Nreal rebrands as XREAL and expands its ecosystem

Some rumors were already going around in the previous days, but now it is official: Chinese AR company Nreal has rebranded as XREAL. Together with this announcement, it has also announced some new solutions and especially the widening of its target platforms beyond just Android: PC and even SteamDeck will soon be compatible with Nre… ehm XREAL products. Let’s see all these pieces of news together.

Nreal becomes XREAL

One of the new brand images of XREAL (Image by XREAL)

Nreal, which is one of the most interesting AR startups around, entered into a dispute with Epic Games for its name being too close to “Unreal”, which is a well-known name in our ecosystem. Nreal states that the dispute with Epic has been “resolved amicably”, but that anyway it decided to change its name to have a more identifiable and distinguishable brand. The newly chosen name has been XREAL.

Peng Jin, co-founder at XREAL, commented on the rebranding with this statement: “The ‘X’ in XREAL reflects our commitment to the vision of expanding reality, and creating cross-reality experiences. It is also a reminder to ourselves that we need to be extra real when delivering value to customers

My comment on this name change is this meme:

Nreal, Xreal…差不多…

For sure people at XREAL people have a fetish for names that begin with a consonant plus the letter R and so are difficult to pronounce. In any case, XREAL sounds better, it’s more pronounceable than “nreal” and it’s possible to play a bit with the meaning of the X letter, but at the same time is not so different than the previous name at the point of confusing the users, so it’s a good choice.

The name change was in my opinion needed, because every time I talked about the Nreal glasses to someone outside of our field, that person always understood “Unreal” and wondered if the glasses were from Epic Games. So the Nreal management took the right decision.

XREAL Spatial Display

Spatial Display gives you different options to see your screen in AR in front of you (Image by XREAL)

The first piece of news announced together with the name change is the launch of XREAL Spatial Display. The 3 DOF glasses for media consumption Nreal Air, now rebranded as XREAL Air, have been the most popular product sold by XREAL, with more than 100,000 units sold worldwide. They have a feature called Air Casting, which let you mirror the screen of your phone on your smartglasses, so that you can for instance watch Netflix on your glasses while lying down on the bed. XREAL Spatial Display is the evolution of that Air Casting technology, with many more possibilities.

The biggest update is the introduction of “3DOF Tracking”. XREAL Air are 3DOF glasses, so they have rotational tracking, but when used in Air Casting mode, they were just projecting the screen of your smartphone in front of your eyes. If you rotated your head, the smartphone screen image would still be glued in front of your eyes. Tracking was 0DOF. In some cases, this way of watching content is nice, but most of the time having something glued in front of your eyes, feels a bit weird. That’s why XREAL is now aiming to introduce 3DOF tracking for video watching. The vision is that the video you are watching is anchored to your body and not to your head. Speaking a bit more technically, it means the video is anchored at a specific distance in front of you, in the original viewing direction, and if you rotate your head, the video remains in that position and doesn’t rotate with your head. It’s a bit like when you watched a 2D movie in a virtual cinema on your Oculus Go. This is much more natural because it feels like a screen in the environment around you and not something weirdly attached to your face. Plus, if you want to do something else while you watch a movie in AR, you can rotate your head and do it… while if you have something always strapped in front of your eyes, you can’t do anything else because it’s too disturbing.

3DOF tracking is not substituting the standard mirroring. It is being added as an additional mode. Actually, XREAL is adding two more modes, for a total of four. Let me describe the two additional methods by directly quoting XREAL: “Smooth Follow, an improvement on mirroring, uses algorithms to keep the display steady amid small and sudden movements. This is ideal for using XREAL Air during commutes. Sideview, which was offered first in Nebula for Android, allows users to shrink the display to a side window to avoid visual interference while walking, for example.”.

I think these are all interesting view modalities to offer to users. The sales number of XREAL Air vs XREAL Light and this investment in additional media consumption modalities show that now media watching is the most popular use case for AR glasses and smartglasses. This reminds me of the good old times when all people at Oculus were wondering why people used GearVR the most for watching movies and not for playing games. Probably it’s a phase that all XR technologies should go through

Peng Jin, cofounder of XREAL, commented on the news by saying “Spatial Display to AR is what email was to the internet, upgrading something people are already familiar with to a whole different level of experience.”.

Maybe emails were a bit more disruptive…


XREAL Beam is a new device that lets you connect your XREAL glasses to basically all your electronic devices: “XREAL Beam is an iPod-shaped device that can transform video input from other devices into XREAL Spatial Display on XREAL Air. It supports both wired and wireless connections to smartphones, gaming consoles, and personal computers, and integrates DTS: X Ultra technology to offer high-quality spatial audio. XREAL Beam has a built-in 4870 mAh battery that can support up to three hours of play, and also features two USB-C ports that support simultaneous charging and playing, a feature requested by many XREAL customers.”

XREAL Beam (Image by XREAL)

It reminds me a bit of a similar device that also Rokid launched. I think it’s great to increase the compatibility of the glasses with all the devices a user may have. I imagine this to be bought by the people that are really fans of watching all kinds of content on XREAL Air smartglasses. But I also think that the majority of the users probably are just interested to connect the glasses to Android devices in a plug-and-play mode, instead of having an additional device with a battery to charge. But it’s good to have options.

XREAL Beam lets you connect your XREAL Air with many video output sources you may have at home! (Image by XREAL)

XREAL Beam will be available for pre-order from June 1, 2023, with global availability in the
second half of July, 2023.

Technical updates

XREAL is also working on the release of its Nebula runtime for Windows and SteamOS. This means that Steam Deck users can enjoy XREAL Spatial Display by connecting Steam Deck with XREAL Air directly. This is kinda cool: with this connection, it is possible to play Steam Deck games on a big virtual screen in front of your eyes, maybe while you are lying on a bed.

XREAL also said it will release a firmware update in the coming months to increase the refresh
rate of XREAL Air to 90Hz for both mirroring and 3DoF display.

Increased availability

The X makes everything cooler (Image by XREAL)

XREAL also announced that it plans to expand its Amazon presence to Europe and the UK in Q3 this year. This is good for facilitating the spread of XR glasses worldwide.


XREAL will be at AWE US, and interested people may be able to try there XREAL Spatial Display, XREAL Beam, and XREAL Nebula for Windows in person. I will be there, too, so maybe I’ll hop at their booth… and I encourage you to do the same!

Further info

There is a new website where you can learn everything about XREAL. You may be incredibly surprised to discover that its address is . Yeah, I know, kinda unexpected…

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(Header image by XREAL)

The post Nreal rebrands as XREAL and expands its ecosystem appeared first on The Ghost Howls.

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