It looks like Google is considering taking more steps into augmented reality. The company is perhaps best known for the Google Glass AR glasses, but the days of Glass are long gone — and Google could be looking to release something else. In fact, Google has been awarded a patent for a “head-worn augmented reality display.”
The patent specifically notes the use of a device that can superimpose computer-generated content over real-world objects. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much more specific than that. The patent does mention the use of a frame and reflective surface, along with the fact that it has a microdisplay — but that’s something pretty much all augmented reality headsets would need.
Of course, if Google does end up releasing an augmented reality headset, it could eventually be in direct competition with Apple. Rumors about the development of an Apple augmented reality headset have been popping up for some time now. According to those rumors, the Apple headset could be released as soon as 2020 and could function similar to the Apple Watch — as a device that’s paired to the iPhone and used for displaying notifications and possibly even for some fitness tracking. Eventually, it’s likely the headset will be independent from the iPhone and feature its own operating system.
Google would also be competing with the likes of Microsoft. Microsoft is currently on its second generation of the Hololens headset, however, the headset costs $3,500, making it much less of a consumer device and more focused toward businesses and enterprise customers.
There’s no guarantee that Google’s augmented reality headset will be anything like this. Google has been shifting its attention toward hardware lately, so it’s plausible that the company could be working on a headset to be paired with Google Pixel phones. Google has also started taking gaming more seriously, with the announcement of its Stadia gaming streaming platform, so it’s also possible that the headset could be more gaming-focused.
Augmented reality, in general, is expected to grow a lot over the next few years, as companies miniaturize technology and can fit it into a product that is stylish enough for consumers to buy.