Nreal told CNBC it will announce new AR glasses with a “complete new design” next week.
The current Nreal Light is the only true AR glasses available to consumers today – though only in Germany, Spain, Japan, and South Korea. It’s priced between $750 and $1000 depending on the market and weighs around twice as much as a heavy pair of sunglasses. Unlike bulky AR headsets such as HoloLens 2, Nreal Light is powered by an Android phone over USB-C. Compatible devices include the Samsung Galaxy S20 series and Sony Xperia 5 II.
CEO Chi Xu said the new glasses will still require an Android phone but will be lighter, more comfortable and cheaper. “This product with a lower price point, this can be much easier to penetrate those other markets, like China and elsewhere,” Xu said. It’s unclear whether that includes the USA.
We last tried Nreal Light back in 2019. The image was clear & sharp and the tracking was solid, but like all other current AR devices the narrow field of view (52 degrees diagonal) felt extremely limited.
Nreal’s system software is called Nebula. It lets you mirror your phone screen as a floating window and position it where you want with hand tracking. With a few phones such as Sony Xperia 5 III and OPPO Find X3 Pro you can even launch and pin multiple Android apps at once. With Nebula you could lie back in bed & pin a YouTube video to your ceiling or browse the web as a giant floating window from your couch. Nebula also supports 3D AR apps available from the Google Play Store, including Spatial and Figmin XR.
If Nreal’s yet to be announced AR glasses ship in major western markets it will have a first mover advantage over Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Amazon – though time will tell how much that really matters.