New technology often involves some form of compromise.
Take, for example, the birth of the smartphone. In the mid-2000s, screen size was the key issue – how big could they get? Then people realized that physically, phones with a 10-inch screen are a bit naff. And foldable screens? Don’t even go there…
It was the same with AR glasses – they were the next big thing around five years ago, especially when Google Glass was all the rage. But again, anyone who wore them looked, well, a bit naff.
And now there’s a new kid on the block – Bose Frames. A compromise? For now, anyway.
Bose calls them the world’s first “audio augmented reality platform”. Embedded in the arms are headphones, a microphone and a multi-function button, all of which combine to offer a form of audio AR. Bose calls the headphones a “wafer-thin acoustic package”, so users aren’t lumbered with hefty plug-in ear units.
The glasses don’t show anything visual, but that’s not the point right now. They simplify the process, so whatever you’re looking at can be tracked via a motion sensor, allowing for virtual assistants to be called upon and highlight points of interest or directions.
Of course, Bose Frames also allow the user to stream music or make hands-free and ear-free calls, all via a link to the user’s Android or iOS handset.
Bose are set to release Frames onto the market at the start of 2019 (at a cost of $199) and although they’ll likely be compared to the ‘next big thing’, don’t think it will end there. In time, there will be a clamour for visual AR in Frames and that’s where the future gets really interesting.
The US tech giant rarely compromises – and if Frames eventually incorporate visual AR, expect them to be anything but naff.