Market Reality: Magic Leap Prescription Lenses Arrive, Niantic Challenges Devs with Real World, & Blippar Goes Under

Magic Leap Prescription Lenses Arrive, Niantic Challenges Devs with Real World, & Blippar Goes Under

Mixed reviews of Magic Leap One aside, it would be hard to deny that Magic Leap has had a big year. And the AR unicorn isn't coasting to the finish line, with a number of new apps dropping and prescription frames finally arriving to bring relief to those who wear eyeglasses.

The other AR unicorn, Niantic, has also had a very good year, with the introduction of its Real World Platform and its continued success with Pokémon GO. Just ahead of the holidays, the company is asking developers to show off their best AR ideas.

And while Magic Leap and Niantic are riding high, Blippar has plummeted to its nadir, as the company entered the UK equivalent of bankruptcy this week.

Finally, North, the company that ushered in the consumer smartglasses era with its Focals line, has strengthened its patent portfolio with the purchase of Intel's Vaunt technology.

Magic Leap Starts Selling Prescription Frames

In the last few weeks, the Magic Leap ecosystem has ramped up activity with a number of new releases debuting just before the close of the year.

Now, yet another piece of the Magic Leap picture has come into focus in the form of prescription lens inserts. Teased earlier this year at the L.E.A.P. conference, the inserts are from FramesDirect and are officially named the InSpatialRx Prescription Insert.

Continue reading for more details on how to order the accessory and how much the prescription frames will set you back...

REALITY BITES: Augmented reality startups are a hot investment property among venture capital firms, tech enterprises, and angel investors. But how does the average Joe participate? You hit the stock market. For those looking to turn 50 cents into a dollar, the Motley Fool has identified three hot augmented reality stocks. Constant readers of Next Reality should be able to guess at least two of them before clicking.

Niantic Recruits Developers to Real World Platform with $1M Contest

Location-based gaming pioneer Niantic has been preparing its flavor of AR cloud, the Niantic Real World Platform, to bring more realistic and interactive augmented reality experiences to mobile apps. And now the company is looking for a few good developers to help execute its vision on the platform.

On Thursday, the Pokémon GO developer unveiled its Beyond Reality Developer Contest, which will offer a pool of $1 million in prizes to those who present innovative AR gaming and geospatial technology proposals that use the Real World Platform.

Keep reading for more details on the contest and how it fits into the strategy that convinced investors to reportedly fund Niantic with another $200 million...

REALITY BITES: Could Apple's future smartglasses have a hint of HoloLens in their makeup? Maybe. According to The Verge, Andrew Kim, who contributed to the design of the HoloLens and Xbox One S while at Microsoft, has left his post as senior design manager at Tesla to join Apple as a designer.

Blippar Goes Bust After Financing Fumbled

Mobile augmented reality pioneer Blippar has now completed its fall from hopeful AR startup to the immersive computing history books.

On Monday, Blippar confirmed via a blog post that it has entered administration, the UK equivalent of bankruptcy in the US. The announcement comes after reports surfaced last week that a conflict between investors threatened to hold up funding that would keep the company afloat.

Read on for more details on the epic collapse and how its business strategy, plus the AR innovations of other companies, led to Blippar's downfall...

REALITY BITES: The executive turnover at Snap, Inc. continues. This time, Snapchat's parent company will replace its vice president of hardware for the second time in the span of seven months. In February, Steen Strand, a veteran of the aviation industry, will step in for the departing Sahil Sharma, who assumed the same position in July in place of Mark Randall, who also left the company. Strand won't have to worry about missing out on annual bonuses, though, as Snap will not distribute bonuses to employees for 2018 anyhow.

Intel Sells Vaunt Smartglasses Patents to North

When wearables startup North officially unveiled its Focals smartglasses in October, the stylish frames strongly resembled, in form and function, Intel's canceled Vaunt smartglasses.

Now, North's Focals may be about to have even more in common with Vaunt, as the startup has acquired the patent portfolio behind Intel's shelved project.

Continue reading to learn how the past business relationship between Intel and North smoothed the way for the deal, and how the purchase represents a best case scenario for the shuttered Vaunt project...

Image by North/YouTube

REALITY BITES: We've established a new section on Next Reality that pulls together all of the news on the business of augmented reality. So if you're craving news on investments, executive arrivals and departures, market analysis, and the like, check out our AR Business section!

Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.

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Cover image via Magic Leap/YouTube

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