Osterhout Design Group (ODG) has taken the opportunity at CES 2017 today to announce their new R-8 and R-9 glasses. Unlike other glasses, these are ones which look to fuse realities by offering the wearer augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality, experiences. The two glasses actually follow on from the company’s previous offering, the R-7. Although, one of the big selling points with both of the new models, is that they come powered by the just-announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor.
Generally speaking, both of the new glasses look to offer a similar experience - by offering the user a new way to interact with the world around them. Like for instance, overlaying virtual imagery over the real world or providing more VR-like experiences including access to movies, sports, games and so on. These are in some ways a simialr product to Google Glass, but one which is much more powerful and much more versatile. However, the R-9 is being put forward as the more premium of the two new wearables as it comes with a larger field-of-vision (50 FOV compared to 40 FOV) and a 1080p resolution. ODG also note that the R-9 is usable as a ‘developer platform’ for the advancement of “mobile AR/VR and smartglasses applications”. Although and in spite of their differences, ODG does note that both glasses are able to benefit from the employment of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. In particular, the Snapdragon VR SDK support and optimized motion tracking.
In terms of pricing and availability, as the R-9 is the more premium device, it is is also the more expensive one and is expected to become available for $1,799, while the expected shipping of initial units is due to commence in the second quarter of 2017. In contrast, the R-8 will be far more affordably priced at “less than $1,000”, although developer units will not arrive until after the R-9 with ODG suggesting the second half of 2017 as the likely delivery window. Either way both devices are priced cheaper than the R-7 currently is, which does indicate the advances being made by companies in offering such products at more affordable rates and the fact that these products are starting to come down in price - even if they are still fairly expensive by the average consumer measure.