Nreal has officially rebranded as Xreal and launched its first product under the new name, the Xreal Beam, to add full iPhone and Windows support for Nreal Air.
The name change should resolve a legal dispute between Nreal and Epic Games, who owns the trademark for the similar-sounding Unreal Engine. The new Xreal name is likely a nod to XR, so it works well for the company’s product line, which includes two models of AR glasses, related accessories, and software.
The big news from Xreal at Augmented World Expo (AWE) is the introduction of the Xreal Beam an accessory for the Xreal Air, along with upgraded display modes via the new Spatial Display software.
Nreal Air compatibility
Nreal has been rapidly expanding the compatibility of its Nreal Air AR glasses, but the solutions haven’t always been ideal. For the best experience that provides three degrees of freedom (3DoF), Nreal’s Nebula software is needed.
Nebula was initially only available for Android, with macOS support following soon after. iPhone usage was hampered by requiring two expensive adapters to connect to the Nreal Air.
iPhone and Windows users could connect to see a large virtual display, but there was no motion-tracking support for mixed reality apps. The display moved when your head moved, always in the center of your vision.
There was a need for better device support, and that’s where the Xreal Beam comes in.
Xreal Beam and Spatial Display
Xreal Beam could bridge the gap more effectively. According to Xreal, it’s shaped like an iPod. As the Beam name implies, it supports wireless connections. Alternatively, two USB-C ports allow simultaneous wired connection and charging of the 4870mAh battery, providing up to four hours of use.
When used with the Xreal Air, the Beam will reportedly enable 3DoF support from any device. That means screens can be placed around you in space. The price of Xreal Beam is not yet known, but it will be available for preorder on June 1, 2023.
Xreal also introduced Spatial Display, an enhanced version of the current display modes, adding smooth follow and Sideview, which places a smaller screen offset from the center, allowing better awareness of your physical surroundings.
Some Nreal users have had complaints about the software, so hopefully the latest updates will resolve those issues. The Xreal Beam could solve compatibility concerns, making the Xreal Air a much more versatile device.
Xreal recently expanded Nebula support to Windows and just announced a SteamOS version is in progress to allow advanced use of Xreal Air with Valve’s Steam Deck. A big firmware update for Xreal Air in the coming months will increase the refresh rate to 90Hz.
We’ll share updates about the Xreal Beam, Nebula, and Spatial Display when we know more.
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