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Chinese startup Xreal banks big on AR

By Ma Si | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-03 15:13

Xreal has unveiled Beam Pro, an Android phone-like spatial computing terminal for its AR glasses. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Chinese augmented reality company Xreal has unveiled a phone-like device for its AR glasses, as it works hard to enrich the AR content to attract more people to try cutting-edge devices.

As Apple prepares to release its Vision Pro in China, Chinese AR firm Xreal seems to prove that the line between smartphones and AR devices is becoming blurred.

The company's latest product, the Xreal Beam Pro, can support spatial computing and most mobile apps displayed in its smart glasses. It comes with 3D cameras that can help shoot 3D content, aiming to solve the biggest bottleneck for the development of the AR industry.

Xu Chi, founder and CEO of Xreal, which is backed by big-name investors such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Hillhouse Capital, said the AR sector has yet to experience its "iPhone moment," which means a tipping point ready for explosive growth.

According to him, the industry is currently converging around three main product types. The first type is immersive devices, such as the relatively bulky headsets like Meta's Quest and Apple's Vision Pro.

The second type includes lightweight, all-day wearable devices like AR glasses. Lastly, the third type aims bridge the gap between the above two categories, just like what Xreal Beam Pro does.

According to market research company Counterpoint, the shipments of AR smart glasses increased by 64 percent year-on-year in 2023. It is expected that in 2024, more AR smart glasses will be commercialized, bringing richer experiences to outdoor applications and life assistance scenarios, Counterpoint said.

In the future, with continuous advancements in AR display and optical solutions, processors and wireless connectivity technology with other devices such as smartphones and computers, as well as improvements in user interfaces and applications, the AR smart glasses market is anticipated to experience further growth, Counterpoint added.

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