Today, website VR-Zone is confirming the existence of Samsung's upcoming Galaxy Gear smartwatch. A newly released report says that Samsung will launch the Galaxy Gear on September 4 at the 2013 IFA show in Germany.
VR-Zone says that the Galaxy Gear, model number SM-V700, will function as an accessory to Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets and will feature a flexible display. A recently filed patent says that the device will feature a power button, menu buttons, a USB port for data transfer and charging, and a capacitive back which will sense heart rate and other biometric data.
The patent went on to describe the Galaxy Gear as a "wearable digital electronic devices in the form of a wristwatch, wrist band, or bangle capable of providing access to the Internet and for sending and receiving phone calls , electronic mails, and messages." While no official confirmation has been released, VR-Zone is usually spot on with their predictions and as such, I to fully expect to see the Galaxy Gear unveiled at IFA 2013.
Google Glass users receive monthly updates to their wearable device, with the latest "XE8" update including new Google Now cards, new voice commands, and a better video player application.
The new voice actions on Glass include "post an update" and "take a note" which work well with applications like Path and Evernote, letting Glass users use these services much easier, and more on-the-go thanks to wearing the device, and using your voice to add notes. The new Google Now cards include Reservations and Events, Movies and Public Alerts, as well as more commonly-used Now cards like Weather, Sports and Traffic.
These cards will now be shown to the left of your timeline, and will become available as needed after the update has pushed to your Glass unit. There's a new Volume card in the settings, hashtag in captions and a new "send a birthday message" card available in the XE8 update.
Toward the end of the year we can expect the consumer version of Google Glass to arrive, but what sort of price should we expect? Most have been expecting $500+, but according to a local researcher at the Topology Research Institute, we should expect a price of an affordable $299.
The display on Glass will most likely be supplied by Taiwan-based Himax Display Inc. and will cost between $30 and $35, which will be the most expensive part of building Glass. On July 22, Google announced they had acquired a 6.3% stake in Himax Display, who make liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) chips and modules that will be used in devices such as Google Glass, heads-up displays and handheld projectors.
Topology Researcher, Jason Tsai, also said: "We believe wearable devices will face the first wave of growth in the coming one to three years due to their innovative features, and will then experience a rapid growth in the next phase when the market becomes more mature."
It appears the rumors that Samsung will be bringing a Galaxy branded smartwatch to market are true. Of course we've known this for a while, but it's always nice to receive confirmation from new sources. Today, a new trademark filing has popped up in which Samsung has filed to protect the Galaxy Gear name.
The trademark filing was spotted by website GalaxyClub and it specifically states that the Samsung Galaxy Gear name pertains to a "wearable digital electronic device in the form of a wristwatch, wristband or angle capable of providing access to the Internet and sending and receiving phone calls, electronic mails and messages." The application goes on to mention that the Galaxy Gear could have the ability to keep track of messages, managing personal information, and smartphones, tablets, and PCs.
One thing that stays common between early adopters of Google Glass is its not-so-great battery life, but designer and inventor, Kevin Alan Tussy, has an idea that could triple the battery life of Google's wearable device.
His idea is called PWRGlass, which is an external battery pack that would be sold as an optional accessory to Glass. PWRGlass isn't anywhere near ready, with the only form it exists in right now is in a computer, as a 3D render. But, as it stands, it features a 2000mAh lithium-ion battery that is built into the sunglass band-like design.
There would be a microUSB connector on PWRGlass, that would allow a user to recharge both the PWRGlass, and Google Glass, at the same time. The designer is also working on a second device that would give Glass an injection of storage from its on-board 12GB.
Today, we're seening evidence that Microsoft has plans to build its own version of so-called SmartGlasses similar to that of Google Glass. A recent patent application from the software giant shows off what appears to be augmented reality glasses for multiplayer gaming.
The patent shows off what appears to be a pair of normal sunglasses with a camera and microphone mounted in the nose bridge. Sensors would be located at different positions around the frame as well as speakers mounted near the ears. The patent claims device could receive voice commands, track your eyes, calculate depth, and recognize the faces of fellow players.
This patent falls in line with a similar patent by Microsoft recently that details how to augment live events with augmented reality displays. At the moment, it is still unclear if Microsoft has produced any prototypes or if this patent is simply IP.
Google Glass has been mostly kept in the shadows for now, with developer signups at Google I/O, and a social media contest the only way of a mere mortal getting their hands on Google's wearable tech.
But it looks like this is changing, with Google+ going nuts with reports that Glass Explorers are receiving e-mails from Google, allowing them to invite a friend to grab Google Glass if they join the program. Did your eye just flinch with anticipation? There are some requirements, though. You have to be a US resident, at least 18 years old, and be capable of picking up your hardware in San Francisco, New York or Los Angeles.
Google told Engadget that a "small subset of Explorers" have received the invite-a-friend e-mail, in hopes of expanding their program. Google went further, asking five film schools to help find out how Glass can be used for everything from character development to production. The five film schools are:
- The American Film Institute
- California Institute of the Arts
- Rhode Island School of Design
- UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
- University of Southern California
How many hours did you put yourself through in Atari's 1984 classic, Paperboy? I know I rode through that game for countless hours, and it looks like I might just do it again with Globacore's new title.
Globacare are a creative technology company who specialize in large multi-touch displays, and have unveiled a new work-in-progress, first-person homage to Paperboy, Paperdude VR. Paperdude VR uses Oculus' VR headset, Rift, as well as Microsoft's motion sensor, Kinect. You can see in the video above that player rides on a stationary bike, attempting to throw newspapers into peoples' mailboxes.
Paperdude VR is a great concept, something that might just keep gamers a bit fitter than they are now. Constantly peddling your bike in a game is sure to keep gamers a bit fitter. The more I see on Oculus Rift, the more I want it.
Oculus Rift developer forum user Teddy0K has made a first-person, cover-based shooter using Oculus' Rift VR headset in conjunction with Razer's Hydra motion controller.
Teddy0K shows us in the video (above) that the Hydra wand is attached to the gamer's chest, while the Hydra joystick is placed in your hands and used as your weapon, as well as controlling your forward and backwards movement within the game. The motion-controlled rig allows gamers to perform in-game actions such as ducking behind cover and blind firing over it.
What we see, is an updated version of Teddy0K's HydraDeck Demo. Teddy wrote on the developer forum: "The position tracking adds a tonne to the immersion of being in a virtual world. Please be careful when playing this demo, lots of people try to support themselves on the crates when they try to stand up or when leaning up against a column, but find there is nothing there!"
It looks like Samsung's upcoming smartwatch has been unveiled, kinda, with the wearable device showing up on Zauba. It was listed as a "Samsung mobile accessory (for R&D purpose)."
We have no more information other than that sliver, but Samsung-dedicated site SamMobile confirmed through their own sources from Samsung Germany that they had received a smartwatch prototype. The same source says that Samsung Germany have already gotten their hands (or is that wrist?) dirty testing the device.
Samsung Germany is reportedly the only company that has received the prototype, with rumors suggesting we could see the Samsung SM-V700 unveiled at IFA later this year.
I truly do love Oculus Rift, and I think it's going to change the entire face of technology and gaming as we know it in the years to come. But, what are developers doing with it right now?
Well, one developer, Intuitive Aerial, have used the virtual reality headset to control a real-life drone. The first flight of Oculus FPV, gives a user the Rift headset, where they see a birds-eye view of the drone. This isn't just a virtual reality headset anymore, it's almost like you're physically flying in the air, kind of like Superman, but a drone.
The drone itself is carrying a laptop to give the users on the ground communications to Oculus' Rift, so it's stuck to just using Wi-Fi at the moment. This means they're locked down to a 50-100m radius, but this will only improve with time. Give me real-life Superman, now.
I've used Oculus Rift HD and I really just don't want to go back to normal reality, but I guess I have to. Oculus VR, the company behind Oculus Rift, and IndieCade are teaming up for a three-week long gaming event called VR Jam.
VR Jam will get developers together in order to create content for Oculus Rift. VR Jam starts on August 2, and ends on August 25 with two categories to compete in. The first of which is 'Selected Developers' and the second, 'Open Call.' Selected developers will compete against hand-picked teams of 10, while Open Call pits any independent developer to register and compete.
Oculus VR and IndieCade will don their judging hats, with winners being announced on September 19. Games will be scored by their innovation and virtual reality design. As for prizes, there will be more than $50,000 in total with a $10,000 prize for the winners of either category. Registration, rules and everything else you need to know about VR Jam is available on Oculus VR's website.
A new report this morning is suggesting that Samsung is ready to beat Apple to the punch on releasing a smartwatch. Patently Apple is claiming that Samsung will show off its very own smartwatch in September ahead of the annual IFA trade show which is held in Berlin, Germany.
Dubbed the "Samsung Gear," the smartwatch will be shown off during a press conference in which we will also see the Galaxy Note III unveiled. Although the report cites no sources, we do know that Samsung is developing a smartwatch, and we've even seen leaks of the device's supposed interface. If Samsung does debut the Gear a little over a month from now, it will beat Apple in the smartwatch race by more than a year, which puts it in a very good position for market dominance.
Virtual Reality Insanity are going to blow gamers' minds away by opening up a VR gaming bar in Melbourne, Australia
PAX Australia 2013 - When I go out to a bar, I generally drink, like most people do - but would you want to go to a bar and enjoy some virtual reality gaming? Well, Virtual Reality Insanity are hoping you do, as they are opening up a new VR gaming bar in Melbourne, Australia.
We're currently in Melbourne, Australia for PAX AU 2013, and our first meeting was with VR Insanity, where we got to use Oculus Rift in Team Fortress 2. It was my first test with Oculus Rift, and I was blown away. Later in the day we had a meeting with Oculus VR themselves, but this was our first toe in VR water. Team Fortress 2 was phenomenal on Oculus Rift, something that I soon hope to play much more when Oculus release Rift to the public.
As for the VR gaming bar, VR Insanity are going to open up a 6v6 VR gaming bar, which will include Oculus Rift, Onmi, Razer Hydra controllers and more. It's going to be quite kick ass, as there'll be tournaments and matches versus your friends, all in virtual reality. We hope to attend the opening night of this, and should have some content if we get to that point.
PAX Australia 2013 - I have been waiting since Oculus first reached Kickstarter to try out their Rift VR headset, and today my day came. We first went to another booth and tried out the 720p Developer Kit version, which we'll have a video uploaded shortly on.
The first story I wanted to write from PAX AU was about Oculus. We had a 2:30PM meeting but turned up 30 minutes early by mistake, but the Oculus guys were happy to accommodate us. We were sitting there, in one of the smallest booths at PAX AU and while it's small, it had heart and soul, and most of all: passion. We were introduced to Joseph Chen, who is head of Product at Oculus, who mentioned that Nate (the Vice President of Product at Oculus VR) would be on-hand soon.
We were been greeted with the Full HD 1920x1080 version of the Oculus Rift, which is different to the HD 1280x720 version of Rift which is found in the form of the Kickstarter backed Developer Kits. These devices are much higher resolution, but as we were told, are more like 'alpha' units.
I'll be attending PAX AU on Friday, where I'll finally get some hands-on (or is that heads- and soul-on) with Oculus' Rift VR headset. I'll be using the Full HD version, which I'm quite excited about.
But, for now, the company have said that they're going to be releasing Rift to consumers at $300. Most people will look at that and think it's expensive, but consider the price of a Full HD 27-inch monitor, which is around the same price, and it doesn't seem so bad. Moving onto multi-monitor setups, which are even more expensive, it makes Oculus' Rift look like a much better alternative.
During an interview with Edge Online, Oculus' CEO, Brandon Iribe noted how he hopes it would influence how we play games in a better way than next-gen consoles. He talked about the way that Rift will reach the market, acknowledging that "the lower the price point, the wider the audience." It's true, but getting it cheaper than $300 will be hard.
Originally thought to be slated for a July 15 launch, Sony has now confirmed that we will see its SmartWatch 2 released to the public on September 9, 2013. This launch date actually aligns closer with Sony's original plans for a September / October launch. This means that Sony will have beaten all the major manufacturers to the punch in releasing a next-generation SmartWatch.
Sony says that the SmartWatch 2 has been completely redesigned from the ground up and is far more feature-rich than its predecessor. The new watch features a 1.6-inch LCD, Bluetooth 3.0, micro-USB charging port, and near field communication connectivity. This will allow the SmartWatch to quickly pair with other devices through just a single touch. If that weren't enough, the SmartWatch 2 is both dust and water resistant and carries an IP57 certification.
With Samsung's upcoming smartwatch rumored to still be months away from release, and recent developments that have put Apple back to seeing their iWatch released in late 2014, Sony could have a winner on their hands. At a pricing point of $150, which is far less than any high-end analog watch you will find on store shelves today, I think that this new offering from Sony will fly off the shelves.
Today is shaping up to be smartwatch rumor day with this morning's report that the Apple iWatch has been delayed by at least a year. Now, a new rumor that Microsoft is testing a "translucent aluminum" smartwatch has cropped up. The report comes from The Verge and states that the company is now prototyping a smartwatch device under the supervision of the Surface team.
Apparently, the company was previously testing variations of a smartwatch design which was built by the Xbox accessories team. The report says that the new device features a Surface Connector and a 1.5-inch display. Tech site AnandTech said that Microsoft is working on a number of removable wristbands based around the Windows 8 color schemes of blue, red, yellow, black, white, and grey.
The Verge says that Microsoft is testing prototypes with a modified version of Windows 8 that is focused on integrating the device with other Windows-powered devices. This could lead to your watch sinking up to your Surface tablet, Windows Phone 8 devices, and Windows 8 laptops and PCs. This plan is very similar to what Apple wishes to do with their iWatch and what Samsung has planned for its GALAXY smatwatch.
It appears that the rumors of an Apple iWatch arriving this year are holding less credence than we originally assumed. Recent reports suggest that Apple is still in the hiring phase for design engineers as well as electrical engineers to take on the project. Apparently the delays and additional hires are because there are some pretty tough engineering problems that need to be solved before the project can move forward.
In a recent report from the Financial Times, we have learned that Apple has been in an "aggressive hiring phase" for the last few weeks and that this is an indication that Apple has stepped up the development on the iWatch platform. Sources close to the matter also state that Apple has been experiencing some "hard engineering problems that they've not been able to solve" leading the bosses to believe that its in-house engineers are just not up to the task of designing wearable technology.
All of this leads up to the fact that we most likely will not see a smartwatch from the Cupertino-based company anytime this year. While 2014 is still an option, these recent developments lead me to believe that it will be 2015 or 2016 before Apple creates a design that they deem acceptable to launch to the public. With so many companies readying launches for this year such as Samsung and Sony, and with the Pebble already on the market, I think that Apple may be a little late to the party this time.
According to Dell's Global Vice President of Personal Computing, Sam Burd, the company could be looking at wearable computing. Burd says that Dell are "exploring areas in that space."
Burd was talking with The Guardian about how the company could be part of the new market for wearable computing where we already have Google, Sony, Pebble, Samsung and Apple. All of those companies have either teased their devices, shown them off (Google Glass) or are rumored to release a wearable device later this year. He adds:
There are challenges in cost, and how to make it a really good experience. But the piece that's interesting is that computers are getting smaller. Having a watch on your wrist - that's pretty interesting, pretty appealing.
I've expressed my thoughts on next-gen games countless times, with my latest piece here. I truly believe Oculus Rift is the future of gaming, and so do the Game Critics Awards, who chose Oculus Rift as the Best Hardware/Peripheral of E3 2013.
This means that the Oculus Rift beat out both the next-gen consoles, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This speaks volumes about the next-generation of games, with the consoles yet another evolution and not a complete revolution which is what we need. Oculus Rift turns the entire industry upside down, offering the game in virtual reality.
I'm glad that Oculus Rift took the award home, they obviously deserved it. Well done, Oculus VR!