TCL, known for its budget-friendly TVs in the US, is expanding its product lineup with a foray into smart glasses, joining the ranks of tech giants like Meta, Microsoft, Apple, and others in the augmented and virtual reality space. The concept video for TCL’s smart glasses showcases a variety of features such as video conferencing, navigation assistance, photo sharing, multiple virtual displays for productivity, and even car starting capabilities. While a release date for TCL’s prototype is yet to be determined, the company aims to unveil a functional version around the time of the Mobile World Congress in February.

These smart glasses by TCL are equipped with a binocular micro-LED color display utilizing optical holographic waveguide technology to project information and images. The incorporation of waveguide tech is a common trend in AR glasses like Oppo’s Air Glass and even older models from Nokia and Vuzix. The glasses feature a touch panel for navigation and run on a Qualcomm 4100 processor. Referred to as XR glasses, they blend elements of augmented and virtual reality – AR overlays digital content onto the real world, while VR immerses users in computer-generated environments.

TCL’s smart glasses concept represents a departure from its NxtWear G entertainment-focused glasses, with a more versatile design targeted at possibly replacing certain functions of smartphones and laptops. Rather than replicating the fate of Google Glass, which faced privacy and consumer acceptance issues, TCL is taking a cautious approach in the development stage, focusing on addressing user interface, service offerings, and privacy concerns guided by feedback from potential users.

Stefan Streit, TCL’s chief marketing officer, acknowledges the complexities of introducing a new wearable technology and stresses that the smart glasses are still in the conceptual phase. The company’s emphasis on user experience and privacy considerations indicates a commitment to avoiding the pitfalls encountered by predecessors in the market. As the market for head-mounted computing devices grows, with VR headsets witnessing a significant uptick in demand, TCL’s venture into AR smart glasses underscores its ambition to stay abreast of technological advancements and cater to evolving consumer needs.

Snap, Meta, and even rumors of Apple’s foray into AR glasses highlight a broader industry trend towards wearable AR technology, signifying a shift towards a new era of personal computing. By exploring the realm of smart glasses, TCL aims to position itself at the forefront of innovation and not miss out on what could potentially be the next big leap in consumer technology. The increasing interest from established players in AR glasses underscores the industry’s recognition of the significant potential in this emerging market segment, paving the way for a future where smart glasses could become as commonplace as smartphones.