virtual reality

Speck Pocket VR viewer case is a durable, foldable Google Cardboard replacement

Speck Pocket VR viewer case is a durable, foldable Google Cardboard replacement

Mobile virtual reality on our smartphones is one of the newer technologies that's sure to take off in 2016, and while Google has already come up with what's probably the cheapest, easiest option with its Cardboard headset, Speck has something that's a bit more durable and portable, but still simple to use. At CES 2016, the smartphone case-maker debuted its Pocket VR viewer, a case for the iPhone 6 & 6s and Samsung Galaxy S6 that unfolds into a headset.

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Oculus Rift pre-orders open now, pricing and release date revealed [UPDATE]

Oculus Rift pre-orders open now, pricing and release date revealed [UPDATE]

This morning Oculus Rift pre-orders went on sale with the promise of full on first-run consumer-ready virtual reality headset goodness. This pre-order was joined by the promise of a pre-order ticket for the hand controllers that'd be on sale later this year - every person that pre-ordered an Oculus Rift was to be given their same spot in line for the controllers, if they did so choose. This is the first full release of the Oculus Rift VR headset, while all previous releases were aimed at developers of VR content.

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HP ENVY Phoenix is “Certified VR ready” for HTC VIVE

HP ENVY Phoenix is “Certified VR ready” for HTC VIVE

HP has officially teamed up with HTC to deliver a PC that they suggest is "certified virtual reality (VR) ready" - for the HTC VIVE specifically. Of course there are many computers already out in the wild that are ready to roll with virtual reality devices like the HTC VIVE, but this is the first such PC that HTC has officially given their blessing to work well with the VR headset they'll be releasing later this year. The PC will be available for purchase separate from the headset, and it wont be alone by the time the headset is released, of that you can be reasonably sure.

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Early Oculus Rift backers getting new consumer version for free

Early Oculus Rift backers getting new consumer version for free

Just a day after announcing the pre-order date of the finalized, consumer version Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, its makers have revealed that users who backed the original Kickstarter campaign back in 2012 will be getting the updated hardware for free. Not all supporters are getting rewarded, mind you, only those who pledged enough money to receive the original Rift Developer Kit, which is said to be around 7,500 users.

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HTC Vive Pre steps into AR land with front-facing camera

HTC Vive Pre steps into AR land with front-facing camera

No, Vive Pre isn't the retail name of HTC's and Valve's virtual reality headset. The "Pre" there actually means "pre-release". What HTC is, in fact, announcing is the second generation of the developer edition of the Vive gear, both the headset as well as the controllers, featuring not just new designs but new abilities as well. In particular, the headset gets a new integrated outward front (outward) facing camera that lets it blend virtual and actual reality, taking the Vive into the realm of augmented reality and slightly closer to Microsoft's HoloLens.

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ALLie camera takes a 360-degree view of everything

ALLie camera takes a 360-degree view of everything

Virtual reality might be the up and coming star, but its success will largely depend on the content available for it. "Manufactured" content like games might be great but real-life footage, both live and recorded, is even better. Manufacturers are scrambling to create the perfect VR camera setup but ALLie, apparently pronounced as "ALL-e", might have the jump on them What might look like a webcam the shape of eyeball is actually a 360-degree camera that can be used for surveillance, recording events, and, of course, VR.

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Oculus Rift Pre-Order date revealed

Oculus Rift Pre-Order date revealed

This morning Oculus revealed the timing and date for pre-orders of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. This is one of the last keys to the kingdom before the device itself is released, as all other details have already been revealed at one time or another. In similar news, the virtual reality physical handset controllers revealed last year have been pushed to a later date in 2016 for release, while the headset itself will come out this first quarter of 2016.

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Oculus Rift to come bundled with Lucky’s Tale

Oculus Rift to come bundled with Lucky’s Tale

The first major PC-based virtual reality headset Oculus Rift will be coming bundled in early 2016 with the game Lucky's Tale. This is just one of a number of games that'll be coming with the Oculus Rift right out of the box, included with the price of the device. The founder of the game studio that makes this game, incidentally, was one of the original $5,000 Kickstarter backers of Oculus back in the day.

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Samsung Creative Lab to demo three concepts at CES 2016

Samsung Creative Lab to demo three concepts at CES 2016

Some of the world's best products are conceived not by the top brass but by employees who are given some amount of freedom to let their creative juices flow. That is why many tech companies, most notably Google, allow for some time or space to let their employees toy around with ideas that can be turned into products. For Samsung, that is the role of the Creative Lab, founded in 2012, which will be showcasing three of their ongoing projects at CES 2016 to gauge their viability and reception, as well as gather feedback and maybe even some wild new ideas.

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Samsung, Oculus get LeBron to help advertise the Gear VR

Samsung, Oculus get LeBron to help advertise the Gear VR

Of the very few actual working and commercially available virtual reality headsets in the market today, the Gear VR, Samsung's and Oculus' baby, is probably the most notable. Instead of being a device in its own right, it is merely an accessory dock for a smartphone, which is admittedly more practical as far as basic VR experience goes. It is, however, perhaps the lesser profile device, compared to the Oculus Rift itself, or Microsoft's AR HoloLens, or Sony's PS VR, or even HTC and Valve's delayed Vive. To help spread the word, Samsung and Oculus enlisted NBA superstar LeBron James in a featurette entitled "Striving for Greatness".

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Going ‘Catatonic’ in VR’s horror underbelly

Going ‘Catatonic’ in VR’s horror underbelly

It’s no secret that I love horror movies, the reasons for which are both numerous and irrelevant. I’ve seen hundreds of movies in the genre over the years, most of them cheesy with healthy half and one-star ratings on Netflix. It’s not that I like crappy movies; rather, the genre suffers from one big problem: true fear is very hard to impart through traditional film. That’s where virtual reality comes in.

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