M100 Smart Glasses Photo

When it comes to head-mounted displays these days, most people think of Google Glass first. But a new product is coming to market that could challenge for leadership in this new market. In an announcement today, smart glasses creator Vuzix announced a major deal with computer maker Lenovo to launch their M100 Smart Glasses in China.

Lenovo is no minor league player when it comes to technology. The company built desktop and notebook computers for IBM, and then bought that business from IBM in 2005. After a few years, they dropped the IBM brand and used their own Lenovo brand on their products. And Lenovo is working on a deal to buy IBM’s small server business that they hope to close sometime this year.

Vuzix has been prominent in the wearable displays market. This joint project could result in a huge boost to their production volume, which in turn could help lower costs. The processing power will be supplied by Lenovo, which will market the glasses exclusively.

This announcement is significant for the wearable Health Tech industry because an affordable and versatile head-mounted display is currently a bottleneck for many applications. Instead, they often rely on a separate smartphone to handle the data processing and display functions. A serious competitor for Google Glass could speed experimentation and adoption of wearable technology for everything from fitness applications with real-time read-outs of key metrics, to augmented reality and data displays for medical uses both in healthcare facilities and in the field.

The Lenovo/Vuzix glasses are expected to ship in China in September 2014.