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Inside AR (May 14th, 2019)

1. Chinese video entertainment company iQiyi has gone on pre-sale. Weighing just 280 grams, the HMD is priced at 1,999 yuan ($294) and offers a more affordable version of the 4K VR integrated headset that the company launched last year (a pro version of the VR device is set for release in October). The headset is made by iQiyi subsidiary Qiyu using Qualcomm chips. Since its launch in 2010, iQiyi has evolved from a video streaming platform to a major production house with over 87 million subscribers. Custom VR content for iQiyi’s new headset includes front-row views at pop music concerts.– CNBC 

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2. Sony wants to incorporate mobile into the PS5. With the PlayStation 5 expected to launch in mid-to-late 2020, a new patent shows that Sony is exploring ways to turn smartphone devices into alternatives to its DualShock 4 controller. The patent published on Tuesday shows how it is examining the potential to leverage smartphones to introduce augmented reality experiences in certain games. Sony envisions using smartphones’ screens and cameras to overlay AR graphics onto the real world to make local multiplayer more exciting. The PS5 could potentially take in-game assets and graphics and create a virtual space users could interact with by looking around with their camera. – INVERSE 

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3. Spotlight: Women in VR - Global Voices VR Film Festival

By Alice Bonasio

This week we’re giving a shout out to the UN Women SF Global Voices Film Festival happening on May 16th at the GoPro HQ in San Mateo. The non-profit initiative is organized by the  U.S. National Committee for UN Women (SF - Bay Area).

This year, Global Voices Film Festival is hosting their second VR showcase, featuring inventive, independently produced works of fiction or documentaries, that highlight female narratives from around the world—submitted by VR film directors, producers, and technologists.

As well as highlighting the innovative work of female creators in the immersive field such as Lynette Wallworth, Nicole Lazzaro and Chelley Sherman, the festival will also raise funds and awareness for UN Women, the UN entity for gender equality. 

Every Tuesday we'll shine a spotlight on the female trailblazers making their mark in immersive tech. If you have a story you think we should feature, just hit reply to this email or tweet me @alicebonasio

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4. Mobile VR is fizzling out, but this might be good news for the immersive ecosystem, says Jeremy Horwitz. Research confirms that high-performance VR platforms are increasing in popularity while mobile VR is declining. Users, developers, and manufacturers all appear to have moved away from the limitations of the mobile VR medium, but there is great promise in the new generation of standalone headsets such as the Oculus Quest. However, manufacturers do need to get the price point right if they are to entice the mass market. Given all the new devices that are hitting the market, it’s going to be an interesting second half of the year for emerging VR platforms, he concludes.  --VENTUREBEAT

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5. In an interview with the AR Show podcast, Tom Emrich - co-producer of the AWE conference and partner at Super Ventures talks about how he doesn't believe (in spite of persistent rumors) that Apple will ship its AR smartglasses in 2020. – THE AR SHOW

6. From the Forums: Joshua Simenhoff gives a nice overview of the state of play in the VR hardware space in 2019. He then asks the community, given the current challenges as well as the exciting developments, if we truly are "on the road to VR."– TOM'S HARDWARE

7. Standalone VR could prove transformational for the healthcare sector.  The combination of power, freedom and affordability offered by devices like the Oculus Quest has the potential to open up a wide range of new possibilities for companies like Karuna Labs and Osso VR which are using this tetherless VR technology as a tool in pain management treatment and surgical training respectively.  VRSCOUT

8. FluentWorlds is an app using VR to teach English as a second language. It has now been downloaded over 500,000 times and has thousands of paying subscribers who can access a range of 65 immersive language learning experiences for $10 a month. Founder David Bradford says that studies have shown that when you’re studying in a 3D world, versus a physical classroom, the learning outcomes are better because the user is immersed. – HACKED

9. Sherman Oaks’ Westfield Fashion Square has celebrated the official opening of Parallel Universe VR on Saturday.– DAILY NEWS

10. High Fidelity is laying off 25% of its staff as it pivots its vision for the Metaverse (at least for now). The company's Founder and CEO Philip Rosedale confirmed that it is moving out of its 19,000-square-foot headquarters in San Francisco and reducing its team by 20 people. It is pivoting to social communications for workers using 3D audio to enable virtual meetings, and is currently in early testing on a limited, invite-only basis with several other companies who have remote teams. In the meantime, it will allow other companies and developers to use it for free.– UPLOADVR

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This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio

 

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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