Nreal leads AR specs as smartglasses show signs of life outside enterprise

But the market is still extremely small
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Nreal has become the top-selling AR glasses globally, according to a new IDC report.

IDC has estimated that Nreal shipped 100,000 of its glasses in 2022 – making it the number one manufacturer.

That was even enough for it to be the sixth largest manufacturer in the entire VR/AR space, which shows an impressive cut-through on one hand, and how small the market still is on the other.

> Best AR and smartglasses

On the VR/AR front, the global headset market (unsurprisingly dominated by Meta) declined 20% to 8.8 million shipments.

For context, CCS Insight has estimated the smartwatch market to total 180 million shipments in 2023.

Nreal has several smart glasses products on the market.

The Nreal Air acts as a portable viewer, designed to put visuals with the equivalent of a 130-inch display, 4m away from the user’s face. However, in terms of AR functionality, features are limited.

The Nreal Light uses cameras in the body to mix the real and virtual worlds for a more enriched AR experience.

While the experience is still a work in progress, like many of the smartglasses we tried at MWC 2023. 

But what Nreal has achieved is getting the form factor somewhere near something people would actually feel comfortable wearing.

Wareable says:

This report offers a glimpse at the current state of AR and VR – and shows how early the market still is.

But by Nreal grabbing a sizeable share of the AR space, it shows that consumer interest has finally outweighed enterprise, which is still where the practical applications still are.

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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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