After A Strong CES 2020, Chinese Vendors Put Pressure on Global Virtual & Augmented Reality Manufact

Updated:2020/1/16 10:52

More than 4,000 companies from around the world traveled to Las Vegas last week to exhibit new innovations at the world's largest technology conference, CES. The annual conference routinely showcases some of the leading advancements in consumer electronics from smart homes to robotics to wearables.

This year, virtual and augmented reality were hot topics. Chui Yin Chau, analyst at Greenlight Insights, attended this year's event, and she shared her views on the new developments in the virtual and augmented reality market and the rise of Chinese vendors.

Pico: No Longer The Best Kept Secret in VR

The headset manufacturer showcased two new products and a prototype at CES 2020. Pico's newest headsets, Neo 2 and Neo 2 Eye, are both 6 DoF standalone headsets that improve upon Pico's previous released headset, Neo, but each is positioned to address different markets.

Neo 2 is optimized for a consumer experience at home, with a new suite of safety features that adapt to changing environments. The user can set a specific safety boundary for Neo 2, but once the user exits the approved play area, the headset switches to see-through mode, revealing the world around the user.

Neo 2 Eye incorporates a professional feature that the Neo 2 does not need: eye tracking. Through the integration of Tobii eye-tracking, Neo 2 Eye can optimize content for where the user looks and collects information on eye movement. This is especially important for training, where tracking eye gaze is critical to evaluating user performance.

Lastly, Pico revealed a new prototype, a pair of VR Glasses. The new VR display features three degrees of freedom and will be used as a content viewer. The VR Glasses optimize the casual viewing experience with a lightweight design. The glasses when released will be marketed towards consumers and airlines for in-flight entertainment.

Ximmerse: Building Business Solutions for Location-Based Entertainment and Enterprise

The Guangdong-based company offers a range of augmented reality smartglasses solutions. At CES 2020, Ximmerse demoed two products, the Rhino X and HoloMuseum.

Ximmerse's AR smartglasses, Rhino X, is the first full xR head-worn display the company has released. Previously, the company focused on tracking systems. Rhino X looks similarly to Microsoft Hololen 2, featuring a 57-degree field of view, 6 DoF controller tracking with infrared controllers, and is targeted for commercial use cases. Currently, Rhino X is used for education and training in many industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and logistics.

Ximmerse also showcased an out-of-home entertainment system, HoloMuseum. The system features eight headsets, a dedicated venue, and supporting software for $45,000. Ximmerse creates the entire solution, including three interactive augmented reality experiences for children. The HoloMuseum is currently deployed in three locations in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Los Angeles, California. The company is working with different operators in malls to bring the experience across China.

nReal: Positioning for Mass Consumer Success

nReal was the most popular company at CES 2020. In anticipation of the company's first product, attendees were waiting in long lines to demo the nReal Light.

The smartglasses feature 2 six degrees of freedom sensors, 1 light sensor, and 1 camera len, but a majority of the computing is done through connection to a smartphone. The nReal Light is tethered to a smartphone and uses the phone as a remote control, launching applications in the glasses. In addition, the device also features integrated eye-tracking through Chinese company 7invensun. The device is only compatible with Android devices.

At a low price point for $499, we expect the nReal Light will be popular upon release with Chinese consumers. nReal will also be met with a number of competitors at release, including products from Mad Gaze, 0glasses, and AM Glasses, all of which are light-weight consumer proposition.

Nolo VR: Enabling Cost-Effective 6DoF Cloud VR

While many headset manufacturers are focusing on creating high-powered PC-tethered headsets, Nolo VR is working on improving mobile-based VR experiences. Through Nolo VR's tracking and controller peripherals, users can make almost any headset a 6 DoF headset at an affordable price. For under $200, customers can buy a complete package including a headset and controllers with the tracking integrated on the headset.

This is a compelling product for the consumer market as the popularity of VR gaming grows. Many popular consumer headsets like Oculus are unavailable in China and PC gaming is the gaming platform of choice so Sony PlayStation VR remains unpopular after its release in China. Lightweight, affordable options will continue to be most popular in China for the near future and consumers will look to options like Nolo VR's to achieve a 6 DoF VR experience at a lower price point.

CES 2020 brought a flurry of new virtual and augmented reality announcements to kick off the year. At this mega-conference, Chinese XR players had a strong showing and positioned themselves well to gain share throughout 2020. They introduced new products seeking to capitalize on the demand for midrange models, while increasing their brand awareness. Despite the markets for XR domestically and internationally are still formalizing, many of the Chinese vendors wisely demonstrated a clear and differentiated VR/AR device experience that goes beyond just price and features.

Greenlight Insights clients can read more in the report CES 2020: A New Narrative for Chinese VR/AR Companies. This report provides clients the latest on innovation from Chinese virtual and augmented reality companies from CES 2020.

Additional analysis on virtual reality, augmented reality, and other immersive technologies will be presented during Greenlight Insights xRS Asia 2020, China's top AR/VR/MR executive strategy conference and expo.

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