Inside XR - December 9th, 2019

Inside XR (Dec 9th, 2019)

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1. The next step in XR will be a lot weirder – but in a good way. Scott Stein writes about how Qualcomm's new Snapdragon XR2 processor enabled with 5G connectivity will power a new generation of standalone headsets and smart glasses that will seamlessly blend the real and virtual worlds, track your room and your face at the same time, and more. "At the end of 2019, we're still not living in a world where people are wearing magic virtual glasses everywhere. But we're getting closer,” Stein said after testing out an early state demo of multidevice collaboration app called Spatial. – CNET

2.  Snapchat showed off a Gucci-themed version of its Spectacles 3 AR glasses at last week's Art Basel Miami Beach 2019. The “Spectacles x Gucci” model (which are not intended for the consumer market at this stage) was promoted by a 3-minute video called "Duck Duck," shot entirely using the device made by filmmaker Harmony Korine - best known for his work on "Spring Breakers." The result, according to VRScout's Kyle Melnick, is "a mind-bending journey that can best be described as an all-out assault on the senses that features a bizarre medley of custom 3D overlays, colorful particle effects, and one Oscar-worthy performance from an older gentleman obnoxiously eating popcorn while dressed as a hotdog." Korine adds that by combining a first-person point of view and 3D effects, the sunglasses inhabit their own hyper-personal universe, "like you can walk into this world when you watch it,” he says. – VRSCOUT  

3. Nreal teamed up with Deutsche Telekom and Qualcomm to build a prototype enterprise app. The Chinese company has frequently collaborated with Qualcomm in the past, and on Thursday, it demonstrated a prototype remote field service app called AR FieldAdvisor which enables Nreal Light users to annotate objects within their field of view and stream what they see to remote experts. The remote experts also can add virtual notes or diagrams to the scene and share data with the user in real-time. Alex Jinsung Choi, senior vice president strategy and technology innovation at Deutsche Telekom, says that going forward, the company will focus on end-to-end 5G and edge computing integration with MobiledgeX to scale the solution for the enterprise market. – NEXT REALITY

4. Leaked figures seem to indicate that only around 6,000 units of the Magic Leap One headset have been sold in six months, fueling further speculation about the company's woes. After reportedly burning through between $40 and $50 million per month through much of 2018 and having several key executives leave the company's board of directors, a report from The Information revealed that sales of the headset have been so poor that the company recently started giving employees free units and making dozens of layoffs across multiple departments. A spokesperson for Magic Leap responded to the report saying it was "littered with inaccuracies and misleading statements," yet there’s no way of knowing how accurate that 6,000 figure is, since the company is notoriously secretive about its sales numbers. – ENGADGET

5. Given the fluid state of the XR market and widely varying forecasts, Taylor Carmichael recommends that investors stick to dominant platform stocks. Two such stocks are Apple and Autodesk;  Apple's huge ecosystem of devices gives the company a serious advantage over any rivals, while Autodesk is the leading platform for 3D modeling and computer-aided design (CAD) and has been partnering up with Unity for the past couple of years. Unity was recently valued at almost $6 billion by venture capitalists. The company provides the software engine where around 60 percent of all augmented reality and virtual reality content is made, and plans on going public in the first half of 2020.– NASDAQ  

6. Travis Hoium looks at Facebook's current acquisition spree in the AR/VR space and reasons it might be a good strategy for the tech giant to solidify its position in the industry.  In September, Facebook bought CTRL-labs for its neural networking capabilities, followed by an announcement in November that Beat Games would be joining the company as well. What may ultimately be more valuable is integrating all of these technologies into future products, Hoium argues, such as integrating the CTRL-labs neural interface into its products so computers can respond directly to signals from the user's brain. – THE MOTLEY FOOL  

7. Visitors to London can experience an AR music-themed walk of fame.  The "Walk of Fame AR Experience" was developed by digital practice Arcade, which previously worked with partners such as the Welsh National Opera. In this latest experience, users can use an app to view the dedicated stones (currently there is a “founding stone” and one dedicated to legendary band The Who) that rise to become items in a 3D menu. Visitors can then use the app to view archived performances. Located in London, Arcade is quickly becoming the talk of the Swinging City. They’ve previously worked with the City of London, and the Roald Dahl Museum. – AR POST  

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

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