Oh hello. What is this then? An AR headset from Niantic? Maybe? John Hanke, CEO of the Pokémon GO developer, teased what could be a first-party head-mounted laptop, as the company puts more aggressive pressure into augmented reality.
“Exciting to see the progress we are making to enable new types of devices that utilize our platform,” remarked the leader in the text that came with a picture of spectacle stamps with the Niantic name in light orange.
Niantic has been a fairly active investor in the augmented reality hardware field, so there is also the possibility that they have made a brand partnership with a startup on a project, but this cryptic image crop makes it look like they are showing off a device with first-party branding. There is also the potential for this to be a product in the category of “smart glasses”
We have contacted Niantic for further comments.
In particular, the Twitter teaser also follows Niantic’s submission of a job listing for a head of AR OS Engineering.
“We have an ambitious goal of turning the world into an Augmented Reality canvas that games and other applications can paint on top of,” the entry reads. This future is fully realized on AR Head Mounted Displays (HMDs). Niantic’s Engineering Team is looking for an inspiring leader to monitor the engineering direction to help build an AR operating system for HMDs and enable applications for millions of Niantic gamers. ”
The image comes amid a recent one-off activity by Google. Last week, the company announced an AR title based on Pikmin, another Nintendo collaboration after the incredibly successful Pokémon title. Earlier this month, it unveiled a proof-of-concept version of Pokémon GO running on Microsoft’s HoloLens 2.
Niantic’s AR platform has mostly stayed under wraps as the company seems to be waiting for a more active moment in augmented reality development to put a lot of pressure. Part of that activity can eventually be defined by a broader AR hardware ecosystem, and as Apple and Facebook compete to release their own devices, I can imagine that there is some concern among players like Niantic that the early devices will focus on first-party software. initially and provide fewer platform options for third parties.