Doubts surface about Google's Project Glass

Posted by Trent Nouveau

The evolution of mobile augmented reality (AR) is moving along at an accelerated pace, although analysts at ABI Research doubt Google's Project Glass marks the start of a paradigm shift.

Nevertheless, says senior ABI analyst Aapo Markkane, the future of AR will likely be defined by eyewear-based interfaces, rather than smartphones or tablets. 

"It won't be long before the next, more meaningful wave of AR apps will start appearing. The verticals driving this wave will include interactive print, mobile shopping, and children's education. [Of course], for any eyewear to enable appealing use cases it needs to have lenses that are large, light, and aesthetic," he explains.

"[Plus], the display technology of those lenses needs to be more sophisticated than anything available today, and they will also need to support constant wireless connectivity for long periods of time. And all this needs to be delivered with a bearable battery life. It's a circle whose squaring will take longer than five years."

According to Markkane, companies providing software platforms for the development of AR applications stand to reap rather lucrative rewards from the evolution of AR. And while much of the current developer interest is focused on Qualcomm and its Vuforia platform, there are also a number of other players aiming high. 

"Vuforia's arrival in the market has pulled augmented reality almost single-handedly to the smartphone era," adds senior ABI Researcher Jeff Orr. 

"While doing so, it has also prompted industry incumbents, such as metaio and Total Immersion, to innovate further and make their software more accessible to developers. HP's Aurasma could prove a similar catalyst for innovation, considering all the potential of its image-recognition technology."