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Vodafone set to offer Nreal Light AR/MR glasses in spring 2021
by Paul Hill
Vodafone has announced that it will be selling Nreal Light glasses to consumers and businesses in the first quarter of 2021. The device is capable of providing augmented (AR) and mixed reality (MR) experiences and operates using Vodafone’s high-speed, ultra-low latency gigabit 5G network. The headset is first expected to launch in Germany and Spain with other Vodafone markets set to follow.
According to Vodafone, Nreal Light glasses are cutting edge, lightweight and comfortable. They include an industry-leading widescreen display that’s equivalent to viewing a portable IMAX screen. Using a wired USB-C connection, Nreal Light users can connect and control their Android devices.
Vodafone has not said how much the Nreal Light will cost but it has described the product as affordable; in other markets, they’re selling for around $499/€405. The device is compatible with most Android applications and can be used to browse the web, shop, watch videos, play games and access social media. The Nreal Light allows you to multitask with three apps at once.
Commenting on the news, Vodafone Group Director Products & Services Phil Patel said:
Vodafone has said that it's also collaborating with Nreal to develop some immersive AR and MR applications for consumers and businesses; they include sports apps that overlay statistics and graphics during live games, advanced multiplayer games that blend live and virtual environments in real-time, navigation and tour guides, fitness coaching, interior design and immersive education.
HoloLens 2 Development Edition is now available in the U.S.
by João Carrasqueira
Microsoft's HoloLens 2 Development Edition bundle is now available in the United States, the company announced today. Microsoft had originally announced the Development Edition of HoloLens 2 in May of 2019, exactly a year and a half ago, and the launch was originally planned for 2019, but has clearly been delayed.
The HoloLens 2 itself was introduced in February of 2019 at Mobile World Congress, and one of the notable changes from the previous generation is the use of an ARM processor, the Snapdragon 850 Compute Platform. The device also features capabilities like eye and hand tracking, and the overall design is more balanced than the first-generation HoloLens in terms of its weight.
The Development Edition also includes a bundle of development tools, including Azure credits worth $500, a three-month subscription to Unity Pro, and another three-month subscription to Pixyz Plugin. However, the price is unchanged from the regular HoloLens 2, costing $3,500, so you're essentially getting all of those tools for free. Financing options, also previously announced, will be available in early 2021, allowing customers to buy the HoloLens 2 in installments of $99 per month.
If you're not in the United States, the HoloLens 2 Development Edition is coming to other markets before the year is out. Canada, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand should all have the bundle available by then.
Firefox Reality public release now on the Microsoft Store
by Paul Hill
Mozilla has announced that its WebXR-enabled browser, Firefox Reality, has received its first public release in the Microsoft Store. The first public release of Firefox Reality is the result of a collaboration between Mozilla and Microsoft to bring the browser to the HoloLens 2 platform. The two companies first announced their project at MWC 2019 with the software being made available in an experimental capacity on the Microsoft Store in December.
According to Mozilla, the launch of Firefox Reality on the Microsoft Store “focuses on exposing the powerful AR capabilities of HoloLens 2 devices to web developers through the new WebXR standard.” Mozilla has provided seven demos built using Babylon.js and three.js libraries which can be loaded up on AR and VR headsets as well as on desktop browsers. This ability to create projects that work across devices will make it easier for developers in future who want to create projects for AR and VR devices.
The Microsoft ecosystem is the third that Firefox Reality has launched on. Since its launch in April 2018, it has been made available for Viveport and Oculus Go, it’s also set to arrive in the Pico store. When Firefox Reality was launched two years ago, Mozilla said that it was a new web browser designed from the ground up for stand-alone virtual and augmented reality headsets.
Firefox Reality uses existing Firefox web technology and enhances it with Servo, its experimental web engine that was built using the Rust programming language. With Servo, Mozilla has been able to achieve advances in parallelism, graphics rendering, and robustness.
If you’re interested in Firefox Reality and own a compatible Windows headset, head on over to the Microsoft Store now and download the program.
By Rich Woods
Google to begin Android 10 rollout on Tuesday
by Rich Woods
Google announced Android 10 last week, and that it's dropping its trademark dessert-themed version names. But while it confirmed new branding, the Mountain View firm didn't actually say when Android 10 will be coming out, only that it's coming soon. As it turns out, Canadian cell carrier Rogers may have spilled the beans.
According to its OS Upgrade Schedule page, all Pixel devices are getting the update on September 3, which is this coming Tuesday. Spotted by 9to5Google, the entries have since been removed, and the page says it was last edited 17 minutes before writing this article. It now only shows security updates and Android Pie updates for various phones.
But the timeline is exactly what it's expected to be. Last year, Android Pie launched in late August, and Google typically doesn't like to announce the date until it's actually happening. It's likely that we'll see the announcement at 10am Pacific on Tuesday, with Google saying that the update is available for all Pixel devices right now.
And yes, it's the Pixel devices that will get it on day one, and that includes devices going back to the original Pixel handsets. Smartphones in the Android Beta Program should be the next to get it, followed by various other third-party devices.
By Jay Bonggolto
Microsoft quietly launches mixed reality app called Outings for exploring landmarks
by Jay Bonggolto
In June, Microsoft confirmed that it had decided to abandon its plans for virtual and mixed reality on Xbox One despite confirming previously the arrival of MR experience support on the console this year. While that may seem a huge blow to the company's MR efforts, it now seems that the software giant is still working on tools for MR in the form of a new app that's now available to download from the Microsoft Store.
The company has quietly launched Outings, a mixed reality app which lets you explore landmarks. Outings is available for HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality headsets and allows users to observe 3D visualizations of a wide range of landmarks by analyzing mapping data.
Outings' description on its Store listing reads:
It's possible that the app parses data from Bing Maps. Outings marks Microsoft's continuing interest in MR, although that segment has yet to become mainstream. Earlier this year, Microsoft merged its Everyday Magic and Evoke Studios into a single entity as part of its mixed reality push, and the new app highlights another step in that direction.
Source: WalkingCat (Twitter)