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Nreal Dodges Disruption, Will Release AR Smartglasses This Fall With Telco Partners

Nreal, the Chinese company behind the Light Smartglasses, has opened a new optics factory in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, China, that can produce as many as one million units a year by the end of 2020. As a result, the company says it will make up for any lost time and have ample supply for worldwide release in the fall. The coronacrisis caused some slowdowns of the Nreal developer kit, but those have reportedly been resolved.

Using Nreal, Maki Sugimoto MD never has to take his eyes from the patient, and his hands remain free. MAKI SUGIMOTO MD

Founded by thirty six year old engineer, CEO Chi Xu, in 2017, Nreal’s Light branded smartglasses are sleek, smartphone-based spatial XR headset. The highly anticipated $499 HMD attracted big crowds at CES in January 2020. We met with Chi there and he acknowledged that there isn’t much spatial content yet, but he showed us Nreal’s approach to bringing the 2D content on a smartphone into a spatial context. Users can place multiple screens around them, In addition, Nreal will feature Spatial.io’s collaboration platform for remote teams. Nreal is Android only for now unless Apple agrees to cooperate with the fledgling company. The glasses are also prescription compatible.

“Essentially we’re scaling production with this new factory and R&D facility to which Nreal has committed $200M,” said Chi, “This will give us the capability to manufacture display components (up to 1M pieces by end of 2020) for other potential customers that are interested in this technology — similar to Samsung or LG providing their tech to companies like Apple.”

The factory in Wuxi City, Jiangsu Province, China. This is a concept drawing. Nreal

“Our display and image quality is a point of pride for Nreal and one of the more prominent features praised by developers and users of Nreal Light today,” said Bing Xiao, cofounder of Nreal and Chief Optical Scientist. “Today is a key milestone for us because opening a new optics factory in a city like Wuxi, China enables us to flexibly scale our production capacity and personally oversee the production of this key component. This means that we’re not only able to meet the compounding demand for the highest quality displays when we ship Nreal Light, but we’re also even considering expanding the demand to prospective partners interested in this technology.”

Claudia Nemat, Board member for Technology and Innovation at Deutsche Telekom, presents Nreal at Magenta Tech Talk. NREAL

“We’re back at full speed and it hasn’t cost us time,” said. Chi. “We have strict deadlines with our release partners, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, Japan’s KDDI, and South Korea’s LG Uplus. Our new capacity ensures we’re going to be ready.” For the major telcos, Nreal presents a unique opportunity to show off the benefits of the faster 5G networks now coming on line.

 

No word on who will be Nreal’s release partner in the US.

Originally published at https://www.forbes.com.

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