Samsung is getting in on the gold rush with a special gold version of its Gear S2 Classic New Edition smartwatch. Pre-orders are on now in Europe for €480 ($520). If it's cheaper than you expected, that's because the watch is merely gold-plated with a stainless steel body, not solid gold.
Apple recently launched a solid gold version of its Apple Watch for $10,000, and Huawei is coming out with a gold Nexus 6P for $500, a rose-gold watch with Swarovski crystals, and a MediaPad N210 gold tablet (pricing on the latter two is to be announced). If you're a tech geek into bling, now's a great time to be alive.
It looks like Apple will not be unveiling the successor to its first wearable in a few months, with the Apple Watch 2 to arrive later in the year.
It looks like the original 18-month refresh cycle for Watch is true, and there won't be much changed from the original wearable. According to TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, Apple Watch 2 will include newer casings and improved battery life, but it won't arrive in the March-April timeframe that has been previously rumored.
Panzarino still says that Apple might unveil new "design partnerships" for Watch 2 in March, and new accessories to keep the momentum of Apple Watch chugging along. He also added that we might see a minor update to Apple Watch with a FaceTime camera early this year, but it will not be a "full Watch 2.0". Panzarino added that he talked with Creative Strategies analyst Ben Bajarin, who said that there's no evidence that Apple would be releasing a full-fledged Apple Watch 2 anytime soon.
But when it came to the Rift headset itself, he said: "Our OLED displays and control over the viewing environment make it one of the most accurate displays you can get. In the near future, VR displays are going to surpass traditional displays in almost every way".
Palmer continued, saying that the Rift display is calibrated out of the box, so that PC gamers won't have to do it themselves. As for virtual desktops, Palmer did tease that developers are building virtual desktop applications right now. He said: "There are several people building virtual desktop applications. The biggest limitation is resolution per degree and lack of 1:1 pixel mapping compared to traditional displays. You can do it, but applications like PS and Maya are better on a normal monitor for now".
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has been giving some golden nuggets of information thanks to his AMA session on Reddit, where he even referenced the failed Virtual Boy from Nintendo.
Palmer responded to a Reddit member asking on his comment for the Virtual Boy, where he said that it doesn't qualify as true VR. Palmer said the Virtual Boy had "[no] head tracking, low field of view, [and was] essentially a monochrome 3DTV". He added that the Virtual Boy failing was a "real shame, too, because the association of the Virtual Boy with VR hurt the industry in the long run".
Palmer did say one positive thing about Nintendo's 'VR' device, is that "It did have the first LED display in a consumer device, though - probably the best contrast of any display up to that point!"
During the AMA, Palmer said Oculus is against jump scares in VR, but he also said that the PlayStation VR isn't as high-end as the Oculus Rift, too.
Palmer Luckey, the flip flop wearing founder of Oculus, has come out slamming the PlayStation VR during his Reddit AMA. During the AMA, he also said that jump scares in VR are "such a cheap way to get a reaction in VR".
Talking with the International Business Times, Luckey said that PlayStation VR isn't as high-end as the Rift. He said: "It's also worth noting that their headset isn't quite as high-end as ours - it's still, I think, a good headset - and the PlayStation 4 is not nearly as powerful as our recommended spec for a PC". I agree, the PS4 just isn't anywhere near as powerful as a PC - and so the PlayStation VR will suffer in some way.
He continued, saying that the PlayStation VR itself is good, but the Rift is better quality - as it requires a better PC than what the PS4 contains, hardware wise. He continued: "I think that there's not many people who already own a PS4 who don't own a gaming PC who are going to go out and make that roughly $1,500 all-in investment in the Rift. It really is a separate market. They're bringing virtual reality to a different group of people who I don't think were ever really a part of our market anyway".
With the release of the Oculus Rift now cemented on March 28, Palmer Luckey has been doing some
damage control - an AMA on Reddit.
Luckey said that jump scares in VR are a tool that developers will use, but he recommends they don't. Luckey said: "... We are strongly discouraging developers from using jump scares. They are such a cheap way to get a reaction in VR".
Personally, jump scares are what VR horror games should be about. Oculus has promised to keep jump scares out of its games, but I'm sure we'll see developers using them to their advantage.
CES 2016 - Casio has entered the smartwatch game at CES 2016 with the Smart Outdoor Watch, its new wearable powered by Android.
The Casio Smart Outdoor Watch features a 1.32-inch display with its resolution hitting 320x300. It's water-resistant to 50m, US military standard, has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, and weighs in at just 93g.
The watch has two screens - a touchscreen, active color LCD display, as well as a monochrome power-conserving display. The monochrome display can work like a regular watch for a month between charges, which is pretty damn good. Both screens can be customized, with market availability in April and a price of $500.
But HTC seems to be confident in VR, so much so that company CEO Cher Wang has said that VR and wearables has the company more excited than ever. During an interview with The Telegraph, Wang said "Virtual reality is something people have talked about for 20, 30 years, in movies, in books and finally, it is real. VR has been on our minds for a long time, and now HTC has made virtual reality real".
But it was a particular quote from Wang that had my eyes opened wide, where she defended HTC's stance on smartphones but reiterated their position in the VR market with Vive. She said: "Now we are more realistic. We feel that we should apply our best design to different type of sectors. Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables and virtual reality is more important".
CES 2016 - Oculus opened up pre-orders on the Rift yesterday, with gamers split on the thought of $599 for their VR headset.
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey took to Reddit, where he said: "To be perfectly clear, we don't make money on the Rift". He added: "The Xbox controller costs us almost nothing to bundle, and people can easily resell it for profit. A lot of people wish we would sell a bundle without "useless extras" like high-end audio, a carrying case, the bundled games, etc, but those just don't significantly impact the cost".
Palmer continued, where he said: "The core technology in the Rift is the main driver - two built-for-VR OLED displays with very high refresh rate and pixel density, a very precise tracking system, mechanical adjustment systems that must be lightweight, durable, and precise, and cutting-edge optics that are more complex to manufacture than many high-end DSLR lenses. It is expensive, but for the $599 you spend, you get a lot more than spending $599 on pretty much any other consumer electronics devices - phones that cost $599 cost a fraction of that to make, same with mid-range TVs that cost $599. There are a lot of mainstream devices in that price-range, so as you have said, our failing was in communication, not just price".
CES 2016 - Paintball enthusiasts might want to check out the Airwave sports goggles, a collaboration between Recon Instruments and Empire Paintball.
The Empire EVS sports goggles uses the same insides as the Airwave, something Recon collaborated with Oakley on, but throws it into a new mask that can take a barrage of paintball hits to the face. The company says that the heads-up display found inside of the Empire EVS will display important information like ammo counts, field maps, and teammate locations.
Inside, there's a 1GHz dual-core processor, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity, with the Empire EVS powered by Android. The mask includes dual-pane lenses that will prevent internal fogging and a lower skirt that encourages ball bounding.
There's no news on price, but the Oakley Airwave retails for $649 or so, so we should see pricing on the Empire EVS floating somewhere around there.