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CES 2018 : Day 2 – Smartglasses and Virtual Reality

by Steven Waltzer | Jan 17, 2018

Strategy Analytics Wearables Service brings you daily coverage of the year’s largest consumer electronics convention: CES 2018.  Each day’s post will focus on a different wearable device type, with day 2 covering head mounted displays: Smartglasses and Virtual Reality.

See our Day 1 blog on smartwatches here, and our Day 2 blog on wearable enabling technologies here.

Major Head Mounted Display announcements from the show floor this year include:

  • Vuzix showcased their Blade smartglasses.  These are aesthetically the best looking smartglasses to date in our view and their patented waveguide lens and projection technology has major potential – both for Vuzix branded products and also to be licensed by other tech giants.
  • Qualcomm, Facebook (Oculus), and Xiaomi are teaming up on two products: the Oculus Go, and the Mi VR Standalone – with the latter specifically for the China market.  Both are standalone VR viewers that do not require a PC or a smartphone and are capable of running Gear VR apps and games.
  • The HTC Vive Pro was announced at the show and will sport notably higher resolution and high-quality built in headphones, as well as an option for wireless use – though has not improved on field of view (FOV) and is still a very niche product with an extremely high retail price point.

While consumers hesitate to accept smartglasses as everyday tech, the enterprise market remains relatively promising with Vuzix and Google working to steadily increase corporate partnerships. The longer-term strategic outlook, from 2018 to 2030, retains decent prospects for consumer-led expansion. For example, over 1 billion consumers and workers worldwide today wear spectacles, contact lenses, goggles or sunglasses -- simply converting, say, 10%, of that total to computerized smartglasses will mean an addressable market well into the tens of millions.

Exhibit 1: Vuzix Blade Smartglasses:

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