Beancounters at research house IDTechEx says the market will reach $37 billion by 2020.
AR, VR and mixed reality headsets should grow in the consumer, education, construction and medical sector.
IDTechEx has predicted that the market will grow by more than tenfold over the next decade, from $3.4 billion to $37 billion.
Its research looks at not only AR, VR and mixed reality devices, but also devices labelled under other terms including ‘annotated reality’ and ‘augmented vitality’.
IDTechEx principal analyst Dr Harry Zervos said that the devices are categorised hinges on how much of the real world is allowed to come through the headset.
“A pure VR headset blocks out reality completely, while an AR one will only superimpose additional information, without obstructing the wearer’s view of the real world at all,” he said.
“What the future is bringing is a spectrum of eye-worn devices with varying amounts of reality and virtuality thrown in; for instance, a VR headset with a front facing camera can instantly become an AR headset, as it allows the wearer a full view of the real world, albeit through a display.”
According to Zervos, the market will be propelled in the short term by growth of VR devices that are tethered to an external PC.
“From 2021 onwards, growth will be transferred to standalone AR, propelled forward by the launch of high performing headsets and reduced power consumption that will lead to longer battery life and independence from the grid. Standalone VR will also make its mark, although its exact value proposition is not fully clear or even distinctly separate from standalone AR.”
At the inaugural Dell EMC World event in Las Vegas this week, Dell pledged that client computing “remains core to our business” and said that the PC will be back with augmented reality, subscription payment models, and wireless charging.
Dell Technologies chief marketing officer Jeremy Burton said that the PC will evolve in the coming years, as well as some of the technology the vendor is ready to bring to market now.
He showed off the Latitude 7285, which Dell claims is the world’s first wireless-charging two-in-one laptop and the Canvas, a 27-inch monitor pitched at the design industry. The latter involves a stylus, for drawing, and a ‘totem’ dial-style tool for cursor control. He said:
“The PC is smack bang in the centre of what is going on in the world Augmented reality and virtual reality are technologies that are now at the tipping point. This will be a $45bn [annual] hardware market, and a $35bn software market by 2025.”
Dell is also looking to forge partnerships with other AR and VR players, and is launching a partner programme through which to formalise ties with industry specialists.
“We want to work with a broad ecosystem to make this a reality,” said Burton.
Michael Dell showed off VMware’s AirWatch enterprise mobility management which has been embedded into some of its client computing devices he also revealed that the vendor’s PC-as-a-service offering will be available across the world during 2017.
“We are announcing the global rollout of our PC-as-a-service, which combines the latest Dell PCs with financing services and support for a single predictable price per month,” he said.
Dell added: “To make it extremely clear: the PC remains core to our business and strategy – it is how work gets done.”