News: Nreal Pauses Smartglasses Production as Coronavirus Issues Impact China, Amazon, Facebook, Intel, & Nvidia Exit MWC

Nreal Pauses Smartglasses Production as Coronavirus Issues Impact China, Amazon, Facebook, Intel, & Nvidia Exit MWC

The deadly Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has not only has claimed lives in China but also has caused disruption around the globe, particularly in the tech industry. To date, the virus has claimed more than 1,000 lives in China, according to the country's officials.

Now the virus has levied production consequences in the augmented reality segment of the tech world.

On Monday, China-based smartglasses maker Nreal announced that it will temporarily halt the production of the Nreal Light. The interruption will cause delays in shipments of the Nreal Light Developer Kit.

The announcement was quietly revealed in a short message (see below) delivered through the company's official Twitter account.

In addition, Nreal's plans to ship the consumer version of Nreal Light, scheduled to be available for sale in the first half of 2020, may also now be in jeopardy.

Concerns around the coronavirus have also prompted several tech companies with roles in the augmented reality industry to pull out of this year's Mobile World Congress 2020, which is scheduled to begin on February 24 in Barcelona, Spain.

Image via Nreal

In recent days, some of the biggest names in tech have cancelled plans to attend the event, including Ericsson, Nvidia, Sony, Vivo, LG, Amazon, and NTT Docomo.

"Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of our colleagues, partners and customers is our highest concern," reads a statement from Nvidia on the company's website. "MWC Barcelona is one of the world's most important technology conferences. We've been looking forward to sharing our work in AI, 5G and vRAN with the industry. We regret not attending, but believe this is the right decision."

Japan's Sony delivered a similar message. "Sony has been closely monitoring the evolving situation following the novel coronavirus outbreak, which was declared a global emergency by the World Health Organization on January 30th, 2020," reads the company's statement. "As we place the utmost importance on the safety and wellbeing of our customers, partners, media and employees, we have taken the difficult decision to withdraw from exhibiting and participating at MWC 2020 in Barcelona, Spain."

Image via Nreal

Additionally, in the early hours of Tuesday, chip giant Intel joined the list of cancellations, along with smartphone maker Vivo. Soon after, Facebook and Cisco, as well as AT&T also announced plans to cancel participation in the event.

By Wednesday, GSMA finally relented, making the decision to cancel Mobile World Congress.

Additional reporting by Adario Strange

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Cover image via Nreal

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