaomi, which has its own data, also released an “AR-like glasses” monochrome (green) information reminder earlier this month before Apple’s autumn conference, which can display simple information such as information and maps. The highlight is that it adopts advanced optical waveguide technology to display, and the MicroLed screen can make the weight and shape of the glasses very similar to ordinary glasses. But these products are not in mass production.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

Xiaomi Smart Glasses Concept Product Interface

Apple has not officially released any eyewear accessories, but there has always been a legend about it in the world.

There are several reasons why people in the industry and consumers place their hopes on Apple:

On the one hand, Apple has made a lot of efforts in the accumulation of XR technology. Since 2006, it has applied for VR/AR patents, recruited talents, and acquired companies. Consumers have also seen many AR applications on the iPhone, such as rangefinders.

On the other hand, foreign media and supply chain news keep on: Apple is working hard on VR and AR hardware devices.

People’s expectations also come from believing in Apple’s brand appeal, the ability to mobilize developers, and the ability to integrate the supply chain. It can also be seen from Apple’s past production habits that the world’s highest market capitalization company tends to produce mature products for new categories rather than “small steps.”

Established technology companies, social network giants, and smart phone manufacturers have entered the list of AR glasses manufacturers with different calculations, with different rhythms and application routes. In this process of approaching imagination, epoch-making products are not achieved overnight, and it is still unknown who can grab this ticket to the “future”.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

02 Sweet Trap

The entrepreneurial army is also a strong force.

New technologies, products or business models are often the window period for industry reshuffle. AR eyewear brand a lot of domestic and foreign stars, have taken root in the field for decades a veteran listed company Vuzix, which has caused a sensation in the industry Magic leap, the country has Nreal, Rokid, light wind station , 0 glasses, etc., have been released and more Generation of AR glasses products. As the popularity of the XR industry rises again, capital bets, and the industry accelerates its development.

If the giants with “money capability” are looking for new growth points, the problem that startups often face is “survival.”

AR glasses integrate a number of high-end technologies in a small size, and the difficulty can be imagined. Apple’s AR glasses have repeatedly bounced tickets (according to analysts’ predictions), and the investment in research and development costs is huge. Moreover, AR glasses products are still far from popularization, and it is difficult to obtain products. This will make the start-up AR glasses company’s own hematopoietic ability weak. Faced with such pressure, they are more vulnerable than the giants.

Capital once had high hopes for start-ups in the XR industry. Magic leap was founded in 2011, and it raised frequently in the early stage when VR/AR technology was widely concerned. Google and Alibaba were both important investors. Before the official product was released, the financing amount was as high as US$2 billion, making it an early one. Among the beasts. In 2016, Magic Leap released the “Whale Leap” video that sparked the discussion, demonstrating its technology. However, at the end of the year, it was revealed by the technology media The Information that the video is a special effect synthesis, and the real product is far from reaching this level.

When the industry’s “capital winter” is coming, in 2019, Magic leap is still ill-fated, with poor financing, inventory backlog, patent transfers, executive resignations, a large number of layoffs… The transformation will follow, and Magic leap will shift its direction to enterprise-level products. , Temporarily abandoned the consumer-level route.

Magic Leap is in a dilemma, and the VR/AR industry is also questioned-is this another bubble?

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

The concept effect video released by Magic leap was amazing, but it was the work of the special effects team that was picked up later

It has become an industry consensus that AR will first land on ToB.

“To have a clear direction for the business is what we (practitioners) must do.” Hong Yanfei, marketing director of Liangfengtai, an enterprise-level AR platform company, told Shenxiang in an interview. “Whether it is ourselves, our customers, or the investors behind it, we need to find out where the real value of AR technology is. It is impossible to label VR/AR like the last wave, and hot money will come. Now everyone is calm. I can think about this issue more rationally.”

She said that in 2015, when Liangfengtai released AR glasses for the first time, everyone was very excited, but the idea of ​​the use and the next iteration was not clear. “Everyone is discussing the popularization of industry concepts.” In 2016, the combination of Internet APP and AR application was very hot. Alipay’s “Five Fortune Collection” event was held for the first time. “Although we have cooperated with many large manufacturers and brands in AR activities, we still often feel anxious. The window period will not be long.” In the ups and downs of the industry, Liangfengtai has gradually found its own route, providing products and technical solutions for vertical industry scenarios, such as industry, medical treatment, and security.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

Liangfengtai’s new glasses HiAR H100 for industrial scenes released in September

In the ToB business, customers have pain points that need to be solved urgently. The implementation of products can precipitate some standardized applications, and customer feedback will also guide the next iteration. Although the customer-oriented model determines that the product cannot be replicated with 100% standards, at the current stage, it reflects the application value of AR technology.

The Google Glasses project has not really announced its termination. After the failed ToC attempt, it quickly turned around and turned to corporate partners. Hololens’ main areas of development are manufacturing, healthcare, and education.

Apple and Xiaomi are increasing, what is this trillion-level business that once caused Google to fall?

Want the same AR glasses as in the promo or movie? Sorry, they are really only in imagination.

According to the Snap CEO, it will take 10 years for consumer AR glasses to enter the mainstream. If you believe in Apple, according to current predictions, they will be unveiled in 2023. “We always overestimate the changes in new technologies in two or three years, and ignore the result of a change in ten years. Maybe if you look at it for a long time, you can see that every step in the process is meaningful. Be patient. Maybe you will see more things.” Hong Yanfei said.

There are too many thresholds to complete a mature consumer-grade product. Optical display solutions, batteries, computing power, computer vision technology, interactive methods, hardware engineering, content ecology… this is not just an independent company. It’s a task that requires the progress of the entire industry.

In the past ten years, from the release of Google’s first-generation smart glasses, Microsoft’s hard-core Hololens, and many startups have produced new products; from the lackluster tasteful functions to the familiar AR applications that consumers are familiar with, and the temperature measurement during the epidemic. Glasses. XR technology has been gradually integrated into our lives and work from a puzzling technology. Although unfortunately this is a disenchanting process, it may not be unexciting.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/apple-and-xiaomi-are-increasing-what-is-this-trillion-level-business-that-once-caused-google-to-fall/
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