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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)
By Jay Bonggolto
Upskill announces early access to Skylight for Microsoft HoloLens
by Jay Bonggolto
Last month, Microsoft introduced new mixed reality (MR) applications to Dynamics 365 including Remote Assist for working with someone via MR and Dynamics 365 Layout for designing workspaces. While these apps are seen as a huge boost to productivity in industries when paired with the HoloLens, Microsoft hopes to expand the enterprise use cases for the MR headset with the launch of Skylight.
Today, AR software company Upskill announced that early access to Skylight for HoloLens is now open to enterprise customers in the U.S. For the uninitiated, Skylight serves as an operating system that is compatible with all devices including smart glasses and MR headsets.
The application is designed to help workers complete various tasks in manufacturing, maintenance, and repair works through an immersive digital experience. Terry Farrell, Director of Product Marketing for Mixed Reality at Microsoft, emphasized the importance of mixed reality to various industries, noting:
With Skylight for HoloLens, users will be able to interact with digital content in HoloLens hands-free and access various reference materials from different sources across multiple windows simultaneously. Workers can also navigate applications or move content within a workspace by simply using hand gestures or head gazes.
With Microsoft reportedly launching the next HoloLens in the first quarter of 2019, it remains to be seen whether the integration of Skylight into the MR glasses will help bolster its adoption, let alone in industrial settings.
By Rich Woods
Apple is apparently working on mixed reality glasses with 8K displays
by Rich Woods
Apple is working on mixed reality glasses, according to a new report from CNET. The device will be used for both virtual and augmented reality, and if the report is indeed accurate, will contains a pair of 8K displays.
Again, if this is accurate, and that's a big if, the device will be well beyond anything else on the market. If you look at Microsoft's Windows Mixed Reality headsets, those have dual 1440p displays and need to be tethered to a PC. Apple's device is apparently wireless, although does need to connect to a separate device via 60GHz WiGig technology.
But that's still a lot of bandwidth for a wireless connection. Consider that with the Windows Mixed Reality headsets, each lens is 1440x1440, resulting in 2,073,600 pixels per lens, or 4,147,200 pixels total. That's not bad, when you consider that a regular 4K UHD display is about double that. 8K lenses should be 4320x4320 each, 18,662,400 pixels per lens, or 37,324,800 pixels total.
There aren't that many standards out there that can handle that kind of bandwidth, wired or wireless. HDMI 2.1 would be able to do it, but we're talking WiGig here, which in its current iteration, supports data transfer speeds of up to 8Gbps. The report does say that the device will feature a newer iteration of the WiGig standard, 802.11ay, and that it will be finalized in 2019.
Apple's mixed reality headset should be coming in 2020, according to the report. Unfortunately, the device is certainly a major undertaking, so take this report with a grain of salt.