Chinese AR startup Nreal is launching smart glasses in the UK

Attendees view NReal augmented reality glasses on the final day of CES 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Nreal, a Chinese augmented reality startup, is planning to bring its smart glasses to the UK

The Beijing-based company announced on Tuesday that it will launch its Nreal Air AR glasses later this spring in the UK through an exclusive deal with local network operator EE, owned by telecoms giant BT.

Nreal glasses allow users to watch movies or play games on large virtual displays. Users can do this by connecting the glasses to their smartphone via a cable. They’re designed to look like sunglasses, much like Snap’s Spectacles line of smart glasses.

The Nreal Air has two main modes: Air Casting and MR Space. Air Casting allows users to see their phone screen on a virtual 130-inch display when standing four meters away, while MR Space combines digital objects with a user’s surrounding space.

Nreal did not give an exact release date or price for the device. A spokesman said further details would be announced “at a later date”.

Buzz around the Metaverse

Nreal is one of countless companies hoping to bring augmented reality — which merges three-dimensional digital objects with the real world — to a wider audience. The technology has been around for years, but like virtual reality, it has struggled to find commercial success.

Now that the tech world is buzzing with discussions about the so-called “metaverse,” new life is being breathed into technologies like AR and VR. Companies like Microsoft and Facebook, or Meta as it’s now known, aim to build vast digital worlds where millions of users can interact – and do business – with one another.

Peng Jin, co-founder of Nreal, said he believes AR “will usher in a revolutionary transformation just as the internet once did.”

“AR will surpass the current mobile experience, especially when it comes to watching videos, exercising, and playing PC and cloud video games,” he added.

Founded in 2017, the company has so far created two AR headsets: the Nreal Light and the Nreal Air, one of which it debuted last year. The company has raised over $230 million to date from investors including Alibaba, Nio and Sequoia Capital China. It was last valued at $700 million.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/04/25/chinese-ar-start-up-nreal-to-launch-smart-glasses-in-the-uk.html Chinese AR startup Nreal is launching smart glasses in the UK

Jane Marczewski

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