Your tech news digest, by way of theÂ DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Tuesday, May 26.
1. A new social 5G VR headset
Former HTC CEO Peter Chou has a new project, and itâ€™s in VR: XRSpace Move.
Officially announced today, thereâ€™s at least some reason to think this wonâ€™t be dead on arrival.
What is it?
- The XRSpace Mova is a new headset, reportedly shipping in the third quarter of 2020 for $599.
- Selling points include 5G support, hand tracking by default, and a virtual world dubbed â€˜Manovaâ€™ â€“ more on that below.
- Itâ€™ll run a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, pack 6GB RAM, a bigger 4,600mAh battery, and a 2880Ã—1440 resolution display, plus 90Hz refresh rate. It has 6DoF, too.
- And, that display will be 702dpi, an insane pixel density, because of a smaller panel with more restricted view. Who knows, it might work.
- Itâ€™s also said to be the â€œsmallest, lightestâ€� standalone VR, weighing 470 grams, quite a bit less than the Oculus Quest at 571g.
- Thereâ€™ll be accessories, too, but no details yet.
- Some tech reporters have already worn the headset this year, but under NDA, with no details about the experience.
- Itâ€™s all about the social experience, with Chou wanting to call this â€œXRâ€� not strictly VR.
- Manova seems to be focusing on virtual world social experiences. I hesitate to slap the olâ€™ itâ€™s â€˜Second Life-but-in-VRâ€™ moniker on the whole thing but thatâ€™s the fastest way to understand what this is about.
- Virtual worlds have already failed: Linden Labâ€™s High Fidelity didnâ€™t really work, not something lost on the former HTC exec.
- Manova is VR-first, not adapted from PC, and it is working closely with its Mova headset to use features like hand tracking to high-five or fist bump other avatars, which are higher-quality designs than weâ€™ve seen before.
- The reason Iâ€™m not super sceptical is that the current pandemic is leading to some people holding VR meetings. With travel problematic now and in a vaccine-less future, going from a 2D Zoom call to a VR meeting has been mentioned as being much richer and better for meetings (Mind you, I havenâ€™t tried one).
- Manova looks adaptable towards professional use too: one early partner involved is a real estate agency that wants to offer VR houses for tours this year.
- So why wonâ€™t it work? Problems include that the $399 Oculus Quest is $399, and even at that price canâ€™t attract a significant uptake. But the Quest is hard to buy right now, too, with limited availability at times.
- XRSpace has signed up a range of partners, too, but the struggle will be for anyone to make VR truly exciting. Does 5G help significantly?
- I mean, I do still want to play Beat Saber, but gaming has been the only real medium of success for now, outside of some niche healthcare and industrial AR uses.
2. Motorola Razr 2 specs leak: The (officially confirmed) second foldable Razr will have much better specs, 5G, but build quality and pricing is key here tooÂ (Android Authority).
3. Samsung Exynos 880 revealed: A cheaper Exynos 980 with 5G supportÂ (Android Authority).
4. HTC is still alive! Word is it could release a 5G flagship in summer: Hereâ€™s what we knowÂ (Android Authority).
5. NASA and SpaceX are â€˜goâ€™: Historic launch of Crew Dragon with astronauts on board: 4:33 pm ET tomorrow, Wednesday, May 27, from Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Gizmodo). Hereâ€™s more on the dress rehearsal for Launch Day (nasa.gov). As for the weather? The U.S. Air Force 45th Weather Squadron last predicted a 60% chance of unfavorable weather conditions for the Demo-2 mission, due to clouds, but things may be looking up: â€œIt certainly has been trending better over the last day or two for launch weather.â€� Check the latest weather updates here (patrick.af.mil). And hereâ€™s where to watch SpaceX launch those NASA astronauts to the ISS (YouTube). Iâ€™ll mention all this tomorrow, too!
6. The plane/rocket hybrid small satellite launcher Virgin Orbit has failed to launch a rocket to space during first test flight. It was always going to be tricky with a liquid-fuelled rocket being launched from a horizontal position at a 50-mile attitude (Engadget).
8. grad student solved the epic Conway Knot Problem in a week: â€œHe started yelling, â€˜Why arenâ€™t you more excited?â€™â€� (Wired).
9. ow to reverse-engineer a rainforest: Can scientists figure out how to replant the Amazon? (Engadget).
10. Arsâ€™ summer reading guide: sci-fi newer releases, plenty of old classics, and a lot of alternate reality too (Ars Technica). Iâ€™ve barely read any of these, and right now Iâ€™m stuck trying to finish Don Quixote. A true masterpiece, but itâ€™s a long, long readâ€¦
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