Lenovo becomes the latest to dip its toe into the wearable computing waters, with a Google Glass rival
The news is not a surprise, as the company is buying Motorola’s mobile division, and executives there promised a series of wearable devices back in February.
Last Thursday Lenovo revealed its first steps in the form of a smart glasses prototype. The Google-Glass lookalike has a battery attached down at the neck of the user, but other than that, details are very sketchy. More information will be revealed in October.
What is clear however is that Lenovo has realised it can’t go it alone, and is looking for partners for its foray into the wearable market and the Internet of Things. It has reportedly created the “NBD” (or “new business development”) platform, intended to offer potential partners possible funding, logistical support, manufacturing, and hardware research options.
“Right now there are too many kinds of devices you can develop for the Internet of Things. It’s too rich. Not one company can do it all,” said Chen Xudong, Lenovo senior vice president.
The NBD platform is geared towards the Chinese market, but it may soon be available to the rest of the world.
“We hope to use Lenovo’s advantages to combine with innovators,” Chen added. “This platform can help them quickly start selling products, and create a supply chain for the market.”
To this end, Lenovo has also announced a partnership deal with US smart glasses maker Vuzix.
The deal will see the two companies launch Vuzix’s M100 Smart Glasses into China for business users. This device is Android based and uses a 1GHz dual-core processor. It will go on sale in the Autumn, and is priced at approximately 8,000 yuan (£764).
The M100 Smart Glasses will be co-branded as a Vuzix/Lenovo solution and will be marketed across China as part of NBD.
“Vuzix has worked closely with Lenovo and their development teams to create a new M100 Smart Glasses product offering specifically tailored for the Chinese marketplace with features which include Chinese language, voice recognition, mapping and numerous other domestic cloud-based services,” said the US smart glass maker.
“This agreement is a major step for Vuzix and through Lenovo will bring it distinction as the first official Smart Glasses product to have direct access into China,” it said.
China is a significant milestone for us and for the wearable industry,” said Paul Travers, CEO of Vuzix. “Lenovo is world renowned for its high quality products and exceptional engineering, making them the most ideal partner with which to bring our M100 Smart Glasses to China. As Lenovo is number one worldwide in supplying computers to business and the public sector and the number 3 supplier of smart-connected devices (smartphones and tablets), we see strong market opportunites for our M100 as it was specifically designed for those markets.”
“Additionally we hope the M100 is just the first in a line of future products the companies may introduce together incorporating Vuzix’ video eyewear technology for sale in China and perhaps elsewhere,” he added.
“Lenovo is always seeking new and innovative products that merge and integrate technology into products that offer our customers a high degree of functionality and convenience,” said Yuli Bai, VP and General Manager, New Business Development at Lenovo.
Lenovo is just the latest to enter the wearable market. Apple is expected to soon reveal its much anticipated iWatch device. Microsoft and Amazon are also said to developing their own wearable offerings.
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