A woman tries out augmented reality (AR) glasses at the Xreal booth at Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2023.

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BEIJING — Less than a year after Xreal started selling augmented reality glasses, alibabaThe supported company claims that shipments will reach 200,000 units soon.

Augmented reality (AR) technology allows digital images to be imposed on the real world.

It took the Chinese startup about four months to ship 100,000 units globally since its mass launch in late August 2022, co-founder Peng Jin told CNBC on the sidelines of MWC in Shanghai on Thursday. .

“So you can do the math, how long will it take to produce 200,000? It won’t take that long,” he said, without specifying a date.

It was not immediately clear whether the pace of sales had changed. In late May, Xreal said it had sold 150,000 units worldwide.

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“Right now, 200%, 300% (increase), which should be the norm, doesn’t make a lot of sense,” King said. “But I think it’s very encouraging that people are embracing this new form factor, they’re embracing this new experience.”

Xreal’s Air glasses cost $379, about a tenth of $3,500. apple It plans to charge for the Vision Pro headset when it rolls out to consumers next year.

These two products use different technologies and have different functions.

But both try to replicate the physical screen time experience with large virtual screens. This digital reproduction falls under the category of spatial computing.

“We do see spatial computing as a major technology trend for the next two to three decades,” King said.

“I don’t think the point is to create a whole bunch of original content so that people can forget what they’re doing and grow into that… For us, the content already exists.”

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The Financial Times reported on Monday, citing sources, that: Vision Pro suppliers expect first-year sales of just a few hundred thousand units, below Apple’s internal sales target of 1 million units. The report attributed the downward revision to the headset’s complexity and production difficulties.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Global shipments of VR headsets and augmented reality devices will drop by more than 12% in 2022 to 9.6 million units, according to CCS Insight.

Yuan It released its latest virtual reality headset, the Quest 3, in June, priced at $499. More details will be announced in September, the company said.

Last week, analyst firm Canalys said it expects the Vision Pro and related devices to have a user base of 20 million, five years away from its original planned launch in 2024.

For the Vision Pro to succeed, it needs to replace a PC, said Nicole Peng, senior vice president of mobile at Canalys. That’s the value proposition that Vision Pro offers, unlike what Xreal or Meta offer, she said.

Xreal changed its name from Nreal at the end of May.

“Nreal, Xreal glasses still need to be connected with PC or mobile phone,” Peng said. “That means when you use it, you might need a wire to connect the two devices.”

Currently, the company’s main product, the Xreal Air, allows headset wearers to see a magnified version of a computer, gaming device or smartphone screen through a cable.

An upcoming accessory called the Xreal Beam will cost $109 and allow Xreal Air users to wirelessly connect to devices. According to the official website, deliveries will start in the second half of July.

People from 85 countries have signed up for the Xreal Beam notification, Jin said. The company mainly sells to the U.S., Japan and South Korea, with China accounting for less than a third of sales, he said.

Jin told CNBC that in August, Xreal plans to expand online shipping to parts of Europe.Customers in this region are currently only able to pay for international shipping through Amazon.com in the US

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Although Xreal’s AR glasses are ranked No. 1 on Amazon, their AR glasses are still far from providing a perfect user experience.

The lack of content in the Xreal OS and difficulty connecting to existing devices was one of the shortcomings highlighted in last week’s Mashable review.

But the reviewer said, “Despite some major issues and shortcomings, I still use this device almost every day, and it has become a A staple in my gaming experience. “

Xreal raised $100 million in 2021, valuing the company at $700 million, according to CNBC. This was followed by a $60 million round led by Alibaba last year.

Xreal is also partnering with Chinese EV brands Nioh AR glasses allow people to watch movies on a virtual big screen in the car.

Kim said last week that the company is looking to raise more money, ideally at least a few hundred million dollars or more. He declined to disclose a specific amount or valuation, noting that he was not directly involved in those discussions.

— CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal, Steve Kovach and Jonathan Vanian contributed to this report.

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