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Lenovo ThinkReality A3 smart glasses offer virtual monitors & workplace AR


Lenovo is diving further into wearables, with the ThinkReality A3 smart glasses promising virtual displays, 3D visualization, remote collaboration, and more, by tethering either to your laptop or smartphone. Announced at CES 2021, the headset runs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 for AR glasses and attempt to squeeze wearable computing into a sunglasses-style form factor.

Clearly, nobody is going to mistake them for your Ray-bans. All the same they promise to be a little more useful, albeit with a business and enterprise focus rather than a consumer one right now.

There’ll be two versions of the headset, with near-identical specifications but designed for two different use-cases. The ThinkReality A3 PC Edition will focus on connectivity to a PC, and pave the way to virtual displays. You could have up to five virtual monitors to run Windows apps in your field of view, Lenovo suggests, instantly turning a single laptop into a much more compelling desktop rig replacement.

The second version is the ThinkReality A3 Industrial Edition. It’s designed to connect to Android smartphones (based on Snapdragon 800 Series chipsets), and run turnkey apps with custom content built using Lenovo’s ThinkReality software platform: think along the lines of workplace-specific software for warehouse management, engineering toolkits, and more.

Both are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chipset, and have a 1080p display with 45PPD for each eye. There are dual fisheye cameras for 6DoF tracking, and an 8-megapixel camera for photos, video, and showing remote contacts what you’re seeing. Lenovo also built in speakers and three microphones.

What there isn’t, unlike the self-contained and bulkier Lenovo ThinkReality A6, is an onboard battery: that keeps weight down, by relying on the host device for power. That also means a wired connection, with a USB Type-C 3.1 connector and a removable cable. The frames themselves have folding arms for easier storage and a modular design: you swap the ear-pieces for longer or shorter versions, and the nosepiece for different sizes. Lenovo will also have snap-in prescription lenses for those who would ordinarily use corrective eyewear, and industrial front-lenses with side protection.

There’s no shortage of companies believed to be working on smart glasses, with rumors pegging Facebook, Apple, Google, and others as all working on digital eyewear. Lenovo’s headsets look to beat them to market, though again with a relatively narrow focus that would definitely require some tinkering in order to expand to consumer relevance. Sales of the Lenovo ThinkReality A3 smart glasses are expected to kick off mid-2021, with pricing expected to be confirmed closer to launch.

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