With the technology world collectively zeroing in on Berlin for IFA 2018, it’s been a week full of announcements and new gadgets.
However, while last year represented the score of Windows Mixed Reality headsets, this time around we’ve only seen Acer, with its OJO 500 headset, provide new hardware. But don’t panic, that doesn’t mean things have been all-quiet in the world of AR and VR, and here at Field of view we’re dedicated to rounding up the best bits you may have missed.
Read this: The best VR headsets of 2018
Below, we have an update on the long-rumoured Xbox VR headset, as well as word on another AR acquisition from Apple. We’ve even managed to sneak in a couple of recommendations, too – lucky you.
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Read this: Newsflashes
Microsoft to stay patient on Xbox VR headset
For the past few years, rumours have consistently surfaced around a Xbox VR headset, but this week we learned that the idea has been shelved by the Redmond giant until better tech becomes available.
That’s according to CNET, anyway, who cites sources with knowledge on the matter saying that while Microsoft had been seeking out partners to develop games for the last few years, it has now taken the decision to wait until wireless tech is more cost-effective and feasible for VR headsets before it makes its move.
Catch up: Everything we know so far about Microsoft’s Xbox VR headset
Interestingly, the report also indicated that the prototype for the Xbox VR headset offered a strong screen quality, though not as good as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.
And, with Sony’s lead in the console VR space considered, it makes sense that Microsoft will play this one patient and accept it missed the first boat. The downside of this, naturally, is that we’re in the dark over when exactly we can expect VR to come to the platform. However, it would appear likely that the company will pounce on the next generation of tech early, in order to better compete with its biggest rival.
Apple acquires another AR startup
Over the last couple of years, Apple CEO Tim Cook has routinely talked up the future of augmented reality – and the company is seemingly continuing to explore the area.
First reported by Reuters, Apple this week acquired AR startup Akonia Holographics – a six-year-old maker of displays for AR headsets. In relative terms, that makes the company one of the more experienced within modern design of the displays, with its “HoloMirror” technology able to project full-colour images onto transparent glasses lenses.
Related: All the latest details on Apple’s AR exploits
Of course, it’s too early to tell just what impact this has on Apple’s apparent aim to launch a full-scale AR headset by 2020, though the work behind the scenes does appear to be steadily ramping up.
Palmer Luckey offers Magic Leap verdict
Now, you may have thought that Wareable’s Hugh Langley (seen below) offered the definitive first look review of the Magic Leap One, but let’s take a moment to consider what the Oculus founder, Palmer Luckey, had to say the goggles, too.
Working from his personal blog, Luckey, who left Facebook in March 2017, offers some mixed thoughts on the headset, calling it “a tragedy in the classical sense” and even lining up the zinger “Tragic Heap” as the title of his post.
Everybody within tech journalism is kicking themselves that they didn’t beat him to that play on words, let me tell you, but Luckey’s complaints are fairly in line with much of what we’ve seen from the same first users in the industry – this is better than what we’ve seen from Microsoft HoloLens, but not by an impressive margin.
Concluding, Luckey says: “Magic Leap needed to really blow people away to justify the last few years. The product they put out is reasonably solid, but is nowhere close to what they had hyped up, and has several flaws that prevent it from becoming a broadly useful tool for development of AR applications. Consumer AR can’t happen without advancement, and it seems those advancements will be coming from other companies.” Ouch.
Samsung Gear VR owners will get free Note 9 compatibility
We’ve become used to Samsung releasing a new version of its mobile VR headset each year to keep it in line with its latest flagship smartphone, but it appears as though the Korean company is taking a slightly different route in 2018.
As reported by Engadget, the latest Samsung Gear VR model will support the new Note 9, though owners will have to contact Samsung and request the specific Type-C adapter designed for the new phone.
The SM-R325 model, as users will know, does come with a Type-C connector in the box which fits the Note 8, S8, and S9. However, with the Note 9 slightly wider and shorter than these compatible devices, the adapter is essential for those wanting to use the new device with their existing headset. Not ideal, but still better than having to buy a new headset to continue the action, right?
Watch this: MLB Home Run Derby
If you missed the MLB’s Home Run Derby, what better way to catch up on the action than going behind the scenes in virtual reality? In this three-minute clip, you’ll get a brief look at some of the derby’s dingers – complete with a travel arc – and reactions from hitters on the benches. Watch out for Bryce Harper’s winning homer, which is neatly caught by a 360-degree camera in the bleachers.
Try this: Star Wars: Jedi Challenges expansion
We’ve spent some considerable time at Wareable HQ toying around with Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges since it first launched a year ago, and now the company has announced the experience’s third free update is coming in November. As seen above, the new Dark Side Expansion will allows players to take on challenges as Kylo Ren, fighting a holographic Yoda, Rey and more. Time to dust off your lightsaber, Jedi.
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