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Augmented reality’s awkward phase will be long and painful

Howdy friends, this is the web version of my Week in Review newsletter, it’s here to entice you to sign up and get it in your inbox every week.
Last week, I showcased how Twitter was looking at the future of the web with a decentralized approach so that they wouldn’t be stuck unilaterally de-platforming the next world leader. This week, I scribbled some thoughts on another aspect of the future web, the ongoing battle between Facebook and Apple to own augmented reality. Releasing the hardware will only be the start of a very messy transition from smartphone-first …

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Pinterest launches an AR-powered Try-on experience for eyeshadow

Pinterest is expanding its virtual makeup try-on capabilities with today’s launch of a new augmented reality feature that allows online shoppers to virtually try on new eyeshadow. Initially, Pinterest is allowing try-on with 4,000 shades from brands like Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay, and NYX Cosmetics.
The feature leverages Pinterest’s existing Lens visual search technology, its skin tone ranges feature, and computer-vision powered recommendations, the company says. We also understand Pinterest is incorporating elements from data partner ModiFace, including digitization parameters that ensure the products recognized are mapped to ModiFace’s database for higher-quality rendering.
This not Pinterest’s first …

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Lenovo launches AR glasses for enterprise

Lenovo seems to have gotten the memo that the real money in the augmented reality space is going to be made in enterprise. Ahead of tomorrow’s CES kick off, the hardware company announced the impending arrival of the ThinkReality A3, a pair of enterprise AR glasses that look to follow the lead set by companies like Epson and Microsoft.
The glasses are set to arrive at some point in the middle of the year. No word from Lenovo on pricing — which isn’t entirely surprising for an enterprise-only device. The headset sports a 1080p resolution, powered by Qualcomm’s …

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Despite limitations, 3D and AR are creating new realities in retail

Kate Wilson
Contributor

Dan Burgar
Contributor

In North America, shoppers are increasingly turning to online orders to buy their products.
National postal services have seen a significant uptick in parcel volumes; so many that the number matches those sent during the Christmas surge — minus the wrapping paper. But although the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for online shopping, it’s part of a continuing trend.
The online sector has slowly been eating up the percentage of sales from retail stores. Virtual shopping’s total share of the global market has doubled between 2015 and 2019, with the U.S. Department of …

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China’s smartphone giant Oppo ratchets up AR push

Tech companies around the world are still identifying the “next big thing” enabled by 5G connections. Some, such as Oppo, are betting it will be augmented reality.

The Chinese smartphone firm showcased its progress in AR at a Tuesday event swarmed by hundreds of reporters, analysts, and partners in Shenzhen. Green strobe light, the color of its brand, beamed as vice president Liu Chang unveiled the Oppo AR Glass 2021, a lightweight headset slightly chunkier than regular glasses.

Still in the concept phase, the headset comes with fisheye cameras, tracks hands in milliseconds, and can supposedly simulate the experience of watching a 90-inch screen from three meters away.

The concept product is the result of Oppo’s three-year-plan, unveiled last year, to spend 50 billion yuan ($7.62 billion) on futuristic tech including AR.

Smartphone makers from Xiaomi to Huawei are embracing AR as they design headsets that can tether to smartphones, taking advantage of the latter’s computing power. The Oppo AR Glass 2021, for instance, is designed to link to the Oppo Find X2 Pro which contains a Snapdragon 865 chipset.

It’s unclear when Oppo’s AR glasses will hit the shelf, but the firm is actively building the ecosystem needed for mass-market adoption, from working with content providers like video streaming site iQiyi to launching a developer initiative next year to make development tools widely available.

At the same event, Oppo also flaunted a concept phone with a “scrolling” OLED screen that could make an alternative to existing foldable phones. Oppo declined to disclose who the display maker is.

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