Nreal Debuts Air AR Glasses for Android, PC and Soon Apple

A year after debuting in partnership with Verizon its $599 Nreal Light AR glasses in the U.S., Beijing-based Nreal is releasing the sportier Air AR glasses on Amazon. The $379 price is about $100 less than Air ARs were going for in Asia. The company is also upgrading its Nebula AR OS for augmented reality, including a version for Apple mobile, albeit only those powered by Apple silicon (M1 and M2 chips). In other words, newer iPhones and MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops. The Apple and Android/PC visual presentations will be different, at least initially.

While there are currently very few consumer AR glasses on the market, the divergent screen experience for Nreal may put it at a marketing disadvantage with the Lenovo Glasses T1, expected to hit the U.S. next year.

“Unlike with the Air, functionality is expected to be the same across Android, PC, iOS, and macOS products” on the T1, Ars Technica writes. Nreal’s Apple products are debuting in Beta, according to Ars Technica, which says a general release date has not yet been revealed. Apple interoperability will require two adapters (collectively, about $100). All Nreal AR glasses require tethering to a phone or computer processor.

“Attaching the Air glasses to a MacBook won’t give you the same Nebula ‘AR Space’ experience available to supported Android phones,” according to Ars Technica, detailing “AR Space includes a mixed-reality interface and games and other AR apps made for the glasses. Instead, Mac users will see a virtual UI that Nreal’s calling AR Desktop and projects up to three virtual displays at a time.”

Nreal Air currently attaches “to a Windows PC or iPhone, but only for screen mirroring,” with twin micro OLED panels featuring “1920×1080-per-eye resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and 38-degree FOV,” according to Ars Technica, which says the presentation mimics “a 130-inch screen that’s 13.1 feet away (compared to a 201-inch screen that’s 19.7 feet away in AR Space mode).”

As concerns this latest iteration of Nebula, “the Air’s most robust AR experience remains reserved for supported Android devices,” Ars Technica concludes, noting upgrades include “a new ‘borderless, curved wall design,’ animated 3D icons, and a content-recommendation widget.” Nreal has also updated the Nebula web browser, Spatial AR (with both vertical and horizontal display modes) and added some new casual AR games and “experiences.”

The Air AR glasses are 25 percent lighter than the Light ARs, “and consume 50 percent less power,” writes Tom’s Hardware, which says they “compete with the best VR headsets,” mixed reality and are “also cheaper because these new AR glasses don’t feature built-in SLAM or RGB cameras. Instead, the Air glasses only use 6 degrees of freedom (DoF) tracking.”

Tom’s thinks Nreal’s Air AR glasses “could be an interesting way to enjoy content from game consoles like the Xbox Series X or PlayStation 5.”

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