We all expect to see Apple Glass become the company's next big thing. This could be a mixed reality headset with both VR and AR capabilities or a sleek pair of sunglasses with AR features. Apple could unveil one of the two as soon as later this year. The firm isn't the only major manufacturer of mobile devices looking to move on from the smartphone. 91mobiles discovered a design patent filed by Samsung in South Korea for a pair of smartglasses. This is just the latest filing that Samsung has made for connected specs.
Samsung's design patent application could show us what its smartglasses will look like
The patent application, filed with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, reveals that Sammy's AR glasses might have a metal build and a synthetic finish. There is a strip above the lenses that will house the dual front-facing camera sensors. While no technical specs are listed in the patent, we can assume that the thickness of the frame is necessary so that some of the device's components can be stored inside it including parts for Wi-Fi. While a processor might fit inside the frame, it is more likely that most of the processing required would initially be handled by a paired smartphone. Eventually, the glasses could become a standalone device.
This isn't the only patent we've seen for smartglasses from Samsung. Back in June, we told you about a patent application made by Samsung with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a system that displays written directions on a smartphone screen. Two standalone cameras face the user while he is driving and track his hands looking for gestures for navigation. One feature mentioned in the patent would allow the user to look at a gas station through the lenses of the smartglasses and see the price of gas at that particular station.
Other patents from Samsung related to smartglasses mentions a feature that automatically turns on the wearable when the arms of the glasses are unfolded. An ARM-based processor would power the device and projectors located by the glasses' temples send light beams to a small display inside each lens. And back in 2013, Samsung received a patent in Korea for a Google Glass wannabe design with a more sporty look than the glasses it is designing today.
Earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Samsung showed off a pair of AR glasses that was worn on stage by an employee. It was a demo of a system called Gait Enhancing & Motivating System (GEMS), an exercise analytics and training platform. Hand gestures were used to navigate through the glasses and a cable was connected to the device before the demo started. This would be consistent with the idea that for now, an external source of power and processing for the product is required.
Despite the number of patents that both Apple and Samsung have received and Samsung's CES demonstration, both firms have left us in the dark about the development of their smartglasses. What will they be capable of? Will they be a "must-own" product like the smartphone turned out to be? By this time next year, we might have some of these answers. Samsung's next big new product announcement could take place during MWC 2021 which will be held online next year. Besides the Samsung Galaxy S21 (S30), will we see Samsung introduce a pair of smartglasses? We wouldn't bet on it but if there is one thing that we have learned over the years, it's not to rule out anything when it comes to possible new product announcements.