Steam Comes to Nreal’s AR Glasses, AR Hackathon Announced

One company at the forefront of augmented reality (AR) glasses is China-based Nreal, having released the Nreal Light followed by the Nreal Air. Outside of its traditional market in Asia, Nreal’s devices have only started to see global availability in the last year and in doing so the company is increasing content efforts. It’s doing so in a couple of ways, one with Steam compatibility and the other via its first hackathon event.

Nreal AR Cloud Gaming

Unlike AR smartglasses that have features like 6DoF tracking, Nreal’s AR glasses allow users to connect their smartphones to watch movies or play videogames on giant virtual screens. Hence why the company has pushed towards native AR cloud gaming experiences by releasing “Steam on Nreal”. So yes, that does mean you can now stream Steam games from your PC onto a huge 130-inch HD virtual display.

Nreal does note that “Steam on Nreal” is a beta release that requires a bit of setup effort without going into specifics. The software isn’t yet optimized for all Steam games but gamers can enjoy titles like DiRT Rally and the Halo series. As an additional benefit, Nreal Light and Air users can already utilise Xbox Cloud Gaming via a browser inside Nebula, Nreal’s 3D system.

“We are excited to be the first to bring Steam into AR,” said Peng Jin, co-founder of Nreal in a statement. “The beta release is meant to give people a glimpse into what is possible. After all, AAA games should be played on a 200″ HD screen and they should be played free of location restrictions.”

Nreal Air

As for the AR Jam, this will be Nreal’s first augmented reality hackathon, an online international contest with more than $100,000 USD in cash prizes to be won by creators. Kicking off on 27th June 2022, the AR Jam is looking for developers to compete in at-home fitness, art; games, video (highlighting Nebula’s multi-screen functionality) and Port (converting existing apps into AR) categories. There will also be three bonus categories should participants wish to enter, Multiplayer/Social/Networks; NFT Galleries, and Students.

“We’ve always been focused on creating consumer-ready AR experiences with groundbreaking tech, to redefine the way we interact with information and content in our everyday lives. With the AR Jam and content fund, Nreal is demonstrating its commitment to supporting pioneering developers and their AR passion projects,” Jin added.

Category winners will receive $10k, whilst those in second and third places will receive small cash prizes. Honourable mentions will get their very own Nreal Light Dev kit. The AR Jam will run until 27th July 2022.

For continued updates on Nreal and the AR market, keep reading gmw3.

Nreal Air AR Glasses Coming to UK This Spring via EE

Finally, after being made available in plenty of territories worldwide Nreal will soon sell its augmented reality (AR) glasses in the UK. Just like in countries such as Japan and the US, the latest Nreal Air will be made available in the UK via a mobile carrier – in this instance an exclusive deal with EE – later this spring.

Nreal Air connects to your smartphone so that users can watch TV or movies on a big virtual screen or utilise its AR functionality with a range of apps. Weighing in at 79g, Nreal Air supports two different modes; “Air Casting” and “MR Space”. The former allows users to mirror their phone screen, enlarging it up to a 130-inch HD virtual display. The latter can position multiple virtual screens for a range of tasks.

The AR glasses contain a micro-OLED chip that can support 49 Pixels Per Degree (PPD) at its maximum, all running at a 90Hz refresh rate. Connection is via USB-C to compatible smartphones (UK devices to be confirmed) using the Nreal Nebula app for the AR operating environment.

“We’re delighted to enter the UK market in partnership with EE and we look forward to building up the AR ecosystem together. At Nreal, we’re passionate about bringing AR into consumers’ everyday lives, which will start a revolutionary transformation just as the internet once did. AR will transcend the current mobile experience, especially when it comes to watching videos, exercising, and playing PC and cloud video games. As we continue to enrich the AR ecosystem with each update and upgrade, consumers will enjoy more mind-blowing digital innovations and experiences blended into everyday life,” said Peng Jin, Co-founder of Nreal in a statement.

Nreal Air - EE

Nreal Air Specifications

Form factor ·       148mm x 52mm x 159mm (opened)
·       148mm x 52mm x 60mm (folded)
·       3-Position adjustment for optimal gaze angle
·       Head width from 120-186mm
Power ·       Up to 5 hours video streaming in Air Casting mode
Weight ·       79 grams
Display ·       OLED
·       3840 by 1080 pixels with sRGB 108% colour gamut, 8-bit depth for 16.773 million colours
·       Up to 400 nits perceived brightness
·       100,000:1 contrast ratio
·       ~46-degree FoV, 49 pixels per degree (PPD)
·       130″ at 4m (Air Casting Mode), 201″ at 6m (MR Space Mode)
·       Fingerprint resistant coating, anti-reflective coating
Audio ·       2 open-ear speakers
·       Dual microphone array, omnidirectional MEMS microphones
·       Bass boost, virtual rendering
·       Echo cancellation, noise cancellation, beamforming, speech enhancement
Position tracking ·       3DoF head tracking
Controls and sensors ·       Screen on/off button
·       Screen brightness adjustment button
·       Accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer
·       Proximity sensor
Accessories ·       Detachable cable
·       Prescription-lens frame
·       3 nose pads
·       Case
·       Cleaning cloth
·       Light shield

“We’re working with the best content providers and the most innovative technology companies in the world to create entirely new experiences for our customers. Nreal are at the forefront of AR, and we’re delighted to be the exclusive UK partner for the launch of their new Nreal Air AR glasses,” Alistair Wilson, Director of Devices and Partnerships, EE adds. “When combined with the power of 5G, it really does open up new possibilities for seamless streaming and access to new types of content on the move – these are really exciting times for mobile.”

EE will launch the Nreal Air AR glasses later this spring, no prices have been revealed thus far. The device arrived in Japan back in March retailing for 39,799 yen ($345 USD) so that would put the UK price around the £270 GBP mark, directly in competition with Ray-Ban Stories, the smart glasses collaboration with Meta.

You can register your interest here for Nreal Air and for further updates keep reading gmw3.

Nreal’s Next AR Glasses Will be Apple and Android Compatible

Nreal Air

While Facebook’s first foray into smart glasses tech, Ray-Ban Stories, was putting a camera and speakers in sunglasses, companies like Nreal have already been outfitting their’s with augmented reality (AR) features. Nreal Light launched back in 2019, today seeing the next iteration coming to light in the form of Nreal Air.

Nreal Air

Just like its predecessor, Nreal Air is a smartphone tethered pair of AR sunglasses, enabling you to watch videos or play games on a giant virtual screen. This time, though, Nreal has managed to make the Air smaller, lighter and much more stylish than before – although the only images released so far are renders.

The company says that Nreal Air weighs in at 77g – Nreal Light was a chunkier 106g – and is capable of projecting a 130-inch virtual display at 3 meters or a whopping 201-inch display at a virtual six meters. This is thanks to a micro-OLED chip that can support a claimed 49 Pixels Per Degree (PPD) at its maximum. And to make sure the experience is nice and smooth it all runs at a 90Hz refresh rate.

That weight reduction works in conjunction with several other features to ensure the Nreal Air is comfortable to wear. An adjustable 3-Step Rake System gives you the option to adjust the viewing angle by tilting the lens, whilst the elastic temples hug the head so the glasses don’t suddenly slip.

Nreal Air

One of the most important additions in terms of compatibility and customer reach is that Neal Air will not only support most Android devices but Apple iOS products as well, beating Apple’s own AR headset plans.

“Consumers today are seeking lighter, but longer-lasting AR glasses exclusively for streaming media and working from home. For instance, in Korea we’ve found that 78% of our users use Nreal Light to watch streaming content,” said Chi Xu, Founder of Nreal in a statement. “Nreal Air builds on our Nreal Light offering and furthers our mission to spread AR globally. With Nreal Air, we’ve zeroed in on the perks of a portable movie theatre and condensed this into lightweight AR sunglasses with a zero-footprint display, while making it affordable.”

When it comes to getting hold of an Nreal Air the process is going to be similar to the Nreal Light. Nreal Air will initially launch in Japan, China and South Korea during December, available through telecom companies. The rest of the world will have to wait until 2022. No Price has been revealed although Nreal has said the new glasses: “will retail at a fraction of the price of Nreal Light,” which retailed for around $586 USD.

Depending on where you live you might be waiting quite a while to purchase an Nreal Air. Outside of its home Asian markets the Nreal Light only came to Europe via Vodafone, and that was only in Germany and Spain. As further details on these new AR sunglasses are released, VRFocus will let you know.