The devices to “see” beyond the real world.

Several consumer-focused AR/VR gadgets have been launched in China, targeting millions of users and moving closer to the metaverse while bringing new experiences to the virtual realm and generating revenue opportunities for the industry.

The gadgets include glasses for online videos and virtual meetings, a drone with a virtual flight experience and simulated ambient noise. They use Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, which are widely considered foundational and essential technologies for the Metaverse.

“The Metaverse and its underlying technologies (in China) have the potential to break bottlenecks for the next era of innovation by enabling new user experiences and use cases across industries and providing new revenue opportunities,” according to research firm Gartner.

Unlike startups with limited resources and experience, Chinese vendors like Nreal, DJI, and Huawei have extensive consumer market experience and global brand awareness that can attract consumers and enable the market to embrace Metaverse-based gadgets.

The devices to “see” beyond the real world.

Ti gong

Nreal made its China debut with AR glasses.

Nreal started selling two AR glasses, Nreal X and Nreal Air, on Aug. 27 as the company’s first domestic product, with a starting price of 2,299 yuan (US$333). The glasses’ regular size and lightweight design allow users to experience true spatial integration, physical interaction, and cross-scene AR applications from anywhere.

Since its inception in 2017, Nreal has primarily focused on international markets such as the United States, Europe and Japan. The company’s eyewear was previously exhibited alongside its partner KDDI at a consumer electronics trade show in Shanghai.

The task of the next-generation computing platform is to move from the “mobile internet to the spatial internet” and integrate digital information with the real world. According to Xu Chi, managing director and founder of Nreal, the devices for the upgrade are AR glasses.

The current internet evolution is characterized as “growth without breakthrough”, while the metaverse of the underlying technologies has the potential to break the bottleneck, according to Gartner.

In China, Nreal has partnered with video streaming site iQiyi, China Mobile subsidiary Migu and New Energy car brand Nio to develop applications and an “AR ecosystem”. The new glasses will also be on display at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2022.

AR and online video are both fine arts. According to Gong Yu, CEO of iQiyi, augmented reality will enable a “magic leap” in immersive and interactive entertainment experiences.

The devices to “see” beyond the real world.

Ti gong

The DJI drone package offers a real flying experience for ordinary consumers.

Last week, DJI released the DJI Avata, a first-person-view (FPV) drone with a fully immersive flight experience described as an “almost out-of-body experience.” Its simple controls make FPV flying accessible even to novice pilots, who are often discouraged from long-term training due to complicated controls and the risks and casualties associated with drone crashes. The new avatar drone can automatically avoid danger.

With a 4K imaging system and 20GB of internal storage, the new drone offers users a wider field of view for flying and immersive aerial photography. DJI offers users the Goggle 2 video headset for more immersive and clearer imaging. The AR perspective provided by Goggle 2 and controllers provides an additional sense of orientation to help the pilot locate the immediate surroundings in seconds.

The drone has three models for pilots of different skill levels, from beginners to professionals – normal, manual and sport.

In China, prices for the Avatar drone start at 6,998 yuan.

According to Strategy Analytics, the global market for consumer AR devices has tripled from 2020 to 2021 and will reach nearly 60 million shipments by 2027.

Analysts predict that China and Asia Pacific will be the fastest growing regions for the Metaverse and underlying technology markets, thanks to tech-savvy consumers and strong electronics manufacturing capabilities.

The Metaverse is still in its early stages, but it will contribute $3.01 trillion to global GDP by 2031, with Asia-Pacific accounting for a third, according to an Analysis Group survey sponsored by Meta.

AR is a foundational technology for the Metaverse, according to Meta, formerly known as Facebook. The company, which invests heavily in the Metaverse, is one of the western leaders in new technologies.

The devices to “see” beyond the real world.

Ti gong

Huawei has set up its largest audio research center in Shanghai.

Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing have targeted the Metaverse as a long-term goal. Shanghai plans to increase the value of the city’s metaverse to 350 billion yuan by 2025. More metaverse and augmented reality apps will be shown for the first time at this year’s WAIC, which starts today.

Huawei Technologies has set up its largest audio technology research center in Shanghai, with several professional laboratories covering an area of ​​2,000 square meters. The tech giant is researching how to improve sound quality, reduce ambient noise and create spatial sound effects in the city center.

Today, these technologies are mainly used in high-end headsets and car speakers.

According to Huawei, audio technology will be widely used in the future, including more VR/AR devices for immersive experiences, especially spatial sound technologies.

“Anywhere there are speakers or microphones, Huawei’s audio technology can be used,” said Liu Dongfang, president of Huawei’s audio technology and device product line.

Meta, Google and Apple are leading the West in finding business opportunities for the Metaverse and its underlying technologies.

Apple is expected to release new AR devices alongside iPhones at its upcoming fall event in September. According to media reports, Apple has registered trademarks for “Reality One”, “Reality Pro” and “Reality Processor” worldwide, signaling the consumer electronics giant’s intention to expand into AR devices.

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