Startup to Introduce Holographic TV Technology at NAB 2017

Startup Light Field Labs, founded by three former Lytro engineers, is working on creating holographic displays via light field technology. The goal is to create a TV set that can project a 3D hologram into the living room, with the further-off goal of enabling the user to touch it. Although that might sound like science fiction, the company founders stand behind their idea, and state the company will be able to ship a few displays to developers in 2018. Commercial production will be in operation by 2019 or 2020. Continue reading Startup to Introduce Holographic TV Technology at NAB 2017

Facebook Pursues App Ecosystem: AR Powered by Cameras

Bolstered by last summer’s breakout popularity of “Pokémon Go,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has shifted focus from VR to AR, which combines the real and digital worlds. At the annual F8 conference, he stated that Facebook will make its AR tools available to developers to create everything from custom masks to filters. Partners already include Nike, Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. The shift to AR puts Facebook in competition with its rival Snap’s Snapchat and Microsoft HoloLens. Continue reading Facebook Pursues App Ecosystem: AR Powered by Cameras

VB Insight Study Says Video Is Key to App Store Optimization

VB Insight, VentureBeat’s research arm, published a report on “App store optimization — a practitioner’s guide to ASO,” revealing that video plays a significant role throughout the app marketing process. Author of the report, mobile analyst Peggy Anne Salz interviewed 35 ASO professionals, integrated data from a survey of over 500 ASO users, and examined techniques of successful app developers. The report details best practices for app marketing and looks at what’s coming down the pike for ASO. Continue reading VB Insight Study Says Video Is Key to App Store Optimization

HTC Rolls Out Advertising Service for Viveport VR Developers

HTC is launching an advertising service for VR developers for use on the Viveport platform. The VR Ad Service allows developers to place video ads, banner ads, 360-degree video and cinema-scale ads into their VR experiences, integrating them as in-app scenarios or into pre-loads or post-experience slots. Another possibility would be to place ads onto 3D models in the VR experience, such as on a character’s T-shirt. End users may chafe at ads, but they may fund VR experiences that might otherwise never be made. Continue reading HTC Rolls Out Advertising Service for Viveport VR Developers

HTC Unveils Subscription Service for Vive VR Headset Users

Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC has rolled out its anticipated monthly subscription service for virtual reality content, including video games and short interactive films. For a $7 per month fee, users can download up to five VR titles a month from the online Viveport store. HTC is positioning the new service as a way for customers to try out an app before they decide to purchase it. The service is only available to owners of the HTC Vive VR headset. Among the titles initially available are “Everest VR” and “Mars Odyssey.” Continue reading HTC Unveils Subscription Service for Vive VR Headset Users

Google Unveils Next-Gen Android O, Featuring Battery Savings

Google unveiled the first developer preview of its next-generation mobile operating system, Android O, a year after its first preview of Android Nougat. Unlike the Android N version, which was available to all comers, Google is not making the O preview available in the Android Beta channel. For Android O, only developers who own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C device (or want to use the emulator) will be able to manually download and flash their devices. Among the new features, background limits are expected to conserve battery life. Continue reading Google Unveils Next-Gen Android O, Featuring Battery Savings

Nintendo to Double Planned Production of New Hybrid Console

In response to strong initial demand, Nintendo plans to at least double production of its new Switch game console through March 2018. The hybrid console, designed for home and mobile use, launched globally March 3, and “its North American unit described the initial momentum as the strongest in the company’s history,” reports The Wall Street Journal. This could put Switch on a similar trajectory as the company’s popular Wii system (and Nintendo needs a hit after its Wii U performed less than expected). “In the fiscal year starting April 2017, assemblers under contract with Nintendo are now planning to manufacture 16 million or more Switches, up from an initial plan for eight million.” Continue reading Nintendo to Double Planned Production of New Hybrid Console

Google App Engine Supports More Programming Languages

At Google Cloud Next in San Francisco, Google announced its overhauled version of App Engine, the company’s platform-as-a-service for building application backends. “The big news is that App Engine now supports any programming language,” reports TechCrunch, “so a developer can create the app in whatever language they are comfortable using. Google sees this as a game changer, making the platform more open, which is a big theme with the company as it transitions to try and lure enterprise customers.” App Engine was originally a closed environment, but the new version is open and initially supports seven languages (Java 8, Ruby, Go, Python 2/3, C#, PHP 5/7 and Node.js). Continue reading Google App Engine Supports More Programming Languages

Facebook Rolls Out Menus to Simplify Use of Messenger Bots

Facebook is updating its Messenger platform to make it easier for users to interact with bots. The interface now has a nested menu that categorizes all of the bot’s capabilities. Facebook also created a new option to allow developers to hide the chatting screen so that customers don’t even have to conduct conversations with bots anymore. This update seems to limit the capabilities of bots and future voice-computing software. It arrives as one launch partner of the bot platform is returning to email rather than using Messenger for customer notifications. Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Menus to Simplify Use of Messenger Bots

Facebook Drops Price of its Rift VR Headset to Spur Adoption

In an effort to jumpstart sales, Facebook-owned Oculus VR is slashing $100 off the price of its Rift virtual reality headset and its Touch motion controllers. The Rift headset will be lowered to $499, while the Touch drops to $99. Consumers will still need a computer with enough power to support the Rift. When the headset launched last spring, consumers were surprised by the $599 price tag. According to Jason Rubin, Oculus VR head of content, recent surveys indicate that cost has been the primary obstacle to sales. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes VR will take at least 10 years to become our next computing platform. Continue reading Facebook Drops Price of its Rift VR Headset to Spur Adoption

HTC Viveport VR Service Now Open to Developers, Publishers

HTC opened its Viveport VR subscription service to developers, to allow them to register games and VR experiences in advance of the service’s launch, expected in the next few weeks. Since the service was first announced at CES 2017, HTC has accumulated a list of more than 14,000 consumers who wish to be notified of the launch. HTC has not announced final pricing for the service but it reportedly will be similar to fees charged by Netflix and Spotify. The monthly fee will offer a limited number of games and experiences. Continue reading HTC Viveport VR Service Now Open to Developers, Publishers

HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

The Android and iOS app stores have been dominant in gaming, but the advent of HTML5 may change that up. Developers will be able to create instant games, which they hope will grab the attention of more consumers. Games based on HTML5, which run in a browser and don’t require a download, are already being built into social media platforms and messaging systems. Instant game advocates argue that apps can be hard to find, require heavy advertising, and have to be downloaded and installed in order to play. Continue reading HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

Microsoft Camera Rig Gives HoloLens Developers Video Hack

Microsoft has come up with a new camera rig that allows HoloLens mixed reality app makers to capture video from a HoloLens and make it easier to show a person interacting with that app, something Microsoft dubs “spectator view.” The details of the hardware-software combo were published as open source on the HoloLens’ GitHub page. The HoloLens headset is wireless, which lets the user move around the room freely, and is based on four cameras, lightly tinted lenses and a holographic processing unit. Continue reading Microsoft Camera Rig Gives HoloLens Developers Video Hack

HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

The HTC Vive, a room-scale virtual reality headset, is expanding its feature set to include wireless functionality and peripheral devices. The company has announced that the TPCast adapter will grant the Vive fully wireless capabilities without introducing noticeable latency or degraded image quality. Developed internally and produced by TPCast, the device promises up to two hours of battery life, with the possibility of upgrading to an “XL” battery providing up to five hours. The included transmitter sends an uncompressed signal directly to a receiver mounted on top of the strap that holds the Vive to the user’s head, and the battery pack fits easily in a pocket. The TPCast will ship in Q2 of this year, and will cost $249. Continue reading HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Marking the biggest week of the year for mobile games, research firm Sensor Tower reports that sales of game apps between Christmas and New Year’s Day jumped 53 percent over the same period last year. “Smartphone and tablet users spent a record $967.6 million on game apps for iOS and Android devices,” notes The Wall Street Journal. “Two factors typically goose spending during the week: mobile devices given as gifts, and people off from work and school who have free time to load up on apps.” Additionally, game developers typically introduce “discounts and special holiday-timed events during the week.” According to Newzoo, mobile is now the largest slice of the $100 billion video game pie. Continue reading Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

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