“I backed Oculus and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt”
Everyone’s favourite VR Goggles, the Kickstarter funded Oculus Rift, has been bought by Facebook for $1.6bn in stock and $400m in cash. The move has surprised many, with Twitter struggling to understand what tangible benefit Facebook can derive from the technology – apart from stopping anybody else owning it. Zuckerberg says “Oculus has the chance to create the most social platform ever, and change the way we work, play and communicate.” Interestingly it now means that all of the major tech companies; Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon now have software and hardware facets to their business.
The move has angered the internet hive mind, and highlighted that many users misunderstand how Kickstarter works. The company raised $2.4m in crowdsourced product sales, not investment/equity – as Oculus VR has delivered these orders there is no further financial relationship with the backers. This Kickstarter vaguery has been causing Kickstarter problems for some time.
The most public disagreement with the sale came from Markus ‘Notch’ Persson, the creator of the multi-million dollar Minecraft franchise – who immediately went public with a tweet – “We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.” He later expanded on this in a blog in an interesting piece on VR and his relationship with social and games.
Google Glass have announced a partnership with Luxottica, the eyewear organisation behind pretty much every spectacle brand you can think of. Google have revealed that Luxottica will develop and distribute products, stating the partnership will involve Luxottica bringing “design and manufacturing expertise to the mix,” as Google push the technology side of things, ensuring the evolution of Glass continues towards its next iteration. Flagship brands Ray Ban and Oakley are already named to be involved.
This partnership marks an important step in wearable tech’s growing ubiquity, with devices becoming potentially as desirable and easily accessible as a pair of Ray Bans are today. Other tech companies have taken different approaches to the incoming surge in wearables, such as Apple’s move in hiring ex-Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts and Yves Saint Laurent CEO Paul Deneve. The collaborative approach could be a contagious one as tech and fashion worlds collide, ultimately bringing the technology to a wider market.
HTC One M8
Worry not, HTC has devised a solution to your blurry out-of-focus #selfies. The HTC One M8 is the first consumer device with a depth-aware camera, which allows you to adjust the focus and depth-of-field in a scene after the photograph has been taken. This photographic witchcraft was first developed in the Lytro camera, and is made possible for smartphone use by using two cameras, one which captures image data and a second which captures the depth of every pixel recorded, enabling users to selectively and accurately blur parts of an image at any distance from the camera.
This feature continues a long-running trend of simplifying photography, moving importance away from the time of taking a photograph, to the use of image filters and corrections after the photo has been taken, making an Instagram photo with no filter such a significant event it’s earned it’s own hashtag.
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