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Microsoft HoloLens VR headset starts shipping today

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Microsoft kicked off its HoloLens virtual-reality project into high gear with the announcement that HoloLens dev kits will start shipping to developers today with a price tag of $US3,000 (Php138,000).

They’re releasing it, along with all the tools needed to help developers incorporate everything HoloLens has to offer, including hand-and-eye gestures — two features other consumer VR headsets are currently lacking.

One of the first apps HoloLens has on offer, unsurprisingly, comes from Microsoft and is called Galaxy Explorer.

With it, you can experience the vastness and emptiness of space within your own living room. The app itself is unspectacular (VR already has a version of it called Titans of Space, sans the interaction), but the great thing about it is that Microsoft has made the Galaxy Explorer code available online via GitHub, a collaboration website.

Microsoft HoloLens 2016

HoloLens headset

As a developer myself, having access to a project’s source code is priceless, especially when it comes to emerging trends like VR.

Thinking about the possibilities of interactive virtual reality is enough to make most tech enthusiasts giddy. It’s the stuff of sci-fi movies, after all.

[irp posts=”8643″ name=”Microsoft is bringing the feature we’ve always wanted to Windows”]

In the case of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, HoloLens will be a huge help to medical students under the university’s holographic anatomy program. At the very least, dissecting cadavers to gain insights into the human anatomy should be the last of their worries.

NASA has also developed a HoloLens app that will allow the public (yes, the public) to take a virtual walk on Mars’ surface alongside former U.S. astronaut and space hero Buzz Aldrin. The program will be made available sometime in the summer of 2016 at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

Judging from some of Microsoft’s keynote videos shown at the Build 2016 developer conference, it seems Microsoft’s immediate focus is to create enterprise opportunities for HoloLens by showing car makers and home-improvement chains and the like the possible applications of the technology in the business world.

In a few years, virtual reality and holograms will become a huge part of human work — from designing and building cars (and parts) to prepping for surgeries. And Microsoft’s HoloLens may be a huge leap forward towards that future.

To me, the end goal for VR should be similar to Tony Stark’s use in Iron Man 2

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Sony confirms Android Pie rollout schedule

Updates coming in October to March

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Months after launch, the coveted Android Pie is still the rarest operating system out in the wild. With Android’s notoriety, the new operating system’s incredibly low distribution rates don’t come as a surprise. Currently, only the top smartphones have tasted a piece of Pie. Even then, new adopters are only slowly trickling in.

Surprisingly, Sony has accelerated their upgrade schedules, leaving other brands trailing in the dust. Already, the Xperia XZ2 and XZ2 Compact are receiving Android Pie updates. Meanwhile, the new XZ3 comes with the operating system fresh out of the box.

Today, the company has announced further updates to the old schedule. Within the next few weeks, Sony’s older models will receive the new update. Starting October 26, Android Pie will roll out to the XZ Premium, the XZ1, and the XZ1 Compact. Meanwhile, the XZ2 Premium can enjoy the new operating system starting November 7.

Additionally, the XA2, the XA2 Ultra, and the XA2 Plus will get Android Pie on March 4.

Notably, the announced phones are older than Android Pie’s current lineup. This is the most concrete schedule that Android has enjoyed. While other brands have promised future updates, not many have fulfilled their end of the bargain.

That said, expect the same dismal adoption rates in the future. Even now, the preceding Android Oreo still hasn’t taken over a sizable share of the smartphone market. While Sony’s announcement is a step up, can we expect other brands to step up as well?

SEE ALSO: Sony unveils Xperia XZ3 with best-possible specs and features

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Xiaomi confirms manual sliding camera mechanism of Mi Mix 3

This phone is going to be one-of-a-kind

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Image credit: Xiaomi

Xiaomi is on a roll just a few days before they officially announce their newest smartphone — the Mi Mix 3. After confirming a couple of advanced specifications, the Chinese company posted a teaser video about the phone’s much-speculated camera mechanism.

Apart from having 10GB of memory and uber-fast 5G connectivity, the Mi Mix 3 has another special feature: manual sliding mechanism. We’re slowly going back to the good old days of slider phones, but the Mi Mix 3’s implementation is for the cameras.

Fortunately, Xiaomi still refrained from putting a notch on the new Mi Mix phone and resorted to another design option. The OPPO Find X and Vivo NEX are notch-free, borderless phones using pop-up cameras, but both differ in application. As for Xiaomi, they wanted something a bit different. Here’s the teaser:

At last, Xiaomi confirmed the design of the Mi Mix 3’s cameras and, frankly, this is something we are looking forward to. The video shows the manual sliding cameras of the Mi Mix 3; it’s quite similar to the Find X’s but without the use of a motor.

Here are more photos of the Mi Mix 3 taken from the teaser:

Apart from the mechanism, the teaser also unveiled a few things about the Mi Mix 3. First, it supports facial recognition to enable face unlock and authentication. The rear camera (most likely cameras) appears to be a part of the pop-up as well. The front cameras will have dual sensors with a resolution of 24 megapixels.  And lastly, the phone supports contactless payments.

Xiaomi will have a number of features to talk about during the Mi Mix 3 launch that’s happening on October 25 in Beijing.

SEE ALSO: Xiaomi confirms 10GB RAM and 5G connectivity of the Mi Mix 3

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ASUS ROG Phone tops AnTuTu benchmark for Android in September 2018

As it finally hits stores

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Even though ASUS announced the ROG Phone during Computex a few months ago, it’s only now we’re seeing the gaming smartphone hit store shelves. Since these are retail units we’re talking about, benchmark scores are also making their way to performance charts.

AnTuTu has released its latest standings, encompassing all Android phones benchmarked during the month of September 2018. As expected, the ROG Phone is at the very top.

With a score of 299,706, ASUS’ one and only gamer-centric phone surpasses the likes of Xiaomi’s Black Shark and the latest (for now) OnePlus handset.

It’s certainly a strong showing for ASUS, and proves that the ROG Phone was worth the wait. It’s currently shipping in the US with a starting price of US$ 899, but a host of accessories can easily drive that price up.

But before we give the crown to ASUS, it’s important to note that these numbers are only for Android devices. When taking Apple’s iOS products into consideration, the ranking changes quite a bit.

AnTuTu’s other September 2018 chart, which includes only Apple devices, shows that the iPhone XS and XS Max haves scores of 348,581 and 348,148 points, respectively. They blow away whatever the Android camp currently has to show, and prove that Apple is still the leader in raw performance.

However, all this could change come November once all the new smartphones are tested. We have the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Razer Phone 2, OnePlus 6T, and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 to consider soon.

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