Posts Tagged ‘Samsung’
VR review: headsets (Oculus Rift, Gear VR, HTC Vive), platforms (Unity, WorldViz, OSVR), VR for business
Posted December 7, 2015on:
Nowadays one can easily become overwhelmed by all the virtual reality news. There was new hardware announced, heaps of games to play and peripherals that will be released for hardware soon. The majority of VR technology is on curve to come out in 2016.
Before going into the details of high-tech world, it’s important to define the difference between virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality is able to transpose the user and bring him someplace else via closed visors or goggles. Augmented reality takes our current reality and adds something to it. It does not move us elsewhere, it simply “augments” our current state of presence, often with clear visors.
Below you will find a brief breakdown of the most popular virtual reality headsets.
Oculus Rift is the most famous headset that gave rise to the current boom in VR-technology and HMD.
The latest version of the device promises a resolution of 1080×1200 in both of its OLED screens (2160×1200 total), a 90 Hz refresh rate, and a FOV (field of view) greater than 100°. It has integrated headphones which provide spatialized HRTF audio. The consumer version will be shipped in Q1 2016.
HTC Vive was created in cooperation with the Valve games creator. Valve is one of the biggest names in game publishing and digital distribution, though HTC wants to tap the headset’s potential for immersive education. The Vive lets users walk around a 15-by-15-foot space in VR, complete with two included controllers for interacting with the environment. 90 Hz refresh rate provides a good performance without any delay. Vive is connected to a PC and operates with its own gaming ecosystem.
Razer OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) is an open VR ecosystem meant to encompass a range of headsets, accessories and software experiences. Creators can download the software and schematics necessary to build their own OSVR headsets, or can register to buy pre-built OSVR Hacker Dev Kits. OSVR has a ton of development support, with major players such as Leap Motion, Ubisoft and Gearbox Entertainment. Razer OSVR is focused on VR developers and enthusiasts. The headset is compatible with additional components from third-party manufacturers.
Gear VR operates from your Samsung smartphone. You just need to insert your phone into the headset body. Co-developed by Oculus, Gear VR is smaller and lighter than its PC-based gadgets, and offers a mix of VR games and entertainment experiences. The Gear VR Innovator Edition is available now for both the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6. A new version was released in November 2015, and it supports the Galaxy Note 5 as well as all variations of the Galaxy S6, including the S6 Edge Plus.
Google Cardboard is an Android-based platform meant to allow anyone to experience VR cheaply. Users can build their own Cardboard headsets using Google’s schematics or buy inexpensive third-party viewers such as DodoCase or I Am Cardboard. Once you insert your Android phone into your viewer, you’ve got a virtual reality headset.
VR development tools
We reviewed most popular VR platforms for building VR projects. Most of the platforms are famous for their powerful systems which connect range of products from software to solution designs.
Unity is a flexible and powerful development platform for creating multiplatform 3D and 2D games and interactive experiences. It’s a complete ecosystem for anyone who aims to build a business on creating high-end content and connecting to their most loyal and enthusiastic players and customers.
Unreal Engine is a complete suite of game development tools made by and for game developers. From 2D mobile games to console blockbusters and VR, Unreal Engine 4 provides full cycle of tools for the development.
WorldViz is a full range of products and support, including enterprise grade software, complete VR systems, custom solution design, and application development. Its Vizard VR Toolkit provides a powerful platform for creating a new breed of visual simulations. One can build applications that provide users with the good experiences across virtual reality immersive technologies such as displays and sensors.
GameWorks VR is NVIDIA’s set of APIs, libraries, and features that enable both VR headset and game developers. GameWorks VR is aimed at game and application developers, and includes a feature called VR SLI, which provides increased performance for VR applications where multiple GPUs can be assigned a specific eye to accelerate stereo rendering. GameWorks VR also delivers Context Priority for providing control over GPU scheduling to support advanced VR features such as asynchronous time warp. There’s also a Direct Mode for treating VR headsets as head-mounted displays accessible only to VR applications. GameWorks VR is being integrated into leading game engines, such as those from Epic Games, which has announced support for GameWorks VR features in an upcoming version of the popular Unreal Engine 4.3.
OSVR platform is fully open-source, so you can have complete access to all you need (from motion control, to game engines, and stereoscopic video output) whether you’re interested in working with hardware developmental kit designs, or software plugins. Companies such as Unity, Unreal, Intel, Bosch, Razer, Sixense, and Leapmotion are all supporters of the OSVR.
High Fidelity is an open source virtual reality platform for creating a social metaverse. It’s still a work-in-progress. High Fidelity supports Java Script, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Unity, Unreal Engine, PrioVR, Sixsense, HTC Vive headset and Razer Hydra. High Fidelity has the potential to be the next Facebook in VR. For now, the majority of development in the space happens in traditional game engines like Unity and Unreal. High Fidelity’s worlds put it somewhere between those professional tools and customizable video games, opening up innovation in the space to those who are willing to get technical but don’t want to build something from the ground up.
VR technology is already right around the corner, and one must admit it’s awesome. Finally VR is becoming accessible, and it’s only the beginning, when you can now put yourself in the action of your favorite digital worlds, instead of simply gaming on a TV.
Nearly every industry will soon use VR for teleconferencing and training. VR in gaming already allows travelling into gaming titles (Rigs: Mechanized Combat League, P.O.L.L.E.N, Eve: Valkyrie, etc). All the Virtual Reality headsets currently in development will make going behind the screens feasible. For some non-gaming professionals, 3-D experiences are already transforming the way they do their jobs:
– Real Estate
Instead of spending hours driving around looking for the perfect house, savvy realtors will give clients VR tours of properties. Matterport (real estate agency in the US) is already selling a 3-D camera system to help agents create these walk-throughs.
– Mental Health
Doctors at research hospitals have used VR for decades to treat patients with burns and PTSD. But now a company called Psious offers a headset and software bundle to help therapists treat anxiety disorders like arachnophobia and fear of flying with a VR version of exposure therapy.
– Design and Engineering
Ford Motor is using Oculus tech to evaluate virtual versions of vehicles before they’re built, and startups are developing VR design tools for everyone from architects to nanotech engineers.
According to Altabel’s experience in VR development, we believe that VR has the promise to improve every aspect of technology, whether in the medical field, education, or in gaming, and with all of the emerging developers approaching this tech from their own perspective, virtual reality should be a fully realized technology by 2016.
And what do you think of Virtual Reality? Have you ever thought of trying VR in your business? Which VR platform do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments section below.
Business Development Manager
Professional Software Development
The IT sector is flourishing. If you’ve used a computer for at least a couple of times in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed this. I’ve noticed it myself even more after a business trip to Stockholm where I was lucky to attend some conferences and learnt more about Swedish IT industry tendencies. These tendencies reflect our life in general. Life changes rapidly with new technologies bursting into it. And when it comes to programming languages, we get a chance to see very different trendy styles. Programming languages which were popular some years ago are not useful today. And no one can exactly predict which programming language will be popular in future. That’s why a programmer who wants to stay in developer fields has to adopt the right programming language from time to time.
As the Swedish software maker Erik Starck pointed out, “programming is about managing complexities”. And it’s really so. An understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any CV nowadays.
It is also very difficult to get the exact number of users for any programming language. Many of us use multiple programming languages. The more experience you have, the more programming languages you use. The more programs you write or work with, the chances of using more languages rise. The larger the company, the more languages you’re likely to use.
There are a number of ways to measure the popularity of a programming language, for example, based on the number of: 1) new applications written in the language; 2) existing applications written in the language; 3) developers that use the language primarily; 4) developers that use the language ever; 5) web searches; 6) available jobs that require skills in the language; 7) developers’ favorites, etc.
My survey attempts to rank which programming languages are most popular in Sweden, each using a different measure. So, they are the following:
Python is an object-oriented programming language which allows developers to work quickly while integrating their systems more efficiently and effectively. Designed by Guido van Rossum in 1991, Python is one of the most easy to use programming languages.
Python is characterized by its use of indentation for readability, and its encouragement for elegant code by making developers do similar things in similar ways.
Top Employers: Amazon, Dell, Google, eBay, Instagram, Yahoo
Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language founded by Sun Microsystems in 1995. Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages today for many reasons. First of all, it is a well-organized language with a strong library of reusable software components. Secondly, programs written in Java can run on many different computer architectures and operating systems because of the use of the JVM (Java virtual machine).
Top Employers: Amazon, Deloitte, Sun, eBay, Symantec Corporation, Cisco Systems, Samsung
C++ is a compiled, multi-paradigm language written as an update to C in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup.
Due to its high-level compatibility and object-orientation, C++ is used for developing a wide-range of applications and games which makes it a popular and sought after programming language by the employers.
Top Employers: Intel, the Math Works, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Amazon, Mozilla, Adobe, Volvo
Ruby is an open source, dynamic programming language designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in 1995 with a key focus on productivity and simplicity .It is one of the most object-oriented languages in the world.
Ruby is a mix of elegant syntax which is easy to read and write and hence it has attracted many organizations and developers.
Top Employers: Spokes, VMware, Accenture, Cap Gemini, Siemens, BBC, NASA
Top Employers: Microsoft, Sales Force, IBM, Yahoo, Dell
C# is a compiled, object-oriented language developed by Microsoft.
It is highly used on Windows platform and labelled as the premium language for Microsoft .NET framework. C# is known for strong typing, procedural and functional programming discipline which is the reason it has acquired so much popularity.
Top Employers: Microsoft, HP, Digi-Key Corporation, Allscripts, Intel
Those are the top 6 programming languages which are in great demand among Swedish developers.
And one more thing: remember that opinions are like noses, everyone has one and they all smell 😉 If you disagree, please feel free to email me or write your own opinions in the comments.
Business Development Manager
Professional Software Development
Quick, grab all of your devices and check what release of Android they are using. Are they all the same? If so, consider yourself one in a million. The Android platform is plagued with numerous releases on numerous devices — even the same devices from different carriers can suffer from different iterations of Android!
Because of what I do, I have numerous Android devices. The different releases are:
All of the above are on devices ranging from a Samsung Galaxy Tab to an HTC One Max (and just about everything in between). As I work with one of the various devices, I have to bounce back and forth to remember where something is located on a certain release. Although this isn’t a deal breaker for me, imagine having to support hundreds of devices, all with varying releases. Now, we’re talking about the breaking of deals.
But this issue goes deeper than that. It’s common knowledge that certain providers and certain device manufacturers are quicker to update than others. Motorola, for one, has always been at the top of the heap for updates. My Moto X always has the latest version of Android (almost immediately upon release). Samsung devices? Not so much. And if you’re with AT&T — good luck.
At one point, Google created the Android Update Alliance. That failed, but not because of Google. The blame here lies at the feet of the carriers and hardware manufacturers, including:
This update issue isn’t only widespread, it’s also very counter to rolling out new devices. How can Samsung (or any manufacturer) or AT&T (or any carrier) sell a device with an out of date OS? And with KitKat showing off how much more efficient it is at memory management, it’s become imperative that Android devices are released with the latest version.
I know this is a challenge for all involved. The second you release a piece of hardware, it could quickly become out of date. And each manufacturer has a different spin on the UI:
- Motorola Motoblur
- HTC Sense
- Samsung Touchwiz
When a new release of Android hits, each company has to integrate the underlying platform with its UI, so there’s another slowdown.
Here’s my beef with this — I can go to the Google Play Store and install any number of home screen launchers, nearly all of which play well with whatever version of Android I’m using (with a rare exception). In some cases, these home screen launchers are developed by a single person who must constantly keep up with changes made to the kernel and various stacks that make up the Android platform. And they do it with aplomb and efficiency.
So, how is it that a single developer can manage this, yet a large company cannot? It truly baffles the mind.
Well, I’ve come up with some ideas that might help this along. Some of them are unlikely, and some of them just might actually work. Let’s take a look:
- All hardware manufacturers drop their in-house home screen launchers and go with vanilla Android (they can offer their versions on the Google Play Store).
- Google develops a set of standards for all hardware manufacturers to use for developing their home screen.
- Set up an OS upgrade check during the first run wizard? Out of date? Update.
- Carriers stop selling out-of-date Android devices that won’t run any version of Android other than the most recent two major releases.
I know it’s a lose-lose scenario. The carriers, the manufacturers, and Google are not going to see eye-to-eye on this issue. But they need to lose their egos and stranglehold on their devices and come to some sort of unified structure that allows Android updates to roll out in a universal fashion. Having carriers selling devices with out-of-date operating systems does no favors to Android. And users not getting the best possible experience, because a carrier or a manufacturer can’t seem to get the upgrade process refined, does nothing but frustrate users.
KitKat is a substantial improvement over an already solid release. Every Android user should be enjoying the speed and features brought about by the latest iteration of the platform. Every entity involved needs to step up and make this happen… soon!
What do you think? Are you one of those suffering from an out of date release of Android? What do you think needs to be done to resolve this problem? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
Professional Software Development
Steve Jobs wasn’t a fan of Android. He thought it was a rip-off of the iPhone. He saw the iPhone as a ground-breaker and Android as an attempt by Google and a consortium of device manufacturers to bring a similar product to a wider market. He famously told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he would “spend my last dying breath if I need to” and “every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank” to right the perceived wrong done to Apple by Google. “I’m going to destroy Android,” he pronounced, “because it’s a stolen product…” Jobs’ quest led indirectly to the decision of a US court to award Apple $1bn in damages, and to place an injunction on Samsung distributing some of its product in the US.
But Android had been under development since 2003 and was purchased by Google in 2005, two years before the advent of the iPhone. Granted, its later development was undoubtedly influenced by the range of features incorporated in the iPhone, and the potential and scope of Nokia’s Maemo project.
Theft is an emotional concept and technology is a complex proving ground. The iPhone is an elegant synthesis of intricate ideas and technologies that had gone before, many of them originally developed, patented and supplied by companies such as Samsung and Motorola – now owned by Google. Smartphones and touchpads existed before the iPhone.
Samsung says it has spent billions on research into mobile technologies over the past 25 years and noted in its own submissions to the court that “the flash memory, main memory, and application processor for the iPhone” are supplied by Samsung. It said “also manufactures Apple’s A5X processor and is the sole supplier of the Retina display used in the new iPad”. It also initiated many of the wireless standards and technologies that make it possible for an iPhone to talk to other phones.
Apple’s distinctive contribution has been collation and design, derived from an understanding of why and how a Smartphone could and would be useful and attractive to an end user, and which features would enhance that effect. The iPod, iPhone and iPad are instantly recognizable for their cleanliness and simplicity – and the software is focused on simplifying the tasks of the end user.
Apple’s talent has been to transform utility into an art form, to reduce apparent complexity and anticipate the wants of the user. By collating the possibilities of the Smartphone, and pulling together the virtues of design and utility, Apple has lifted the concept of smart devices to browse the web from geek heaven into user space, which makes it all the more surprising how little attention other device and computer manufacturers have paid to the role of design in selling hardware.
But the bigger issue isn’t copying, or imitation, but the broken nature of the patent and so-called intellectual property industries. In an industry where last year’s must-have is already out of date, there is something obscene about a court case that involves, among other things, a dispute about patents and design registrations such as the one “for overall design of the product, including the rectangular shape, the rounded corners, the silver edges, the black face, and the display of 16 colorful icons”. Or the one “for the configuration of a rectangular handheld mobile digital electronic device with rounded corners”. These are not technological or design innovations.
The decision of the court to punish Samsung for its intrusion into the markets Apple considers its own, and in the words of Samsung’s press release “to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies” is symptomatic of the ongoing crisis in the creative and technological industries.
The decision against Samsung is just the latest event in the war. It is bad news for everybody, not least the users and developers of Android and the iPhone, as each of these companies scrambles to buy up the ownership of patents. As Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, put it last year: “A Smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 largely questionable patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a tax for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.”
And what do you think? Are you on Apple side or Samsung?
As shipments of Android phones reached 206 million in 2011, Google’s mobile OS captured 46 percent of the global market, easily making it the largest Smartphone platform, according to Taiwan’sMarket Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC).
Such growth paves the way for Android to carve out a 50 percent slice of the market in 2012, says MIC. Though Android will retain its firm lead, the market will also be dominated this year by Apple’s iOS with a 19 percent share and Microsoft’s Windows Phone with a 13 percent share.
Looking at the major Smartphone makers, MIC sees Samsung in the lead with a 21.7 percent share, followed by Apple with 18.7 percent. HTC share will rise to 10.9 percent. But Nokia and RIM will face a rough climate with their shares dropping to 15.6 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.
Overall, Smartphone shipments could hit 614 million this year, a 36 percent jump from the 452 million shipped last year, estimates MIC. For now, Smartphone owners account for only around 14 percent of all mobile subscribers around the globe. But as lower-priced smartphones reach consumers, especially in emerging markets, that percentage will grow to 17 percent this year and 40 percent in 2016.
Looking to eke out more global business, the major Smartphone vendors focused on emerging markets last year. With a varied lineup of smartphones, Samsung has gained strong traction among emerging nations. Apple expanded its sales channels in more emerging countries, capturing healthy sales in China but also targeting South American markets such as Brazil.
Though HTC’s core consumer is in North America and Europe, the company had also grabbed more business in China. RIM has been doing well in areas such as Indonesia, which rely heavily on text messaging. And Nokia is hoping for success with Windows Phone launches in India and China during the first quarter of the year. Still, North America remains the most lucrative market. North America may only represent 15 percent of feature and Smartphone units shipped globally, but due to the high proportion of high-end Smartphone sales, it constitutes 40 percent of total smartphones sold by value.