May 25, 2023 – Nreal, a provider of consumer augmented reality (AR) glasses, has today announced the adoption of XREAL as its new brand name in preparation for its next stage of global expansion. The company also announced XREAL Spatial Display, a significant upgrade from the Air Casting mode featured on the Nreal Air (now renamed XREAL Air) consumer AR glasses.
Built on its computer vision technology, XREAL Spatial Display aims to establish 3DoF (three degrees of freedom) tracking as the standard for future displays, meaning displays will be anchored to the body, rather than following a user’s head movements.
3DoF tracking was previously only available to Android and MacOS customers, as it required the installation of the company’s Nebula AR software. However, to make it a universal experience, XREAL has today unveiled its XREAL Beam device, an adaptor that helps to bring XREAL Spatial Display to gaming consoles, smartphones and personal computers. Additionally, the company has also announced its plans to expand Nebula compatibility to Windows and Steam Deck.
XREAL stated that since its commercial launch last year, it has sold more than 150,000 products globally. However, due to a legal dispute with Epic Games regarding the ‘Nreal’ mark and its closeness to the ‘Unreal’ trademark that Epic owns, Nreal has likely had to rename as a result of an out of court settlement with Epic. Nreal stated in a press release that while the dispute was resolved amicably, it decided “it would be beneficial to select a new mark that can more clearly and uniquely distinguish the firm as a leader of the augmented reality industry.”
Peng Jin, co-founder at XREAL, added: “The ‘X’ in XREAL reflects our commitment to the vision of expanding reality, and creating cross-reality experiences. It is also a reminder to ourselves that we need to be extra real when delivering value to customers.”
XREAL Spatial Display
One of the fundamental elements of AR technologies is spatial positioning, the ability to position a virtual object relative to its physical environment. Spatial positioning is measured by the degree of freedom (a.k.a. DoF). 3DoF means that a virtual display is not affected by head movements and moves only with the body. Having a fixed screen position may be preferable if users want to reduce screen movements while playing games, or turn away from the screen to have a conversation, or look for something.
With the launch of its Beam device, XREAL is expanding its Spatial Display and 3DoF functionality to most smartphones, PCs and gaming consoles through both wireless and wired connections, enabling users of all devices to enjoy a Spatial Display experience up to 201-inches.
In addition to 3DoF and simple screen mirroring, XREAL is also introducing two other display modes to complete the initial XREAL Spatial Display experience offering:
Smooth Follow – an improvement on mirroring that uses algorithms to keep the display steady amid small and sudden movements. The company noted this will be ideal for using XREAL Air during commutes.
Sideview – First offered in Nebula for Android, Sideview allows users to shrink the display to a side window to avoid visual interference while walking, for example.
“Major technological transformations, such as the internet and AR, take time to unravel. I feel that Spatial Display to AR is what email was to the internet, upgrading something people are already familiar with to a whole different level of experience. Going forward, we anticipate 3DoF will become the standard visual experience for smart glasses, and I am excited that XREAL will be the first to offer this experience,” said Peng Jin.
XREAL Beam is an device shaped like the the classic iPod that can transform video input from other devices into XREAL Spatial Display on XREAL Air. It supports both wired and wireless connections to smartphones, gaming consoles and personal computers, and integrates DTS: X Ultra technology to offer high-quality spatial audio.
XREAL Beam has a built-in 4870 mAh battery that can support up to three hours of play, and also features two USB-C ports that support simultaneous charging and playing.
According to XREAL, the first phase of Beam’s rollout will focus on gamers and PC users primarily. While smartphone users can watch YouTube and TikTok wirelessly via Beam, support for DRM content will launch in the second phase of the product’s rollout.
“XREAL Beam is the kind of product that can connect AR technologies with the mainstream market. For those who are looking to get a second TV for the home, with Air and Beam, you can have a TV in every room, even your backyard or balcony. For PC owners, the fantasy of pairing the largest monitor with the most portable laptop is finally coming true,” added Peng Jin.
XREAL Beam will be available for pre-order from June 1, 2023, with global availability in the second half of July, 2023. Visit xreal.com to sign up for pre-order notification now.
In addition to the XREAL Beam announcement, the company also announced that it will soon release a beta version of Nebula for Windows, bringing the multi-screen virtual desktop experience to Windows computers with discrete GPUs. Nebula was previously only available to MacOS users running M1/M2 Mac computers, and granted them the ability to utilize three gigantic virtual screens.
Furthermore, XREAL will release a version of Nebula for SteamOS, allowing Steam Deck users to enjoy XREAL Spatial Display by connecting Steam Deck with XREAL Air directly. The company also stated that it will release a firmware update in the coming months to increase the refresh rate of XREAL Air to 90Hz for both mirroring and 3DoF display. Finally, XREAL noted that it plans to expand its Amazon presence to Europe and the UK in Q3 this year to support increasing global demand.
Image credit: XREAL
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.