Over the past year, Nreal has successfully distributed its augmented reality (AR) smart glasses products globally. The Chinese firm overcame legal action to hit US markets in 2021.
The firm’s AR portfolio includes the Air and Light smart glasses designed to enhance media streaming with immersive and multi-user functions.
The devices also gained hand-tracking features and new brand opportunities through spatial adverts in July. Additionally, in a software development kit (SDK) update Nreal doubled down on its hand and eye-tracking abilities using an artificial intelligence (AI) network and Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Toolkit.
Nreal is also developing solutions that expand its consumer-focused portfolio. In March, the smartglasses vendor partnered with Microsoft to conduct research at the University of Bristol to establish PeopleLens, a device designed to improve social interaction among blind children.
Most recently, Nreal teased fans ahead of Apple’s technology showcase on Wednesday with an image hinting at a collaboration between the brands.
— Nreal (@Nreal) September 7, 2022
Alongside its technology and marketplace updates, the Chinese firm received vast capital to scale its product. In March, Nreal secured $60m in Series C+ funding for global product expansion. In September 2021, Nreal also got $100 million to assist with its global distribution roadmap.
$15 Million Investment
In late August, Nreal completed a further $15 million funding round from IICOMBINED, the parent company of Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster.
The funding enables the firms to explore collaboration opportunities to expand interest in fashionable consumer-grade smart glasses, similar to Meta’s Rayban Stories partnership.
According to Hankook Kim, co-founder of Gentle Monster and CEO of IICOMBINED, the partnership leverages Nreal’s and IICOMBINED’s strengths and enables each brand to “explore the boundaries of fashion and tech.”
Peng Jin, Co-founder at Nreal, also added:
Fashion and design will be important aspects in the future development of AR glasses, as we continue to expand the sector’s consumer base. As such, having Gentle Monster as our investor will open up interesting opportunities not just for Nreal, but also for the wider AR industry as a whole,
New Product with Nio
This Monday, Nreal partnered with Nio to design a purpose-built smart glasses product for use with electronic vehicles.
— NIO 蔚来 (@NIOGlobaI) September 5, 2022
The Nio Air AR smart glasses are available now for Chinese customers; the product contains anti-shake and anti-glare technology that enables immersive cockpits with AR visualisations.
Additionally, vehicle passengers can use the product to stream media on Nreal’s 130-inch immersive screens.
The Nio partnership product is available for pre-sale for $331, with orders shipping in late September.