The Beijing-based company made the announcement at the Augmented World Expo event today in Santa Clara, California. I tried out the 3-ounce glasses yesterday and they were both light on my head and amazingly bright. That’s a rare combination.
Nreal, which has partnered with Qualcomm and LG Uplus, can do this because it connects the glasses via a USB-C wire to a smartphone, where most of the computing is done.
Recently, Nreal announced it had raised an additional $16 million in funding from China Everbright Limited New Economy Fund, iQiyi, Shunwei Capital, and China Growth Capital. And that raise came just a month after the company announced a $15 million round at the CES 2019 tech trade show in Las Vegas.
Nreal uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile processor. The glasses have a wide 52-degree field of view (FoV) and high-definition 1080p resolution. Nreal said they can be worn for hours at a time since they don’t weigh much more than ordinary glasses. Over time, the company wants to tap 5G wireless networking technology to deliver full mixed-reality experiences to consumers.
The $499 package, called the Nreal Light Consumer Kit, will ship later this year with Nreal Light glasses, which can be connected by a USB-C cable directly to compatible “XR optimized” devices powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Mobile Platform. The 855 Mobile Platform supports immersive content on-the-go.
“Nreal light provides a lightweight XR Viewer that allows consumers to take advantage of 5G including high bandwidth and low latency to deliver immersive experiences virtually anywhere,” said Hugo Swart, head of XR at Qualcomm, in a statement. “We worked closely with Nreal to ensure Snapdragon smartphone compatibility and ecosystem integration to transform the way people connect and consume entertainment, and to further advance XR to make it the next generation of mobile computing.”
Nreal also has a new partnership with Black Shark, which enables Nreal Light to be tethered to the gaming smartphone Black Shark 2.
“Paired with Nreal Light, the Black Shark 2 will be able to deliver the highest performance mobile gaming experience. Nreal Light will completely immerse our users in a fully interactive gaming environment that places you right in the heat of the moment,” said David Li, global vice president at Black Shark, in a statement. “We are excited to work with Nreal to usher in a new era of the mobile gaming experience.”
“We’re excited to finally make Nreal Light available to consumers, which at just $499 has dramatically lowered the barrier to adoption and introduces a new opportunity for mixed reality devices that are finally within the reach of an average consumer,” said Chi Xu, CEO of Nreal, in a statement.
Nreal is partnering with carriers including China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, EE, KDDI, KT, LG Uplus, Softbank Corp., and Swisscom.
The Nreal SDK will be available in August 2019, with a beta version to be made available earlier. Nreal was founded in 2017.