Weekly Tech News Roundup 28/3/2016

Another week rolls ’round and we have great progress with VR and Augmented Reality, a tutorial to build your very own Amazon Echo and we look back at the Apple event from last week.

Sony announces the SonyVR, Oculus Rift starts deliveries and Microsoft demonstrates the Hololens at TED, people lose their minds.

I have been very excited so far this year and it is because we are finally seeing the next generation of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality products fall into the hands of consumers. First with the Samsung Gear VR now we have Oculus Rift now shipping and later this year we will see SonyVR making it onto Christmas wishlists.
After getting my hands on the SonyVR earlier this year I am pretty certain that this product will do well thanks to the existing pool of Sony Playstation owners with the vital PS4 console that will power the Sony VR. Also with the Oculus Rift being delivered as I type this, we can expect to see some great stuff for the high-end VR fans willing to drop over $2000 on a complete state of the art VR setup and of course the GearVR released last month with the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge gives the portable market a shot at the VR game.

With Augmented Reality we have seen the Meta AR2 glasses demonstrated followed very quickly by Microsoft’s own Hololens which looks absolutely Amazing (and untethered!).

In my mind, we will see VR as a stepping stone to the full blown AR technology that will deliver some really amazing results.

Have a look at the Microsoft Hololens TED demonstration below.

Hey Alexa, how can I make you out of a Raspberry Pi?

hqdefaultIt seems Amazon is geting really sharing and caring when it comes to their technology. The Amazon Echo (AKA Alexa) is a Amazon-connected digital assistant that listens for your commands and can be used to order products from the online mega-store, keep shopping lists, play music and answer questions in general. Now if you have a Raspbery Pi, USB microphone and a little technical knowledge you can actually go ahead and build your own. The project should come in at between $100 and $200 and will give you the satisfaction of building your own Internet-of-Things device.

Super cool. Get the tutorial here or read the original story on The Verge here.

A look back: Apple event from last week.

SilhouetteIt was a moderately anticipated event for a moderately well received product bump from Cupertino. In comparison to previous announcements it was low-key even to the point where the cheering was seemingly half-hearted.
The phone upgrade was really just shoehorning the iPhone 6s into the iPhone 5s body signalling Apple’s stepping away from the feature battle with Samsung and others and turning back to play its own game, the iPad Pro also got a downgrade with essentially the same specs as the previous iPad Pro but with a shrinking down to the iPad Air 2 size of 9.7 inches. Great for the road warrior but some people that love the big screen on the iPad Pro were a little disappointed. The Research Kit and Care Kit were stand outs for the event with real benefits demonstrated for the Research Kit and some significant promise to assisting health care services with the health kit.

Apple also reduced prices on most of it’s products showing that they are now going after the budget conscious end of the premium market as well as the emerging markets in the South East regions.

Will this be enough to keep everyone happy with Samsung producing what some have called the “best phone ever”? Will price trump features?

Who knows. Have a read of my post mortem on the subject here.