US consumers have been waiting for NReal Light glasses for what feels like ages. The company has announced software and partnerships, released SDKs, and even new hardware – all without putting products on American shelves. Starting now, that all changes. For Verizon customers, anyway.
Nreal Light’s Path to Shelves
ARPost has been covering Nreal since the spring of 2019 – with the full understanding that the company wasn’t operating in the US and the full expectation that one day they would.
In the early months of this year, the company finally announced that it would be appearing through American retailers by spring. The same announcement included an enterprise model, though the company has thus far been pushing light consumer hardware for that underserved market and the release of a halo-style enterprise headset seems a strange departure.
According to a release shared with ARPost, only the Nreal Light will be available initially, though the Nreal Air glasses announced in September of 2021 and the enterprise model announced in February this year are expected to be close behind.
Exploring the Announcement
The initial rollout of the Nreal Light glasses is taking place through twenty brick-and-mortar Verizon locations around the country. The rollout is taking place at physical locations in part so that unfamiliar consumers can demo the glasses before purchase. (I recently got the opportunity to try the glasses myself – they are comfortable and user-friendly and the display is beautiful.)
If you’re already convinced, the glasses are also available for order online. The glasses are currently retailing for $599, and are fully compatible with 5G phones including Samsung Galaxy and OnePlus UW lines.
Also announced with the hardware are seventeen native apps developed specifically for the Nreal’s Android-based OS, though yes, the glasses do also work with iOS devices. The announced apps include FigminXR, Ghost Hunters, Dunkaar, Table Trenches, and Magician Mastery.
Finally, the company also announced an SDK update allowing DRM-enabled content to be migrated to Nreal from other mobile platforms. This is a key feature as, while the glasses are 6DoF, one of the key use cases is as a virtual screen viewer.
“Only, if Not First”
The release calls the Nreal Light “the first consumer-ready AR glasses available on retail shelves.” They, like many in the industry, are forgetting – perhaps deliberately – about Google Glass. However, as those glasses are no longer available to consumers, Nreal is the only, if not the first. We can’t push progress too far, but now we await other carriers to support the glasses.