Acer’s new Holo 360 is a 360-degree camera in a smartphone

The effort to grow in the virtual reality market has Acer chasing weird, but rather interesting, devices.

The company introduced the Holo 360 camera, which is first and foremost a 360-degree camera. It can capture 3D content, much like other 360-degree cameras, and could be used to capture, view, and create content for VR headsets.

But, seemingly as an afterthought, the device also has WiFi and LTE connectivity. The device itself looks like a bulky smartphone and can be used to make phone calls. It has a small screen, much like those on candy-bar phones.

It’s clearly not designed to be a full-fledged smartphone. No information about the chipset was provided. Different countries have different types of networks, and not all modems support all networks, especially in countries like China.

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How HP reclaimed the title of world’s top PC maker from Lenovo

In late 2015, HP was reborn as a PC maker following a split of its parent organization, Hewlett-Packard. At the time, HP was a lost cause, and its double-digit decline in PC shipments was a main reason for the split.

The new HP then set out to reclaim its spot as the world’s top PC maker from Lenovo, a title it lost in 2013. It reached the goal in the first quarter of 2017, during which its PC shipments grew by 13.1 percent year over year.

A series of cool products and decisions to cut off low-margin products helped HP return to the top. Lenovo’s struggles also played a part, but HP’s strong performance in North America was a deciding factor, IDC said.

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Nvidia’s offering three free VR games if you buy a GTX 10 Series card and an Oculus Rift + Touch

We’ve seen several deals and giveaways for virtual-reality headsets in recent months, but those mostly involved the HTC Vive. This time around, Nvidia and Oculus have teamed up for a Rift-flavored deal: Currently, if you buy a select GeForce GTX 10 Series card and the Oculus Rift + Touch, you’ll three VR games for free.

The deal began on April 25 and lasts until Tuesday, June 13, 2017, or while supplies last. Nvidia says both Newegg and Amazon have this deal. However, while Newegg definitely offers the deal as described by Nvidia, Amazon seems to limit you to specific, preset bundles.

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This is the closest thing Intel has built to a discrete GPU

Intel doesn’t make its own discrete GPU but has built something that specializes in processing 4K graphics. But that product isn’t powerful enough to run Crysis, if you were wondering.

The chipmaker showed off its Intel Visual Compute Accelerator 2 at the NAB show in Las Vegas this week. It has the build of a GPU but is designed for server applications and not for PCs.

The VCA 2 is aimed at cloud streaming 4K video, graphics, and virtual reality content. Servers with the graphics accelerator installed could be used to stream video or broadcast content.

The VCA 2 uses the 4K-capable Iris Pro Graphics P580 graphics chip and three Intel Xeon E3-1500 v5 processors. The P580 is also used in Intel’s mini-PC called Skull Canyon, which is designed for gaming.

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Wilson’s Heart review: Not a perfect virtual reality game, but certainly the best so far

Wilson’s Heart is the first can’t-miss virtual reality game. That’s my gut reaction.

Now, the reality of the situation is a bit more complicated. I’ve gotten plenty of use out of both my Oculus Rift and HTC Vive over the past year, experimenting with dozens if not hundreds of games and experiences. Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption impressed early on, Call of the Starseed took spectacle to a new level, and Arizona Sunshine was both lengthy enough and polished enough to feel like a “full game.” To say nothing of Google Earth VR, Tilt Brush, Oculus Medium, and other non-gaming applications.

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Oracle plans ‘startup organization’ focused on cloud computing, AI and VR

Oracle is hiring people for a “new startup organization” inside its North America operation that will focus on key technology trends, including cloud computing, internet of things, artificial Intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality.

The Solution Engineering organization the company is setting up will consist of Solution Engineering Centers in Reston, Virginia and Denver, Colorado.

The database and enterprise software company has previously indicated its interest in investing in some of these technology areas like machine learning and analytics.

It announced in September last year that it was investing in intelligent cloud applications, called Adaptive Intelligent Applications, “that automatically offer individualized recommended actions and streamline the tasks of business users such as human resource or finance professionals.”

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Facebook launches tool for capturing 360 video inside VR

Facebook is giving virtual reality developers the ability to embed 360-degree photo and video capture into their experiences with a new software development kit made available Wednesday.

The 360 Capture SDK will let users capture the complete scene around them, for sharing to other platforms like Facebook. It’s a tool that’s designed to give people who don’t have VR headsets a window into the action and also lets people with the right hardware replay moments in full VR.

A key detail about the capture tool is it’s designed to work even on the minimum hardware necessary to run VR without degrading performance. The SDK can be used to capture 30 frames-per-second, 1080p video on less powerful hardware, while still maintaining 90fps frame rates for users who are in VR. On more powerful machines, it’s possible to capture higher-resolution 4k content.

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Hands-on: Oculus Rift’s Spaces shows Facebook doesn’t understand social VR

Facebook has made no secret of its reasons for buying Oculus VR, the company that kickstarted the virtual reality craze: Mark Zuckerberg and co. see virtual reality as yet another outlet for social interactions at some far-distant point in the future. Can’t get the family in one room? That’s fine, just load everyone into VR and you can all hang out. It’s a cyberpunk dream, straight out of Neuromancer—albeit a dream that’s a long ways off.

But Facebook is forging ahead, taking those baby steps. Yesterday it released Spaces, its first attempt at a social VR hub, onto the Oculus Store. The irony? The social media giant is neither first out the gate, nor the best option.

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Facebook Spaces wants you to hang out with your friends in VR

Facebook is making it possible to hang out with your friends in virtual reality using Spaces, a new app the company launched Tuesday for the Oculus Rift. The app will allow people to join a shared, immersive video call, represented by a personalized avatar.

Using Spaces, people can hang out around a virtual reality table, share three-dimensional drawings and use the Rift’s built-in microphone to chat with one another. Users can also surround themselves and their friends with 360-degree photos and videos from Facebook’s library of content.

People who don’t have a Rift headset can also be included in a Spaces hangout by using Facebook’s Messenger video calling functionality. Users will be able to view a Space from their smartphone, and have their video call shown inside the virtual reality environment.

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