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Wireless carrier AT&T will work with Samsung, Google and Bose to create a new virtual reality demonstration to highlight the dangers of distracted driving. As part of the "It Can Wait" distracted driving campaign, AT&T wants to get the attention of younger drivers.
Fifty-eight percent of drivers from 18 to 29 years of age text while driving, with 48 percent admitting to browsing the Internet, and 30 percent accessing social media, according to a recent Distracted Driving Study from State Farm. Unfortunately, those aren't surprising statistics, and it looks like about 60 percent of auto accidents that have at least one young driver is influenced by driver distraction.
During its 100-city summer tour, AT&T will be showing off new VR demonstrations using the Samsung Gear VR headset - and 100,000 Google Cardboard viewers will also be given away to attendees.
Next year is the year of VR, but later this year HTC will be releasing its Vive headset, a virtual reality headset that it developed in collaboration with Valve.
HTC took to San Diego Comic-Con with its Vive headset where Jeff Gattis who is the Head of marketing for HTC's Emerging Devices Business, said: "The industry needs a successful first year. Next year is critical". With Sony and Oculus set to release their respective Project Morpheus and Rift headsets, HTC is sitting pretty right now with Valve and its Vive headset.
One of the most exciting VR demos that I have yet to lay my eyes on is the Valve VR demo that is Portal-themed, running on the HTC Vive headset. I've tried nearly everything else, but this is the one that everyone has talked about being the best. Check it out in the embedded video below.
As you can see, Valve has an excellent room-based VR experience, that really shows off a great play through VR. You can explore every corner of the Aperture Science lab, pulling drawers and levels like you were right there in the room. I'm sure that this demo is merely a tease of things to come from Valve, when we eventually see Half-Life 3, Portal 3 and Left 4 Dead 3 in the [hopefully] near future.
Swatch CEO Nick Hayek said his company will release the Swatch NFC smartwatch this summer, and there are already 20,000 units ready for launch. The connected watch isn't designed to be a smartphone on your wrist, but will be able to support wireless payments and other mobile functions.
"We will launch it in the US, China and Switzerland," Hayek said in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. "We have 20,000 already in stock and we are very optimistic about the watch."
Hayek didn't disclose what impact the Apple Watch has had on the company, but Swatch's effort to join the smartwatch market should be a telling sign. I think it's a good move by Swatch - as the Apple Watch and other smartwatches won't take the high-end market - but will pressure the lower-end Swatch target market.
With the release of the HTC Vive not too far away, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer is now showing off more and more of the wireless controllers behind the VR headset.
The company has already pushed out the wireless controllers, and the Vive itself, to developers, so we're getting a deeper look at them as time goes on. The wireless controllers that ship with Vive will feature motion-tracking sensors, a trigger button, digital touchpad, and a design that really is out of this world.
The controllers are still in their prototype stage, but I'm kind of hoping that they rock this style when the consumer version of the Vive ships later this year.
With gamers across the world excited for the endless possibilities of Microsoft's upcoming HoloLens wearable, it looks like the first iteration of HoloLens won't be aimed at gamers, and instead it will be targeted towards developers and enterprise scenarios.
The news comes directly from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, during his recent interview with ZDNet, where he said that HoloLens will be "more about developers and enterprise scenarios". Nadella's statement on HoloLens rides directly from his demo on the wearable at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference, where the CEO focused its concentration of HoloLens on tools like Autodesk and Maya.
Even with the big push of Minecraft on HoloLens at E3 2015 last month, the company isn't pushing HoloLens onto gamers anytime soon. Nadella added: "What we can uniquely do is bridge consumer to enterprise. That's in our DNA. I want every technology of ours to seek that out. In the HoloLens case, when I look at the interest, it's amazing how many are in hospitals, healthcare, retail. That's where I'm seeing the interest and we'll definitely go after it". He continued: "I wanted a hit game even for the new medium of mixed reality. And we will have that. Gaming will always be a scenario and there will be other entertainment broadly. But, with the V.1 of HoloLens, I want us to push a lot more of the enterprise usage".
With Oculus not releasing their Rift headset until the beginning of 2016, the VR market is open for HTC to lure people in with its Vive headset, something it collaborated directly with Valve on.
HTC's Executive Director of Marketing, Jeffrey Gattis, said: "We are targeting mid-October, but have not yet finalized the event details, venue, etc". Gattis did tease the final version of Vive, adding: "Our hardware development, for the consumer versions of both the HMD and wireless controllers, remain on schedule for the end of 2015".
Gattis didn't say what the final Vive would arrive as in terms of specifications, but he did explain that the consumer version of the Vive headset would be "more refined from a design standpoint". As for a specific release date, the HTC exec added: "We remain committed to what we said at our keynote in Barcelona back in March, that is, the first consumer units will be on sale and in the hands of customers before the end of this year".
One thing that unites all wearables would have to be their lackluster battery life, but it looks like researchers over at Microsoft's WearDrive project might have solved this.
The researchers are using a RAM-based system that doesn't rely on a battery, something that would save battery life in wearables. The way this works is by pairing the wearable with a smartphone through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, with the more energy consuming apps processed on the smartphone, instead of on the wearable where it consumes the important battery life.
Microsoft's WearDrive energy saving system was tested on an Android-powered smartphone, with the researchers noting that there was a "negligible" impact on smartphone battery life, while there was a 300% improvement on battery conversation on the werable. The we arable was also 800% faster than normal application runtimes, which is a huge achievement. The WearDrive also deactivates when it's out of range of a paired smartphone.
The new version of Google Glass will be powered by an Intel Atom processor, thanks to the detectives over at 9to5Google. They've reported that the new version of Google Glass will be called 'Enterprise Edition', or just 'EE'.
The updated Glass will feature a bigger prism, which is the little part of the wearable device that you look into, while Intel will provide an Atom processor. The larger prism is very welcomed, as it will help reduce eye strain and allow larger Now cards to be placed in front of your vision, while the Intel Atom processor will provide improved performance and better battery life.
Additionally, heat management has been improved, and thanks to the Intel Atom processor and its increased battery life, you should get through more of the day with the new Glass. Google has also reportedly developed an external battery pack for Glass, which I can't see many people using. Where are you going to install an external battery pack? On your ear? The new Enterprise Edition will also feature 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Wi-Fi.
HoloLens is one of the most exciting thing to come out of Microsoft in years, and while the company is laying off 7,800 people, it is still forging on with the release of Windows 10 on July 29, and its first wearable: HoloLens.
But, until now, we haven't really seen what type of field of view HoloLens has. In the latest video from Microsoft, where they announce their partnership with Case Western Reserve University, which we've embedded above, we can see that the field of view is quite limited. In fact, you can see a slight border on the hologram itself, which reminds me of the Now card that Google Glass had in the top right hand corner.
Microsoft has said that the limited field of view is there so that HoloLens wearers can continue to do things in real life, without the hologram obstructing their view. I'm sure it will get better as time goes on, with future iterations of HoloLens, but this is definitely going to take some of the steam out of some users' dreams.