Nreal Teases Standalone AR Headset Slated for Late 2020
Nreal has already made a name for itself with its widely acclaimed Nreal Light AR headset. They are what Magic Leap and the HoloLens would have wanted to be: lightweight, bright displays and with sunglasses-like form factor.
Now Nreal is set to give both Magic Leap 1 and HoloLens 2 a run for their money with new standalone AR glasses which are technically more advanced than its current Nreal Light mixed reality glasses. This week, Nreal revealed that it is developing an enterprise-focused All-in-One version of its Light glasses that will provide businesses with a self-contained and fully-enclosed wireless platform which won’t have to be tethered to a smartphone for the controls or processing functions.
However, the new glasses will be compromising on the form factor. As seen from he teaser image above, they look like industrial helmets. This shouldn’t be an issue as the Augmented Reality glasses target companies and professional users.
The new device will be temporarily referred to as “All-in-One Edition” or simply “Enterprise Edition”. The company is yet to decide on the final name.
It is, however, clear that the new Augmented Reality glasses will be going head-to-head with the Magic Leap 1 and the Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 mixed reality headset. However, it is more aggressively priced and has a much superior overall performance. It uses the same NRSDK software development kit that is also in the Nreal’s consumer version.
According to Nreal, its new all-in-one Light glasses will be heavier than the consumer model. On the form factor, they look more like helmets than sunglasses, so Nreal obviously sacrifices on this. The early yet to be finalized renderings of the device are teasing a form factor that appear appears like a more refined version of either Magic Leap or the HoloLens mixed reality headsets. They also appear to be fitted with front cameras that seem more prominent. With these cameras, the headset will be able to more accurately detect gestures. Like in the HoloLens, the computing will be performed in the back of the headset.
As Nreal will be providing the computing hardware in the all-in-one mixed reality headset, it is going to be pricier. The company says that the price will be competitive but the device will be more expensive than the Nreal Light Developer Kit which goes for $1,199.
The enterprise headset will have an Android-compatible internal hardware. This will provide it with an edge over its competitors such as the HoloLens and Magic Leap operating systems that operate more like islands as far as the software goes. The Nreal All-in-One will also have access to a secure cloud computing platform.
According to Nreal CEO Chi Xu, the wireless solution is a feature that has been widely requested by its network of developers. The feature will enable developers to have mixed reality experiences which are unencumbered by cabling and which can offer end users multiple interactions.
Nreal’s All-in-One Enterprise unit will be a complementary headset that will give companies a secure, high-performance and reliable platform which will not be constrained by stringent form factor requirements.
Nreal has offered an example on how the all-in-one device could be used collaboratively by both enterprises and consumers: a customer using an Nreal Light headset could see the progress of repairs at an auto repair shop while a mechanic in the same auto repair shop with the all-in-one headset can use their hand gestures in real time in manipulating the existing and the replacement parts of the vehicle to show how the repair work is to be performed.
Last week, Nreal revealed that it has partnered with Clay AIR to bring precision hand tracking to its Light AR headset. This hand tracking functionality will likely be applied in interactions with the just announced enterprise headset model, too. So far, Nreal hasn’t identified any definite processor to be used in the all-in-one model. It could likely be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or the Qualcomm XR2. The all-in-one enterprise headset is set to be released in late this year.