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Swiss watch manufacturer Swatch plans to include smart functionality into a select line of products, but doesn't want to necessarily compete with Apple and other smartwatch makers. Instead, the company wants to pick select features to include in its "Swatch Touch" products - and leave other manufacturers to develop full lines of smart devices.
The company already accounts for 18 percent of total watch sales, according to industry studies, and doesn't want to be left behind as consumers look at smartwatches. Swatch wants to utilize near-field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth connectivity with its devices, hoping that wireless payments could be introduced later down the road.
"We are the world champions of integrating smart functions into a watch," said Nick Hayek, CEO of Swatch, in a statement published by Reuters. "We don't want to produce a mini mobile phone on your wrist. Others can do that."
The US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) has teamed up with the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to develop wearables for first responders.
As part of the EMERGE! Accelerating Wearable Tech for First Responders programs, the TechNexus and Tech Wildcatters business accelerators will conduct a nationwide search for entrepreneurs that can participate in the program.
"CIT is honored to partner with DHS S&T to use new methods and ideas that deliver innovative solutions to help them meet their security mission," said Pete Jobse, President and CEO of CIT, in a statement. "This program will bring the best innovations into government, while helping emerging startups find new markets to sell products."
VR is a super-hot thing right now, but Crytek hasn't made much noise on the wearable gaming world just yet. Until now. Crytek's Managing Director, Faruk Yerli, has now talked about Crytek entering the VR world.
Yerli said: "We are exploring VR right now. We want to show the world true VR experience can only come from CryEngine, the best one. We see VR as an important device for enthusiasts, then going to mainstream probably. We want to elevate what we can do here... we hope to one day deliver a fully-fleshed VR experience".
Yerli talked about the challenges of delivering VR to a wide audience, with the obvious physical limitations "in terms of what gameplay actions you can do". When it comes to motion sickness, Yerli added that Crytek has "already found solutions" for it. Yerli added that CryEngine is capable of using AMD's new LiquidVR technology "directly out of the box" in order to usher in lower latency in multiple GPU systems.
The Apple Watch is expected to give a major boost to the smartwatch and wearables industry, even though there are plenty of critics. However, Apple should think long-term with the Apple Watch, and future wearables offerings, and not worry about critics.
Consumers interested in the Apple Watch understand that it won't be a cheap device, starting at $349 and surpassing $10,000 for luxury models - with the Silicon Valley company trying to cater to affluent consumers. Financial analysts are excited because Apple will yield strong profit margins from the higher-priced models, and there is plenty of long-term market growth potential.
"It's all part of a long game that Tim Cook is playing very smartly," said John Sculley, former Apple CEO, in a statement to CNBC. "He is starting to build out new ways to separate Apple away from Samsung, Google and Android, and all the others out there."
Apple has provided the most details yet on its Watch, something that will begin hitting wrists across the world on April 24. We now know that there will be the regular Watch, the Watch Sport, and the Apple Watch Edition.
The Apple Watch Sport starts at $349 in its smallest 38mm size, and $399 for the 42mm with both being available in silver or space gray. The "regular" Watch has a stainless steel casing, with its price ranging from $549 up to $1049 for the 38mm version, while the 42mm ranges from $599 to $1099. Then we have the Apple Watch Edition, with its casing made from 18-karat solid gold, starting at $10,000.
The Apple Watch will have Apple Pay baked into it, where you can double-tap on the side button to bring up Apple Pay. "Taptic" feedback is also here, which will come into play once a transaction is complete. No authentication is needed with your iPhone, as it is all done on Watch. Notifications will also pop up on Watch, with every notification from your iPhone hitting your wrist.
The new range of Apple Watches will reach Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, the UK and the US on April 24.
It looks like Facebook is ramping up to the hopefully absolutely gigantic launch of the Oculus Rift CV1 (Consumer Version 1), with the social network reportedly going on a huge hiring spree. Facebook is hiring over 1200 new employees, which would see its global workforce increase by a large 14%.
Facebook acquired Oculus VR this time last year for $2 billion and has since collaborated with the company on its VR HMDs, but until now it hasn't made Oculus change anything at its core. Even to this day, Oculus still operates virtually separately to Facebook, but enjoying Facebook's deep pockets for acquiring talent, companies and I'm sure, getting contracts signed for displays, and other parts that will go into the first consumer version of the Rift.
This huge hiring spree is great news for the Oculus Rift, as Facebook is looking to secure logistics managers that will work their magic on the global supply chain. Facebook's Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, has said: "We are an ambitious company run by an ambitious CEO. Our users are growing and our business is growing and we want to support that".
With the VR game really heating up over the Game Developers Conference, does it come as any surprise that Google is reportedly working on something that mixes the world of VR with its Android operating system? Probably not.
The report is coming from The Wall Street Journal and its "two unnamed sources" who say that the Mountain View-based search giant is working on a version of Android that can power VR applications. The Journal reports that "tens of engineers" are working on the Android VR project, which should end up being free like Android is for tablets, smartphones and wearables.
The WSJ reports that Android VR has Clay Bavor and Jeremy Doig leading the project, where Bavor was "partly responsible for Google Cardboard" reports The Verge.
GDC 2015 - During the development of its VR headset, Sony has said that "price has not been driving our development process" for Project Morpheus. The words come directly from President of Sony's Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment, Shuhei Yoshida.
Yoshida continued: "The first time people try VR is the most dangerous time. People get used to it after a while, but the first is the most susceptible to motion sickness. So we want to get the hardware right". He added: "Now we feel that we have the system, we have passed the threshold that we set out. Then, how cheap we can deliver to the consumer? That's the second question we're going to tackle. The number of people who will buy day one hardware will be some kind of reverse function of price, that we understand, but we really need to do it right from day one".
Sony isn't talking about the price of Project Morpheus at all, but Yoshida did say that when it's out, the price of its VR headset will fall with time, just like the PS4. But the entire focus of Project Morpheus isn't the price, but the hardware and the experience. This could mean that Sony might have a more expensive headset on its hands, but just how expensive? How much is too much for you?
GDC 2015 - We know that Valve is working on VR now that HTC announced it had partnered up with the company on its recently revealed Vive VR headset, but now Valve has admitted that it is playing around with Half-Life in VR.
Kotaku spoke with Valve at GDC during the week, asking Valve programmer Jeep Barnett about Half-Life in the virtual world of VR. Barnett said: "We've said, 'Let's take some existing art and see how it fits. So yeah, we'll grab some headcrabs, we'll grab the machine guns from Half-Life, the rocket launcher - all those different fun things - and see how they play in VR. But right now, it's a tool for exploring the different kind of game designs we want to do".
When pressed about the possibilities of Valve making Half-Life compatible with VR headsets, Barnett replied with "We're not saying, 'no,' but we don't know what the right thing is [yet]. Our most precious resource is time, and we don't have enough time for people to do everything. Would we like to make all of our franchises in VR? Absolutely. But we don't have enough time or people. So we have to figure out what's the best fit, what plays to the strengths of VR".
As reported by Seattle TV station Kirotv, local police stated that Mike Ey, a project designer for Microsoft's HoloLens, was rear-ended by a speeding drier quoted to be traveling "over 100 miles an hour" while commuting on the highway.
This unfortunate event took place "early Saturday morning," with the driver, Robert Malsch, fleeing the scene and later being captured and charged with vehicular homicide and a felony hit-and-run.
In a testimony to Ey's dedication to the project, his girlfriend Kelley Piering commented that he described the HoloLens as "the coolest thing ever," with her adding "It's looking at the future while holding the present" and "Mike said it wasn't perfect but it was going to be one day."