Christmas 2016 is set to kick-off Virtual Reality and here is some of what you can expect.

50% of the marketing season is about to start and with many tech company’s wanting to get their product out in time for Christmas for a more successful launch. It can be quite interesting what we will see.

But here are some highlights of what to expect.

vr-desktop

AndroidVR and Google Daydream Platform

Expected to be announced Oct 4, along with a new mobile phone the ‘Pixel’ to support VR and possibly Augmented reality, it is a shape changing event for Google and I expect many other of Google’s platforms to have something to give to the new VR & AR space. A new VR supportive version of Chrome and Chromecast will also most likely be in the mix. A expansion of YouTube360 ?

Oculus Touch Controller

To be released Oct 5 and while this has been long anticipated, it does not appear on the surface to be anything other than a handheld game controller. But it is the first one designed for full flavor VR in mind and its potential uses have yet to be imagined. That will be settled by developers.

It is very likely we will see further announcements of VR support for OculusVR in the social arena with FaceBook as this is started up and everyone is clamoring to be the center of attention at that start with things to do with your new VR stuff.

Cinema 4D kicks off a tour starting Oct 6th in Denver.

PlaystationVR and PS4Pro

Oct 13th is the date Sony is expected to release it’s long awaited VR HMD and updated console along with over 50 titles of game play in the library.

FoveVR and the EyeTracking Goggle

Expected to be revealed for pre-order on Nov 2 and perhaps we will get a early peek at those final specs.

Honorable Mentions…

While StarVR is not set for a retail release, it is going to be deployed in iMax theaters and possibly VR Arcades while we shop in the malls for x-mas. I believe much of this is a test run for next year.

AOC is launching a “Rift Like” HMD before Christmas but no exact date has been mentioned yet.

Apple could put something under the tree since the iPhone7 was designed and coded for AR in IOS-10. But we know Apple is a secrete as it can be till the last moments, so, it’s just speculation on my part. April is a more likely time.

Plenty of other hardware and software should be released supporting the OSVR platform over the next 6 months.

We should see yet one more large influx of new hardware and software in the late winter/spring of 2017.

In a years time It’s more than likely we might see second generation Rift and Vive.

Qualcomm enters VR market with SnapDragon VR820

Qualcomm, who is the maker of the first designed for VR CPU/GPU combo that will be used in most of the Top-End smartphones in the spring of 2017, will make a go at a stand-alone VR HMD with it’s model SnapDragon VR820, named after it’s CPU chip SnapDragon 820 that is powerful enough to give gaming consoles a run for their money.

snapdragonlede820

With partnerships in the industry for it’s front facing cams and eye tracking, this device will certainly blur the lines once again of a VR/AR device.

Qualcomm seems to be very serious about playing in this space and has a complete Development Platform.

Just take a peak at the features from Qualcomm’s site.

https://www.qualcomm.com/news/releases/2016/09/01/qualcomm-unveils-snapdragon-virtual-reality-reference-platform-immersive

This could be a interesting development since most of the VR smartphone’s will be using their new CPU and now have competition from the manufacturer of it. And since Intel has pretty much abandoned the mobile CPU market, it leaves few alternatives for those that do not want to compete with a supplier. But then again, for a head mounted display, Intel has it’s revised Atom CPU and that can be seen in it’s new Alloy platform.

Without fierce competition in the market, it advances at a much slower pace. But everyone should be able to enjoy this new advancement when it comes to market.

Additional…  MIT Tech Review…

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602388/high-end-cord-free-vr-headsets-are-nearing-reality/

Intel Project Alloy Forges VR and AR Ahead in a Merged Reality

Intel’s Project Alloy is a game changer in the making.

It’s not just a VR or AR device or both. It is a open hardware platform used in conjunction with Microsoft’s open software platform in Windows 10 whereas anyone will be able to launch a product quickly and be able to use it to collaborate with other devices in short order.

Intel-Alloy-930x698

How soon to a product launch?

It would be this writers opinion that while we are likely to see a consumer release in the spring of 2017, it will likely be a developers edition. While many devices will blur the real/virtual lines in tech, it will take some additional production work to produce consumer content. But if this will display AR and VR formats as-is, there is no reason it can’t be produced for that as we wait for MERGED content.

It’s important to note that this is a Open Hardware Platform that allows others to built from and to it. As well as Windows Holographic Platform is a open software platform that allows anyone to interface to and through it. The two together will make for some interesting advancements quite quickly in head mounted display tech and software experiences to go with that hardware.

It’s VR Jim, But not as we know it !

It’s VR Jim, But not as we know it !

I thought it was a bit funny when we have all listened to the purist argue about Poke’mon Go being not VR but AR, but now the AR purist are arguing that it is not AR. Go Figure.
I don’t know who slipped the current definition of VR to us but it is not the original definition.
The current definition to some self made purist is that it must block out your entire true reality and not contain any of it to be Virtual Reality.
Some of you who have been following this for 20+ years know exactly what I’m talking about.
VR is any reality that you perceive as yours as long as any part is not your true reality.
Anything other than actual.
If the purest want their way, they need a word to describe those devices that block-out your real world and give you something else whether it is a representation of your real world or not.
Because technically, it is a alternate reality.
Everyone seems to have something at stake if we call every variation something else.
I say, WHO CARES !
Enjoy it or not….    We came in peace (shoot to kill).

Samsung Note 7 and New GearVR

Samsung has showed us they are in the VR game for keeps !

The new Galaxy Note 7 (they are skipping the note 6 from note 5) is the next generation of their flagship phone sporting intentional VR capabilities and not just a cardboard like conversion.

But with it’s release comes a revision of GearVR that features a wider field of view (FOV) and will now fit many models of their phones and likely the future Galaxy S8.

The phone itself has no real bragging features except for the new scanner that they seem to have beat Apple to the punch in delivering to a phone. But enhancements to the camera system are always in order each phone release.

Much of this was somewhat expected as we await the new breed of CPU and GPU capabilities in processors that will be in the marketplace next year for mobile phones.

samsung-gear-vr-2

So we await the Super VR quality capabilities from those, that may rival console game systems next year depending on the system RAM and Floating Point capabilities (FLOPS). Enjoy the new wider field of view of the latest Gear VR of 101 degrees over the old 96 degrees.

Altia’s New USB Plug-N-Play 4K VR 360 Camera PANACAST-2

While this is not a 3D VR Cam, it certainly goes a long way in filling a gap is VR WebCams.

With a 4K resolution and 360 degree Panoramic (not panospheric) capture and a price that will set you back $995 US.

It is the opinion of this writer that this is a bit high price to pay for a VR Cam that is neither 3D nor Panospheric but fits a niche for a live streaming 4K VR “Webcam”.

altia-panocastMore info from their website.  http://getpanacast.com/

Getty Photo Stock to include VR / 360 Photos

360olympic

Many of us have used stock photos from the photo stock houses but now you have a choice of using 360 / VR Photos in a move by Getty and in some partnerships with Google and FaceBook’s Oculus and others.

The new entity is called Getty Images Virtual Reality Group.

With 12,000 images in the storeroom, The first real good taste of these will be the 2016 Olympics in Rio where all the camera crew’s will have a 360 camera.

The start of many COOL things to come !

Google DayDream VR Platform and Android VR

androidvr

Nothing so far to  this point has put Virtual reality in the hands of consumers any easier than the freshly announced DayDrem VR platform with the Android VR releasing with the next Android Nxxxx.

The DayDream Platform appears like it is a play out of Apple’s cookbook. Integrating partnerships to enhance a overall user experience and ease of use.

While this is not set to release till September 2016 and no price points have been mentioned, it would be likely to assume it will be the same cost or perhaps a bit lower than Samsung GearVR.

To add to the consumer choice, every smartphone manufacture will be able to cook their own slightly different flavor of this through the Android interface and some have even announced now that they will be supporting the new OS and platform in “VR MODE”. That is a special configuration of Android to speed up graphics display on the mobile devices to get the frame rates up high enough to prevent motion sickness.

At this point, if your not getting in the game, you will likely find yourself on the outside looking  in, so no big surprise there.

The mobile market is the absolute key for Virtual Reality to gain traction among consumers and will now promote more development for media when there are going to be 20 to 50 times the potential users in the short term.

Google has already preempted  plays in that media market with partnerships with NetFlix, Hulu and some really cool stuff with iMax.

This all adds up to total consumer launch and acceptance of VR for the Christmas season and beyond.

Take a mental snapshot of the times as they will never be the same again.

imax-vr-experience

VUZE – First 4K 3D 360 VR Camera under $800

VUZE 3D 360 Camera Started shipping May 12, 2016

with a $799 us price tag, it is the biggest bang for the buck we have seen this far in the early market for VR /360 cams.

Nothing is mentioned in the specs if this 4K is 2x 2k (3d) or each eye is getting the 4K resolution.

,http://vuze.camera/product/vuze-vr-kit/

Why is that important ?

The actual field of view of that in a VR HMD is less than 1/3 of the full resolution so you’re watching the equivalent of a 1200P image at 4Kand if that is 2x 2K per eye than it is half of that / at 600P.

(you only see a smaller segment of the whole video)

Still great, but not a prosumer grade camera if what I suspect is true. That’s still a hard number to stream on the internet at this point for most consumers.