Motorola has a new 5G wearable neckband designed to power lightweight VR and AR headsets (collectively known as XR headsets), such as the ThinkReality A3 smart glasses from parent company Lenovo, the company announced today. Much like a large plastic cord, the neckband is equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, a 5,000 mAh battery, a touchpad, a SIM card slot, speakers, and an array of sensors including a gyroscope and accelerometer, Engadget reports. Motorola says it is partnering with Verizon on the neckband, which can connect to the carrier’s mmWave 5G network.
The idea is that the neckband, for which Motorola does not give an official product name, will be able to act as the brain and muscle for a connected VR or AR headset. By relieving components such as a powerful processor and heavy battery, the headset itself can become lighter and more comfortable to wear. Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 smartglasses, for example, are generally designed to be powered by laptops, but using them with a neckband can make them much more portable, akin to attempts to power AR and VR headsets with smartphones.
The press images show that the lanyard-style neckband looks a bit wacky, similar to the various neckband speakers that have appeared over the years. But Motorola specifically lists business users as one of its key customers. In a statement, Brian Mecum, vice president of device technology at Verizon, lists “sports training and fan experiences, as well as making VR theaters scalable” as some of the possible use cases for the neckband. So users may look a little crazy wearing the accessory, but in theory they will be surrounded by a crowd of people wearing the same thing.
While the promotional images show the 5G neckband being used with Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 Glasses, Engadget reports that it is also designed to work with other smart glasses. It is reportedly compatible with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon VR platform, Microsoft’s Remote Network Driver Interface and also features USB-C and DP1.4 ports.
There is no information on how much the accessory will cost, when it will be available or who the first business customers will be. But Verizon’s Brian Mecum tells us: Engadget that the company is in talks with partners in retail space, sports competitions and education.