NetEase Look To Bring Budget AR Glasses To Chinese Market

Las Vegas, Nevada is all of a buzz this week as the entire circus that is the computer technology industry has rolled into town for the International Consumer Electronics Show, better known the world over as CES.

For the 2018 edition of CES we’ve seen plenty of news relating to virtual reality (VR) – in particular a pair of announcements regarding standalone VR headsets. Xiaomi’s Mi VR Standalone head mounted display (HMD), twin of the Oculus Go and the newly announced (and somewhat confusing to pronounce) iQIYI QIYU-II. But that doesn’t mean that augmented reality (AR) has been lacking when it has come to announcements, far from it in fact. With the latest coming from Chinese organisation NetEase.

With over 70 AR/VR companies in attendance, all looking to showcase their latest products, demand for the attention of both the press and the public is going to be high. NetEase are hoping what makes them stand out from the crowd is affordability, as they have revealed a new line of affordable AR glasses that will retail for less than $30 (USD) – although unfortunately it appears they are currently only coming to the Chinese market.

Released, according to a press release from the company, in response to the growing demand for VR and AR. NetEase are also showing off a trinity of applications alongside the AR smartglasses at CES. These are HoloTouch – an AR painting application, AR Doll Machine, and NetEase’s Apple Design Award winning AR videogame YuME. The latter not to be confused with global technology company YuMe Inc. which also operates in the immersive technology space. The glasses have inside out tracking capability and a 76 degree field of view (FOV) which NetEase say are the widest on the current market.

“We realised that the currently expensive cost of hardware is hampering the popularity of AR application market.” Explains NetEase. “Hololens and other AR glasses on the current market can only be regarded as industry applications. As for Magic Leap, which is claimed to be consumer-oriented hardware, it is sold for an unattainable price of $2000 (USD), obviously not affordable for most consumers.”

China has arguably been leading the pack when it comes to immersive technology and CES announcements so far this week. Which other Chinese companies are set to make an impact in the year ahead? As always for everything relating to CES 2018 and beyond stay tuned to VRFocus.