The world’s first 5G-based augmented reality (AR) glasses made by LG Uplus Corp., a major South Korean telecom firm, will appear on the shelves in the country for $590 on August 21. LG Uplus Corp said on Tuesday it will launch “U+ Real Glass” in partnership with Chinese mixed-reality product developer Nreal and chipmaker Qualcomm, boosting its 5G services by tapping into the budding wearable AR market.
The glasses will be exclusively offered to LG Uplus 5G users and on select smartphones, including Samsung Galaxy Note 20.
LG Uplus said its device, manufactured by Nreal after partnering with the Beijing-based startup last year, is more user-friendly, weighing just 88 grams and priced at 699,000 won ($590), reports Yonhap news agency. The glasses, which connect to a user’s smartphone via USB, can project multiple applications as if they are on a 100-inch display.
The smartphone serves as a remote for the device, though the company plans for an update next year that will allow hand gestures to control the device. The device will also support LG Uplus’ 5G-based AR content, which allows users to watch performances of life-size celebrities. The company plans to launch a conference-call service using the device later this year, in partnership with US-based AR developer Spatial.
The consumer retail version comes with an array of nose clips to fit different faces, as well as a corrective lens insert and a black “VR cover” that blocks your outside vision to create a clearer picture. Nreal previously shipped a $1,199 developer kit that included a controller and a dedicated mini-computer. The consumer version of the glasses will use a phone-based control system, and Nreal announced that it would bring hand tracking to the glasses at some point as well.å
Nreal is one of only a few companies still trying to sell general-purpose consumer smart glasses. Competitor Magic Leap — which sued Nreal for “blatant copying” before having the suit dismissed in June — recently switched its focus to enterprise mixed reality. Google acquired the startup North and recently dropped support for the consumer glasses North launched in 2019. Augmented reality company Tilt Five is apparently still preparing to launch a pair of holographic glasses, but they’re specifically made for tabletop gaming.
Nreal has also signed partnerships with Japanese carrier KDDI and Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, including a mixed reality incubator program with the latter. It hasn’t announced plans for a US launch.
LG Uplus Corp. is a South Korean cellular carrier owned by LG Corporation, Korea’s fourth-largest conglomerate and parent company of LG Electronics. It was formerly known as LG Telecom. The carrier adopted its current name after the July 2010 merger with another two LG telecommunication subsidiaries, Dacom and Powercom. LG U+ offers a variety of mobile services. BankOn is one of the most popular mobile banking services in South Korea and MusicOn is a music e-store.