After testing the Nreal Light in South Korea and Japan through airline partnerships and securing a new round of funding, Nreal is now ready to sell the consumer edition of the smartglasses to the Western world and launch a version for business customers.
At Mobile World Congress Shanghai on Tuesday (Monday evening in the US), the China-based startup announced that its Nreal Light augmented reality glasses will be launched in the US in the second quarter of 2021, as well as in the European Union through two leading regional carriers.
Additionally, Nreal unveiled the Nreal Enterprise Edition, an AR headset that combines Nreal Light̵
“Mixed Reality is emerging as a transformative technology that already sees a high engagement perspective and is gradually changing how we interact with our mobile devices, from watching movies on a digital IMAX screen, or collaborating with colleagues from the bedroom,” said Chi Xu, CEO and founder of Nreal, said in a statement. “With the initial success we’ve seen with our carrier partners, we’re scaling up this strategy and we’re excited to get Nreal Light to US consumers by April this year.”
While the company did not disclose sales figures, it did share usage statistics through its partner in South Korea, LG Uplus. Users interacted with Nreal Light for an average of 49 minutes per day, with the top 20% of users logging an average of 120 minutes per day.
“Amid a ‘new standard’ combined with the growing need for a new, immersive mixed reality platform, our clients have found solace by reviving their pre-pandemic theater and face-to-face encounters through Nreal Light, ”said Song Dae-won, the executive vice president of LG Uplus’s Future Device Unit. “To meet this growing demand for MR technology and content, LG Uplus also has an MR content catalog of over 3000, in addition to the Android apps that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and mirrored on Nreal Light”
Along with the product roadmap, Nreal has shared some AR apps in development for the Nreal Light, including a holographic weather app called Taggesschau 2025, a basketball game called DUNKAAR, an imaginative role-playing game titled Dragon Awakening, and Magenta Sports AR, a football app that allows viewers to follow matches in 3D.
Ideally, many more mainstream apps could arrive for Nreal Light and the Android-based Nebula operating system if their developers choose to port them as 3D apps. Otherwise, users can interact with 2D versions of apps from Google Play in their AR space.
The launch of Nreal Light in the US and Europe will be the true litmus test for Nreal. A ban on Huawei smartphones and a near ban on TikTok in the US show the stigma on tech products from China due to national security risks. How Nreal handles these waters will determine whether the company can fulfill its quest for the first truly mainstream consumer smartglasses.