Sun, Apr 23, 2017 - Page 15 News List

VR companies navigate
‘trough of disillusionment’

Augmented reality, which is easily accessed via smartphones, might have a better chance of dominating the market as virtual reality struggles to meet high public expectations

By Jeremy Kahn  /  Bloomberg

Snap Inc’s AR photograph filters are one of the most popular features of its messaging service and Facebook has announced a big push into the field with its own AR camera filters.

Many now expect Apple Inc to introduce an augmented-reality product in the next year, which might help AR to leapfrog VR to achieve mass adoption.

“Apple has not made a play yet in this space and I think they will, and that it will be huge,” Gallop said.

Technology company ABI Research said that virtual reality generates about 50 percent more revenue than augmented reality, but that it relies heavily on hardware sales.

Augmented reality, by contrast, relies more on software and in many cases can be experienced by users with their smartphones.

ABI forecasts that AR revenues will surpass VR sales by 2019.

Virtual-reality true believers, like Taylor, are dismissive of the idea that AR might outrun VR as a blockbuster consumer technology.

Augmented reality requires too much training for the average consumer to learn how to integrate the digital images into the real world, Taylor said.

“Mixing the virtual world and the real world is less natural,” he said.

VR enthusiasts think the current “trough of disillusionment” is — as the Gartner model would predict — merely a temporary setback on the road to virtual reality becoming a mainstream technology — and a cash cow.

The question though, is how long the field will have to wallow in the trough.

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