There is a renewed push to make smart glasses the next big thing and these may be the most impressive yet – TCL unveiled the Thunderbird Smart Glasses Pioneer Edition. They use a micro-LED display with a wave guide that was developed in-house over the last three years. It’s a transparent color display, so these look and feel like regular glasses.
This sets them apart from Xiaomi’s concept smart glasses, which only featured a monochrome display also using micro-LED. In both cases the LEDs are tiny, just 4 µm in size, but TCL’s team developed a proprietary algorithm that enables the Thunderbird glasses to show a full-color image.
Check out the video below for a demonstration of what one can do with smart glasses. Basically, the aim is to replace your smartphone or at least its display to start. You can read the news, view messages, check your schedule, control your smart home and so on, all with the added advantage that the glasses are a display that’s always in front of you.
The demo also shows that the glasses have a built-in camera (which sits on the bridge of the nose). You can snap photos, which automatically get transferred to your phone. There are no details about the camera or indeed the glasses themselves in this first announcement.
Right now it looks like you still need your phone to provide the Internet connectivity and most of the smarts, the glasses are mostly a display with simple touch controls on the side.
TCL didn’t reveal when the Thunderbird Smart Glasses Pioneer Edition will be available to consumers or how much they will cost.
PS. you may remember the Ray-Ban Stories that launched recently, smart glasses with a Wayfarer design. Those don't have a display, though, and neither do the Razer Anzu. Also, the HTC Vive Flow from yesterday is a VR headset (though it has cameras, so it can sort-of function like glasses). Having a display puts the Thunderbirds (and the Xiaomi concept glasses) in a completely different category, even if all of these are colloquially called “smart glasses”.