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After months of allowing competing smartwatches take over the US market, Taiwanese giant ASUS has launched its sleek ZenWatch in the country. The wearable is being sold right now through Best Buy, at $199.
The ASUS ZenWatch features a beautiful 1.6-inch, curved Super AMOLED display, a Qualcomm processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of on-board flash storage. The entire thing is encased in stainless steel, with a beautiful leather strap - making it look more like a watch than some of the competing devices.
There's over 100 watch faces available from ASUS, as well as a feature that locates your smartwatch quickly by tapping the ZenWatch. Google Play won't be available at launch, but ASUS has promised that it will be coming in an update.
Children under six years of age should not watch 3D content, and access for adolescents up to 13 years old should be limited, according to the French-based Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) group said.
"In children, and particularly before the age of six, the health effects of this vergence-accommodation conflict could be much more severe given the active development of the visual system at this time," the group said in a statement.
When Nintendo released the 3DS in 2010, there were safety warnings that children under six could have their eyesight damaged from using the device. However, as 3D technology becomes more common, health experts are again becoming concerned of potential long-term vision damage among users.
Google Glass has proven to be an appealing wearable for some consumers, but there is an elephant in the room that is now receiving more attention: potential vision problems suffered by wearers. It's not the software that could be doing it, instead it's the physical frame structure of the glasses that limit peripheral vision - and creates safety hazards.
"But I almost got into a car accident when I was driving with it. And the device was even turned off at the time," said Dr. Tsontcho Ianchulev, clinical associate professor in the ophthalmology department at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of the study.
Dr. Ianchulev explained how they used a rather simple, yet effective way to study how Google Glass impacted the vision of wearable owners.
Oculus VR gets all the headlines when it comes to VR, but Avegant has just secured itself $9.37 million in series A funding, which was lead by Intel Capital, NHN Investment and... Snoop Dogg. Yes, the rapper. Avegant says that the injection of funds will "help carry Avegant through its manufacturing milestones".
Avegant has an interesting HMD in the Glyph, as it is a head-mounted display that has built-in over-ear headphones, something where the headphone band can be tweaked down to position something the company refers to as a "virtual retinal display" in front of users' eyes. It is let down by its 45-degree viewing angle, but the company is pushing it as a unique display tech device, with a portable form-factor.
At the Intel Capital Global Summit, it was announced that Avegant had raised an additional $9.37 million in series A funding, an investing roun that included Kaiwu Capital, Crunch Fund, 500 Startups, DN Capital, Calvin Broadus Jr., and the Michigan Angel Fund. Avegant's final design of the Glyph will be shown at CES 2015, where we will hopefully get some hands-on time with it.
Everyone is wondering when Oculus VR will launch their consumer Rift headset, with its current broad ETA being 'sometime in 2015'. But after his speech at the Web Summit 2014 in Dublin, Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe said that the Rift is months away from a consumer launch, not years away.
He said: "We're all hungry for it to happen. We're getting very close. It's months, not years away, but many months. We've gone out there and set this bar and said, 'We want to get it right.' We don't want it to be four or five years. We're eager for this to happen". Many months could still see it being released late next year, and during an investors meeting last week, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and owner of Oculus VR said that the Oculus Rift could only be "meaningful" as a computing platform if it sold 50 million to 100 million units over the next 10 years.
PAX AU 2014 - Oculus VR is a company I just have to meet at any trade show I go to, with PAX Australia 2014 being no exception. The now Facebook-owned VR startup was showing off four different titles at the show, where we jumped on two them: Alien: Isolation and Superhot.
The crowd at Oculus VR was absolutely huge, and it never slowed down. Other than the League of Legends crowd, Oculus had the biggest crowd.
Alien: Isolation was just the tech demo that was shown off at E3 2014, with Oculus Rift support baked in, but it worked incredibly well for something that wasn't built for the VR headset from the ground up. Superhot is similar, in the way that it wasn't built for the Rift, but worked incredibly well.
Apple will reportedly launch its Apple Watch in spring 2015, which is unfortunately later than originally hoped for by consumers and analysts. However, Angela Ahrendts, Apple Senior VP of Retail and Online Stores, wants Apple Store employees to be prepared for what could be an extremely busy spring.
Here is what Ahrendts said in the voicemail: "You guys were hired because you're the best people in the world. And you know how to service customers. But we're sprinting a marathon right now, and it's not going to stop."
Apple previously said the Apple Watch would ship in early 2015, but never confirmed an exact launch date - however, it was believed Valentine's Day would be too early, with some analysts predicting a May-June launch.
Chinese company Shanda hopes its Geak Watch 2 will win over consumers with at least one week of battery time up to 18 days on a single charge. The smartwatch can switch from a "high definition" color LCD to a "standby" E-Ink display to help conserve energy, which is a rather nice twist on most current battery-busting smartwatches.
The Geak Watch 2 can last up to six days on a single charge and costs $327, while the Geak Watch 2 Pro is $409 and can last up to 18 days in standby mode.
Here is what Ben Wood, CCS Insight spokesperson said: "One of the big challenges that smartwatch manufacturers have had is that people stop using the devices, and one of the reasons they do so is that they have to be charged on a regular basis, whereby they are being taken off constantly. Anything that enhances the battery life is a big win. That's why we've seen people who have Pebble devices typically using them longer than some of the rivals with daily charging requirements."
Microsoft publicly announced its 'Band' wearable, a new health-focused device that contains 10 sensors for accurate tracking of footsteps, heart rate, sleep patterns, and other biometrics. The built-in UV sensor can also track sun exposure, in addition to a galvanic skin sensor able to determine stress levels.
Band also includes a GPS, 3-axis accelerometer/gyro, gyrometer, light sensor, skim temperature sensor and microphone. All collected health data is wirelessly sent to the Microsoft Health app, compatible with Windows Phone, Google Android, and Apple iOS products.
The wearable market is booming at the moment, even with casual consumers still sitting patiently on the sidelines, but analysts expect continued segment growth in the coming years. Microsoft's decision to set initial pricing at $199 should help generate additional interest, as many other devices start at $249, with prices routinely topping $300+.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) don't want movie patrons to have wearbles in the theater with them. Not surprisingly, both trade groups want a zero-tolerance policy that prevents the use of any recording device, even when recording isn't taking place, because of piracy concerns.
"As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters, however, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown."
If movie goes do not comply with the new rules, they could be asked to leave the theater - and law enforcement will be notified if suspected piracy is taking place. There is particular concern of Google Glass, but with other wearables featuring video recording ability, all similar devices will also be banned.