Microsoft Unveils New Devices with Emphasis on Windows 10

During a product unveiling in New York last week, Microsoft introduced new devices including a Surface Book laptop, the company’s latest Surface Pro tablet, big-screen Lumia smartphones that plug into displays for PC capabilities, and a $249 wearable fitness band. The press event also showcased Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset. While a focus on CE devices represents a shift for the software giant, hardware serves an integral role in a new corporate strategy that revolves around the Windows 10 operating system, designed to run on a variety of different devices. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils New Devices with Emphasis on Windows 10

New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

When Apple unveils its next generation Apple TV product this Wednesday at its scheduled event in San Francisco, insiders say videogames will be one of the key selling points. The move marks a departure for Apple TV, which has thus far been marketed as a device for streaming video and music content. The device will reportedly feature the components necessary for generating interest from casual gamers, including more power and a faster processor for improved graphics, a motion-sensitive remote that could also serve as a game controller and an app store for downloading games. Continue reading New Apple TV Could Compete with Traditional Game Consoles

Magic Leap Patents Contact Lens to Marry Virtual, Real Worlds

Magic Leap, the Florida-based startup that’s worked in stealth mode since its 2010 founding, may be coming into focus with the information contained in 97 new patent applications. Google led a funding round of $542 million for the company, which has been working on a head-mounted virtual retinal display that composites 3D digital imagery over real world objects, not dissimilar from Microsoft’s HoloLens. Taking that idea to its logical conclusion, Magic Leap now has a patent for doing the same trick — but with contact lenses. Continue reading Magic Leap Patents Contact Lens to Marry Virtual, Real Worlds

Microsoft Details How to Shoot for its HoloLens AR Headset

Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset allows video — which can be streamed over the Internet — to be viewed from any angle, combining the real world with computer-generated imagery. Whereas a digital object can be rendered in 3D and easily shown from any angle, live action isn’t so accommodating. To that end, the Silicon Valley company just came out with a document giving specific directions on how to capture and handle live action footage for use with its AR headset.

Continue reading Microsoft Details How to Shoot for its HoloLens AR Headset

Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

ABI Research projects that 43 million virtual reality devices will ship by 2020. Compare that to the 1.5 million Google Cardboards expected to ship by the end of 2015. That virtual reality and augmented reality is growing is no surprise, given the involvement of major industry players including Google, Samsung, Microsoft and Facebook. But perhaps nothing paints a better picture of VR’s growing clout than a look at the number of devices predicted to ship, from Oculus Rift’s head-mounted display to Google Cardboard’s inexpensive glasses. Continue reading Report Estimates 43 Million VR/AR Devices to Ship by 2020

Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

In Part 2 of our E3 overview, we look at the featured products and emergence of virtual reality. E3 operates with a familiar orchestration: Press events, lavish floor displays and private parties with big name bands. The Who, for instance, entertained guests of Electronic Arts. The layout of the exhibit floor gathers the platform players — Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo — in the Convention Center’s West Hall and fills the South Hall with the major game developers. In a sign of where VR leader Oculus fits into the spectrum, its booth anchored a prominent corner of the platform-centric West Hall. Continue reading Perspective: In Reality, VR Not the Only Game at E3 (Part 2)

Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

Microsoft used its E3 media event last week in Los Angeles to present its vision of the future of immersive entertainment with a “mixed reality” demonstration of the popular video game “Minecraft” seen through its HoloLens headset. The demonstration at the Shrine Auditorium exhibition hall lasted only a few minutes but its impact continues to resonate. Although Microsoft has provided few detailed plans, its early demos and comments made at E3 and other conferences suggest a future that is something more than a virtual or augmented reality. Continue reading Microsoft: Mixed Reality is Future of Immersive Entertainment

IDC Projects Wearables Market to Grow 173 Percent This Year

According to IDC, 72.1 million wearable devices will be shipped this year. The global forecast represents an increase of 173.3 percent over 2014. Shipments are expected to experience a 42.6 percent compound annual growth rate the next several years, reaching 155.7 million units in 2019. The demand for sub-$100 wearables from vendors such as Fitbit and Xiaomi that do not require third party apps has been particularly strong. “We expect smart wearables, those capable of running third party apps, to take the lead in 2016,” said analyst Jitesh Ubrani. Continue reading IDC Projects Wearables Market to Grow 173 Percent This Year

Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that a series of executive changes would take place at the company, including the departures of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, and senior level execs Kiril Tatarinov, Eric Rudder and Mark Penn. Meanwhile, Windows head Terry Myerson will take on added responsibility. As part of the company’s shift from devices and services to productivity and cloud computing, Nadella has appointed a team to oversee the restructuring of Microsoft’s three engineering groups — Windows and Devices, Cloud and Enterprise, and Applications and Services. Continue reading Microsoft CEO Announces Departures, Corporate Restructuring

E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

The 2015 Electronic Entertainment Expo opens it doors in Los Angeles today following a series of press conferences from major players such as Bethesda, EA, Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft. This year we expect to see a new emphasis on virtual and augmented reality, wearable devices, online gaming and mobile apps. At last year’s show, only six companies were dedicated to VR; this week, there will be 27. Also, 74 companies touting mobile and online gaming products will be in attendance. According to Gartner, worldwide mobile revenue is expected to nearly double to $22 billion this year. Continue reading E3 Expected to Focus on AR, VR, Online, Mobile and Wearables

Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

Augmented reality systems with technology that overlays digital interfaces onto the physical world may eventually edge out virtual reality and significantly impact human perception. While VR products such as Oculus Rift, Gear VR and HTC’s Vive get closer to launch, timelines for augmented reality devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google-backed Magic Leap remain vague. However, some believe AR is more likely to become integrated into our everyday activities and subsequently affect the way we interact, work and communicate. Continue reading Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

Qualcomm Tech to Power Next-Gen Project Tango Smartphone

Qualcomm announced that its Snapdragon 810 CPU and Adreno 430 GPU will power Google’s next generation Project Tango smartphone, coming out in the third quarter of 2015. The new phone promises to offer the same capabilities of the Nvidia-powered Project Tango tablet, but in a smaller form factor. “We’re excited to work together with Google and Android developers to help deliver new, innovative visual experiences using depth-sensing technology on mobile devices,” said Raj Talluri, SVP of product management, Qualcomm. Continue reading Qualcomm Tech to Power Next-Gen Project Tango Smartphone

Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Microsoft demonstrated the practicality of its HoloLens augmented reality technology at last week’s Microsoft BUILD developers conference. While it may not be as exciting as stepping into an immersive experience with virtual reality, the technology opens the door for some compelling practical applications, whether that involves educating medical students or building virtual models of rocket ships. Possibilities for business and the home is what may help augmented reality catch on and improve people’s lives. Continue reading Microsoft’s HoloLens AR Technology Designed for Productivity

Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 OS Features and New Headset

During a press event yesterday, Microsoft made a series of announcements regarding new features for its coming Windows 10 operating system including improvements to built-in apps for Windows Phone that involve mail, messaging, photos, maps and more. According to the company, Windows 10 also intends to enhance and integrate Xbox, PC and mobile gaming. Additionally, Microsoft introduced its HoloLens headset that will allow users to interact with holographic images for playing video games and building 3D models. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils Windows 10 OS Features and New Headset

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