IMAX 3.0 Underway with Acquisition of Streaming Tech Firm

IMAX Corp. has acquired SSIMWAVE, a leader in AI-driven video streaming solutions for $21 million in a mostly cash deal. Ontario-based SSIMWAVE lists Disney, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery among those currently using its technology, which lets streaming and broadcast providers deliver what IMAX says is “the best possible image” to any device for on-demand and live video. The move marks a significant expansion of IMAX’s strategy to deliver its own super-sized content at the highest quality to a variety of screens, including phones. As a service, SSIMWAVE fits IMAX’s financial strategy to generate new, recurring revenue. Continue reading IMAX 3.0 Underway with Acquisition of Streaming Tech Firm

Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Disney+ has unveiled a new app for viewing augmented reality, inviting subscribers to test drive “the future of storytelling, in your own living room” with the new short “Remembering: The AR Experience.” Created by an award-winning duo (“Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson, who also produces, and writer/director Elijah Allan-Blitz), the 8-minute film is meant to be viewed “through” an iOS tablet or iPhone that you hold up to your TV screen, allowing its camera to activate a QR code that triggers the AR, bringing fanciful objects (trees, rainbows, shooting stars and clouds) to your IRL surroundings. Continue reading Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Lenovo Introduces Wearable Display Glasses for Consumers

Lenovo is entering the consumer market for wearable displays after selling similar devices for business use for the past five years. The lightweight Lenovo Glasses T1 have micro OLED displays featuring 10,000:1 contrast and 1920×1080 pixels per eye, with an audio speaker at each temple. Capable of being powered by a Windows, Android, macOS or iOS device, they connect with USB-C. Lenovo likens the Glasses T1 to having “a personal monitor” in your pocket and says they allow wearers to experience content “well beyond the limited screen size of mobile devices.” Continue reading Lenovo Introduces Wearable Display Glasses for Consumers

Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Meta Platforms is joining forces with Qualcomm to develop a next-generation extended reality chipset for its Meta Quest 2 and other headsets. The multi-year agreement, announced at the IFA 2022 consumer electronics show in Berlin, will focus on virtual reality and augmented reality applications. While the deal leverages Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR platforms, engineering and product teams from each company will collaborate on “core technologies to accelerate a fully realized metaverse,” Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon announced from the stage at Friday’s IFA keynote in which he was joined remotely by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Continue reading Meta and Qualcomm Will Develop Next-Generation VR Chips

Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Snap Inc. announced plans to cancel ongoing projects such as Snap Originals, in-app multiplayer games, HTML mini-apps built by outside developers, and future development of its Pixy selfie-camera drone — all part of a corporate restructuring that will include laying off about 20 percent of its more than 6,400 employees. The company, which operates the popular social media app Snapchat, is taking cost-cutting measures as it faces growing competition from TikTok and other rivals and challenges to its core digital advertising business. Continue reading Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Zuckerberg Says New Meta VR Headset Launching in October

Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that Meta Platforms will in October debut the mixed reality headset the company has been developing under the codename Project Cambria. Appearing on Spotify’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” podcast last week, Zuckerberg said the new headset will have outward facing cameras capable of porting the outside world into the VR experience. With improved facial tracking to transpose smiles and frowns and the ability to convey “actual eye contact” between avatars, Zuckerberg said the new device will enhance the experience of “social presence.” Continue reading Zuckerberg Says New Meta VR Headset Launching in October

Video-Game Advertising Projected to Top $14 Billion by 2028

Video games as an advertising medium is still relatively niche, but a migration to streaming has paved the way for what observers predict will be explosive growth. Ad Age recently identified gaming as “the next huge advertising channel.” Fast Company posits U.S. in-game advertising, or IGA, is currently between $6-$8 billion, which is less than 6 percent of U.S. digital advertising. Analytics firm Research Dive predicts in-game advertising will grow to $14 billion worldwide by 2028. Fast Company says here are nearly 3 billion global players — one in four people — and growing by 15 percent a year. Continue reading Video-Game Advertising Projected to Top $14 Billion by 2028

Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within

Meta Platforms’ revenue dropped 1 percent in the second quarter, totaling $28.8 billion, just missing Wall Street’s expectation. It was the first year-over-year revenue drop since the company went public 10 years ago. Meta logged $6.69 billion in Q2 profit, down 36 percent over the same period in 2021. Costs increased by 22 percent, largely due to ongoing heavy investment in the metaverse, where the company’s ambitions took a hit Wednesday when the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to prevent Meta from buying Los Angeles-based virtual reality firm Within. Continue reading Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within

Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

The Walt Disney Company has announced the six companies to participate in its latest business accelerator program. The 2022 Disney Accelerator focuses on tech startups involved in Web3 and immersive experiences through work in augmented reality, NFTs and artificial intelligence. The six participants are: Flickplay, Inworld, Lockerverse, Obsess, Polygon and Red 6. Disney will offer participants investment capital, co-working space, guidance from Disney’s senior leadership team and an executive mentor. The Accelerator program will conclude with a Demo Day this fall at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

The business-oriented Magic Leap 2 AR headsets will debut in three models on September 30 in global territories including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and Saudi Arabia. The Magic Leap 2 Base starts at $3,299. There is a midrange Magic Leap 2 Developer Pro, working up to the Magic Leap 2 Enterprise, which sells for $4,999. Smaller and lighter than its 2018 predecessor, Magic Leap 2 comes with a hip-worn AMD processor, offers a wide field of view, and has a dimmer that can be applied to background visuals to make virtual objects pop. In the U.S., Magic Leap 2 will be available through IT solutions reseller Insight.  Continue reading Magic Leap Will Target the B2B Market with New AR Headset

Smartphone Maker Oppo Delivers ‘Assisted Reality’ Air Glass

BBK Electronics’ Oppo brand is garnering notice for Air Glass, natural-looking wireless glasses that sync to the company’s smartphones to serve-up augmented reality experiences. Though still in limited release, with no plans for distribution outside of China, the $745 glasses offer a hint of things to come even as Oppo is readying a next-gen version. Weighing in at just 30 grams, Air Glass is positioned as a basic device that delivers practical information, including navigation, weather, time and fitness tracking. Oppo characterizes the functionality as “assisted reality,” and its limited ambitions appear to be a strength. Continue reading Smartphone Maker Oppo Delivers ‘Assisted Reality’ Air Glass

Meta Plans Hiring Cuts as It Gears Up for ‘Fierce Headwinds’

Meta Platforms is preparing for a steep economic downturn that CEO Mark Zuckerberg is trying to get in front of by cutting costs and refocusing priorities. Engineering hires will be cut by 30 percent this year, with fewer than 7,000 additions as opposed to the original target of 10,000. The pivot comes at a time when Meta is seeking to expand on several fronts. The company reportedly needs to increase by fivefold the computing power of its data centers in order to accommodate the artificial intelligence technology that will be necessary to support its new “discovery” push.  Continue reading Meta Plans Hiring Cuts as It Gears Up for ‘Fierce Headwinds’

HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

HTC is launching its Desire 22 Pro smartphone, which emphasizes VR and AR integration centering around HTC’s own Vive ecosystem and the open-source metaverse platform it calls the Viverse. The Desire 22 Pro’s preloaded Viverse app lets users access and manage NFTs and cryptocurrencies and other metaverse content. In February HTC announced the Viverse, where people can attend meetings or concerts, build avatars and play games. Optimized for HTC’s 5G products and Vive VR devices, users can join the Viverse from any phone, tablet, PC or VR headset. Continue reading HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

Meta Releases Trio of New Spatial Audio Tools to Developers

Researchers from Meta Platforms’ Reality Labs and the University of Texas at Austin have developed audio tools that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says will deliver a more realistic metaverse experience. Among the new tools is a visual acoustic matching model called AViTAR that adapts any audio clip to a chosen environment using a photograph, not advanced geometry, to create a simulation. Also in the pipeline is the Visually-Informed Dereverberation mode (VIDA), which will “remove reverberation,” isolating source sounds for a fully immersive effect. Continue reading Meta Releases Trio of New Spatial Audio Tools to Developers

Diverse Groups Unite to Create Metaverse Standards Forum

The Metaverse Standards Forum is moving forward with plans to facilitate standards for an open, interoperable metaverse. The consortium, which announced this week it is open for business, emphasized it is not a new standards organization, but “will simply coordinate requirements and support for existing standards organizations developing standards relevant to the metaverse under their existing governance models and intellectual property frameworks.” It is backed by private firms including Meta, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Adobe, Nvidia, Epic Games and Sony Interactive, as well as non-profits like the World Wide Web Consortium, Web3D and the Academy Software Foundation. Continue reading Diverse Groups Unite to Create Metaverse Standards Forum