In two short years, Lenovo has emerged as a top VR/AR headset manufacturer and ecosystem player. This year, Lenovo will release two VR headsets, one in partnership with Microsoft and the other with Google. The company also recently announced a smartphone-based AR headset in partnership with Disney, created specifically for a Star Wars AR experiences. Lenovo previously announced a monocular smart glass at CES in January.  Finally, Lenovo made their fifth VR/AR product announcement, introducing DaystAR, Lenovo's AR headset.

Lenovo New AR Headset: DaystAR

DaystAR is reported to have a 40-degree field of view, which is larger than Microsoft Hololens' FOV. The design is similar to a Microsoft Hololens with an adjustable band and a demi helmet design. Lenovo also announced a software suite to support DaystAR that features cloud object recognition, multiplayer interaction, and a 3D object manager. A release date or price have not been announced.

A Competitive AR Headset Market

The AR headset and smart glasses market is filled with companies looking to become the leader, with globally over 25 different companies manufacturing some version of an AR/MR head mounted display (headset, smart glasses, or HUDs). The AR industry will grow as new advancements are introduced, as these manufacturers specialize in different hardware components and markets.

Ultimately, the AR industry will not benefit from an over saturated market. The competition will always be beneficial, but with too many companies competing for the same market share and industry recognition, there will be more confused than informed buyers.

In comparison, the VR industry has five established headset leaders: HTC, Oculus, Sony, Google, and Samsung. Although more competitive headsets will be released by the end of the year, these five established an understanding of VR for consumers and professionals alike. New market entrances will actually benefit from the ecosystem these companies have created by comparing product specs and offerings to a well-known competitor.

microsoft AR VR headsets Windows mixed reality platform

Microsoft's series of VR/AR headsets that support Windows Mixed Reality Platform.

The AR industry is currently more like a king of the hill situation with companies quickly competing for the top spot among a small available market before the industry hits the mainstream. This only results in customer confusion and will only benefit large established companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google.

To advance, the industry needs more content, platforms, and tools. This is why Microsoft Hololens quickly became the industry leader; the company focused on building a full ecosystem. The Hololens' specs can be easily beat now and in the future, but the full supporting software and tools in the Windows Mixed Reality (formerly Holographic) Platform will cement its place as a top manufacturer.

ARTICLE BY ALEXIS MACKLIN

Alexis Macklin is an Analyst with Greenlight Insights covering emerging technology trends at the intersection of VR, AR, and the entertainment industry. Follow her: @Alexis_Macklin.