Qualcomm's new reference AR glasses are wireless and more comfortable

They hint at the future of smart eyewear.


Qualcomm's smart glasses technology has come along way in two years. The company has unveiled the Wireless AR Smart Viewer Reference Design, a next-gen pair of augmented reality glasses meant to help hardware partners build their own immersive eyewear. It now tethers wirelessly to a host PC, phone or puck, and it's 40 percent thinner despite packing a newer (if slightly old) Snapdragon XR2 platform. Add better-balanced weight distribution and the device should be considerably more comfortable than its predecessor, even if it still won't win any fashion awards.

Each eye gets a 1080p, 90Hz micro-OLED display that reportedly eliminates motion blur. You'll also have full six-degrees-of-freedom movement thanks to three cameras (two monochrome, one color) as well as hand tracking with gesture recognition. WiFi 6E and Bluetooth help shuffle data quickly while keeping lag under 3ms between the glasses and host device.

A handful of manufacturers already have access to Qualcomm's new AR design, and more should have their turn within the "coming months." You won't buy this exact hardware as an everyday customer. It could, however, lead to a wave of next-generation glasses that you wouldn't mind wearing for games or work — even they might not be as ambitious as some AR projects.