Intel’s Vaunt glasses are the first, most important step toward the AR revolution

Intel’s Vaunt smart glasses are important. They’re probably the most important AR wearable we’ve ever seen, and there’s a simple reason for that: They’re wearable. These glasses aren’t packed to the gills with the most impressive AR hardware on the market, they’re not going to conjure up an immersive mixed-reality experience like Microsoft’s Hololens, or the Magic Leap. No, those devices are for recreation. They’re high tech toys. The Intel glasses are for everyday use, and that’s an important step.

The use-cases Intel outlined in the video over at The Verge don’t exactly sound like groundbreaking features. Getting directions, viewing restaurant ratings, maybe getting the occasional email notification. These are things your current devices do, but the interesting angle here is how they will translate when they move to a different platform.

How will we respond to notifications when they appear in our peripheral vision? Will we want them to be smaller, shorter, less frequent? What about directions? How will those change when we receive them in a completely different way? These are exciting, if mundane, questions that the Vaunt will answer once people start getting their hands on it.

Just like the first smartphones carried over the basic features of standard cell phones before they started creating new and exciting features of their own, the Vaunt as a platform echoes what your current devices do as a tentative first step.

Intel knows this, that’s why their first priority with the Vaunt was creating a device you’d actually want to have with you all the time. Not some weird thing hanging off of your glasses, or some big blocky cell phone. Something that fits seamlessly into your everyday life with just a couple interesting features.

Think about the first smartphones. Not the iPhone, the other ones. The Blackberries, the Palms, the products that aren’t really around anymore. Intel’s Vaunt could end up being one of those, an influential trailblazer that ends up paving the way for better products. It might not be what Intel would like us to see in this product, but it’s an important step nonetheless. In that way, the Vaunt is an appetizer, and personally I can’t wait to see what the main course looks like.