Oculus Rift vs. Project Morpheus: Comparing the hot VR headsets
Aug12

Oculus Rift vs. Project Morpheus: Comparing the hot VR headsets

Remember in the ’90s when virtual reality was supposed to be the gaming of the future? Sega had the VR headset and Nintendo came out with the Virtual boy. Then the unexpected happened: The promise of virtual reality crashed and burned. People hated the clunky tech and crappy graphics. Fast forward to 2015, and we are now sitting on the precipice of a VR throwdown between Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus — two of the best gaming headsets of the foreseeable future. We scoured the internet to find as much data as we could on both of these devices, and here’s what we found. Oculus Rift vs. Project Morpheus Design It would seem that the early demise of VR was brought about through the implementation of clunky headwear, but Oculus and Sony have managed to avoid that. Both Oculus’ Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus boast ergonomic headsets that put comfortability first. Oculus uses a series of straps that are adjustable for each unique user. The company describes the process as similar to putting on a baseball hat. Sony recently redesigned Project Morpheus to only use a single strap with a quick release button, which would be wonderful considering that some people get sick from playing too long. But Oculus one-ups Sony by incorporating an adjuster for the lens on the bottom right side of the headset. Display Both of these products cram so much amazing visual technology into their displays that it could be difficult to decide which one you want. If you want clarity and stunning visuals, then the Rift might be what you’ll consider the best headset for gaming. With final specs putting the resolution at 2160 x 1200, the Oculus Rift uses two OLED lights to produce one image working with 233 million pixels per second. It also packs two AMOLED displays with low-persistence technology. The technology enables incredible visual clarity as you explore virtual worlds with the Rift. Finally, the Oculus Rift has a 100 degree display field, which outperforms the 90 degree display field of Project Morpheus. But what if, for you, clarity isn’t the most important aspect of virtual reality? Recent stats seem to show that Project Morpheus creates a more immersive experience. Morpheus features a 1080p resolution and uses OLED lighting. More importantly, the Sony headset uses LED tracking on all sides of the device. The new prototype has nine tracking LEDS, which is three more than the previous model. This kind of technology would allow you the game to encompass you completely, not just in the 100 degree field for the Oculus Rift. Hardware If you don’t already own a high-end PC, you may want to seriously consider the Sony VR headset. The Oculus Rift...

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After slipping to Under Armour, Adidas acquires Runtastic
Aug06

After slipping to Under Armour, Adidas acquires Runtastic

In an attempt to stay competitive in the fitness market, Adidas acquired the fitness tracking app developer Runtastic for a reported $230 million. The acquisition will allow Adidas to have access to Runtastic’s 70 million user database. According to Reuters, the sports company said on Wednesday it had completed the acquisition through the partnership of a mysterious “angel” investor. Axel Springer SE, one of the largest digital publishing houses, sold 51 percent of their share of Runtastic to Adidas. Adidas has been falling behind during the fitness wearable boom. It was only last year when the company released the MiCoach, while Nike partnered with Apple back in 2012 to pioneer fitness tracking. Under Armour displaced Adidas last year as the second biggest sportswear maker, behind Nike. The sports giant then went on an acquisition spree, acquiring two Austin-based startups, MapMyRun and Gritness. Runtastic offers 20 different applications in over 18 languages and even launched their own running wearable, the Orbit. The device is capable of 24 hour monitoring of  your sleeping cycle, running habits and general activity. CEO Florian Gschwandtner recently went to the Runtastic blog to express delight in the acquisition. He also took time to relieve any concerns from the millions of active users. “Runtastic will remain its own entity (within the adidas Group) and continue to operate from our current offices in here in Linz, Austria, Vienna and San Francisco. We will continue deliver further optimizations, unique content and a highly-anticipated new app by the end of the year,” wrote...

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Android Wear 101: What it is, what it can do, and which device to get
Aug06

Android Wear 101: What it is, what it can do, and which device to get

Whether or not you are a fan of Android Wear, you simply cannot brush off the fact that this platform was integral in growing the smartwatch market. Prior to its existence, users only had smartwatches with homebrewed operating systems that probably never updated. In early 2013, watches like the Sony Smartwatch were gaining a little momentum, but they were still horrible. You could only pair them to an Android device, but the conflicting OS of the watch and the phone made the experience awful. Also, you couldn’t look at the screen in direct sunlight either, but that’s beside the point. In March of 2014, Google introduced Android Wear and a lot of those issues began to disappear. Google had now created a universal operating system that tech companies could load into their smartwatches. They could now focus on things like aesthetics and processing power, rather than software. What is Android Wear, and how does it work? At its very best, Android Wear creates a holistic environment between your watch and your Android smartphone (which has to be running Android 4.3 or better). The platform works by establishing connection to your phone through Bluetooth, where you can also access your phone’s Wi-Fi capabilities. This allows you to get notifications of text messages, emails, phone calls, and social media alerts. The platform also has a bevy of built in programs like Google Maps, Google Fit, Notes, and Google Hangout, a messaging application. With Bluetooth connectivity, users can also access music on their phone, control their smartphone’s camera, set timers and reminders. Most importantly, users have access to the Google store where they can download third-party apps directly to their smartwatches. When Google unveiled this new platform, many tech companies partnered together to adopt it. Currently LG, Samsung, Motorola, HTC, and Asus all have smartwatches on the market that adopted Android Wear. You might also like: The best Android Wear smartwatches in 2015 A smart upgrading system What’s great about having a uniform operating system is that Google is the sole proprietor of updates for your watch. There is comfort in having one of the largest reliable tech companies creating your OS. Some companies can’t monitor and update their interface regularly and end up switching to Android Wear (see: Sony), while others are still braving the frontier of developing their own OS. Alcatel recently released the OneTouch smartwatch that boasts its own OS, but it tanked under horrid reviews and users are still waiting for an update. Why would you want to spend $150 on a company that could very well pull their own product and end any future updates? What’s even better is that since the Android Wear...

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The braille smartwatch isn’t revolutionary, but it does illuminate a market with needs
Aug05

The braille smartwatch isn’t revolutionary, but it does illuminate a market with needs

As technology continues to push the boundaries of what we previously could only dream of, a group of people frequently gets overlooked. The digital age has put some of the most amazing technology in the hands of the able-bodied, but those who are blind seem to be all but left behind. One South Korean company is looking to change that. Eric Ju Yoon Kim, CEO and Co-founder of Dot, developed the Dot Smartwatch — a wearable that allows user to receive notifications from texts, emails, and social media, all in braille. According to an article on Tech in Asia: “90% of blind people become blind after birth, and there’s nothing for them right now — they lose their access to information so suddenly. Dot can be their lifeline, so they can learn Braille and access everyday information through their fingers, which is the goal of Braille literacy,” said Kim. With an anticipated price under $300, the Dot smartwatch is a good first step in introducing wearable technology to an underserved group of people. But it’s also a perfect example of how much further we need to go. Here’s how the watch functions: A set of dull pins rise and fall, showing four characters at a time. While users can set the refresh speed to be faster or slower, reading four letters of notification, bit by bit, is a pretty poor user experience. Think about it; it would take a mighty 35 refreshes to read a single 140 character tweet. NBC reported that less than 10 percent of the 1.3 million legally blind Americans can actually read braille. Kim hopes that this will inspire the legally blind to learn braille, since his website claims that the watch is targeted to new braille learners. Currently, there are two popular forms of watches for the blind: a circular interfaced watch or a smart device with audio controls. Whether or not Dot is successful is beside the point, because the simple presence of the company is going to show a market desire for these products that could finally bring technology to the millions of people who are blind. So Dot may not revolutionize the way blind people process information, but it will, however, finally start a conversation surrounding the lack of technology for the visually impaired....

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The best Android smartwatches on the market: Motorola, Samsung, Sony, and more
Jul31

The best Android smartwatches on the market: Motorola, Samsung, Sony, and more

While it can feel that Apple gets the spotlight for any product it releases, most of the innovative wearables on the market are not iOS specific. Android Wear has a firm grasp on the technology and produces most of the smartwatches on sale today. With new watches still expected to come out this year, we’ve pieced together some of the best Android smartwatches on the market today. Each watch is categorized by a particular championing feature. Whether you are looking for the best battery or something for fitness, you just have to ask yourself — what do you want in your watch? Moto 360 The best Android Wear watch for affordability Critics’ rating: 3.2 out of 5 We know, we know. The Moto 360 has received its fair share of mixed reviews, but don’t let that fool you. This watch is beautiful and at $149 bucks, it’s a complete steal. You can pair the Moto 360 with any smartphone running Android 4.3 or higher. The watch comes equipped notifications alerts, calorie counter, heart rate monitor, a pedometer, and it responds to your voice. Also, the Moto 360 2 is set to release this year and both devices are expected to work together, which means the first generation won’t become obsolete. Samsung Gear 2 The best Android watch for battery life Critics’ rating: 2.9 out of 5 You might be surprised by us giving the Samsung Gear 2 a best at battery life, but think about it. The Gear 2 smartwatch lets you quickly glance at notifications on your wrist, including emails, texts, and phone calls. You can perform hands free calling and voice response allows you to send texts directly from your watch. There is a 2 MP camera that allows you to record videos in HD 720p and comes with an accelerometer and Gyro sensor. The Moto 360’s battery usually lasts around 24 hours, and you’ll be lucky if the Apple Watch gives you 18 hours. The Samsung Gear 2 has been reported to last for up to 48 hours. It’s a little more expensive, coming up around $299.99. LG Watch Urbane The best Android watch for doing it all Critics’ rating: 3.5 out of 5 The LG Watch Urbane is was only released this past May, but it’s causing a huge commotion thanks to all the nifty things they put into it. The watch comes with a 1.2GHz Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, Android Wear OS, a P-OLED display, and accelerometer, and a heart rate monitor. You can answer phone calls directly from the watch and allows for syncing with bluetooth headphones so you can listen without using your phone. The coolest feature for this watch...

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