May 28, 2023

With 12 million sold in one day, why are AR glasses “hot”?

Nearly 10 years ago, in 2013, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg acquired Oculus VR for $3 billion, setting off a hot VR wave in the following years. The “Metaverse” that is now being normalized was also called “Super Yuanyu” at that time.

At that time, the focus of the Silicon Valley giants was not actually to achieve the best VR on the scale of “game console”, but more “universal” AR – allowing users to see virtual reality without blocking reality object.

At that time, Magic Leap won $2.7 billion in financing from giants such as Google and Ali without a prototype; the old company Microsoft launched the mixed reality headset HoloLens, which integrated all sensors into one helmet, which looked cool Incomparable.

But that backfired, and like VR, AR fell into a slump after 2017. Whether it is Magic Leap or HoloLens, they can only survive on the B side.

Like fashion, technology also has reincarnations – this year, when the popularity of “Metaverse” has dropped slightly, AR glasses products have returned to the public eye.

According to the latest data, two AR glasses products just released by domestic AR company Nreal sold 12 million yuan in one day, setting a new record.

AR glasses, why are they popular again?

return air outlet

During the Crimean War in October 1854, the British 93rd Sutherland Scottish Highland Regiment lined up to withstand a Russian cavalry charge. The red coats of British soldiers inspired war correspondents to leave behind the myth of the “Thin Red Line”.

Lao Luo, who once brought this red line to the Hammer mobile phone, also recently registered a new company under this name, and he said bluntly that this time he is going to enter the field of AR/VR, and he is likely to do both soft and hard, ” The last time it can be made into OPPO and vivo grades.”

Mr. Luo’s idea coincides with his old partner Wu Dezhou, and he also chooses to start a business in the same field.

There are many more names and companies on this list. The entry of these serial entrepreneurs and consumer electronics giants is not accidental. What they see is that the AR headset industry seems to be getting closer and closer to the “iPhone moment”.


Rumored Apple AR headset | Apple Insider

The creator of the iPhone, Apple, which is always considered to have the ability to “define the track”, has been hearing about its AR headset in the past year. The latest one is that its headset may be named “Reality One”, which feels very “player one” and also coincides with rumors of its mixed reality system “RealityOS”.

More gratifying news came from the market side: on August 27, AR company Nreal officially released two AR glasses, Nreal Air and Nreal X, and sold 12 million yuan on the Tmall e-commerce platform in one day, setting a record The single-day sales record of the XR category (VR/AR) on the Tmall platform, and the single-day sales/sales exceeds the sum of the VR/AR smart glasses categories on the Tmall platform in the past 60 days.

AR has returned to the market in the domestic market, and there may be a part of the “metaverse” credit, but more importantly, the Chinese company behind it has made its own thinking and actions for the real “landing” of AR.

AR “Flying on the Ground”

In 2012, Google co-founder Sergey Brin first showed off the prototype Google Glass Google Glass at a charity dinner, which in a sense opened the AR curtain for the past decade.

If it weren’t for the fact that fans were too “fever”, the prospect of Google’s smart glasses would have been very good, but in the end, because of the public’s sensitivity to privacy exposure, they launched the consumer market with hatred.

The Magic Leap and Microsoft HoloLens, which took over the baton, have completely different goals from Google. They are holding high the stance of “next-generation computing platform” and stuffing the immature optical waveguide, gesture recognition and other technologies into a head that weighs a few hundred grams. obvious.

The embarrassing thing is that after integrating many functions, the size and weight of the headset are uncontrollable, which makes the weight of the AR headset similar to the VR headset, and it is very uncomfortable to wear; at the same time, due to the use of various immature technologies, the product The cost has skyrocketed, and the final unit price has reached more than 20,000 yuan, completely missing the C-end market.

And real consumer-grade products have always been balanced products.


Nreal Air is mainly thin and fashionable, very similar to ordinary sunglasses|Nreal

The products that have become popular in the domestic market this time are mainly thin and light in form, compressing the size and weight of the machine to the greatest extent, and making them easier to wear; in terms of function, they abandon too many immature advanced technologies, and focus on “carrying giant screens”. On the one hand, it makes it easier for users to understand the role of the machine, and on the other hand, it can make full use of the existing massive 2D and 3D content.

Take Nreal Air as an example, an AR glasses that is very close to the shape of ordinary sunglasses. The whole machine achieves a weight of 79g. Even if it cannot achieve the shape of ordinary glasses, it is already one of the lightest AR glasses products. In the glasses, a Sony Micro OLED screen with a “self-luminous” feature is used, which uses an organic material coating to emit light under an electric current. Higher luminous efficiency, almost 0 grayscale, make the display color more natural and true. In terms of wearing eye comfort, Nreal also adopts extremely high standards, and has obtained three certifications of low blue light, no flicker, and Eye Comfort from TUV Rheinland, Germany.

Connected to a mobile phone, tablet or computer through a cable or adapter, users can watch long and short videos on the equivalent 130-inch “floating screen” projected in front of their eyes, even write documents and browse web pages. If you want, you can even watch a blockbuster while lying on the bed, no longer afraid of your phone or tablet getting smashed in the face.

At the same time, the price of the glasses is precisely set within 2,500 yuan, which is close to the price range of terminal game consoles and projectors, so that young users who like early adopters can buy them without any burden. Another glasses, Nreal X, is priced at 4,299 yuan, which truly uses technology to make full-featured AR glasses that are comparable to enterprise-level AR headsets into a “glasses” form and a consumer-level price. Compared with the previous AR headsets that cost more than 20,000 yuan, Nreal’s two glasses are worlds apart.

It is precisely because of such a different product idea and play style from Silicon Valley that domestic AR glasses ushered in a new climax.

Chinese companies take the lead on next-generation platforms

In 2007, Jobs pulled the iPhone out of his pocket, ushering in the era of smartphones and the mobile Internet.

Now, people still follow the inertia, looking forward to the legendary Apple AR glasses, which can officially define a track. However, at a time when people are already looking forward to the “next-generation computing platform”, it is unknown whether the industry leader is still Apple. At least domestic companies that are “rushing” AR may not be willing to be followers all the time.

Compared with foreign giants, Chinese AR companies also have their own advantages.

First of all, the strong domestic supply chain ensures that entrepreneurs can quickly iterate products, especially consumer electronics products such as AR glasses that still do not have mature standards and conclusions. Nreal founder Xu Chi once revealed that he told foreign counterparts at the exhibition that his products could be iterated 7 times a year, which shocked the other party.


People’s final imagination of AR glasses is probably like this | Firstpost

Secondly, the huge domestic market and a large number of young users who are curious about high-quality products are a solid “Petri dish” for innovative companies. At present, the innovation of mobile phone products has weakened, and AR glasses products, as a new type of consumer electronics, are more likely to be favored by young consumers. With the feedback from the consumer market, in turn, it can promote faster iteration of products and faster ecological maturity.

In addition, many domestic companies have mastered the “rhythm” of development. Instead of “advancement” like their European and American counterparts, they use the AR low tide period to hone technology and cultivate ecology. For example, Nreal mainly promoted the European and American markets in the early days. On the one hand, it improved its products and on the other hand cultivated the developer ecosystem. When the time is right, it will be officially released in China.

Finally, more talents join the industry to accelerate AR development. Taking Nreal as an example, more than 70% of the team of nearly 500 people are engaged in research and development. Through self-developed optical engine, spatial positioning and 3D interactive system, consumer-grade AR glasses can also achieve the experience of B-end products. At the same time, the picture is clearer and brighter.

AR that can make consumers pay is more likely to have a future. From this point of view, domestic companies that are “rushing ahead” on the AR track may continue to maintain their leading edge. At least the current feedback from the domestic market has given entrepreneurs clear encouragement.

Ewen Eagle

I am the founder of Urbantechstory, a Technology based blog. where you find all kinds of trending technology, gaming news, and much more.

View all posts by Ewen Eagle →

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