With the consumer edition of its Nreal Light headset, scheduled to ship in 2020, Nreal is prepared to bring the entire Android app ecosystem into augmented reality.
On Monday evening, just hours ahead of the official start of CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Nreal unveiled Nebula, the first edition of its Android-based operating system for the Nreal Light. The system will enable developers to adapt their Android apps to a 3D interface, allowing users can interact with 2D versions of Android apps and access 3D content within their physical surroundings.
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Much like the landscape apps in the Lumin operating system for Magic Leap One or the spatial workspaces of the HoloLens 2, Nebula will allow users to keep multiple apps open and pinned in their personal space, with each screen being resizable.
In addition, Nebula will facilitate persistent content and multi-user experiences for the Nreal Light. In August 2018, AR cloud platform 6D.ai announced that it would supply 3D mapping technology to Nreal Light to enable such next-generation AR experiences.
Nebula will also support flexible user input methods, for example, Nreal Light wearers can connect a Finch controller or Black Shark gaming kit for six degrees of freedom. Nreal will also integrate eye-tracking capabilities, which will come via a newly-forged partnership with 7invensun.
To showcase the experiences that Nebula can bring to the Nreal Light, Nreal will have several demos, built with content and hardware partners, available for attendees at CES.
For shopping, Nreal and fashion brand Joseph will display a virtual showroom app, created by Japanese AR studio Meson, that features virtual models wearing various outfits that customers can purchase through the app. Nreal will also invite visitors to a model smart home, where users can control appliances through a virtual hub via the Nreal Light.
AR gaming will be the star of the showcase, though. Nreal will have three games on hand. Kingdom of Blades, an action game that is part Fruit Ninja, part Beat Saber, will be demonstrated using the Finch 6DoF controllers. Also, first-person shooter Zombie Bomber AR will show off how players can toss virtual bombs while using their smartphones as controllers. Finally, using Black Shark's controller, players will also have the side-scroller Corner Fight game to test out.
"Black Shark has been dedicated to providing the best gaming experience to global gamers. Tethered to Nreal Light, Black Shark's gaming phone and accessory can deliver more immersive gaming experiences," said David Li, vice president of Black Shark Global, in a statement provided to Next Reality. "At CES 2020, Black Shark 2 Pro and Nreal Light marks the future of a new generation of gaming and we're excited to be collaborating on this together and achieve more in the future."
Nreal has already started accepting pre-orders for the Nreal Light Developer Kit, which includes the Nreal Light, a 3DoF controller, and a computer pack for $1,199. Now, after securing partnerships with wireless carriers LG Uplus, KDDI, and China Unicom, the startup has committed to shipping the consumer version of the Nreal Light in early 2020.
"With the support of the world's leading partners and brands, Nreal is showing that Mixed Reality and 5G technology is quickly coming to consumers worldwide," said Chi Xu, CEO and founder of Nreal. "Following the launch for the pre-orders of the Nreal Light Developer Kit, we're excited for what our partners and developers can offer Nreal Light users."
After spending 2019 hyping up the Nreal Light, establishing a developer ecosystem, and fending off lawsuits, Nreal is now on the clock to deliver on its promises of consumer-grade AR smartglasses.
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