TCL Wearable Display squeezes a giant HD TV into a pair of sunglasses

Not too much time was necessarily spent coming up with the current working title for TCL’s wearable display, the, err, TCL Wearable Display, but make no mistake: This is no rushed attempt to bring a pair of smartglasses to market.

Formerly known as TCL Project Archery, this wearable — which promises a virtual screen the equivalent size to a 100-inch television — has been shown off in various stages for the past couple of years. At this year’s virtual CES, however, the company responsible for it has finally gotten around to showcasing the wearable in something approaching a market-ready form.

The TCL Wearable Display is a sleek pair of glasses that, unlike the Google Glass of yesteryear, don’t immediately make it look like the wearer is cosplaying as a member of the Borg from Star Trek. At worst, they’re unremarkable glasses and, at best, they’re pretty stylish. Either way, they’re unlikely to attract glances laced with ridicule or curiosity from everyone you encounter.

TCL glasses
TCL

They boast an 1080p OLED display, offering a 140-degree field of view and powered by a small onboard processor. There is no battery built into the glasses. Instead, they pull power from another device connected via USB-C. This does reportedly mean that, if you want to actually watch something on the glasses, rather than just using them as glasses, you’ll need to plug them in to a phone, tablet, or computer.

This is, in itself, a disadvantage compared to some of the wireless AR glasses in various stages of development. TCL’s product is more basic in what it promises to do, but that still may be enough to make them a compelling prospect for many people.

After all, who wouldn’t want to be able to sit back anywhere they choose and watch a movie on a giant virtual screen? It’s only relatively recently that the audio equivalent of this — the humble headphones or earbuds — went wireless. Until then, most of us were happy to have a wire trailing into our pocket to attach our listening device to a phone. Why wouldn’t folks do the same for an equally portable viewing device?

There’s no word on how much the TCL Wearable Display will cost or exactly when it will be available. They will reportedly launch sometime later this year, and come in a bundle package with a TCL phone and content service subscription.

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