Chinese smartphone maker Oppo enters the thin & light reality market

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo enters the thin & light reality market

Published: 21-12-2021
Updated: 31-01-2023

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo announced an Assisted Reality device: Oppo Air Glass, targeting the health-conscious business professional in China, Japan, Korea, and English-speaking countries. The new aR reality device will have a limited release in China during Q1 of 2022.

Chinese Oppo enters Assisted Reality with Oppo Air Glass

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corporation; or simply, Oppo, “has been exploring the possibilities of Extended Reality (XR) for a long time. And with Air Glass, we have finally created a smart glass product that is truly within the reach of consumers,” said Levin Liu, OPPO Vice President and Head of OPPO Research Institute.

During Oppo’s innovation event: “Oppo INNO Day 2021”, in Shenzhen, China, Oppo announced its Assisted Reality headset: Oppo Air Glass. Further going into details in an accompanied press release titled: “OPPO Introduces Air Glass, Featuring Creative Cicada Wing Design and Self-designed Spark Micro Projector”

The Air Glass itself is designed with a futuristic sensibility, resembling a stylized caller-headset with an elongated waterdrop monocle; described in the press release as “inspired by the wings of the cicada”.

Oppo Air Glass specifications

  • Weight: 30 grams (about 1oz) light weight.
  • Battery: The battery will last 3 hours of active usage and 40 hours on standby.
  • Design: A futuristic, sleek, and stylish design – able to be magnetically attached to spectacles.
  • Projector: In-house developed Spark Micro Projector™ delivering 0.5cc, or roughly a display frame of a coffee bean.
  • Display Type: Micro-LED screen with an optical waveguide display, sporting a brightness of up to 3 million nits.
  • Display fidelity: Supporting two display modes of 16-level grayscale and 256-level grayscale.
  • Glass type: Two layers of protective sapphire glass.
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Platform.
  • Interaction: Four natural User Interface options: touch on the stem, voice, head movement, and hand motion: while also being able to operate with the Smart Glass App on Oppo smartwatches and smartphones.
  • Colors: The Air Glass comes in two colors of silver and black.

In short, the aR headset provides information on top of the reality viewed through the Glass within the user’s direct field of view. An Assisted Reality category that opens use cases such as live translations, health and weather information, metric or imperial real-time measurements, GPS directions, and more.
In other words, aR is a less intrusive reality solution for the wearer and is a less crowded competitive space than Augmented and Virtual Reality. In Oppo deciding to develop such an aR offering is to position themselves similarly to other competitors within both AR and VR but doing it through the product category of aR.

However, as it stands right now with the announcement and press release-controlled information, we do not know the DoF (Degrees-of-Freedom) of any of these nUI (natural User Interface) systems. But it is more than likely that the headset will feature inside-out tracking from the Air Glass itself.

vr expert - oppo air glass

Why make an AR or VR Headset when you can make an aR device?

It is noticeable that the branding of “Air” is one of the trends of 2021 in the reality market, sparking associations of lightweight, small, and thin – escaping common thoughts of bulky, heavy, and all-covering. Likewise, the differentiation of a more stylish and thin design is also seen from Nreal with its Light and Air headsetsHTC with its Vive FlowFacebook/Meta with its partnership with Ray-Ban, and EM3 with its thinnest VR headset on the market.

It will be interesting to see how Oppo will differentiate itself from the competition with similar branding on lightweight, stylized design, and thinness.

Namely, the positioning of the competition is as follows:

  • Nreal is preparing and setting up to build its multisided platform: becoming what Apple is for smartwatches with its app store.
  • HTC Vive Flow is differentiating on mindfulness and ASMR.
  • Facebook/Meta bandwagon its positioning for the early-majority consumer through the Ray-Ban brand; and its upcoming Project Cambria being very similar to HTC’s Vive Flow.
  • And, lastly, EM3 focuses on ‘the thinnest X’ promotion strategy.

Currently, Oppo is only distinguished by the product category: Assisted Reality, where RealWear is the main competitor as well as Vuzix with its M400 offering. However, it seems that Oppo is targeting health-conscious business professionals in China and English-speaking countries. As the Air Glass delivers automatically translated text from real-time voice input. 

vr expert - oppo air glass

Furthermore, Oppo has partnered with Baidu, the Google of China specifically with the Walk & Bike Navigation services, and Google’s Explore Nearby navigation services to help bikers and hikers alike.


The Chinese smartphone maker, Oppo, has now turned Assisted Reality maker; positioning themselves with a thin and stylish offering, targeting health-conscious business professionals in China, Japan, Korea, and English-speaking countries. Oppo has made an aR device with a similar design language of lightweight and thin: trying a similar positioning strategy but delivering it in an aR reality device rather than an AR or VR headset.