Xiaomi has announced a pair of smart glasses called Xiaomi Smart Glasses. A company spokesperson tells The Verge that there’s no plan to actually put them on sale, but Xiaomi has provided enough detail to make the concept product seem somewhat plausible — at least for some point in the future.
Xiaomi’s glasses have a relatively conventional form factor, but unlike Facebook and Ray Ban’s just-announced Stories glasses, they actually do have a display that can be used for AR features. Xiaomi says it went with a monochrome MicroLED system because of its “higher pixel density and longer lifespan while having a simpler structure” when compared to OLED. According to Xiaomi, MicroLED “allows for a more compact display, as well as easier screen integration.”
MicroLED is a self-emissive display technology that is widely viewed as the natural successor to OLED. However, it remains prohibitively expensive and is yet to be deployed in more than a handful of commercial products.
Xiaomi’s display is “roughly the size of a grain of rice” at 2.4mm x 2.02mm and has a peak brightness of 2 million nits. The light won’t be that bright once it actually reaches your eye — the extreme brightness is so it can still be visible in direct sunlight after passing through an optical waveguide lens, which refracts and directs the light. Xiaomi cites use cases like navigation, live translation, and notifications for the display.
The glasses themselves are an independent Android device that don’t require a constant phone connection — Xiaomi suggests they could even replace your phone someday. There’s an unspecified quad-core Arm processor, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules, a battery, and a five-megapixel camera on board. Xiaomi says the glasses weigh just 51 grams.
As mentioned upfront, these glasses aren’t going to be available to the public and may not actually even exist, so you should view Xiaomi’s claims with skepticism. However, coming after Facebook’s announcement and right before Apple’s iPhone event, the concept demonstration is a clear indicator that Xiaomi wants to be considered as a player in the AR space.