Nreal Forms Alliance with Wireless Giant China Unicom to Demo Smartglasses in Retail Stores « Next Reality


Suddenly, Magic Leap’s lawsuit against Nreal, as well as its barrier to entry in the Chinese market, appears to be as insurmountable as The Great Wall itself.

On Friday, Nreal revealed that it is partnering with China Unicom, China’s fifth-largest wireless provider, to bring the Nreal Light smartglasses into 400 retail stores across the country.

The partnership between Nreal and China Unicom began in June with the establishment of a 5G Innovation Center that endeavors to catalyze the development of augmented reality apps and spur the demand for 5G connectivity. By bringing Nreal Light into retail stores, China Unicom, a state-owned carrier, is backing the smartglasses as a product for mainstream consumers in the country.

Image via Nreal

“We’re excited to partner with China Unicom and take the next step in accelerating the commercialization of our product,” said Chi Xu, CEO and founder of Nreal, in a statement.

“By expanding our presence from the 5G innovation center to 400 retail stores, we’re thrilled to be paving the road to showcase the unlimited potential that 5G can offer consumers.”

Image by Nreal/YouTube

Despite facing a lawsuit from Magic Leap alleging the theft of trade secrets, Nreal is moving forward with its launch of Light undeterred. In July, the company released its SDK designed to support developers interested in building apps for the Nreal Light. The company is taking applications for Nreal Developer Kits, with the “mass availability” of the consumer version of Light scheduled for 2020.

Magic Leap alleges that Xu used his inside knowledge of product prototypes and marketing to accelerate development of Light. Now, Nreal is taking another page out of Magic Leap’s playbook in partnering with wireless carriers and using its retail infrastructure to showcase its AR products.

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