After the surprising success of the Pokemon Go augmented reality game, it was only a question of time before augmented reality headset makers embraced this new application. The first to go public in offering their headsets for the Pokemon GO player is Vufine, a California-based maker of a head-worn display solution. After a very successful Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2015, they are now ready to bring their device to the market.
They are offering their device with a LCOS qHD (960 x 540) display for tech enthusiasts. The device is comparable to the Vuzix M300 with a “look around” display rather than using an optical combiner like the Google Glass device. They are using a cable-based connection to the user’s smartphone rather than a wireless connection. As a result the device is rather light at 26g (0.9 oz) and still has a 90min battery life in a small and light form factor.
With some reports of safety-related issues for Pokemon Go players, Vufine focuses on the advantage of their head mounted display solution as a way to improve situational awareness for the player of augmented reality games. In addition, they are offering their device now in different colors, representing different teams in augmented reality games.
With a $199 price tag, the device is located at the lower end of the price spectrum and will be available by the end of August 2016. The idea of offering it in colors makes it more of a toy rather than a personal mobile device. Of course it could serve both functions, but it seems Vufine is betting that it will sell better in the gaming arena than in other applications. Not quite a novel idea but nevertheless a very interesting approach to the marketing issue all small start up tech companies have. I wonder if this will be the last headset maker that chooses this route? – NH