Andy Rubin's Essential might be plotting smart glasses of its own

It's only been a few days since Essential revealed its new phone to the world, but the company's plan for the future may extend beyond handsets and AI assistants. As it turns out, Essential is also holding a patent for a pair of augmented reality smart glasses. This may not come as a shock to many people, considering Essential CEO Andy Rubin's background at Google, but these AR glasses look quite a bit different than what we saw with Google Glass.

Indeed, the image accompanying this patent – as uncovered by Patently Apple – shows off a pair of glasses more traditional in their design. At the moment, we only have a basic understanding of how these glasses will work, with a "dual-mode display" embedded in the lenses, and quite a few cameras pointing every which way.

More specifically, the patent image notes both user-facing and environment-facing cameras. Having cameras pointed at the user and at the environment is what will help Essential implement augmented reality applications. Essential even comes right out and discusses examples of augmented reality in the patent filing:

Based on the environment that the user sees, and based on the direction of the user's gaze, the processor can display an image to augment the environment around the user. For example, if the user is looking at a barcode of an item, the processor can display cheaper purchasing options of the same item.

Another interesting thing to note is that the patent filing allows for lenses of any type in these glasses, whether they're prescription, photosensitive, or sunglass lenses. Does this mean that we'll one day see Essential trying to tackle the AR glasses segment? It's definitely too early to make that call – many patents we come across ultimately never develop into real-world products.

Essential may be looking to sit on this patent until the right time, too. After all, the popularity of similar AR glasses like Google Glass has dropped off rather significantly recently, with most of the attention shifting to AR and VR headsets. With that in mind, Essential could very well be planning to release these AR glasses at retail, but it might just be waiting for the right time to strike. We'll just have to wait and see.

SOURCE: Patently Apple