Over the past few years, we’ve seen various major tech companies attempt to carve out a niche in the blossoming market for virtual reality hardware. Now, many are turning their attention to augmented reality, and Lenovo has emerged as the latest manufacturer to unveil a product in this space. Today, July 20, Lenovo used its annual Tech World conference as a platform to showcase the DaystAR headset.
This project was previously teased in April 2017, at which time a spokesperson for the company indicated that the consumer version of the device would likely be ready for retail later this year.
The DaystAR headset will apparently boast an independent vision processing unit as well as free-formed surface lenses with a 40-degree field of view, according to a report from Road to VR. No details on pricing or an exact release date were given at this time.
It seems clear that Lenovo is in the midst of a major push into the increasingly competitive field of AR hardware. Just a few days ago, the company announced a smartphone-based AR headset that will launch alongside a Star Wars-themed experience called Jedi Challenges, which was developed in partnership with Disney.
However, Lenovo’s AR interests aren’t just limited to hardware. The company is also set to offer its own AR platform that will give developers access to services like cloud object recognition, multiplayer interaction, and a 3D object manager, according to a blog post published on its official website.
This platform seems to be conceived along the lines of Apple’s ARKit, which is expected to launch as part of iOS 11, ahead of new AR-friendly hardware features set to debut with the next iteration of the iPhone. Companies are investing heavily in this kind of infrastructure in an attempt to avoid the content droughts that have marred mainstream adoption of VR.
Lenovo’s headset bears a certain resemblance to Microsoft’s HoloLens — which isn’t entirely unexpected, given that the two companies have been in collaboration throughout the development of the DaystAR. Windows 10 and iOS are both set to place a major focus on AR in the coming years, but it will be the available content and the hardware pricing that determines whether and to what extent this effort catches on with users.