Chinese tech giant Xiaomi today showed off a prototype AR headset at Mobile World Congress (MWC) that wirelessly connects to the user’s smartphone, making for what the company calls its “first wireless AR glasses to utilize distributed computing.”

Called Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass Discovery Edition, the device is built upon the same Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 Gen 1 chipset as Meta’s recently released Quest Pro VR standalone.

While specs are still thin on the ground, the company did offer some info on headline features. For now, Xiaomi is couching it as a “concept technology achievement,” so it may be a while until we see a full spec sheet.

Packing two microOLED displays, the company is boasting “retina-level” resolution, saying its AR glasses pack in 58 pixels per degree (PPD). For reference, Meta Quest Pro has a PPD of 22, while enterprise headset Varjo XR-3 cites a PPD of 70.

The company hasn’t announced the headset’s field of view (FOV), however it says its free-form light-guiding prisms “minimizes light loss and produces clear and bright images with a to-eye brightness of up to 1200nit.”

Electrochromic lenses are also said to adapt the final image to different lighting conditions, even including a full ‘blackout mode’ that ostensibly allows it to work as a VR headset as well.

Image courtesy Xiaomi

As for input, Xiaomi Wireless AR Glass includes onboard hand-tracking in addition to smartphone-based touch controls. Xiaomi says its optical hand-tracking is designed to let users to do things like select and open apps, swipe through pages, and exit apps.

As a prototype, there’s no pricing or availability on the table, however Xiaomi says the lightweight glasses (at 126g) will be available in a titanium-colored design with support for three sizes of nosepieces. An attachable glasses clip will also be available for near-sighted users.

In an exclusive hands-on, XDA Developers surmised it felt near production-ready, however one of the issues noted during a seemingly bump-free demo was battery life; the headset had to be charged in the middle of the 30-minute demo. Xiaomi apparently is incorporating a self-developed silicon-oxygen anode battery that is supposedly smaller than a typical lithium-ion battery. While there’s an onboard Snapdragon XR 2 Gen 1 chipset, XDA Developers also notes it doesn’t offer any storage, making a compatible smartphone requisite to playing AR content.

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This isn’t the company’s first stab at XR tech; last summer Xiaomi showed off a pair of consumer smartglasses, called Mijia Glasses Camera, that featured a single heads-up display. Xiaomi’s Wireless AR Glass is however much closer in function to the concept it teased in late 2021, albeit with chunkier free-form light-guiding prisms than the more advanced-looking waveguides teased two years ago.

Xiaomi is actively working closely with chipmaker Qualcomm to ensure compatibility with Snapdragon Spaces-ready smartphones, which include Xiaomi 13 and OnePlus 11 5G. Possible other future contributions from Lenovo and Motorola, which have also announced their intentions to support Snapdragon Spaces.

Qualcomm announced Snapdragon Spaces in late 2021, a software tool kit which focuses on performance and low power devices which allows developers to create head-worn AR experiences from the ground-up, or add head-worn AR to existing smartphone apps.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Yon Macklein

    XR2 Gen 1 = XR2 Plus Gen1???

    • Darshan

      XR2 Plus is marginally Boosted chip with better thermal handling and might be at smaller node of production. gain is there if OEM can yield it.

  • Anonymous

    More communist spyware.

    • Exactly! Chinese, Russian and other totalitarian based companies can go to hell!

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        Pretty much all Meta headsets have been manufactured by Goertek, incl. the Quest 2. Goertek is also manufacturing Pico, Valve, lots of (former) WMR headsets plus those for dozens of companies you’ve never heard of. The only other minor VR OEM has been Lenovo, which produced their own WMR headset, the Oculus Rift S and some others.

        As you may have guessed, Goertek and Lenovo are Chinese companies. And Goertek isn’t just a manufacturer, they have their own research division who offered pancake lenses a year before Meta released the Quest Pro, making them pretty much a boutique shop for VR hardware companies that can have their custom HMDs build there. They also build all reference AR and VR HMDs for Qualcomm and are actively involved with the design of Meta and other headsets, which is why they are end up being that similar.

        Pretty much the only major VR hardware manufactured in the US are the Lighthouse base stations, for which Valve never gave a license, though they now seem to plan to shift that over to HTC (Taiwanese, not sure where they manufacture their HMDS), possible to focus on a third revision of the base stations. So basically, by boycotting Chinese companies/Goertek, you’d pretty much limit your VR options to PSVR and Cardboard, and I’m again not sure where Sony actually manufactures the PSVR 2. Though it is most likely somewhere in China.

        Luckily the fact that a company is located in a country with a totalitarian regime doesn’t mean that the company itself supports this, even if they are forced to comply to local laws and government request for data. Though if the last one was a strict factor for avoiding companies, pretty much everybody that isn’t a US citizen would have to boycott any US company, as the US has written their right to force any US company to hand over any non-US citizen data into law, even if the data isn’t stored in the US, but e.g. the EU, to prevent exactly that. Which is why the EU supreme court has killed every US-EU data “safe harbour” agreement, because in every single one the US introduced loopholes to allow them to keep on spying on anyone.

        • Arno van Wingerde

          I think the fact that are produced in China, does not mean that Chinese companies/government can see your data, which is the point here. Could they have have put “phone home” stuff in there? Possible, but it sounds unlikely. With a Pico4 that is pretty much guaranteed… if it worries you to let Xi know what your living room looks like in the first place!

          • Christian Schildwaechter

            Pico is owned by ByteDance and the data security policy is the same as with their main product TikTok. TikTok went out of their way to ensure US citizens that no data would be leaked to the Chinese government ever by having all the US user data hosted by Oracle (thanks to Oracle being close to the US government and the Oracle CEO being close to Donald Trump), including all the data processing. TikTok engineers only access the data indirectly through protocols defines and controlled by Oracle. They can access the public data as found on TikTok itself, but so can anybody else, e.g. Facebook. They define their own analytics to determine trends etc. which run on the personal data inside Oracle’s data black box, but they can never access private data directly. So even if the Chinese government tried to force them to access data from US citizens or introduce back doors, they technically simply couldn’t, they would have Oracle to get to do it for them.

            I am fully aware of all the heinous things the Chinese government does and how much they rely on controlling and monitoring user data, but from all we know, that is child’s play compared to the level of net surveillance that the NSA and the Five Eyes intelligence alliance are performing. And while China is mostly obsessed with controlling their own citizens, the Five Eyes countries systematically monitor the (internet) communication of everyone but their own citizens, which they have to leave out due to their own data privacy laws.

            Yes, I’d probably prefer my data to be leaked to the US government rather than the Chinese government, even though the US probably could cause me more harm, as the US government is at least controlled by a democratic process. There are many, many, many reasons to criticize the China government and be carefully about the influence they have on companies one might be dealing with. But the level of basically sinophobia shown whenever there is a product by a Chinese company is bordering the ridiculous, esp. considering how interwoven these companies are into the international supply chain. At the same time a company like Facebook has been caught multiple times abusing use data, giving/selling it to third parties, actively manipulating users, lying to congress or breaking promises, and is the center of discussions about knowingly accepting causing mental harm in teenagers for the benefit of profits.

            Just because something comes out of China, it isn’t automatically spy ware. And if you are using a product from a large US company like Meta, Google or Amazon, it is pretty much guaranteed to spy on you. It won’t report your shopping preferences to the US government, but neither will a Chinese company, because honestly they don’t really care about you or what type of peanut butter you prefer.

            And while being cautions is always a good idea, being paranoid is pretty much always a bad idea. Lots of people continuously ignoring widely published facts like the TikTok-Oracle data safe-harbour deal and instead just declaring everything Chinese automatically as evil surveillance tools puts them into the conspiracy corner, where facts no longer matter, only ideology.

          • Bruh you are 100% paid by the Chinese government to spout this propaganda on the internet. No normal human being puts this much effort into a stupid online shitposting.

    • Darshan

      Xiaomi is Just that… Like or hate. They provide very very aggressive pricing for hardware, at cost of your privacy ;-)

  • Interesting design… I love how glasses are getting cord-free

    • Darshan

      At cost of weight on face. bad tradeoff. I am very very curious what is real world battery life? 2 hour? battery life at least got to be sufficient for a movie length.

  • ZeePee

    Very good, but still a bit too heavy.

    For glasses design, it needs to be more like 80g max, like the nreal air.

    Otherwise it will feel heavy on the nose after not too long.

    No doubt the wireless design is what will add weight that could be trimmed.

    I think the target weight should be 80g.

    Work from there as a standard, and if you can get it to be wireless by not adding too much beyond 80g, then cool.

    Otherwise, it just won’t be that comfortable.

    Understandably, this has more tech on board than say something like Nreal air. Even 100g would be a lot better. 127g is still pushing it, and I think that could be minimised by removing wireless capability. Comfort first, its king.

    FoV is likely no more than 50°, otherwise they would have mentioned.

    • Darshan

      Battery is culprit, better xiaomi provide ultra thin flexible yet strong cable for processing and power transfer, this will reduce weight to magical 75 Gms figure. Where typical glasses fare between 33 to 45 Gms. 75 Gms I believe is right figure to target. Also despite of invention of wireless ear buds we still have plenty of wired ear buds still in demand.

      • ZeePee

        Yep, 100%.

        It’s the wrong way to go. We cannot go wireless if its going to add so much weight.

        It’s just not good enough.

        80g needs to be the target.

        We can handle a cable. People are very happy with nreal air. We’ve been fine with headphone wires and it’s still ok.

        • Darshan

          Specially if those wires are thin, flexible and strong built (Kevlar covered). When they reduce weight of Computational unit & battery from the on face unit its decent tradeoff for comfortable extended usage.

    • At 50 degrees FOV it’s pointless like all the rest. Until that problem is solved, they’re not going anywhere.

  • Martin

    Nope. Not there yet. And the pinch to click thing needs to be killed immediately. It is the worst interface ever. Immensely frustrating. Quest now has proper interaction with the interface by just poking and finger scrolling. Just like using a phone. Anything that doesn’t have that minimum should be thrown out.

    Oh, and then the China is the devil out to destroy western civilization/privacy thing.

    Stay away from this.

    • Darshan

      Don’t afraid of China, Sort way with them. They are power to reckon with.
      One may like or not almost 75% of their daily use electronics has some/most parts made in china. Why not to find a harmony where civilizations can peacefully co-exist.

  • dk

    it’s a prototype right …any roadmap for a product