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AR glasses look to challenge Meta and Apple

Xreal Air 2 in action. Xreal’s augmented reality glasses is compatible with gaming consoles and can allow users to play games on a large virtual screen


Chinese augmented reality (AR) firm Xreal on Tuesday launched its next-generation glasses, as interest continues to rise in the technology that many tech giants like Apple and Meta see as the next big consumer product after the smartphone.

The Xreal Air 2 and Xreal Air 2 Pro are lightweight glasses, rather than bulky headsets, as the company bets on this kind of device appealing to a wider array of consumers looking for an easy-to-wear product.

“The Air 2 was designed primarily with a focus on improving the comfort while people are using it,” Peng Jin, co-founder of Xreal, told CNBC in an interview on Tuesday.

AR refers to technology where digital experiences are imposed over the real world. Xreal glasses allow users to have large-screen experiences of apps, such as streaming services or gaming. Xreal’s AR glasses can connect to smartphones, game consoles and other devices, allowing a user to open an app and see what they’re viewing on a virtual screen up to 330-inches.

Xreal is launching the glasses in the U.S., U.K. and in some markets in Europe. The Xreal Air 2 starts at $399 while the Pro versions starts at $449. The gear will be available for order in November.

The company said it has managed to use smaller displays inside the device, resulting in AR glasses that are 10% lighter than the previous generation. Xreal also said it has improved the headset speakers to prevent as much sound from escaping.

The first generation of the Xreal Air was released last year.

Tech giants bet on augmented reality

The Xreal Air 2 glasses start at $399 and will be launched in the U.S., U.K. and selected European markets.


Jin said Xreal’s strength is in its lack of legacy, suggesting that Apple would not make a headset that necessarily connects to rival systems and that Meta’s headsets would likely be linked to the company’s social networks.

“For us, we have that flexibility. We have that freedom of not having to work with any existing legacy … so we are cross platform, we don’t mind starting at a very basic experience, and letting people learn about us, accept us into their everyday life, so we can grow from there,” Jin said.

He added that, ultimately, when big companies are involved in a technology, “it’s always good for everybody,” by bringing in more capital, talent and business opportunities.

Xreal aims for fast growth

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