ByteDance Buys Startup Pico, Virtual Reality Headset Maker

TikTok parent company ByteDance has acquired startup Pico, which, according to IDC, was the third largest virtual reality headset manufacturer worldwide in Q1 2021, with shipments growing 44.7. percent year-over-year. The purchase marks ByteDance’s first step into virtual reality and the company said that Pico’s “comprehensive suite of software and hardware technologies, as well as the talent and deep expertise of the team, will support both our entry to the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field.” Continue reading ByteDance Buys Startup Pico, Virtual Reality Headset Maker

HTC Vive Pro 2: 5K 120Hz VR for Enterprise, Serious Gamers

The recently launched HTC Vive Pro 2 VR headset offers a sharp 5K 120Hz desktop virtual reality experience. Priced at $1,399 for the entire package — and $799 for the headset alone (for those who invested previously in the Vive Pro or Valve Index) — the Vive Pro 2 retains the same design as the 2018 model and relies on older controllers but offers a wide range of attractive features for gamers. The 2,448 x 2,448 pixels per eye is a dramatic improvement over the previous Pro’s 1,440 x 1,600 pixels, which also offered a slower 90Hz refresh rate. Its LCDs also have RGB sub-pixels for increased sharpness. Continue reading HTC Vive Pro 2: 5K 120Hz VR for Enterprise, Serious Gamers

Valve to Launch Steam Deck Handheld Device for PC Games

This December, Washington-based game company Valve will debut its long-anticipated Steam Deck, a handheld device for PC gaming with models priced at $399 with 64GB of eMMC storage, $529 with 256GB of NVMe SSD, and the top-of-the-line $649 version with 512GB of high-speed NVMe SSD storage. Steam Deck is additionally being promoted as a handheld PC, allowing users to install and operate web browsers, other game stores (including Epic Games Store) and other video streaming services. It can also be connected to a keyboard and mouse and offers a cloud saving feature. Continue reading Valve to Launch Steam Deck Handheld Device for PC Games

Cinematic and Narrative Virtual Reality Tech Moving Forward

At the Cannes Film Festival’s XR program, VeeR co-founder Jingshu Chen delivered a keynote on monetization of virtual reality, in which she referred to Gartner’s well-known Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. She pointed out that Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of Oculus sparked the “peak of inflated expectations,” followed by a downhill path to the “trough of disillusionment” beginning in 2017, when headset sales slumped and some VR companies pulled back. Now, she said, we could be on the upward “slope of enlightenment.” Continue reading Cinematic and Narrative Virtual Reality Tech Moving Forward

Esports and VR Games Expected to Benefit from 5G Speeds

Video game competitions played before live and online audiences, known as eSports, has become a booming market, and 5G is poised to ramp up its popularity. Among Big Tech companies, Intel and Ericsson stated that 5G will increase the realism of game imagery and action and potentially allow more players from different venues to compete in a single event. Virtual reality games will also benefit from 5G’s dramatically increased speeds and will permit lighter form-factors than today’s bulky backpacks stuffed with computers. Continue reading Esports and VR Games Expected to Benefit from 5G Speeds

HTC Vive Targeting Enterprise Market with New VR Headsets

At ViveCon 2021, HTC debuted two new Vive virtual reality headsets, the HTC Vive Pro 2, which connects to the PC, and the standalone HTC Vive Focus 3. The company, which teamed with Valve to make its first Vive headset in 2015, has seen the VR business explode in numerous markets served by its Vive Pro and Vive Focus, aimed at enterprise markets and debuting in 2018.  The new headsets feature 5K resolution, a 120-degree field of view and RGB sub-pixels. The Vive Pro 2 will go on sale June 4 and Vive Focus 3 on June 27. Continue reading HTC Vive Targeting Enterprise Market with New VR Headsets

Hardware Demand Results in a Successful Quarter for Apple

Apple’s last fiscal quarter brought in a profit of $23.6 billion, with analysts predicting the year’s total profit will exceed $70 billion, almost one-third more than last year. Revenue also surpassed Wall Street estimates, up 54 percent to $89.6 billion. Apple announced a 7 percent increase to its cash dividend to 22 cents per share; the board authorized an increase of $90 billion to an existing share-repurchase program. Strong consumer demand for the iPhone 12, Mac computers and iPads is responsible for the results. Continue reading Hardware Demand Results in a Successful Quarter for Apple

Sundance Film Festival Goes Virtual with Its New VR Platform

The Sundance Film Festival, a pioneer in showcasing virtual reality content with its New Frontier exhibition, partnered with Active Theory to build a VR platform that attendees can access with or without a headset. Sundance New Frontier curator Shari Frilot noted that building a virtual solution for New Frontier “solved so many problems we were having and struggling with on the ground.” Anyone will be able to access the platform by logging onto the website via a Sundance festival pass, including the $25 Explorer Pass. Continue reading Sundance Film Festival Goes Virtual with Its New VR Platform

Rendever Group VR for the Aged Offers Multiple Possibilities

Moderated group VR experiences have an excellent test environment in assisted living and memory care facilities, where the user interface and user experience design are tested by a willing and readily available audience of differently-abled individuals. Rendever is one of the leading startups focused on developing synchronized VR resources for the aging, group-living and group-support market. Their work is especially important now, when COVID-19 has isolated so many seniors in their rooms and in their homes. Continue reading Rendever Group VR for the Aged Offers Multiple Possibilities

Spatial Intros Augmented Reality Platform for Mobile Devices

With the COVID-19 pandemic, use of Zoom and other platforms enabling remote collaboration has skyrocketed. Now, Spatial Systems, a holographic platform for augmented reality and virtual reality, debuted an AR app for iOS and Android that can run on nearly any current generation mobile device. Pricey AR and VR headsets have remained out of reach for many, but there are billions of smartphones enabled for augmented reality on the market. Spatial relied on ARKit and ARCore for iOS and Android to achieve its AR and VR capabilities. Continue reading Spatial Intros Augmented Reality Platform for Mobile Devices

ILMxLAB Debuts New Star Wars Experience for Oculus Quest

ILMxLAB’s virtual experience, “Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge,” launches today in the Oculus Quest store for $25. Critical buzz is that it is levels above ILMxLAB’s previous VR series, “Vader Immortal,” a classic story in three episodes. The new VR experience excels at immersing the user in the Star Wars universe with the freedom to play and interact in a multitude of ways and have numerous exciting experiences, including chatting with bartender Seezelslak, played by Bobby Moynihan. former cast member of “Saturday Night Live.” Continue reading ILMxLAB Debuts New Star Wars Experience for Oculus Quest

Sony Debuts Its Spatial Reality Display with Glasses-Free 3D

Sony introduced its Spatial Reality Display aimed at professional users in the content creation industry and potential future applications for consumers. The display looks like an ordinary computer monitor but is fixed on a 45-degree recline with a triangular frame and combines a 15.6-inch screen with micro optical lens coating and an eye-tracking camera. The display offers 4K resolution, with the pixels split into two 2K arrays for left and right eyes. It also offers 3D images without glasses. Continue reading Sony Debuts Its Spatial Reality Display with Glasses-Free 3D

Facebook Unveils Three Prototype Holographic VR Headsets

Facebook just revealed a holographic optical architecture for a future VR headset that will be both thinner and lighter, replacing the current bulkier glasses and headsets. The technology, described in “Holographic Optics for Thin and Lightweight Virtual Reality,” a Siggraph 2020 research paper, uses a “pancake optics” design that combines layers of holographic film with a laser projection system and directional backlights. The results can be either flat imagery or volumetric holograms. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Three Prototype Holographic VR Headsets

Spatial VR/AR Meeting Platform Is Now Free and Open to All

Spatial lets its enterprise customers use VR or mixed reality headsets to meet in virtual spaces. The company now plans to launch support for desktop web browsers, Android and iOS — open to all and free. That support means virtual meetings can include participants who do not have a headset. According to Spatial co-founder and chief executive Anand Agarawala, “in light of COVID, we’ve actually had an intense amount of demand — about a 1,000 percent increase.” He added that, unlike Zoom, “something like VR gives you that level of presence and personification.” Continue reading Spatial VR/AR Meeting Platform Is Now Free and Open to All

Apple Acquires Virtual Reality Live Streaming Service NextVR

Apple has purchased NextVR, a virtual reality video service that offered 360-degree access to live events, including sporting events from NBA, WWE and NHL. With a VR headset, users could enjoy the feeling of “presence” in NextVR’s panoramic stereoscopic 3D scenes. The company also offered 2D smartphone access and planned to support augmented reality devices. The service never became popular, however, and a failed 2019 funding round followed by the coronavirus-related cancellation of sporting events left it struggling to survive. Continue reading Apple Acquires Virtual Reality Live Streaming Service NextVR

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