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The rush of companies into the smartwatch market will provide consumers with a wide selection of product choices, with affordable entry-level devices to pricier products with enhanced features. By 2016 smartwatches will make up around 40 percent of wristworn consumer products, according to the Gartner research group.
The push by Chinese OEMs using Google Android on smartwatches could drop prices as low as $30 in 2015, however, many U.S. and western Europe consumers will want to snap up products from Samsung, Apple, and other vendors. Despite much criticism during recent Apple's recent press conference, the three introduced Apple Watch models will help set a higher bar in the smartwatch market.
"We are currently seeing two opposing trends in the market with regards to form factor evolution," said Annette Zimmerman, Gartner research director, in a press statement. "On the one hand there are vendors offering smart wrist-wearables in a familiar watch-like form factor. On the other hand in the past six to nine months, we have seen vendors launching products that resemble the early fitness wristbands, but come with displays that add significant functionality, including message and call alerts."
Oculus Connect is all but wrapped up now, with Oculus announcing that it is making it easier to access VR software. Before today, Oculus Share was where developers and early adopters would go to access VR content, with Oculus Share now becoming Oculus Platform.
Oculus Platform is your one-stop shop for VR content, which offers up everything from 'Home', 'Cinema' and '360'. Home would be your usual place for software, Cinema is where you would watch your movies, and 360 would be left for your 360-degree content, such as panoramic shots from your smartphone. Oculus thinks that Platform will be easier for the startup to offer great games and apps to the future two billion VR users.
Platform will also allow developers to publish content, and once the Rift is off the ground and into the land of consumer reality, developers can make money from their content. This will work the same way that iOS and Android developers make money, but we don't know what split the profits will be, as I'm guessing Facebook would also be involved in this department.
Hot on the heels of announcing its new Crescent Bay prototype, Oculus has made its Rift DK1 peripheral code and engineering schematics open source, available to all. This release allows programmers to get as deep as they want into Oculus' code, giving people the ability to make a clone of the Rift.
Nirav Patel from Oculus, talked about this open source release, where he said: "we don't want everyone to have to take the same risks we took. We just want to share the things we learned so you don't have to do that". Remember that this is the DK1, and not the still-new DK2 unit. The schematic's components aren't ready for 3D printing just yet, but it's a great step of transparency for the Facebook-owned VR company.
Oculus Connect is currently underway in Los Angeles, with Oculus VR announcing the latest prototype of the Rift, known as Crescent Bay. Crescent Bay features numerous improvements and new tricks even over the just-released, and still-shipping Rift DK2 unit, such as 360-degree head tracking.
Not only do we have 360-degree head tracking (which is done by having sensors on the back of your head, something completely new), but we have a higher resolution screen (no exact numbers, but most reports and hands-on use point to it being better than Samsung's Gear VR which uses the QHD or 2560x1440 panel from the Galaxy Note 4), lower latency, and a built-in headset.
Crescent Bay has been working out, dropping a little weight, with Oculus providing improved ergonomics so it feels better when wearing it, and with the integrated audio, 3D audio can now be something big thanks to Oculus' collaboration with licensed technology from the University of Maryland, and RealSP. Oculus' Brendan Iribe explains: "We're working on audio as aggressively as we're working on the vision side". For the various reports on the latest VR headset from Oculus, most have said that it is much closer to what is expected from CV1 (the first consumer, or retail Rift).
There's no word on whether Oculus will release a DK3 to the public, but with Crescent Bay offering up so many new things (360-degree head tracking and 3D positional audio are big new features on their own) so we shouldn't be surprised with another Developer Kit.
NVIDIA Editor's Day 2014 - There were two stations to play with the Oculus Rift and Maxwell-powered GeForce GTX 980 and GTX 970 GPUs at NVIDIA's Editor's Day 2014, with the first being the EVE: Valkyrie station, and the second Epic Games' "Car Flip" VR demo. It's hard to explain, so watch the video below.
As you can see, it's an on-rails VR demo that plays out in slow motion, with a blend of 'The Matrix' meets 'F.E.A.R.'. It was one of the more impressive demos I've witnessed, and while there's nothing you can do during the game with it being on-rails, the experience is like nothing else. Watching bullets fly past you makes you feel like you're in The Matrix, and watching the explosions take place in front of you while the car flips over you, is simply awesome, there's no other word to explain it.
Samsung has been supplying Apple with quite a number of parts for its devices over the years, but it looks like it won't be involved with the AMOLED displays for Apple's upcoming Watch, according to DigiTimes.
The site is reporting that LG Display has won the contract, with around five million displays a month being shipped to Apple for its Watch. Over the course of 2015, Apple expects to sell a mammoth 50 million Watches, meaning Samsung has lost out on a considerable chunk of manufacturing profits for the AMOLED panels, with LG picking up some big business.
Samsung may have Oculus powering its Gear VR headset, but what about Apple users? Fear not, as AirVR has just hit Kickstarter, requesting $20,000 in funds to convert your iPad mini (Retina) or iPhone 6 Plus into a VR headset.
All you have to do is slot in your Retina iPad mini or iPhone 6 Plus into the AirVR, something that costs just $49, for portable, iOS-powered VR goodness. Metatecture is behind AirVR, which will go on sale 'early 2015'. The Kickstarter campaign explains: "AirVR brings the magic of Virtual Reality with you everywhere you go. Ditch the tangle of cables and experience VR anywhere in the world".
When Apple announced its first wearable, Watch, people were excited for a good reason. It's Apple's first wearable, and it is a great offering in the same-old-same-old wearable market we see materializing in front of us right now. Well, now there's rumors of the Watch 2, already.
Reuters is behind the rumor, talking with its "insider sources" on the upcoming successor to Watch, Watch 2. Reuters' sources say that development of Watch 2 is well under way, but beyond that there's not much to report on. Health and fitness activities will continue to be the cornerstone of the Watch, and its successor, which is something we can take away from this.
Apple seem to be covering the entry into the smartwatch market with Watch, with its successor probably drilling into the areas it does well, and improving on the things it doesn't. Health and medical experts aren't too sold on Watch right now, but Apple is probably taking all of their opinions and recommendations on board, mixing it into the melting pot for Watch 2. But the question remains: with the rumors of a successor to the Watch being talked about months before Watch is even released, would most people skip Watch to wait for Watch 2?
We're much closer to see Oculus VR to release its consumer version of its Rift VR headset compared to before, but some of us may get early access of those VR headsets as the company plans for a public beta of these units by April 2015.
As one would expect from a beta, the distribution of these units will be very limited to a certain number of users initially. Its assumed that Oculus is going to use this opportunity to check if the consumers will be interested to own such a headset by having a limited launch. It is said that Oculus will send its public BETA headsets in the similar way how Google launched its public beta for Google Glass. The criteria to qualify for getting a public beta headset is unknown for now.
The specification of these consumer-final version has significant improvements over the Oculus Rift Dev Kit 2 version. The consumer version will have a significant increase in resolution compared to the dev kit's 1080p. To add further, the refresh rate is expected to be 90Hz or higher. As one would expect, Oculus really wants its Rift headset to provide the best virtual-reality experience you can provide.
For over a year, rumors have circulated about Apple's iWatch, but now we know the official deal: it's the Watch. No 'i', just Watch. Tim Cook has just unveiled it, with Watch featuring a square display with curved edges, and much more. Watch requires the iPhone, as it will not work with any other device.
Cook said: "An entirely new product. We believe this product will redefine what people expect from its category. I am so excited and I am so proud to share it with you this morning." Watch will be available in silver, gold and an 18-karat gold edition. Different straps will be offered for Watch, too.
When Cook announced Watch, he said that "Apple Watch is the most personal device we've ever created". But Watch isn't just a watch, it is "also a comprehensive health and fitness device".