Qualcomm Unveils its XR1 AR Smart Viewer Reference Design

Qualcomm XR1 Lifestyle

Mixed reality (MR) glasses are looking to become the new norm with models like the Nreal Light already available whilst concepts such as Samsung’s AR Glasses are still to come. One of the biggest proponents of this field is Qualcomm which has previously spoken about the influx of XR viewers. Today, Qualcomm has taken a step further into this area by announcing its XR1 AR Smart Viewer Reference Design.

Qualcomm XR1 AR Reference Design

Being a reference design it’ll never be available to buy in this exact form as it is intended to help OEMs reduce the time it takes to bring AR glasses to market. Designed to connect to compatible 5G smartphones, PC’s and other devices via cable, unlike simpler AR glasses where all the processing is supplied by an external device, Qualcomm’s XR1 AR Smart Viewer offers split-processing. That means computing workloads can be distributed between both devices seeing a ‘30% reduction in overall power consumption’ Qualcomm claims.

The XR1 AR Smart Viewer hardware design developed by Goertek features a micro-OLED binocular display from BOE, with a 90Hz refresh rate for a smooth experience; hand tracking, 6DoF tracking by two B&W cameras; plane detection and image stabilisation. Other specs include a 45-degree FOV, fixed IPD, a 220mAh battery, 2 speakers and 3 mics.

“The Snapdragon XR1 AR smart viewer marks a new chapter for our reference design portfolio and a big step in the evolution of AR viewers,” said Hugo Swart, vice president and general manager of XR, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. in a statement. “AR simple viewers showcased viewers as an accessory to a smartphone. Now, AR smart viewers allow us to move some processing to the glass, to expand the possibilities of use cases, applications and immersion -this reference design is the first step in our roadmap to help scale the AR industry.”

Qualcomm XR1 AR Reference Design

The first showcase of the XR1 AR Smart Viewer Reference Design actually occurred during CES 2021 last month. Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 glasses are powered by the Snapdragon XR1 Platform. The device is focused on enterprise solutions, set to come to market in mid-2021.

Qualcomm – like many companies – envisions these smart viewers as primary work tools, creating virtual monitors to write on or holographic models for training. But the consumer market will also be involved so you can watch videos on the train, check on your social media or play a videogame.

As more of these designs come to market, VRFocus will continue to keep you updated.

Lenovo Targets Mid-2021 For ThinkReality A3 AR Glasses

This week as part of CES 2021, Lenovo announced its new model of AR glasses, the ThinkReality A3.

The A3 is a successor to the ThinkReality A6 headset from 2019, which was an enterprise-focused AR headset aimed at taking on similar offerings from Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens.

“The smart glasses are part of a comprehensive integrated digital solution from Lenovo that includes the advanced AR device, ThinkReality software, and Motorola mobile phones,” said Jon Pershke, Lenovo Vice President of Strategy and Emerging Business. Like the A6, the A3 is an enterprise-focused AR device.

Inside the ThinkReality A3 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1, stereoscopic 1080p displays, an 8MP camera for 1080p video and dual fish-eye cameras for roomscale tracking. The headset will tether to a PC or select Motorola smartphones via USB-C, depending on the edition of the glasses.

The A3 PC Edition can tether to a laptop or PC in order to “enable users to position multiple, large virtual monitors in their field of view and use Windows software tools and applications.” Lenovo says the virtual monitors are “optimized and compatible” with its ThinkPad laptops and other mobile workstations that use Intel and AMD processors.

Lenovo ThinkReality A3

The A3 Industrial Edition will tether to Motorola smartphones that have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series or better, providing “hands-free, AR-supported tasks in complex work environments … supported by the ThinkReality software platform, which enables commercial customers to build, deploy, and manage mixed reality applications and content on a global scale.”

Lenovo says the ThinkReality A3 glasses will be available “in select markets worldwide starting mid-2021,” with no word on pricing.

Lenovo Unveils Enterprise-Focused ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses at CES 2021

Lenovo ThinkReality A3

CES 2020 may have missed out on the pandemic thanks to its early January start but the 2021 event will no longer be the expansive tech show in Las Vegas, going digital like many others. Even so, tech companies are still revealing new hardware with Lenovo unveiling its ThinkReality A3 augmented reality (AR) glasses today.

Lenovo ThinkReality A3

An update to 2019’s ThinkReality A6 AR glasses, Lenovo’s new design offers a range of improvements over its predecessor – and not just a snazzier aesthetic. The ThinkReailty A3 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform (previously Snapdragon 845), has dual fish-eye cameras for 6DoF tracking, comes in at under 130g (down from 380g), has stereoscopic 1080p displays, and an 8MP RGB camera for 1080p video.

Designed for companies looking to increase efficiency and lower downtimes as well as improve remote collaboration, Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 glasses can be tethered to a PC (PC Edition) when in the office or select Motorola smartphones (Industrial Edition) – which have a Snapdragon 800 series processor or better – via a USB-C cable when out and about. The device supports features including voice and gesture recognition for hands-free control.

“The A3 is a next generation augmented reality solution – light, powerful and versatile. The smart glasses are part of a comprehensive integrated digital solution from Lenovo that includes the advanced AR device, ThinkReality software, and Motorola mobile phones. Whether working in virtual spaces or supporting remote assistance, the ThinkReality A3 enhances workers’ abilities to do more wherever they are,” said Jon Pershke, Lenovo Vice President of Strategy and Emerging Business, Intelligent Device Group in a statement.

Lenovo ThinkReality A6
Lenovo ThinkReality A6

There’s been no indication of price at the moment but companies will be able to get hold of the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 smart glasses in select markets from the middle 2021.

2021 is likely to see a boom in wearable AR tech as companies continue to adjust to remote, socially distanced collaboration. Whilst enterprise use cases will dominate adoption, the consumer market isn’t being ignored with the likes of Nreal Light slowly becoming available through mobile network carriers. Plus Facebook and Ray-Ban’s smart glasses are expected this year.

For further AR updates from CES 2021, keep reading VRFocus.

Lenovo to Sell Varjo’s Enterprise VR Headsets

Lenovo desktop workstation + Varjo headsets

Computing giant Lenovo may have been interested in consumer virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) in the past with devices like the Mirage Solo and Mirage AR but now its firmly focused on enterprise use cases. Today, the company has announced its become a reseller for Varjo‘s high-end, enterprise-class headsets.

Varjo’s latest range of headsets includes the mixed reality XR-1 and the new VR-2 & VR-2 Pro, with pricing starting from €4,995 EUR for the VR-2. They come with Varjo’s unique display design, the Bionic Display. It’s made up of two screens, a small 3000ppi display for fine, close up detail and a larger, lower-resolution ‘Context Screen’ to provide a wider field of view (FoV). While the VR-2 Pro features Ultraleap hand tracking.

Enterprise customers will now be able to purchase the headsets directly through Lenovo, either by contacting a local Lenovo representative or via the “Contact Us” link on Lenovo.com.

“Many existing VR offerings in the market today are enterprise versions of a consumer designed product,” said Mike Leach, solution portfolio lead, Lenovo in a statement. “However, Lenovo’s professional workstations and Varjo’s VR and XR headsets are specifically engineered to perform in the most sophisticated and demanding enterprise use cases. Our ability to offer customers a single point of purchase for certified workstations and VR/XR devices streamlines access to the tools needed for immersive workflows that are changing the way we work today.”

Varjo XR-1 Developer Edition

The announcement also adds more certified Lenovo workstations to the Varjo compatible catalogue for companies looking for a suitable pairing. These are:

Optimized to support the VR-2, VR-2 Pro and XR-1 devices:

  • ThinkStation P520
  • ThinkStation P720
  • ThinkStation P920

Optimized to support the VR-2 and VR-2 Pro devices:

  • ThinkPad P53
  • ThinkPad P73
  • ThinkPad P15
  • ThinkPad P17

“One of the biggest obstacles in accelerating the usage and growth of professional VR/XR is getting all the right equipment sourced for an enterprise-grade set-up and ensuring compatibility between computers and headsets,” said Timo Toikkanen, CEO of Varjo. “With Lenovo becoming a Varjo reseller, we eliminate a lot of this complexity, making it even easier for customers to adopt VR/XR in the workplace for increased productivity and ROI.”

When it comes to Lenovo’s own XR solutions the company has partnered with Pico on the 3DoF Mirage VR S3 headset and its ThinkReality A6 AR device is primarily used for training and education solutions. For further updates from Lenovo, keep reading VRFocus.

Lenovo Targets Business Training With Mirage S3 Standalone VR Headset Priced Under $450

Lenovo is targeting its standalone 3dof headset the Mirage VR S3 toward training uses at businesses.

Facebook removed Oculus Go from its business program choosing instead to focus on its Oculus Quest for business targeting a $1,000 price with enterprise-level support. In the United States, the price for a Mirage VR S3 is “under $450” according to a Lenovo representative. It was built in cooperation with Pico Interactive. The headset is also included in Lenovo’s VR classroom effort as well.

The headset is a 3dof system like the Go which means the world feels locked to your head when you lean forward, backward, or to the side. While limiting in terms of interactivity, that sort of system is also easy to setup and use and has made inroads worldwide in some training applications. Its a nice fit, for example, for 360-degree video projects that might be used in a training program. The VR S3 is pitched as featuring integrated audio and “a 4K display for clearer visuals, hands-free control for utilization with or without the provided controller, and an easy to clean, hygienic face plate suitable for mass use,” according to Lenovo.

The system runs Lenovo’s ThinkReality software platform for distributing and managing applications on the headset. The commercial offering includes Lenovo’s Integrated Solutions Support service with access to a dedicated phone line for support with “proactive case management and escalation assistance.”

The Lenovo Mirage VR S3 should be available in Q3 2020 in North America, China, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Spain.

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Lenovo and Pico’s Standalone Headset Mirage VR S3 Arrives Q3 2020

Lenovo Mirage VR S3

Lenovo has announced today that it’ll be stepping back into the field of standalone virtual reality (VR) with the Mirage VR S3. A collaboration with Pico Interactive, the new device is set to arrive later this year focused on the business market.

Lenovo Mirage VR S3

The Lenovo Mirage VR S3 was originally revealed at the beginning of the year, alongside educational solution VR Classroom 2. Official unveiled during the VR/AR Global Summit Online Conference keynote, the headset looks very similar to Pico’s line of devices although it won’t compete with the latest Pico Neo 2 which has inside-out tracking.

A 3DoF VR headset which comes supplied with a controller, the Lenovo Mirage VR S3 features a 4K display, integrated audio and up to three hours of battery life. It’s supported by the Lenovo ThinkReality software platform, a cloud-agnostic solution for enterprise users to publish and manage applications for employees worldwide.

“VR helps achieve better, faster training at lower cost,” said Nathan Pettyjohn, Commercial AR/VR Lead, Intelligent Devices Group, Lenovo, in a statement. “Our enterprise customers are looking for solutions to build and enable more skilled and efficient global workforces. They are increasingly looking for cutting-edge solutions like VR and AR supported by ThinkReality’s flexible platform to scale applications enterprise-wide.” 

Lenovo VR Classroom 2

Also embedded in the Lenovo Mirage VR S3 is Lenovo Integrated Solutions Support (LISS). A global end-to-end service program, expert technicians and engineers provide support via a dedicated phone line for quick access and a single point of contact to help resolve issues faster.

The Lenovo Mirage VR S3 has been given a Q3 launch window for North America, China, Japan, United Kingdom, France, and Spain. An exact price for the headset hasn’t been given, with Lenovo saying it’ll be under $450 USD for North American customers.

By the time Lenovo launches the Mirage VR S3 companies looking for standalone VR solutions will have quite the selection to choose from. As mentioned, Pico recently launched its Neo 2 and Neo 2 Eye headsets, Oculus for Business officially arrived in May using Oculus Quest plus there’s the HTC Vive Focus Plus on the market.

As this area of the industry continues to grow, VRFocus will keep you updated.