Review Praises Camera Functionality of Samsung Galaxy S9+

With a few weeks to go until the release of Samsung’s latest high-end smartphone, the Galaxy S9+, its camera just earned the top spot on DxOMark (a site that tracks and rates camera sensors, lenses and smartphone cameras). The S9+ received a score of 99 — the highest for any handset to date — with a review indicating the camera has no “obvious weaknesses.” The score is one better than the Pixel 2’s camera and two better than the iPhone X camera. The biggest addition to the S9+ camera is a dual-aperture for low light shots and a zoom lens.

Continue reading Review Praises Camera Functionality of Samsung Galaxy S9+

Next-Gen 5G Will Unlock VR, Autonomous Vehicles and More

Improved latency is the biggest selling point for next-generation 5G wireless technology. Verizon, Vodafone and Huawei are demonstrating the impact on wireless video, video games and virtual reality. With 5G, latency will plummet to 1 to 2 milliseconds, versus 4G’s average 50 milliseconds, positively impacting many markets, from medicine to self-driving cars. But, although the U.S. will see the first commercial 5G sometime this year, many emerging markets are still limping along with 3G and hoping for 4G connections. Continue reading Next-Gen 5G Will Unlock VR, Autonomous Vehicles and More

Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

ETCentric subscribers and their friends are invited to participate in the Creating Reality Hackathon, being held March 12-15 on the USC campus. The organizers are seeking forward-thinking industry storytellers, game designers, coders, and other creative artists. The teams that produce the top AR and VR submissions will each be awarded $5,000. This event will also be an opportunity to get a hands-on preview of the HTC Vive Pro and Intel’s Vaunt AR glasses. If you wish to participate, please submit your request via this special link (the deadline has been extended to March 7). Visit the event website for more info. Continue reading Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

FoxNext VR Selects ‘Planet of the Apes’ for its First VR Game

On April 3, 20th Century Fox’s FoxNext VR Studio will release “Crisis on the Planet of the Apes,” its first virtual reality game, for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Priced at $14.99, the first-person game is set between the stories of the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and allows the user to experience the world from the point of view of an ape captured by humans who attempts to escape the research facility. According to Variety, “the game was produced in partnership with UK-based Imaginati Studios, and was first announced at CES 2017.”  Continue reading FoxNext VR Selects ‘Planet of the Apes’ for its First VR Game

HPA 2018: Direct View Cinema Displays to Displace Projectors

Film, and later, digital projectors have been the standard form of displaying movies since the art form’s beginning. But now, says veteran engineering executive in advanced imaging and sound Pete Ludé, so-called direct view cinema displays are poised to displace them. In an afternoon of HPA Tech Retreat sessions looking at new display technologies, Ludé drilled down into the use of emissive displays using millions of RGB LEDs. These giant displays, he said, offer tremendous dynamic range and beautiful pictures in moderate ambient light. Continue reading HPA 2018: Direct View Cinema Displays to Displace Projectors

Qualcomm Inks Partnerships With 5G Device Makers, Carriers

For 5G to take off, manufacturers have to produce devices that integrate the technology. To that end, Qualcomm has partnered with 19 device makers, all of which will be relying on the chipmaker’s new Snapdragon X50 5G-compatible modem in at least one of their devices. Qualcomm has inked additional partnerships with global carriers, which will also be using the X50 modem for their 5G trials. All four major U.S. networks will begin their rollout of 5G networks by the end of this year, with full nationwide coverage by 2020. Continue reading Qualcomm Inks Partnerships With 5G Device Makers, Carriers

Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

Walmart’s tech incubator, Store No. 8 recently purchased Spatialand, a small virtual reality startup that specializes in software tools designed for transforming existing media content into immersive experiences. The acquisition is part of Walmart’s plans to create future shopping experiences for store locations and websites. Spatialand founder Kim Cooper and 10 employees will join Walmart; Store No. 8 principal Katie Finnegan will serve as interim CEO. Financial terms were not revealed. Continue reading Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

NBC, Intel and Snap to Stream Live Video of Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics is going to get wide coverage from NBC, which plans to live broadcast the events in PyeongChang, South Korea across all time zones and without delays. In contrast to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this one will feature even more video on social media platforms. NBC and Intel plan to stream 30 events in virtual reality, including the opening ceremony, and Snapchat is launching a tool for NBC to feed snippets of live coverage into its app. Continue reading NBC, Intel and Snap to Stream Live Video of Winter Olympics

Google Developing Game Streaming Service for Chromecast

Google is in development on a game streaming service for compatible Chromecast devices (or potential future home consoles). Dubbed “Yeti,” the service would be similar to Sony’s PlayStation Now and Nvidia’s GeForce Now game streaming services, which means that users wouldn’t download software but stream from a Google server. Users could play Android games on a consumer TV via existing technology, but it isn’t clear if that would be Google’s sole strategy. The company recently hired game industry veteran Phil Harrison. Continue reading Google Developing Game Streaming Service for Chromecast

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Further Plans to Roll Out 5G Networks

Sprint plans to launch a 5G network by early 2019, joining its competitors in rolling out the new technology and spending $5 billion to $6 billion annually on its network. Verizon and AT&T plan to roll out their 5G networks later this year. Although today’s smartphones can already stream HD video with the current 4G networks, 5G networks will enable other devices and technologies, including autonomous vehicles. Sprint’s parent company, SoftBank Group, also has a significant investment in Uber Technologies. Continue reading AT&T, Sprint, Verizon Further Plans to Roll Out 5G Networks

Lionsgate, Parques Reunidos Team on Madrid, NYC Ventures

In 2020, residents of Madrid, Spain and tourists to that city will be able to visit the Lionsgate Entertainment City at the Estación de Príncipe Pío to experience the worlds of “The Hunger Games” and the “Divergent” series and dine in a restaurant/lounge redolent of “Mad Men.” This center be the first Lionsgate-branded indoor attraction in Europe, and will follow on the heels of the 2019 launch of its NYC-based Times Square Entertainment City, also in partnership with international entertainment operator Parques Reunidos. Continue reading Lionsgate, Parques Reunidos Team on Madrid, NYC Ventures

Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

Apple is preparing for a major iPhone operating system update, iOS 11.3, and it will include some important new features. Chief among those is Business Chat, which lets users communicate directly with businesses via the iMessage app. At launch, Business Chat will allow communications with a select group of companies including Wells Fargo, Lowe’s, Hilton and Discover. Also new with iOS 11.3 is version 1.5 of the company’s virtual reality developers’ kit ARKit, four Animoji, and new features that display battery health. Continue reading Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier, VR financing/distribution company CityLights purchased “Spheres: Songs of Spacetime,” a three-part virtual reality series that explores the depth of space. The exact purchase price was not revealed, but it is reportedly in the seven figures, and is being hailed as the first VR film to be acquired for such an amount. The series, presented by Oculus Studios and Protozoa Pictures, and directed by Eliza McNitt, is slated for release on the Oculus Rift sometime this year. Continue reading VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

Overwatch League, ESL, Facebook Take eSports Mainstream

When the Overwatch League debuted its first season this month, eSports fans came in droves, bought lots of merchandise and otherwise behaved like those who attend professional football, basketball and baseball games. Numerous traditional sports team owners have already invested in eSports, so when the Overwatch League was being formed, many investors were eager to pay $20 million for a franchise. Even Facebook has joined in, saying it will be the exclusive destination for multiple leagues from eSports federation ESL. Continue reading Overwatch League, ESL, Facebook Take eSports Mainstream

New York City Invests $6M in Augmented, Virtual Reality Hub

In 2016, a Goldman Sachs report predicted that AR/VR sales could reach $182 billion by 2025. Now, New York City, home to at least seven virtual reality centers, is committing $6 million to a 15,000-square foot space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard that will serve as a “hub for virtual reality and augmented reality.” The de Blasio administration says the hub will create more than 500 jobs. One of the existing centers, VR World, is equipped with a bar and dance music and lets users sky dive, rock climb or wield a samurai sword. Continue reading New York City Invests $6M in Augmented, Virtual Reality Hub

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