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Oppo reveals striking Air Glass ‘smart monocle’ for at-a-glance info

Just don't expect to look good wearing it

If you’ve been wondering what wearing a monocle would be like (no, us neither), you can soon find out.

Oppo’s just-announced Air Glass is a somewhat divisive-looking single-eye viewer that enables you to see notifications and other quick-glance info such as directions, health data and live speech-to-text translation.

It’s not a full augmented reality (AR) set of glasses, instead, it fits into the extended reality (XR) category and as such is quite similar in concept to Google Glass. Air Glass is imminent though; it’ll come to China first in early 2022.

The Micro LED-based display device supports several different types of interaction; touch, voice, head movement, and hand motion. It’s a fairly lightweight device at 30g and Oppo says it can be worn just like a normal pair of glasses. The lens is housed in a reasonably slim frame and the device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 tech that we’ve seen in some smartwatches.

The device uses Oppo’s own Micro Projector tech; the company says it’s roughly the size of a coffee bean. It can deliver a super-bright image – up to 1400 nits.

The device will be available in silver and black and in two sizes, too. You do need an Oppo phone running ColorOS 11 or later (or an Oppo Watch 2) to use Air Glass. Weather, Calendar, Health, Teleprompter, Translation, and Navigation apps are pre-installed on Air Glass.

Air Glass was launched during Oppo’s Inno Day event,  where the company also revealed its own neural processor, called MariSilicon. Tech companies developing their own silicon is increasingly becoming a battleground for top-end smartphones as we’ve seen with Apple, Samsung and, most recently, Google.

The new chip, which helps with image quality, will make it possible for the next Oppo flagship Find X phone to make “real-time RAW processing possible to capture 4K AI Night Video with live preview”. The chip also provides significantly faster image processing performance for noise reduction and

Oppo says its new Find X phone is set to debut early in 2022, probably at Mobile World Congress at the end of February.