Lenovo unveils smart glasses that work across smartphones and laptops

The wearable device works will mirror the content of connected screens directly in front of a user's eyes

The Lenovo Glasses T1 wearable device is compatible with smartphones, tablets and laptops. Photo: Lenovo
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Lenovo, the world's biggest maker of personal computers, has unveiled smart glasses that project the screens of smartphones, laptop and computers in front of a user's eyes as the company seeks to further tap into the potential of virtual reality technology.

The Glasses T1 act as a “private display for on-the-go content consumption”, the Hong Kong-based company said on its website on Thursday.

The wearable plug-and-play device, which also has built-in speakers on its temples, connects via USB-C and requires no additional software for installation. Apple devices with lightning connectors need an HDMI adapter to link with the glasses.

The smart glasses also do not require charging as they tap into the power of the device they are connected to.

“Every day, people all over the world are increasingly shifting to mobile devices for entertainment and productivity [and] screen real estate can be a big bottleneck in the user experience,” said Eric Yu, a senior vice president for commercial products at Lenovo.

The smart glasses give users a “portable and private big screen experience” and offer them “more value from their phones and laptops”, he said.

The Lenovo Glasses T1 connects via USB-C, has plug-and-play functionality and does not require charging. Photo: Lenovo

Smart glasses are a growing niche segment as manufacturers continue to add new functions and use cases in a number of industries, resulting in stiff competition in the market.

The segment has also received a boost since companies are seeking to gain an initial foothold in the emerging metaverse sector.

The first major attempt to take these devices mainstream came with the launch of Google Glass in 2013, which struggled with a number of problems, including utility, design and a hefty $1,500 price tag.

In September 2021, Meta Platforms, then known as Facebook, introduced its Stories smart glasses in collaboration with eyewear maker Ray-Ban. They start at $299 and have more options that can be customised to appeal to a wider set of users.

Last May, Meta chief executive Mark Zuckerberg followed up on this when he teased a new smart glass project and other wearable devices with Franco-Italian company EssilorLuxottica, the owner of the Ray-Ban brand.

Major technology companies such as Microsoft, Amazon and Snapchat, with its Spectacles, are also producing smart glasses.

Apple and Samsung, the world's two biggest smartphone manufacturers, are also rumoured to be working on their own versions.

Lenovo already has its ThinkReality line of smart glasses, although it caters mainly to enterprise users.

The size of the global smart glass sector is expected to more than double to about $12.4 billion by 2030, from an estimated $5.13bn in 2021 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3 per cent, data from Grand View Research shows.

Meanwhile, the overall wearable technology market is expected to grow to $265.4bn by 2026, from $116.2bn in 2021, at a CAGR of 18 per cent, according to research company Markets and Markets.

Lenovo plans to initially release Glasses T1 towards the end of 2022 in China, where they will be known as the Yoga Glasses. The price and global distribution plan will be announced soon after, it said.

The company hopes that the smart glasses will appeal to users who prefer more freedom of movement when using their devices.

The video-streaming market is expected to benefit from the use of the wearable device, although users would need to use voice commands to control content for a truly hands-free experience.

Lenovo is also hoping the device will win over gamers, although this would require hand-held controls.

Updated: September 08, 2022, 6:00 AM