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Huawei unveils its own line of smart glasses

The Huawei CEO introduces the company's most unusual wearable yet. (Source: YouTube)
The Huawei CEO introduces the company's most unusual wearable yet. (Source: YouTube)
Huawei also revealed the existence of some new wearables at its early-2019 launch event in Paris. The least expected of these are the new 'smart' glasses the OEM has developed with the eyewear company Gentle Monster. Their main function is in fact to deliver audio via Bluetooth, and also charge via a new and interesting route.

Huawei released its newest flagships, the P30 and P30 Pro, at an event in Paris today (March 26, 2019). These new phones are likely to do very well; on the other hand, they are not priced quite as well as the Galaxy S10 line, particularly at the base-model end. However, this is not the only new product the OEM introduced, the saleability of which may end up also being discussed at length.

It is a new take on the concept of smart glasses. To recap, Google pioneered its realization as a consumer-grade product quite a number of years ago now, but even that company failed to get it off the ground in the end. Huawei has clearly decided that it is now time for another Android OEM to take a crack at their development. Its version of smart glasses has been designed in partnership with the eyewear-maker Gentle Monster.

The result, as modelled on stage by Huawei CEO Richard Yu, appears to be a pair of sunglasses like any other. However, Huawei claims that these spectacles integrate all the technology needed to make them smart. This includes antennas for wireless connections such as Bluetooth, an SoC, speakers and dual microphones. These components apparently set up a 'beam' in the glasses' immediate vicinity in order to implement and enhance noise-reduction via AI.

The glasses also need to charge, of course, which they do in their specially-designed case. It supports near-field communication-mediated wireless power, which means that the Huawei glasses charge contactlessly: a world-first in a consumer product.

Huawei did not mention cameras or any other relevant components with respect to its new smart glasses. Therefore, it appears that these wearables are intended for the purposes of listening to music or taking calls using nothing but your face. However, this is not in fact a brand-new prospect.

For example, Bose has also developed sunglasses (e.g. the Alto Frames) that allow the wearer to enjoy earphone-less audio via bone conduction modules in the earpieces. It seems that Huawei has designed them a competitor, rather than made truly smart glasses as Google once intended.

The OEM did not specify the pricing (for reference, the Bose Altos are US$199.95) or availability of its new eyewear during the Paris event. However, there was talk of 6 to 7 different styles of the new wearables, some of which may have clear glass, which will be released in the fullness of time.


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Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-03-26 (Update: 2019-03-26)