Super Reality

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) Industry News and Technology Updates

Microsoft Office Apps Now on Android Phones

I can vividly remember sitting at my desk some months back watching as my colleague pulled out his Windows smartphone and got busy on a Microsoft Word document. No big deal. I knew that Microsoft would logically make their Office apps accessible on their own smartphones. Then, time passes and I see a friend of mine whip out his iPhone at Starbucks and fire up an Excel spreadsheet. With Microsoft having made their Office applications available on both Windows and iOS devices, I was curious whether and when Microsoft would make that leap and make their full range of MS Office applications available to Android smartphones. The announcement came today: Microsoft’s venerable suite of applications, including Word, PowerPoint and Excel, is finally making its way onto smartphones powered by Google’s Android mobile operating system, Microsoft said Wednesday. Maybe best of all, the apps — like their counterparts on Android tablets and devices running Apple’s iOS operating system — are free to download. Microsoft first made its Office suite available for Android tablets in February and announced a preview of the smartphone versions in May. The apps look and work much like the software designed for Apple’s iPads and iPhones, meaning you can edit Word documents and wirelessly run PowerPoint presentations from your phone. Unlocking more mobile features and using the software’s desktop versions requires an annual subscription to Office 365. That last part is core to CEO Satya Nadella’s strategy for reinvigorating Microsoft’s business software. The world’s largest software maker hopes people will pay the fee for Office 365 so they can use the cloud versions of Outlook, Word and PowerPoint on their Macs or PCs. (from CNet.com) Nadella hopes that three years from now, Micrsoft’s cloud business sales (from people buying the annual subscription of Office 365 to use on their mobile devices) will be at $20 billion a year, which is a incredibly aggressive goal considering that it is currently at $6.3 billion a year. However, if Nadella is serious about his plans, it makes a lot of business sense to make Office 365 available on all Android smartphones. By doing so, Nadella is greatly widening the potential market of customers. Not to speak too ill of Windows and iOS devices (though, as a proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy S6, and prior to that a Galaxy S5 and SIII, I’m a total devotee of the Android platform), but their combined market share for the first quarter of 2015 was only 21% of the global market. In comparison, Android (led by #1 contributor Samsung) dominated the market with a 78% share. I cannot think of a faster way to increase Office 365 subscription sales than to make it available to more people on more devices, which is exactly what Microsoft is doing today with their announcement. ———————- Other Tech News: Android Community: Impression PI is the fashionable VR headset SlashGear: Impression Pi VR headset update shows off fully 3D augmented reality Tom’s Hardware: Too Good To Be True? Impression Pi Joins The VR Game With Wireless HMD   From Our Blog: Instagram Overhauls Search Function; Does It Want to be Twitter? VR/AR’s Ever-Expanding Presence at E3 Is Apple’s iPhone 6S a Real Thing? Consumer Smart Glasses That Can Replace Your Smartphone The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys to Train their QBs Using VR Huawei, The Biggest Smartphone Company You’ve Never Heard Of How Google Photos will Destroy Apple’s iCloud SanDisk Launches World’s Smallest Flash Drive: More Storage, But Less Space Metaio, a German Augmented Reality Company, Bought By Apple, Inc. Google’s I/O Conference 2015 The Failure of Google Glass Vox Media Acquires Re/code   Why Consumer Virtual Reality Will Succeed This Time TV Tech Advances At Blistering Rate Live from SVVR     Check Out uSens, Inc.’s Impression Pi: a wireless VR + AR headset that offers 3D hand/gesture tracking, head tracking, and position tracking for an immersive and interactive experience in gaming and beyond. And their social media platforms: On the Twitter: @usensinc On the Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi On the Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi And their company page on LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile

Instagram Overhauls Search Function; Does It Want to be Twitter?

Instagram announced today that it will be overhauling its search function to bring more users into the app more often. Essentially, Instagram is changing its search feature so that users can interact and find breaking news events more easily. The news was big enough that Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom handled the press demos himself, ahead of the product launch. The article in its entirety can be found at Re/code: “Instagram Overhauls Search Feature to Surface More Trending News” Here’s a snippet from the article: Instagram is often lauded for its simplicity. But in the case of Instagram’s old search feature, simplicity may have actually been holding the app back. The old version of the app allowed for hashtag and people searches, but required different tabs for each. The new search feature will return hashtags, people and locations all from the same search bar in addition to the new trending sections. A useful search tab should benefit Instagram in multiple ways. For starters, it’ll help people find more content they want to see and make the app more useful in the process. More importantly may be the trending places and hashtags feature. Systrom says that Instagram can be a place for news, where people go to learn about and follow along with the day’s important trending topics. It’ll also be useful for news organizations that already scour Instagram for images to include with their stories, he added, like the image from the Baltimore police protests below that made the cover of Time. (from Recode.net) What Instagram is trying to do sounds a whole lot like what Twitter is famous for. In fact, the author of the article, Kurt Wagner (who is, I’d like to mention is a former classmate and fellow Santa Clara University alum), mentions as much that Instagram’s attempt to become more useful for searching trending news and topics is jumping on Twitter’s “bread and butter,” and what Facebook has attempted to get in on as well. Whether or not Instagram is successful in this endeavor probably cannot be measured in the same way as Twitter though. Instagram has made it clear that its goal in overhauling its search function is to bring more users back to the app more frequently. For Twitter, the crux of its purpose is to connect people with what is happening around the world instantly. The goals of these two social media platforms are quite different. While Twitter become famous for its trending news searches, Instagram may find it difficult to copy the Twitter model. For starters, the two platforms cater to a different sort of audience. For instance, while I go on Twitter throughout the day to post comments, live tweet on what I’m doing, share some of my thoughts, etc., I go on Instagram primarily to see cool, fun pictures. If this is what I’m using these two platforms for, I’m guessing that so are plenty of other casual users. However, I can certainly see the potential of what Instagram is doing. As an app that connects people through pictures, it has the potential to become big in trending news. While we like our news instant, which is what Twitter gave us, we also crave for images with whatever news we’re reading about. A current example would be the Warriors winning the NBA Championship. While many of my friends whom I follow on Instagram were posting pictures of the Warriors’ win, I wish Instagram had a streamlined way for me to see all the images people were posting about the #WarriorsWin. -MC   Please visit our other social media sites: Twitter: @usensinc Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile  

VR/AR’s Ever Expanding Presence at E3

Every year, the computer and video games industry holds a massive trade show featuring the latest and the soon to be released titles that year. Hosted and run by the Entertainment Software Association, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3 as it is commonly known, draws in all the biggest names in the computer and video game industry; from software makers like Blizzard or Ubisoft to hardware providers like XBox and Playstation, the who’s who of gaming are always in attendance and show up in full force. This year, tech media (and particular VR/AR media) is swooning over E3. Perhaps this is because, unlike in years past, this year’s E3 will have a substantial showing from VR/AR vendors. At last count, there will be 27 virtual and/or augmented reality booths. Of course, all the biggest names will be there, including Oculus, who held a press conference last week to announce that it will be bundling Microsoft’s Xbox One controllers with the Oculus Rift when the Rift launches its consumer version next year. Aside from HoloLens, Microsoft seemed to be on the sidelines of the virtual-reality race. That changed last Thursday, when it announced a surprise partnership with Facebook-owned Oculus VR that will bundle Xbox One controllers with the Oculus Rift when the headset ships next spring. (from CNet.com) Among the companies that told the ESA they would be showing off AR or VR related games and technology is Microsoft and its HoloLens; Crytek, developer of the CryEngine, Crysis and Ryse: Son of Rome; Ubisoft, the developer behind Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia and Far Cry; peripheral maker Razer; and PlayStation and its Project Morpheus. (from Polygon.com) In addition to Oculus and Samsung’s Gear VR, Microsoft is giving live demos of Hololens to expo attendees. Hololens has generated big headlines in recent months. It is Microsoft’s venture into augmented reality. Previous to #E32015, Microsoft had only trotted out Hololens on two separate occasions to a very limited (select) few members of the media; once was at its annual #Build conference earlier this year. The HoloLens will run a version of Windows 10 software, Microsoft says. That will allow developers to design so-called universal apps that can run on the HoloLens as well as the PC, the Xbox One game console, Surface tablets and Windows smartphones. The project is expected to be released within the Windows 10 timeframe, Microsoft executives have said repeatedly. Whether that means this year or within the entire lifespan of Windows 10, which could be many years, is unclear. (from CNet.com) Having Hololens run Windows 10 is a brilliant tactic. It means that developers can build games that will be able to run on multiple platforms, and it means that, for consumers, a game that runs on your Windows PC or laptop might also be compatible with Hololens. Today marks the first day of this year’s E3 expo. The expo will run for three days, until this Thursday. Unfortunately, the expo is not open to the public and admission is only granted to those who work in the gaming industry or are members of the media covering the gaming industry.   Related Story: From Re/code: “Microsoft’s Minecraft + HoloLens Looks Great, but That’s Not How It Will Really Look” ———————- Other Tech News: Android Community: Impression PI is the fashionable VR headset SlashGear: Impression Pi VR headset update shows off fully 3D augmented reality Tom’s Hardware: Too Good To Be True? Impression Pi Joins The VR Game With Wireless HMD   From Our Blog: Is Apple’s iPhone 6S a Real Thing? Consumer Smart Glasses That Can Replace Your Smartphone The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys to Train their QBs Using VR Huawei, The Biggest Smartphone Company You’ve Never Heard Of How Google Photos will Destroy Apple’s iCloud SanDisk Launches World’s Smallest Flash Drive: More Storage, But Less Space Metaio, a German Augmented Reality Company, Bought By Apple, Inc. Google’s I/O Conference 2015 The Failure of Google Glass Vox Media Acquires Re/code Why Consumer Virtual Reality Will Succeed This Time TV Tech Advances At Blistering Rate Live from SVVR     Check Out uSens, Inc.’s Impression Pi: a wireless VR + AR headset that offers 3D hand/gesture tracking, head tracking, and position tracking for an immersive and interactive experience in gaming and beyond.   And their social media platforms: On the Twitter: @usensinc On the Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi On the Google+: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi And their company page on LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile    

Consumer Smart Glasses that Can Replace Your Smartphone

Today we venture into the augmented reality industry. Although sometime back we wrote about the failure of Google Glass, we learned today that the Osterhout Design Group, which had been making smart glasses for close to a decade, will finally launch a consumer version of their smart glasses next year. If you haven’t heard of the Osterhout Design Group (a mouthful, I know), don’t fret. Most people haven’t heard of them. Prior to this year, they primarily catered to government clients. Then, at CES early this year, the ODG revealed their intentions to release a consumer pair of smart glasses in 2016. With the impending release of Hololens from Microsoft, and the earlier debut of Google Glass two years ago, ODG is entering a still-very-young augmented reality market. Mostly, these devices cater to those early adopters of augmented reality that might be interested in wearing the glasses for short bursts rather than for long periods of time. But ODG is betting on the future. It’s a sentiment shared by Microsoft, Google, and others working in both AR and VR. Although adoption of smart glasses may be confined to uber-nerdy techies right now, the hope is that there will soon be a cross-over to gain broad mainstream adoption and appeal. Refining the technology and upping the “coolness” factor are tantamount to making that transition. “Today, we’re focused on the technology for industrial and commercial applications: Logistics, maintenance, telepresence, medicine,” Jameson said. “But there’s a huge opportunity from the generic business and consumer perspective. Anything that your cellphone can do, glasses can do.” (from ReCode.net) Pete Jameson is the COO of ODG. From a tech perspective, to build a pair of smart glasses that can do everything that your smart phone can do is not only a game-changer, it can revolutionize how people interact with technology. More than 15 years ago, when Apple released its first iteration of the iPhone, it changed everything. The cellular phone was no longer just a crappy mobile telephone that could make calls and send short SMS text messages. It became a mobile computer. From your phone, you could do a whole bunch of stuff, like surf the internet, open up various apps, etc. If smart glasses are the next big wave in technology, and it can eventually replace your smartphone altogether, we could be witnessing the beginning of the transition from smart phones to smart glasses. After all, a piece of technology that can do everything your smartphone can do, but one which you would wear instead of carry, is truly monumental in so many ways. Most of all, whereas people constantly lose their smartphones, at least with smart glasses you’re far less likely to lose or misplace them.   ———————- Other Tech News: Android Community: Impression PI is the fashionable VR headset SlashGear: Impression Pi VR headset update shows off fully 3D augmented reality Tom’s Hardware: Too Good To Be True? Impression Pi Joins The VR Game With Wireless HMD   From Our Blog: The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys to Train their QBs Using VR Huawei, The Biggest Smartphone Company You’ve Never Heard Of How Google Photos will Destroy Apple’s iCloud SanDisk Launches World’s Smallest Flash Drive: More Storage, But Less Space Metaio, a German Augmented Reality Company, Bought By Apple, Inc. Google’s I/O Conference 2015 The Failure of Google Glass Vox Media Acquires Re/code Why Consumer Virtual Reality Will Succeed This Time TV Tech Advances At Blistering Rate Live from SVVR   Check Out uSens, Inc.’s Impression Pi offering: a wireless VR + AR headset that offers 3D hand/gesture tracking, head tracking, and position tracking for an immersive and interactive experience in gaming and beyond. And their social media platforms: On the Twitter: @usensinc On the Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi And their company page on LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile

The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys to Train their QBs in VR

There is probably nothing in this world I love more than football. It’s a sentiment shared by hundreds of millions of Americans. I love technology too, but on a totally different level from my love of football. So imagine my surprise when, while at work today sifting through the top stories in virtual reality and technology, I stumble across a story that brought together my loves of both football and technology.   It was announced today that the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys have signed a two-year deal with StriVR Labs, a virtual reality sports startup, to train all of its quarterbacks with a VR headset. Love ’em or hate ’em, the Dallas Cowboys are probably the most-recognizable team playing the most popular and most highly-viewed sport in the country. For virtual reality to be breaking out beyond the cozy confines of techie nerds and into the arena of sports is highly beneficial for the industry. Bringing football together with cutting edge technology makes a lot of sense. As virtually all the traditional methods of sports training have matured to such a stage that innovation becomes very limited, branching out to use technology to enhance methods of training seems only natural. After donning the headset, players see a live-action 3-D video replay of a football play from the quarterback’s perspective, and can review that play from a first-person view over and over, looking in any direction. Currently, StriVR’s technology is not interactive, but instead aims to teach quarterbacks decision-making skills in the context of a real play. It also aims to make it easier to give both starters and backup quarterbacks more opportunities to learn without needing the whole team on the field. (from Recode.net) The ramifications of using virtual reality in football may end up being enormous. One of the biggest problems for football teams is allotting enough time and reps for second and third string players on the roster. During team practice sessions, the first string players (meaning the starters who get the most playing time on the field) will generally take the lion’s share of the snaps. So although the starters may be intricately familiar with an opponent’s playbook and strategy, the back-ups (meaning second and third string) will often have less prep time and less repetitions to get the sort of familiarity necessary for a smooth transition into the game if a starter gets injured. But by bringing in virtual reality to aid in preparation, backups can simulate plays as if they are there in the field. This provides them an excellent opportunity for being completely ready in a game-time situation. Plus, since they can use virtual reality to also simulate the other players on the field, no additional practice time with the entire team is necessary. It really is a win-win. Hopefully, with the success of StriVR Labs in training football players with virtual reality, we will see many other sports adopt virtual reality as part of the training regimen for their athletes. ———————- Other Tech News: Android Community: Impression PI is the fashionable VR headset SlashGear: Impression Pi VR headset update shows off fully 3D augmented reality Tom’s Hardware: Too Good To Be True? Impression Pi Joins The VR Game With Wireless HMD   From Our Blog: Huawei, The Biggest Smartphone Company You’ve Never Heard Of How Google Photos will Destroy Apple’s iCloud SanDisk Launches World’s Smallest Flash Drive: More Storage, But Less Space Metaio, a German Augmented Reality Company, Bought By Apple, Inc. Google’s I/O Conference 2015 The Failure of Google Glass Vox Media Acquires Re/code Why Consumer Virtual Reality Will Succeed This Time TV Tech Advances At Blistering Rate Live from SVVR   Check Out uSens, Inc.’s Impression Pi offering: a wireless VR + AR headset that offers 3D hand/gesture tracking, head tracking, and position tracking for an immersive and interactive experience in gaming and beyond. And their social media platforms: On the Twitter: @usensinc On the Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi And their company page on LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile  

Huawei, The Biggest Smartphone Company You’ve Never Heard Of

If I were to ask you to name the biggest smartphone companies in the world, what comes to mind? Apple? Samsung? Maybe Motorola or Nokia? Possibly Blackberry? Did you know, the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the world (by market share) is actually a company that doesn’t sell its smartphones in the United States? Yep. The company is called Huawei and they’re based in, and from, China. On Wednesday, Huawei ramped up its online retail presence by introducing the P8 Lite, an attractively priced midtier smartphone, as well as a fitness tracker made in cooperation with Jawbone called the TalkBand B2. It’s just the start. Zhiqiang Xu, president of Huawei Device USA, said in an interview on Tuesday that he plans to release a premium smartphone in the second half to compete with the likes of Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S6. (from CNet.com) But before you think about writing off Huawei as some second tier smartphone vendor, consider that their share of the global smartphone market is enormous. They sell their smartphones in Asia and Europe, and in so doing have been extremely successful and profitable. Only a year ago, Huawei opened up an online store so that consumers in America could buy Huawei’s smartphones directly, without being tied to a carrier. Recently, Huawei has begun making bigger inroads into the U.S. market. It is now working on deals with the major carriers to sell its premium smartphones in the United States. In a country where the vast majority of cell phones purchases are still through the carriers (like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc.), this makes a lot of sense. Honestly, prior to a few weeks ago, I had never heard of Huawei either. But the more I read about this company and the more I heard about them, the more excited I got about their expansion in the U.S. smartphone market. If Huawei can make a premium smartphone that will rival Apple’s iPhone or Samsung’s Galaxy S series, it will create stiffer competition that will force all the major vendors to up-the-ante on their offerings. This will benefit consumers because it means greater variety and variation among top-of-the-line smartphones. I’m excited to see what Huawei releases for their first premium smartphone that can be purchased through the carriers. -MC   Please visit our other sites: Twitter: @usensinc Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile

Take it from an Avid Google User: Google Photos will Clobber the Expensive Apple iCloud

Honestly, I love Google. Almost everything the company has done has made me happy. When they first started out and created the biggest and best search engine ever, the whole world took notice. Almost overnight, people stopped using Yahoo Search or Alta-Vista or Web Crawler or one of those other archaic, outdated, dead-in-the-water search engines. Everyone started using Google instead. Then, Google decided search wasn’t enough. Their next big hits were Gmail and Google Maps. Gmail went from a beta thing, to a big thing, to a thing now where (and I don’t have the numbers to back this up) it seems like everyone in the entire world has a Gmail account. And Google Maps has been so successful that when Apple came out with their ownMaps, iPhone users were so upset and angry that almost immediately, Apple made sure Google Maps was available on iOS. Now, Google has announced Google Photos, their latest offering on both web and mobile based platforms that offers users unlimited storage of photos and videos, absolutely free.. No seriously. Free, as in, no charge. Nada. They won’t even ask for your credit card. Do you have a Google account? Of course you do. Seriously, if you are reading this, chances are, you have a Google account. I can still remember when Google Photos was actually just a tab within Google Plus. You had to first access your Google Plus account and then you could open up Google Photos. Now, you can access Google Photos directly. Plus, with unlimited free cloud storage, it’s ideal as a holding place to save all the photos that I take on my Samsung Galaxy S6 – numerous tech publications have called it the best smartphone in the world, and I agree. I’ve already set up my Galaxy S6 so that every photo I take gets automatically backed up to Google Photos. Now, I never lose a photo I’ve taken or a video I’ve shot. It’s really really awesome. The best part, if not having to pay for it. And still having the sort of quality of interface and quality of image that I’ve come to expect from anything with the Google label. How will this destroy iCloud? Simple. Google has announced that Google Photos will be available for iOS, so all those poor iPhone users will be able to use and access Google Photos as well. And as for a head to head comparison of iCloud and Google Photos? Well, with Apple iCloud, 1 Terabyte of storage will cost you a whopping $240 a year. With Google Photos, you get unlimited (as many terabytes as you need) for absolutely nothing. Boom. Checkmate. ———————- Other Tech News: Android Community: Impression PI is the fashionable VR headset SlashGear: Impression Pi VR headset update shows off fully 3D augmented reality Tom’s Hardware: Too Good To Be True? Impression Pi Joins The VR Game With Wireless HMD   From Our Blog: SanDisk Launches World’s Smallest Flash Drive: More Storage, But Less Space Metaio, a German Augmented Reality Company, Bought By Apple, Inc. Google’s I/O Conference 2015 The Failure of Google Glass Vox Media Acquires Re/code Why Consumer Virtual Reality Will Succeed This Time TV Tech Advances At Blistering Rate Live from SVVR   Check Out uSens, Inc.’s Impression Pi offering: a wireless VR + AR headset that offers 3D hand/gesture tracking, head tracking, and position tracking for an immersive and interactive experience in gaming and beyond. And their social media platforms: On the Twitter: @usensinc On the Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi And their company page on LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile

More Storage, But Less Space

With the explosion in technology and our dependence on it, some things get lost in the shuffle. Some things that we take for granted and only start to yearn for after we run out of it. You all know what I’m talking about: battery life and storage space. Since I only have time at the moment to focus on one, let’s talk about storage space. I’m not that old but I’m still old enough to remember the days of floppy disks to save files. Those old and – by today’s standards – ridiculously big and clunky things had very little real storage space and took up a lot of physical space. Back in the 90s, we thought that that floppy disk was the gold standard of storage. It was back then. After that, I remember the beginning of flash drives, portable hard drives, and the such. Then, in very recent memory, beginning with Apple and now offered by Google and others, came cloud storage. Considering our ever-increasing dependence on technology in our everyday (perhaps even “every moment”) lives, it is no surprise that our need for more storage space is growing along with that dependence. Fifteen years ago, no one could have imagined that virtually everyone would thousands upon thousands of songs saved to their phone.   We’ve also started storing a lot more stuff on our actual computers. As phone storage grows, so has our need for computer storage. Today, SanDisk unveiled one of its newest, and perhaps coolest, offerings: a 128 GB USB 3.0 flash drive that is only the size of a dime. It’s so small that SanDisk is marketing it as the flash drive that you never need to remove from your computer. Essentially, that means a significant boost to your PC or MacBook’s overall storage capacity. And, for a price tag of only $120, moderately affordable for those who need more digital storage capacity in their lives.   Other Tech News: Android Community: Impression PI is the fashionable VR headset SlashGear: Impression Pi VR headset update shows off fully 3D augmented reality Tom’s Hardware: Too Good To Be True? Impression Pi Joins The VR Game With Wireless HMD   From Our Blog: Metaio, a German Augmented Reality Company, Bought By Apple, Inc. Google’s I/O Conference 2015 The Failure of Google Glass Vox Media Acquires Re/code Why Consumer Virtual Reality Will Succeed This Time TV Tech Advances At Blistering Rate Live from SVVR   Check Out uSens, Inc.’s Impression Pi offering: a wireless VR + AR headset that offers 3D hand/gesture tracking, head tracking, and position tracking for an immersive and interactive experience in gaming and beyond.   And their social media platforms: On the Twitter: @usensinc On the Facebook: uSens, Inc. – Impression Pi And their company page on LinkedIn: uSens, Inc. Company Profile