Media & Services Blog

Nreal and Vodafone bring smartphone-tethered AR to Europe

by David MacQueen | 12月 11, 2020

After several companies showed smartphone-tethered AR at CES 2020, I predicted that we'd see that device category take off this year. Although I thought it would be an existing smartphone OEM that would seize the opportunity, it has been startup Nreal which has stolen a march on its potential rivals.

Following deals with LG Uplus and KDDI, Nreal has now broken out of APAC and into Europe via a collaboration with Vodafone. As well as distribution for the glasses, Vodafone and Nreal will work together to develop new apps, and distribute the developer kit. In other words, this is an ecosystem play, not simply adding another device to a carrier's portfolio.

The device will launch in Vodafone Germany and Spain in spring 2021, with other markets to follow.

Why is this important? All-in-one AR glasses, such as the Magic Leap and HoloLens, are bulky, unattractive and extremely expensive at around $3000. By shifting the processing power to the smartphone, the glasses have far fewer components. This allows them to be cheaper, lighter, and opens up new design possibilities - which allows devices such as Nreal to really address the consumer market, rather than low volume enterprise market.
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