Will these fashion items be a case of style over substance?
UK Mobile operator EE has partnered with reality augmenter Nreal to distribute its virtual reality glasses in the UK, which are currently difficult to source at less than $600 (£470 or €560). EE customers will get the chance to experience Augmented reality on the move ‘later this spring’, it has promised.
EE is promising to deliver fine-tuned audio and a 201-inch expanded full high definition virtual display. If combined with a compatible smartphone connected to EE’s 5G network, the glasses create new possibilities for mobile gaming via the cloud, says EE. Then there’s the added bonus of streaming high-definition movies and TV shows. This, it says, would be perfect for the 1 in 5 Brits who, it claims, say that watching videos and online gaming via a giant ‘virtual screen on the go’ is what most excites them about Augmented Reality.
Has EE got us on the go?
Connecting a Bluetooth gaming controller can also turn your smartphone into a portable console when coupled with a game-streaming platform. According to EE, 35% of the British public wish they could take their big screen gaming and movie experience with them when on the move. Details of their survey sample were not included. Nreal Air supports two different modes. In Air Casting mode customers can, in theory, mirror their phone screen and enjoy their entire mobile experience on a 130-inch HD virtual display. The MR Space mode takes customers into a Mixed Reality environment and gives them a taste of Augmented Reality such as stationary cycling exercises in an immersive AR environment, while exploring an expanding array of AR apps.
Style over substance
Nreal Air glasses have a classic, sunglasses-inspired lightweight design so they are easy and ideal for the 55% of Brits who claim that they had been put off by the lack of stylishness of previous models of AR glasses. The glasses work in conjunction with the Nreal Nebula app. “We’re working to create entirely new experiences for our customers,” said Alistair Wilson, Director of Devices and Partnerships at EE. “Nreal is at the forefront of AR and when combined with the power of 5G, it really does open up new possibilities for seamless streaming.”
Peng Jin, co-founder of Nreal, said Nreal is delighted to enter the UK market in partnership with EE. “AR will transcend the current mobile experience, especially when it comes to watching videos, exercising, and playing PC and cloud video games” Jin claimed.
Are these claims practical? Will customers be left with cute glasses and no reality? Here is the bandwidth being offered a 5G SIM card from EE in Kingston Upon Thames, measured using the broadband testing tool from consumer site Which?