After entering into settlement talks with Epic Games over the gaming giant's trademark challenge, Nreal is now ready to open up the floodgates to potential early adopters in the augmented reality space.
On Thursday, the AR smartglasses maker began taking pre-orders for the Nreal Light Developer Kit, which has previously been available only to select Nreal Developer Program participants by invitation only.
For $1,199, customers will receive the Nreal Light smartglasses, a three degrees of freedom controller (3DoF), and a computer pack. Orders will ship in "a month, on a rolling basis" to those who pre-order. Interested parties can place their pre-orders at Nreal's website.
"We're excited to announce the pre-order program and make Nreal Light Developer Kit available for the first batch of developers. This early access will allow developers to migrate existing apps onto Nreal Light's platform or build new, innovative Mixed Reality applications," said Chi Xu, CEO, and founder of Nreal.
Weighing in at 88 grams, the colorful Nreal Light glasses include a waveguide display with 52 degrees field of view and USB-C connectivity for tethering the Nreal Light to the proprietary computer pack or compatible Android smartphones. In terms of environmental understanding, the smartglasses are capable of simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), 6DoF tracking, plane detection, and image tracking.
In addition to the pre-order milestone, Nreal has also secured a partnership with South Korean wireless carrier LG Uplus. Ahead of the launch of the commercial version of Nreal Light in 2020, the companies will offer a trial service as part of the wireless carrier's 5G customer experience zone at 35 retail stores and five pop-up stores across the country.
"Although AR devices/products have high market prospects, the barriers to entry are still high due to the high price," said Song Dae-won, managing director of the Future Device Unit at LG Uplus. "We will popularize AR glasses so that customers can experience rich content powered by 5G more realistically through an alliance with Nreal."
The partnership with LG Uplus comes on the heels of an alliance with Chinese wireless carrier Unicom, a company that has committed to hosting demo units at 400 retail stores.
"We're excited to partner with LG Uplus to finally bridge consumers with AR glasses and we look forward to bringing app developers and content creators together for the commercialization of 5G," said Xu.
While the legal challenge from Epic Games has apparently progressed into possibly friendlier territory, Nreal still faces an arguably greater challenge in its on-going lawsuit with Magic Leap alleging trade secrets theft by Xu, a former Magic Leap employee. That trial starts in January 2020, but Nreal will proceed undeterred in the meantime.