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KDDI, ODG Form Strategic Partnership to Plan, Develop Smartglasses Using xR Technology

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KDDI CORPORATION (Headquarters Chiyoda, Tokyo, President Makoto Takahashi) has formed a strategic partnership with Osterhout Design Group (ODG, Headquarters San Francisco, California, U.S.A, CEO Ralph Osterhout) to create new forms of communication in the coming era of 5G, including joint planning and development in Japan of smartglasses using xR technology.

In anticipation of the changes that will be brought on by widespread 5G telecommunications technologies, KDDI has been moving forward with various partner companies to begin practical testing in Japan in June 2018 of smartglasses. The devices will produce experiences that use xR technology to transcend time and space.

The latest partnership is a comprehensive one in which KDDI will help with the development of domestic Japanese products using the R-9 smartglasses technology developed by ODG. KDDI will help optimize the potential of smartglasses for the Japanese domestic market through practical testing. The effort includes customization for products that are easy for Japanese consumers to wear. The R-9 smartglasses to be used in future verification tests are equipped with the Snapdragon (TM) 835 chipset made by Qualcomm (Headquarters: San Diego, California, U.S.A., CEO: Steve Mollenkopf), compatible with an AR/VR app that enables stand-alone position tracking for users. A wide 50° viewing angle makes it possible to replay Hollywood big-screen movies with the glasses. They are the first smartglasses to meet THX display standards ensuring quality, giving them the functionality to display high-resolution video.

In addition, both partner companies plan to work with Qualcomm toward equipping future models with a modem function to bring cellular communications capability to smartglasses in addition to existing Wi-Fi functionality.

Smartglass video

Yasuhisa Yamada, KDDI deputy general manager for the product and customer service sector, welcomed the strategic partnership: "At KDDI, we anticipate the coming era of 5G technology as we work to make the world a more enjoyable place by integrating telecommunications and life design. I think that xR technology is an essential part of that process, and through this partnership with ODG, we will create experiential value that will bring excitement to our customers. Moving forward, we will conduct verification tests using xR technology in every possible field together with our partner firms as we pursue the creation of new business models for the age of 5G."

"I think Japan will soon be a major market for smartglasses," said Pete Jameson, COO of ODG. "It is a great honor for us to be involved in making next-generation mobile computing happen in this field together with KDDI, one of the world's largest telecommunications companies."

As KDDI works to integrate telecommunications with life design, we will fulfill our role as a company that provides excitement, creating new kinds of communication through xR applications in the 5G era to generate new experiential value.

In order to deliver video services through smartglasses, KDDI will partner with Japan Airlines Co. Ltd. (JAL, Headquarters: Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, President: Yuji Akasaka) to test smartglass video services for a limited time during the summer of 2018. The tests will involve lending smartglasses to customers who want them in the JAL International Sakura Lounge Sky View at the international terminal at Haneda International Airport. Guests who try the smartglasses will be able to enjoy various types of videos on the wide-screen display they provide.

Through the verification tests, KDDI will be able to provide a new way to spend time in the lounge, while considering the potential for novel video and other entertainment use cases. The aim is to provide opportunities for more customers to experience these forms of added value.

Role of each partner

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Tags: Japan