It’s official: augmented reality is the next big thing, even more so than virtual reality. The reason for this is because AR allows for computing in the physical world with digital overlays, rather than enclosing an individual in completely virtual reality, making more productive and more social. Plus, have you seen Microsoft’s crazy HoloLens demos? Whether AR will truly have the impact that it promises remains to be seen, but companies are already starting to bet on it. Canon already released its vision for a mixed reality headset, called MREAL, and, now, Taiwanese PC manufacturer Asus has officially announced that it has its own AR headset in the works with plans to release next year.
In an earnings webcast, CEO Jerry Shen said that the company had plans to enter the market, according to CNET. Shen is quoted as saying, “It should be next year when we come out with a product. We think AR will be very important for people’s lives.” He adds, “You can make a real setting meld together with yourself and the AR portion. Internally, we are talking about how to prepare.”
CNET mentions that Asus was actually in talks to produce a more affordable version of Microsoft’s HoloLens, which is meant to ship early next year as a developer edition for $3,000. Because the PC maker is already known for producing affordable laptops and its Zen line of smartphones and tablets, expected to outship their PCs this year, it’s easy to envision their ability to bring down the price of AR headsets. However, there’s no evidence that the product Shen mentions is related to the HoloLens at all.
If Asus releases an AR headset next year, this would be the company’s fourth entry into the mixed reality ecosystem, as the Taiwanese manufacturer already makes three laptop/notebooks equipped with Intel’s RealSense 3D camera. As for VR, Shen suggested in his webcast, that he believes AR will be more useful than VR headsets. He also mentioned that Asus would be releasing a service robot next year, which sounds awesome.