Chinese augmented reality glasses maker Nreal rebrands to Xreal

Chinese augmented reality glasses company Nreal has changed its name to Xreal. Co-founder Peng Jin told CNBC that this reflects the company’s expanded product range and international expansion.


Chinese augmented reality (AR) glasses maker Nreal said on Thursday it had changed its name to Xreal – a name it hopes will encapsulate its European expansion and latest products.

Jin Peng, co-founder of Xreal, told CNBC in an interview that the “X” in the new branding reflects that the company is going “beyond our imagination” and highlights new AR applications. The company’s products are already sold in the US, UK, China, Japan and South Korea, and it plans to enter the European market in the third quarter of this year.

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Augmented reality, the technology that allows digital images to be imposed on the real world, represents an area where the world’s largest technology companies, from Apple to Meta, are currently investing.It is a key technology in the field The so-called “virtual world”.

Xreal makes two headsets that look like sunglasses — the Xreal Air and Xreal Light — that run the company’s own operating system, called Nebula. Just like Apple did with iOS on the iPhone, developers can create apps for the Nebula that people can then use through the Nreal headset.

When people put on the headphones and open the app, they see a zoomed-in version of that content right in front of their eyes. But Nebula is only available on Android devices, limiting its appeal. On Thursday, Xreal unveiled a new device called the Xreal Beam, described as an “iPod-shaped device” that connects to smartphones, game consoles and PCs either wired or wirelessly.

This will allow anyone with almost any device to use the headset. One of the key areas Xreal is targeting is gaming. For example, you can connect the Xreal Beam to a game console like PlayStation and play games on a giant virtual screen inside the glasses instead of on a physical TV.

Since its commercial launch last year, Xreal says it has sold 150,000 units worldwide. Jin didn’t give specific numbers, but said Xreal hopes to “double or triple” sales in the coming year.

He also revealed that the company is looking to raise capital. CNBC reported that Xreal raised $100 million in funding in 2021 — when the company was valued at $700 million — followed by a $60 million raise from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba last year. Xreal has some high-profile backers, including Nio Capital, the investment arm of the electric car maker Niohand venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China.

Growing AR and VR Competition

Augmented and virtual reality are attracting interest from some of the world’s largest technology companies. Meta is pinning its future on such innovations, and Apple is reportedly working on its own virtual reality headset And gaming giant Sony released its second virtual reality headset last year Called PlayStation VR2.

Competition will help expand the market, King said.

“When you have companies like Sony or even Apple starting to invest in this space, it draws more attention to this general direction, it attracts more talent,” Kim told CNBC.

But Xreal operates in an interesting area. Its headsets work with consoles like the PlayStation, so people can play games on giant virtual screens instead of TVs.

This isn’t a direct competitor to PSVR 2, which immerses players in real-world gameplay. But it does raise questions about whether the company will move to block Xreal’s devices in the future, a risk that Jin hasn’t lost.

“I’m not saying these companies won’t one day decide to make their own AR glasses and decide to stop us. I’m not saying it won’t happen. But there’s more to it than stopping us,” Jin said. .

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