CES 2020: Panasonic unveils stylish HDR VR glasses

Panasonic debuted virtual reality glasses at CES 2020.
Image: Panasonic

Panasonic made a bold entrance into the virtual reality (VR) glasses market at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show. At the event, the Japanese consumer electronics company unveiled its steampunk-esque goggles, which it developed with the Massachusetts-based Kopin Corporation. Notably, the firm boasts its futuristic prototype product is the first-ever high dynamic range and ultra-high-definition capable VR glasses.

Technical Specifications for Panasonic’s VR Glasses

Panasonic went all out to ensure its goggles impressed CES 2020 attendees. The firm’s glasses feature 1.3-inch OLED displays that offer 2560 x 2560 resolution with a 120hz refresh rate. The headset also features two attached earbuds to make users’ experiences as seamless as possible.

Plus, as a concession to the product’s geek culture-oriented audience, Panasonic’s VR glasses have swappable prescription lenses.

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Furthermore, the conglomerate utilized technologies developed by its various consumer products divisions in its headset.

In a press release, the company noted its VR eyewear utilizes the same signal processing as its TVs and Blu-ray players. Moreover, the firm brought the optical innovations used in its Lumix camera to its optical architecture. The corporation also integrated audio drivers from its Technics audio agreement subsidiary into its cutting edge VR glasses.

According to Engadget, Panasonic’s holistic approach produced positive results. The website noted the company’s VR glasses lack the image gradation and pixel separation common in competing products. Similarly, 4Gamer praised the goggles for their mostly grain-free solid color expression.

However, it is worth noting that the electronics maker’s headset had one significant flaw. Reviewers pointed out that the VR glasses’ 250-gram weight made them feel somewhat uncomfortable. However, Panasonic is already working on a solution to that problem. The firm intends the production version of its goggles, which rely on a computer connection for processing, to only weigh 150 grams.

Panasonic showed off virtual reality glasses at CES 2020.
Image: Panasonic

Unconventional Strategy

Another intriguing quality of Panasonic’s VR glasses is how the company plans on marketing it. In its press release, the firm listed virtual vacations and sports viewing as potential applications for its product. Indeed, the company’s CES 2020 demonstration allowed users to navigate a re-creation of a Japanese temple, even the parts not open to tourists.

Panasonic will also attune its VR product development with the global rollout of 5G mobile networks.

Consequently, the corporation doesn’t seem to be pursuing the same market as other VR glasses manufacturers. For example, the company headset doesn’t include cameras, meaning it can’t record a wearer’s experiences. The firm also didn’t allude to any gaming applications for its VR concept.

Furthermore, Panasonic’s press release didn’t mention anything about smartphone connectivity. Therefore, the firm doesn’t intend the first iteration of its VR glasses to serve as a mobile device peripheral.

On the one hand, the company’s headset might be faced with consumer disinterest if it doesn’t comport with market expectations. On the other hand, the corporation might be able to position its VR glasses as being in their own unique category. Admittedly, the notion of “Total Recall” style virtual getaways holds a lot of intrigue. Indeed, who needs six-figure space tourism when trips to CGI recreations of Mars are on offer?


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