(Use the buttons below to download the complete chart)
XR headset shipments declined 49% YoY in Q2 2023. The decline was significantly more than in previous second quarters as the market struggled with lackluster demand.
The performance of the newly launched next-generation Sony PSVR2 (PlayStation VR2), along with the price reduction on Meta’s Quest 2, saved the global market from a bigger decline.
Meta captured half of the shipments in Q2 2023, similar as in Q1 2023. The share decline was a result of the highly anticipated launch of Sony’s successor to its 2016 headset PSVR.
2023 is the year of next-generation VR headset launches. The PSVR2, E4 and Vive XR Elite are some of the prominent launches so far. And then, of course, Apple has announced its Vision Pro and Meta its Quest 3.
WATCH: AjnaLens VR Training – Teleporting Trainees to Job Site
For a more detailed AR & VR headsets (XR) shipments tracker, click below:
This is a comprehensive database of Extended Reality (XR) headset model level shipments by quarter including retail price and 30+ specifications and features. It covers tethered as well as standalone Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) headset models. We are tracking 35+ XR brands and 70+ headset models by memory variants. Covers 99% of the global market Data: Model level shipments of XR headsets including retail price, specs, and features. Time Period: Q1 2020 – Q2 2023
For detailed insights on the data, please reach out to us at sales(at)counterpointresearch.com. If you are a member of the press, please contact us at press(at)counterpointresearch.com for any media enquiries.
Twenty years ago, I was an equity analyst for a Wall Street investment bank. At the time, my research director liked to get all the analysts to write occasional thought pieces. In the following article written in June 2003, I chose to write a speculative piece that looked back to 2003 from five years in the future, i.e. 2008. I speculated that there would be quite a few technological leaps in the five intervening years.
Given the 20 years that have now passed since I wrote the article, how many of those technologies have actually come into being? As you will see, not many, while others that were not foreseen have matured – for example, app-based smartphones and music streaming.
Without specifically naming it as artificial intelligence, I foresaw a role for cloud-based intelligent software agents that would provide intuitive assistance in multiple situations – a true digital assistant. These have not come into being and they are not even much discussed. We do have digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, but they are mostly incapable of anything more than answering simple questions and certainly couldn’t be trusted to book travel tickets, make restaurant reservations or update other people’s diaries. While ChatGPT and derivatives of Large Language Models seem superficially smarter, they are still not yet at the stage of being able to function as a general assistant.
One other technology referenced in the article that is still far from maturity, is augmented reality. The glasses described were not too far-fetched – Microsoft’s HoloLens can achieve some of what is described and Epson and Vuzix, for example, have developed glasses that are in use by field service engineers. But these products are not able to reference real-world objects. Apple’s forthcoming Vision Pro, while technically brilliant, would not be a suitable solution for the use case described.
At the end of the article, I listed companies that I expected to be playing a significant role in the development of the various technologies highlighted. But where are those companies now?
For context, and for the younger readers, around the turn of this century, third-generation cellular licenses had been expensively auctioned in several countries and many mobile operators were struggling to generate a return on their investment. Oh, how things have changed (or not)! As an analyst covering mobile technology, I could see that investors were valuing mobile operators solely on their voice and text revenues, with zero value being ascribed to future data revenues. My article was also an attempt to awaken investors to the potential value beyond voice.
Anyway, here’s the report that I wrote in mid-2003. It was written as though it were an article in a business newspaper.
Special Report – June 2008
It is just eight years since European wireless telecom companies became the subject of outright derision for spending billions of dollars on licenses to operate third-generation cellular networks. Now the self-same companies have become core to our everyday existence. Their stock, which bottomed in the middle of 2002, has risen steadily ever since.
The original promise of 3G technology was high-speed data networking coupled with an exceptional capacity for both voice and data. But critics said that it was an innovation users didn’t need, want or would be willing to pay for.
When the first commercial 3G networks appeared in 2003 and faltered at the first step, the doubters started to look dangerously like they had a point. But the universe is fickle and within the last two or three years, the combination of maturing networks and the inevitable power of Moore’s Law has started to deliver wireless devices and applications that would have been thought of, if not as science fiction, then at least science-stretching-the-bounds-of-credibility, when the licenses were issued.
However, while the long-time infamy of 3G means it is taking the starring role as industry watchers chart the chequered history of the technology, it is the supporting cast of technologies that has really delivered the goods. Without them, 3G would have remained just another method to access the backbone network.
The following snapshots from one perfectly ordinary day last month show how the coordinated application of a whole slew of technologies has subtly but distinctly altered our lives.
Bristol – May 1, 2008, 12:57 pm
Beads of sweat form on the face of Jim McKenna, a 24-year-old technician, as he studies the guts of a damaged generator. McKenna is a member of a rapid response team, looking after mission-critical power generation facilities across Southern England.
“Dave, I’ve located the damaged circuits, I think I can repair it, but the control unit is non-standard and I’ve not seen one like it before. Can you help me out here?”
McKenna’s voice is picked up by a tiny transducer microphone embedded in a Bluetooth-enabled hands-free earbud. The bud is so small it nestles unobtrusively in the technician’s ear. The earbud is wirelessly connected to the small transceiver on McKenna’s belt. His voice activates a ‘push’-to-talk connection to his controller in the Scottish technical support center. The word push is in quotes because it is his voice that effects the push, leaving McKenna’s hands entirely free.
In the Edinburgh-based command center, David Sanderson, an experienced engineer, maximizes the image from one of a half-dozen sub-screens that compete for his attention. Each screen shows live pictures from his team of technicians with data about their location and degree of job completion.
Sanderson taps the screen again and, 400 miles away in Bristol, a tiny camera on McKenna’s smart glasses zooms in on the generator specification plate. Sanderson peers intently at the screen:
“I see a code on the side panel. I’ve highlighted it for you. Can you scan it? I can then pull the circuit files for you”.
Seemingly in mid-air, a red circle appears around a barcode away to McKenna’s right. The heads-up display in McKenna’s glasses maintains a fix on the code even though he moves his head. He leans across and uses the camera to scan the code, which is instantaneously transmitted back to Edinburgh where the circuit plans are uploaded from the database. Sanderson extracts the relevant section before speaking again to McKenna.
“Jim, I’m initiating the synchronization, you should have it in a few seconds.”
The 3G transceiver on Jim’s belt receives the information and immediately routes it to his smart glasses via Bluetooth. As Jim looks at the damaged circuitry, the heads-up display begins to superimpose the circuit diagram over the actual circuits, adjusting for size. He spends a few minutes comparing the damaged circuits with the schematic images. He calls for more backup.
“Dave, the problem is definitely in this sector of the step-down circuit,” McKenna points to a series of circuit boards, “is there a suggested workaround in the troubleshooting file?”
Within minutes the heads-up display starts guiding McKenna through a series of measures that isolates and bypasses the damaged circuits. Within 20 minutes, McKenna successfully reboots the system – power is restored.
Five years ago, very little of the above could have been done as efficiently and intuitively. Field service engineers needed substantial experience to tackle complex tasks – they also had to carry heavy, often ruggedized PCs and a whole series of manuals on CD-ROMs. Technical backup, where available, was a cellular voice call.
Liverpool Street, London, May 1, 2008, 2:32 pm
Joanne King, an equity analyst, is meeting a buy-side client. As they settle into the soft leather chairs of the meeting room, she slides a flexible plastic sheet across the table. The sheet is printed with electronic ink. The latest marketing pack was downloaded to her mobile terminal on the way over in the taxi. She taps the screen of her smartphone and the slide set appears on the sheet. As Joanne and her client discuss the vagaries of the stock market, they are able to use virtual tabs to flip between ‘pages’ within the pack. When the client requests more information on the balance sheet of one of companies they’re discussing, Joanne is able to pull down the necessary information, adding it to the slide set.
Partway through the discussion, Joanne hears a subtle tone in her ear indicating an urgent communication request from her personal digital assistant. She apologizes to the client before initiating the communication path. “Wildfire, what’s the problem?” she knows that Wildfire will only override her no-interrupt rule if an issue requires immediate attention.
“An air traffic control strike in Paris has disrupted all flights. Your 6 pm Brussels flight is showing a two-hour delay and may be canceled. The best alternative is to take the Eurostar train. Services leave at 16:30 and 18:30.”
After a moment’s thought, Joanne comes to a decision: “Book the 16:30, please.” Conscious of the topics still to cover in her meeting, she adds, “Can you also have a taxi waiting when I am through here?”
Wildfire confirms the instructions and drops back into meeting mode. Joanne apologizes to the client and resumes her meeting. Meanwhile, Joanne’s software agent communicates with various travel services, canceling her flight reservation and booking the rail service.
Having learned from Joanne’s prior behavior, the agent books a First Class seat in a carriage toward the front of the train. The agent also communicates with a taxi firm – a car will be waiting when her meeting is completed. The agent is authorized to spend money within predefined limits. Simultaneously, the agent modifies Joanne’s expense report and calendar.
Joanne’s dinner date with friends in Brussels will be hard to keep given the change in travel plans. The agent negotiates with the diaries of her three dinner guests and the reservation computer at their chosen restaurant. A new reservation is agreed and four diaries are updated accordingly.
At the conclusion of her meeting, Joanne leaves the slide set contained in the pre-punched flexible display. Her client will be able to store it in standard folders and refer to it at leisure. Solar cells ensure that there is enough power to display the material without having to worry about battery charge.
As she heads for the taxi, Joanne’s location-aware PDA recognizes she is in motion and, therefore, ready to communicate. “Joanne, you have 2 voice messages, 23 business e-mails and 12 personal e-mails. How would you like me to handle them?” Joanne chooses to listen and respond to a voicemail on the short taxi ride to Waterloo, deferring the e-mails for the train.
Once in her seat on the Eurostar train, Joanne unfolds a screen and keyboard that work alongside her 3G smartphone. Bluetooth provides the link between the smartphone, screen and keyboard. The Light Emitting Polymer screen is extremely lightweight and flexible, yet delivers high contrast and color resolution. Power consumption is low.
Joanne spends an hour responding to the e-mails before kicking off her shoes and taking out an e-book to settle down to listen to some music. She is particularly looking forward to a new album she bought on the way to the station. A song she was unfamiliar with came over the radio in the taxi – loving it, but not knowing what it was, Joanne recorded a quick burst. Vodafone, her service provider, was able to identify the music and offered to sell her the single or album. In anticipation of her long train ride, she chose the album. Leaning back in her seat, she lets the cool beats ease her to Brussels.
In 2003, one-on-one presentations were either made from a PC screen or delivered on regular paper. Meeting interruptions were either obtrusive or impossible, and changing travel reservations on the fly typically required several people – often with intervention by the traveler herself. Meanwhile, mobile e-mail was possible but only on large-screen PCs, compromised by size, weight and power consumption, or devices with screens and keyboards too small for anything other than limited responses.
Hyde Park – May 1, 2:18 pm
Mike Lee is on his way home from high school. He flips his skateboard down three steps and dives for cover in the bushes, the sound of gunfire ringing in his ears. Peering through the leaves, he holds a small flat panel console in front of him. He scans through 120 degrees, concentrating on the screen. The intense rhythms of electro-house are now the loudest sounds he hears, but there is also the distant rap of gunfire. On the screen, he sees the surrounding park, but in addition, the occasional outlandish figure appears, flitting between hiding places among the trees. “Josh! Where are you?” Mike demands in an urgent whisper.
“I’m by the lake dude. Surrounded. Can you get down here? I’m running out of ammo.”
Mike swings around, looking toward the lake through his device. He sees Josh’s position highlighted on the screen. He turns back, takes a deep breath and starts jabbing buttons on his device. Explosions and smoke fill the screen. Then running to the path, he jumps back on his skateboard and carves down the hill to the lake, pitching into the shrubbery next to his buddy Josh. They proceed to engage the advancing enemy in a frenzy of laser grenades, gunfire and whoops of delight.
After a few minutes, they both hear the words they have been waiting for, “Well done men, you have completed Level 12. Hit the download button to move on to the next level.”
Mobile gaming, even as recently as 2003, offered a relatively poor user experience. Simple Java games were the norm. Games now not only involve online buddies but they are also immersed into the surrounding environment, massively enhancing the experience.
3G has come a long way from its ignominious start. However, the real catalyst that has made it a life-changing technology has been the incredible range of diverse technologies that have emerged to support the growth in wireless voice and data applications.
My original cast of technology characters has seen mixed fortunes, some are still around but with different owners while others have disappeared altogether. Few are still going in their original business niche:
Nokiaand Motorolaare brands that are still making mobile devices, but in different guises than in 2003.
I don’t know what became of Sound ID. There is an app called SoundID created by Sonar Works, but it is different and unrelated to the Sound ID identified in the article. But Bluetooth True Wireless earbuds are now a huge market.
Microvision is still in business but has shifted its focus to LiDAR in the automotive space.
Sonim is still in business and still making ruggedized devices, including push-to-talk devices for the safety and security sectors.
Advanced Recognition Technologies was acquired by Scansoft in 2005.
Wildfire was an innovative voice-controlled personal assistant that was acquired by the operator Orange in 2000. But Orange killed the service in 2005.
E-Ink still exists, although Philips parted ways with it in 2005.
Shazam still exists but was acquired by Apple in 2018. When it started in 2002, you had to dial a short number and hold your phone to the sound source. Users would then receive an SMS with the song title and artist.
Apple announced Vision Pro at the June 5 WWDC with a launch price of $3,499.
It will be released early next year starting with the US, the biggest XR headset market with over 70% share in 2022.
Featuring advanced specs and a sleek design, it has enterprise, gaming, content and connectivity use cases.
However, with a price of 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, it is unlikely to ship over half a million units in its first year.
Apple made its long-anticipated foray into the extended reality (XR) market with the announcement of a $3,499 headset, Vision Pro, at this year’s WWDC on June 5. While Apple is calling it an augmented reality (AR) headset, it is effectively a mixed reality headset based on video pass-through, although done better than anyone else. This is an important step forward for the technology which may eventually replace smartphones, personal computers and televisions.
Apple’s short-term and long-term prospects
With such high expectations, Apple’s stock reached an all-time high before the announcement but fell during the keynote address. This shift in investor stance reflects the challenges that complicate this opportunity.
Apple has also not jumped on to the AI bandwagon so far as it is not its core strength but may yield dividends in the nearer term, thus influencing investor perception of the stock’s attractiveness.
Given primarily the hefty price tag, which is 12 times that of an entry-level Quest headset, the first iteration of the headset is unlikely to sell more than half a million units in the first year of availability. Investors’ reaction also reflects this. Apple’s concern, however, is not the day’s stock movement but the next decade and beyond of technological evolution – about a post-smartphone future and how to secure it.
WATCH:Apple Vision Pro Mixed Reality Headset: Quick Look at Key Features
Cutting-edge technology and Apple premium explain the price tag
In order to secure this long-term future, after eight years of work and 5,000 patents, Apple has announced what it describes as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever”. It features Apple’s powerful M2 processor with its custom R1 co-processor that helps manage the computational load from multiple cameras and other sensors in the spatial computing device.
Its two microOLED displays offer an unrivalled viewing experience with more than a 4K-per-eye resolution. So far, only tethered VR devices by Czech-based VRGineers and China-based Pimax have offered headsets with 4K display but in LCD.
The Vision Pro also takes the industry forward with an immersive audio experience enabled by two amplified drivers in audio pods next to each ear.
In demos, Apple employees scanned reviewers’ ears and their surroundings to calibrate spatial audio, besides scanning their faces for Face ID.
The device uses advanced scanning to personalize the experience. Facial scanning is done to create a representation of the user’s face. This is used in, for example, virtual conferencing. Eye movements and facial expressions are rendered faithfully. The device also scans the environment to optimize the audio settings to deliver accurate spatial audio.
With an external battery pack, Vision Pro is just shy of being completely self-sufficient
The headset does not come with controllers as it uses advanced eye, voice and gesture tracking through 12 cameras, 6 microphones and 5 sensors.
An external battery pack, however, prevents the device from being completely standalone despite featuring multiple integrated chipsets which enable autonomous computing. A two-hour battery life, then, is disappointing.
Developer kits and six months to create apps for wide-ranging use cases
The gestation period of six months before the headset is available for purchase in early 2024 in the US will enable developers to build, iterate and test apps on the headset. They carry a heavy weight of expectations to update existing apps for the spatial environment and to create killer new apps offering use cases for both consumers as well as enterprises on Apple’s all-new VisionOS platform.
Scale and size to allow Apple to forge partnerships critical for the technology’s success
The partnerships, such as those Apple has struck with Disney, Unity and Zeiss, are also key to ensuring the success of Vision Pro, and indeed the technology in general, especially in the early days when buyers may need every push to try out a technology with which few are familiar.
Meta has tried this for its enterprise-grade headset, the 2022-launched Quest Pro, with indeterminate although likely unremarkable outcomes. Apple’s advantage lies in its ability to entice a whole host of firms, including Hollywood studios, to create custom content for its headset.
Concerns and challenges that may obstruct Apple’s path to spatial success
Vision Pro is clearly only an early step in what is going to be a long journey before face-worn computers become mainstream. There are several obstacles that obstruct this path and will need to be overcome to realize such a future.
While Apple’s ski goggle-like design is sleek and attractive, widespread acceptance can be attained by compressing similar compute in a compact eye-worn glass-like design.
The headset offloads some of its weight to an external battery pack but is still described by reviewers as being hefty. For a headset to become mainstream, it will need to be lightweight enough to be comfortably worn for extended periods.
Eventually, the battery needs to be integrated with the main headset while concurrently reducing its weight. Besides, the battery life will also need to be increased to at least 8-10 hours before headsets can come close to becoming integral parts of our daily lives.
In this regard, Apple has already taken steps to allay concerns by ensuring that consumer data is protected, and in some cases, not even accessible to Apple. With its current headset looking clearly like a tech device and unlikely to be used for extended periods in public, Apple has also dodged one of the bullets that killed Google Glasses – the fear of headset users breaching the privacy of unsuspecting passersby. However, as Apple’s headset becomes sleeker, these concerns will have to be addressed.
Apple’s success will be the industry’s gain
Regardless of these challenges, Apple’s long-awaited entry into the segment has already generated an upswing in consumer interest towards XR hardware that perhaps even Facebook’s name change to Meta did not. This interest is likely to translate into increased sales of headsets of all types. For those unable to afford Apple’s prices, or unwilling to wait long enough for it to become available for sale (especially outside of the US), rival headsets will be good alternatives to try out the tech.
So, even if the launch of what Apple described as “the most advanced personal electronics device ever” may not be an iPhone moment, it is a positive step and will take the industry forward.
Feel free to reach us at email@example.com for questions regarding our latest research and insights.
Meta announced the launch of the Quest 3 headset on June 1. To be retailed at just under $500, it will be released in autumn. The Quest 3 will have both VR and MR capabilities.
The Quest 2 has also received a $100 price cut, with the entry-level variant available at $299 starting June 4.
Together with its newly discounted predecessor, the Quest 3 is expected to help the company maintain market dominance for now.
Meta’s announcement came days ahead of WWDC, where Apple will reportedly announce its own MR headset.
London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – June 5, 2023
The announcement of Meta’s Quest 3 headset at $499.99 and the Quest 2’s $100 price cut to $299 just before the rumoured launch of Apple’s first mixed reality (MR) headset shows the social media parent’s determination to lead the extended reality (XR) headset market.
Meta described the Quest 3, which will have both VR and MR capabilities, as its “most powerful headset yet”. The announcement of a successor to the best-selling XR model in history after three years of no consumer-grade headset launches by Meta is an important step forward for the company as well as for the industry.
In line with the season’s flavour, mixed reality, the Quest 3 features the next generation of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chipset and yet to be disclosed but likely superior display resolution, memory, battery life and weight.
The Quest 3’s launch in autumn, together with the price cut of the Quest 2, will be enough to maintain Meta’s market dominance in terms of shipments for the foreseeable future.
Apple’s expected announcement of a $3,000 MR headset during this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on June 5 will create the biggest challenge to Meta since its entry into the segment through the acquisition of Oculus VR in 2014. If Apple succeeds in bringing the cost down and gaining a foothold in the market through successive iterations of the $3,000 headset, it may supplant Meta as the biggest revenue generator in the market which Meta has dominated thus far both in terms of revenue and shipments.
Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.
Feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions regarding our latest research and insights.
The AR/VR (Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality) hype in China has gone through two waves of growth, despite the current relatively small market size. The market and investment hype in China has waned and returned to a more rational level since the beginning of 2023. This can be attributed to the dismal profitability of internet giants under macroeconomic pressure and the underwhelming sales performance of VR devices.
Exhibit 1: Development stage of the AR/VR Industry in China
Source: Counterpoint Analysis
Nonetheless, China’s national government has recognized the long-term potential of XR (eXtended Reality) technologies, with the XR industry prioritized as one of the top seven key industries to constitute the digital economy of China in the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan. Recently, CAICT (China Academy of Information and Communications Technology) has also introduced action plans to foster the integration of virtual reality technologies (including augmented reality and mixed reality technologies) and vertical applications from 2022 to 2026.
The development of VR glasses took off in China in 2016, with standalone devices becoming mainstream in 2019. As of 2023, we are seeing the market frenzy for VR devices subsiding, with the industry waiting for the introduction of Apple’s first MR headset. Meanwhile, the development of AR glasses is still at an early stage, with only limited products available in China prior to 2022. However, since 2022/2023, we are seeing more products being commercialized.
Regarding the XR device value chain, Chinese companies dominate in certain technology aspects, such as the optic and display solutions, battery, and ODM & EMS (Original Device Manufacturer/Electronics Manufacturing Services), but still lag behind in the development of SoC (System on Chip), connectivity, memory, as well as some areas in the sensing and interaction technologies.
Source: Counterpoint Analysis
In the following sections of this report, we will present an analysis of the development of China and key Chinese players in the core AR/VR technology domains.
SoC: Qualcomm clearly leads with the first-mover advantage
Before 2018, most AR/VR headsets in the market were supported by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon mobile platforms and its bundled XR SDKs. Following the launch of the Snapdragon XR1 Platform, popular VR headsets both domestically and internationally were predominantly developed on Qualcomm’s dedicated XR platforms.
Compared to Chinese counterparts, Qualcomm’s XR chips offer distinct advantages in terms of computing power, GPU rendering capabilities, connectivity, and the overall hardware-software integration solutions. Chinese companies, including mainland China players Rockchip, Allwinner Technology, Hisilicon, and Taiwanese player MTK, have developed products for AR/VR headsets. However, only MTK’s VR SoC was adopted by leading player Sony, while solutions developed by mainland China companies were primarily utilized in lower-tier devices featuring VR videos.
Apart from MTK, China currently lacks a competitive AR/VR SoC provider capable of challenging the dominance of international players like Qualcomm and Samsung. While Chinese players such as Rockchip, GPT, and Rokid have announced their ambitions to develop more advanced AR/VR chips, it remains uncertain whether or when their efforts will pay off.
The following sections of the report will cover our analysis on various AR/VR technology domains, including optic technologies such as Fresnel lens, pancake solutions, birdbath/freeform optics/waveguides solutions, display technologies such as Fast-LCD, OLED, L-COS, Micro OLED, Micro LED, sensing & interaction technologies like rotational and transitional movements tracking of head and controllers, hands recognition, eyes tracking, video see-through, connectivity/memory/battery technologies, ODM/EMS services, as well as the global supply ecosystem and the latest development of Chinese companies in these domains. To access the full report, please click this link, or contact email@example.com.
The India-based startup, AjnaLens, is one of the Indian players in the XR (Extended Reality) space joining the Metaverse revolution. Founded in 2014, the co-founders have IIT and engineering backgrounds. Designing and manufacturing in India, AjnaLens offers AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), and Mixed Reality solutions with applications across different sectors from skill training to enterprise and even the Indian defense sector.
We recently got to spend some time at the AjnaLens office in Mumbai to talk with the co-founders, understand the product offerings, and experience the solutions in action.
The company’s mission & services
The key mission of AjnaLens is to focus on upskilling the workforce and bridging the digital divide. The company has joined hands with Tata Technologies to upgrade 150 ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) in Karnataka, India; to upskill over 9000 students using a VR-based simulator.
AjnaLens also leverages technologies such as artificial intelligence and mixed reality to upgrade defense weapon systems and tanks to help increase the effectiveness of combat missions. The mixed reality glasses can be mounted on soldiers’ helmets, enabling them to efficiently carry out surveillance and security.
Though the defense was just a byproduct, it is now most of their business. This military-grade Mixed Reality helmet also includes features like GPS for navigation, night vision, LIDAR, Sonar, and thermal scanners.
There are three core product applications:
• AR-glasses for enterprise
• Mixed Reality glasses for the military
• XR Station for VR training purposes
AjnaLens also has its own app marketplace where it can customize apps based on specific client needs. The marketplace also allows third-party app developers to submit and publish their apps. Using Android OS as a base, AjnaLens has filed for over 15 national & international patents in augmented reality, and its algorithms are its secret sauce for powering and integrating the entire system.
The upskilling challenge for industries
One of the biggest challenges facing industries is training the workforce with new skills and capabilities. The post-COVID-19 hybrid and remote working is making training even more challenging. But with VR and metaverse, these challenges can be more easily overcome.
In VR training, like that offered by AjnaLens, workers are instantly teleported to the job site (or workshop). It is one of the most effective ways to develop new skills and train the workforce. Scientific research has proven that VR training is more completely and readily absorbed by the brain than traditional classroom-type training.
VR training can offer several benefits, but the two important aspects are that it offers realistic simulations and the ability to teach even hard skills. And what better example than a flight simulator where challenging emergency scenarios can be recreated for pilot training?
WATCH: AjnaLens VR Training – Teleporting Trainees to Job Site
AjnaLens VR for training institutes: Immersive & interactive way of learning
The AjnaLens team offered us a demo of its VR solution for training institutes, and we were left impressed.
The VR headset, AjnaLite 2, is tethered to a dedicated VR workstation called Ajna XR Station, and the software is scalable across different use cases; institutes just need to load the training modules.
Currently, it supports a variety of jobs such as welding, painting, fire, and safety training.
With this 360-degree immersive environment, students or workers can learn skills like painting for automobiles and aviation.
Upon completing the tasks, students get instant grades and they can practice for an unlimited time until they perfect the processes.
As there is no need to have actual paint and car doors to learn painting, it allows organizations to greatly reduce overall training costs.
For those who wear specs, the VR glasses have an adjustable dial to adjust the lens power.
The display is bright, and crisp and did not cause any eye-fatigue issues during our limited usage.
The VR glasses and equipment like a spray gun and the welding gun have trackers to track your movement.
We were impressed with the painting job demo, and the precision of details with the angle of spray and distance.
AjnaLens AR glasses for enterprise
AjnaLens also has tethered AR glasses and ambient-aware (see-through) type features.
These are lightweight glasses that have a 2K display, speaker, and camera.
It has a 50-degree field of view and can be used to create a virtual space from the connected device.
These glasses are powered by tethering to a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC or above-powered smartphone, or a laptop or tablet using a Type-C cable.
There is no processing on the glasses, it only has MCUs for the camera, tracking, sensors, and audio.
This virtual space can have holograms and avatars, digital twins, web browsers, CAD designs, and Office apps.
Users can also take virtual team calls over platforms like Microsoft Teams or Zoom.
We did give it a try and it was quite comfortable to wear.
The display was bright enough, and color reproduction was good too.
Overall, we were left impressed with the demos we saw at AjnaLens’ office, and with this hybrid work culture and remote assistance use cases, there is room to grow and expand beyond India. AjnaLens is one of the companies in the XR space to watch out for.
With the time spent on console games, home entertainment and online education increasing against the backdrop of COVID-19, AR/VR devices are drawing more attention. Development of a killer consumer application is the key to the XR market’s growth. But prior to that, improvements are needed on the hardware side. Technical barriers and inconvenience in wearing AR/VR headsets remain. Therefore, R&D needs to be ramped up in this direction to minimize limitations in use.
Limits to AR/VR displays
AR/VR headsets should be good enough for an immersive experience. Also, they should be light in weight so that they can be worn for a long time. Further, AR/VR devices released so far may cause eye strains due to the low resolution of the displays. Also, low refresh rate delays screen updates, causing dizziness just by using it for a short time.
Technical requirements for AR/VR displays
Fine Pixel Size
High Refresh Rate
AR/VR display must first be made to a very fine pixel size for accurate color and image reproduction. Also, a high refresh rate is important for AR/VR displays. Smartphones must have a high refresh rate of at least 120Hz to reduce motion blur on video, but even the most recent AR/VR devices, like the Oculus Quest 2, have a 72Hz refresh rate, which is far short and must be at least 120Hz. Resolution is also important. The average resolution of OLED smartphones is 550 ppi but AR/VR devices require about 3,500 ppi because they feature near-eye displays.
OLEDoS: Solution for ultra-high resolution
OLEDoS (OLED on Silicon) is a display panel that typically has a diagonal length of less than 1 inch and meets the 3000 ppi-4000 ppi resolution criteria of AR/VR device displays. Existing OLED displays use Low-Temperature-Poly-Silicon (LTPS) or Oxide TFT based on glass substrates. But OLEDoS uses silicon-wafer-based CMOS substrates. Using silicon substrates, ultra-fine circuit structures typically used in semiconductor processes can be reproduced, which in turn lead to the creation of ultra-high-resolution OLEDs when organic matter is deposited on them.
Specifications of OLED and OLEDoS
OLEDoS is also called Micro OLED in the market and features high efficiency, high luminance, infinite contrast, fast response and long LED life compared to OLED. Because the size is smaller than 1 inch, the user does not see the panel directly but sees the enlarged image through the optical lens. When used on AR/VR equipment, it shows high resolution in a small, lightweight wearable device.
Apple is also likely to install OLEDoS in its second-generation AR/VR product which is expected to enter the market around 2025. In addition, it is expected that augmented reality that meets the above technical conditions will be implemented as Meta is likely to install OLEDoS in its Meta Quest 3 device, expected to be released in 2023.
OLEDoS expected to achieve 28% share in 2025
Currently, OLEDoS faces high market entry barriers. This is because the technology is yet to ripen fully. The cost of production of the semiconductor substrate remains high even as the related value chain is yet to be completely formed. However, with Apple and Meta expected to introduce OLEDoS-based AR/VR equipment in the next two to three years, many manufacturers would actively adopt OLEDoS. More production will result in a lower per-unit cost, prompting more demand and increasing the share of OLEDoS to nearly one-third of the market by 2025.
Next big supplier of AR/VR displays
It is expected that two OLEDoS displays will be installed inside Apple’s first headset, and Sony will be the first supplier this time. LG Display is expected to supply general OLEDs that are applied to the external indicators. In the long run, however, Apple is expected to choose LG Display as a supplier of OLEDoS over Sony. Although Sony’s technology is somewhat ahead now, the company has its own gaming console, making it a potential competitor to Apple in the XR market, where having a killer application is the key. Once Apple enters the XR market, it is expected to grow at a rapid pace while Samsung Display is expected to catch up with arch-rival LG at a rapid pace. Once again, we will be able to see the fierce race between SDC and LGD in the XR market.
London, San Diego, New Delhi, Beijing, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Hong Kong – April 15, 2022
XR technologies experienced their first boom in China in 2016. However, this boom fizzled out in the following two years due to the immaturity of subsequent technologies and failure to fulfill public expectations. Five years later, with the rise of the Metaverse and Meta’s (formerly Facebook) commercial success of its consumer-level VR headset Oculus, China’s XR market has received its second wind with mobile giants like Huawei, Xiaomi, and OPPO entering the fray with their own releases of smart/AR products. Counterpoint Research has released a new report on the ‘Overview of China’s XR Market‘ which analyses the advancements in XR/AI technologies and the introduction of blockchain as cornerstones of a full-fledged Metaverse. It also measures whether a certain level of maturity has been achieved to reach mass-adoption levels in China’s XR market.
Currently, four major forces steer China’s XR industry, ranging from XR-focused start-ups to mobile giants. Three out of the top five smartphone manufacturers in China launched their own smart/AR glasses in the second half of 2021. Consequently, the smart/AR glasses category has become the most competitive in the Chinese XR industry with its relatively low entry barriers and potential to become the next leading device in smart wearables. Lagging in core AR/VR technologies, Chinese manufacturers are trying out other means of development, namely functionalities utilizing their own technological advancements, to pursue value-added and popular features like voice control, virtual assistant, and gesture control. Chinese manufacturers are also diversifying their product lines, shifting from B2C to B2B markets by providing products for industrial and service sectors. Rokid X-Craft and Rokid Glass are typical examples of obtaining value propositions in industrial/business applications.
Overview of Leading Players in China
VR startup acquired by ByteDance
XR startup (2017)
Commerce, gaming, real estate
China’s streaming giant
Movie streaming, gaming
Leading global ICT provider
AI startup (2014)
Industrial inspection, public security, cultural tourism
Leading smartphone provider
According to Counterpoint’s Overview of China’s XR Market Landscape report, the market is currently moving towards a combination of Micro-LED with waveguide technology for augmented displays, setting a new standard for premium AR glasses. Xiaomi’s upcoming AR glasses have chosen such a combination. Micro-LED enables thinner display screens, lower power consumption and higher display resolutions. However, mass adoption will be less likely due to its high production costs, hence limiting its application to only premium models. Additionally, AR/smart glasses still depend on mobile phones for their computing power. However, China’s early adoption and development of 5G technology raises the prospects of AR/smart glasses becoming integrated devices independent from mobile phones.
In terms of VR headsets, leading players in China such as Pico, iQIYI, and ShadowCreator are adopting Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 SoC processors, part of the Snapdragon product line designed primarily for AR and VR devices for optimal performance, benchmarking against Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 as the standard.
Even with big players testing the waters of the Chinese XR market, the AR market remains to be cultivated to its full potential with a dominant headset yet to be seen. This, however, may change soon with Pico (acquired by ByteDance), the leader in China’s VR market, seeing success with its Neo 3 model. Multiple AR/smart glass models are expected to be launched this year (2022), including the Nreal Air, Huawei Eyewear 3, OPPO Air Glass, Rokid Vision and possibly the Xiaomi AR glasses.
It is always interesting to talk about the future. But in the absence of any magical crystal ball, getting your prediction right needs experience, vision and good judgment. Now, a lot has changed over the past couple of years, with the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic driving some new use cases of technologies. Many of these use cases will shape the digital future.
With the launch of Quest 2, Facebook continues the shift in its VR focus to the standalone type of headset design, combining the Oculus Link technology for consistent PC VR gaming experiences.
Oculus Quest platform alone had generated over $150 million in content revenue.
With a starting price of $299, Quest 2 is expected to outpace its predecessor and contribute millions of sales.
On September 16, Facebook launched the second generation of Oculus Quest. The new standalone VR headset is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 platform, which is dedicated to creating ultimate VR experiences. It makes a significant leap in computing performance across CPU, GPU and AI capabilities. Compared to its predecessor, the Oculus Quest 2 comes with a Fast-Switch LCD Display, supporting up to 90Hz display refresh rate and 50% more pixels, a redesigned 6-DoF touch controller, and a 256GB onboard storage option.
Exhibit 1: Quest Specification Comparison
Despite the performance upgrades, Facebook has managed to bring the hardware price down. With the standard edition being introduced at $299, the Oculus Quest 2 is expected to quickly gain traction. Since the launch of its first standalone design, or Oculus Go, back in May 2018, Facebook has been focused on building a strong user base for Oculus by introducing affordable VR headsets. The Quest family, thanks to its competitive pricing, the comfort of wearing, and ease of playing, has become the major driving force behind the user growth and now is at the center of the Facebook VR ecosystem.
Exhibit 2: Oculus Sales Estimates During Each Initial Rollout Period
During the first year after its launch, the Oculus Quest saw its sales far ahead of Oculus Go. Meanwhile, Oculus ecosystem developers were able to rake in over $100 million. With the worldwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer spending on Oculus Quest content increased significantly. The revenue in Q3 2020 alone is expected to reach $50 million, greatly inspiring content creation around the Quest platform.
Facebook plans to stop producing the Oculus Rift S in 2021, it is focusing on development of standalone type of VR headsets just like the Quest 2, which will leverage Oculus Link for consistent PC VR gaming experiences. With more production capacity shifting to the Quest 2 in 2021, it will outpace the previous Oculus gadgets and set a new high during October 2020~October 2021.
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