After previously revealing it was mulling over the idea, Asus has officially announced it’s working on its own augmented reality headset, and that it plans on releasing it next year.
The Taiwanese PC maker declined to discuss details, but CEO Jerry Shen said on Wednesday during an earnings webcast that Asus plans on entering the market.
“It should be next year when we come out with a product,” Shen said, adding “we think AR (augmented reality) will be very important for people’s lives.”
It’s unclear if the product will have any ties with Microsoft’s HoloLens, the American juggernaut’s own set of augmented reality glasses, a developer edition of which is set to launch early next year for $3,000 (AU$4,258, £1,985). Back in October, the Taiwanese PC maker was in talks with Microsoft about building a cheaper version, according to Asus chairman Jonney Shih.
The company’s product shouldn’t be confused with virtual reality headsets, such as the Facebook-backed Oculus Rift, which show the wearer a completely digital world. Augmented reality is more about projecting virtual objects in a person’s real-life field of vision, much like how Google Glass can display notifications over a person’s eye. On Wednesday, Asus’ CEO said he believed augmented reality devices will likely be more useful than virtual reality headsets.
“You can make a real setting meld together with yourself and the AR (augmented reality) portion,” he said. “Internally, we are talking about how to prepare.”
Asus is best known for building laptops, though in recent years has also been pushing out its Zen ranges of smartphones and tablets. This year, the company projects that shipments for its mobile products will surpass its PC shipments.
Interestingly, Shen also said on Wednesday that the company also has plans to release a service robot next year, though no more details were discussed.