Google vs Apple – The War of AR and VR

google vs apple

Two big tech giants with a history of bringing revolutionary products, making new industry standards and creating new industries. But now its time for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

It took AR and VR a long time to come to the mainstream but due to technological advancement, AR and VR rose again and taken the tech industry expeditiously.

With the increase of AR/VR development and innovation more and more tech companies are taking interest in these technologies. Google and Apple are one of them.

Lets start with Apple.

Apple

Tim Cook, CEO Apple seems very excited about AR and time to time he praised AR and its applications.

I regard it(Augmented Reality) as a big idea, like the smartphone – Tim Cook

Recently at Apple World Wide Developers Conference 2017, Apple announced its AR and VR plans.

It revealed its new iMac with VR support, announced support for Unity and Unreal Engine and also for Steam VR.

Apple also launched its augmented reality platform ARkit.

After seeing Apple’s patented VR/AR glasses designs industry experts are all waiting for what Apple is hiding inside its offices.

Robert Scoble AR/VR Herald also rumored that Apple is working on light weight AR/VR glasses.

So VR support for iMacs and AR platform are just stepping stone, there are more great things to come from Apple.

Apple VR/AR Plans Announced at WWDC 2017

Google

Google is already dominating AR and VR industry. With two virtual reality headsets, 360 VR Camera, VR development tools and many great VR apps on Play Store.

Here are some Google’s remarkable contributions to Virtual Reality industry.

Google Cardboard

DIY cardboard smartphone virtual reality headset

DayDream VR

An easy to wear virtual reality headset with a controller.

google day dream vr

Earth VR

Enjoy roaming around the world in VR

google expeditions vr

Expeditions

Take students to virtual reality field trips

Tilt Brush

Paint in 3d space. App for Oculus and HTC Vive

google tilt brush vr painting

Jump

Google’s professional VR video solution

google jump vr camera

Everything you need to develop VR apps

google vr development sdk

Although Apple seems to be behind form its competitors like Facebook and Google who have already launched amazing AR/VR apps and hardware.

But when it comes to developing innovative and revolutionary technology, Apple is still a leader.

And after WWDC 2017 Apple have shown that it is serious about VR and AR.

There is still a long way to go, AR and VR industry is still young. But its good that tech giants are bringing innovations to grow these industry.

Apple VR/AR Plans Announced at WWDC 2017

Apple new iMac with VR support showing along with HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset at WWDC 2017

Finally the wait is over. Everyone was waiting for Apple’s big plans for VR and AR. At WWDC 2017 Apple revealed that it is serious about VR. Although there was no HMD but there is great support for VR in Apple’s new technologies.

Apple announced new OS, High Sierra with VR support on the graphic side and a new iMac with high end graphic chip and memory so it can power VR headsets like HTC Vive.

Apple also demonstrated some VR demos on new iMac using HTC Vive.

Apple showing virtual reality support in its new technologies

Apple also bringing most popular VR editors, Unity and Unreal Engine to Mac. Allowing developers to develop VR content on Mac. Not only that with new Final Cut Pro you can also edit 360 videos and edit VR content.

Apple announced Steam VR support at WWDC 2017

Many VR developers shifted towards PCs due to great VR support and resources. To bring developers back Apple has announced that soon SteamVR will also be available on Mac.

With iMac’s high-end graphic processing and VR support developers will start developing cutting-edge VR content with Mac.

WWDC 2017 is not only about VR !

ARkit - Apple's Augmented Reality Platform

Apple also announce its Augmented Reality platform, ARkit and also demonstrated a simple developer application. Much like Google’s Tango and Facebook Camera, which was introduced at F8 Conference recently.

ARkit platform will have Unity and Unreal Engine support. With hundreds of millions of iPhones out in the world Apple aims to make ARkit the biggest AR platform.

Apple has not revealed any information about any HMD but with the announcement of VR support and ARkit, its seems like Apple is preparing for such device.

For further new about Apple WWDC 2017 VR and AR announcements stay tuned at Retina VR Blog.

 

 

Virtual Reality is the next big thing in Social Networking

facebook-spaces-vr-selfie

As I predicted in the start of 2017 in my article Virtual Reality Predictions 2017 that virtual reality will make its way towards social media platforms and new VR social networks will emerge.

I was right 🙂

Its all happening and now industry experts are saying virtual reality is the future of social networking. Where you can virtually have conversations with your friends just like you do in real life.

And not only conversations you can play games, celebrate birthdays and even can take selfies.

Social networking over virtual reality seems like fun and it can be a great companion in leisure time. There are lot more other useful cases which it can be very beneficial.

I think education can have a great impact through it.

Imagine you can take classes at Harvard or Stanford and interact with other students and teacher while siting on the other side of world.

Education is just one thing, many industries can take advantage with virtual reality social media just like they are taking now with Facebook and Twitter.

So today I am sharing you top five companies who are working on social network over virtual reality.

Facebook Spaces

facebook-spaces-social-vr

Social VR or later named Facebook Spaces is Facebook’s virtual reality social app. If described in few words its not just Facebook in virtual reality.

Social VR has amazing social networking features like customize avatars, sharing memories, drawing objects, taking selfies and video calling.  Currently its in Beta and available for Oculus.

I wrote an article for Facebook Spaces when it was launched. You can find more information about it there and can also watch demo videos of it.

Enjoy Facebook in VR with Facebook Spaces

Official Website 

Oculus Page

AltSpaceVR

vr-social-network-altspacevr

AltspaceVR was the first to launch VR social app in 2013. The whole app is based on spaces which you can join just like chat rooms and play games and socialized with others.

vr-social-network-altspacevr

You can create your own avatars and can also create your own spaces.

AltspaceVR have own VR web browser within its app from which you can also explore world wide web. Watching Netflix and Youtube videos with friends is one the amazing stuff you can do in AltspaceVR.

There are lots of multi-player games available like Chess, card games, air hocky, Flappy Dragon and a lot more.

vr-social-network-altspacevr

AltspaceVR is available on Oculus, HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR and you can even use it on your PC or laptop because its also available in 2d version. Cool isn’t it? 😉

Official Website

vTime

vr-social-network-vtime

vTime is also a virtual reality social platform just like Altspacevr. It has similar features like avatars, virtual worlds and chatting.

vr-social-network-vtime

One thing that distinguish vTime is that it is available for smartphone too. You can download it on your Android or iOS smartphone and enjoy socializing in VR with just smartphone virtual reality headset like Google Cardboard.

Official Website

So these are top three virtual reality social platforms available.

Emergence of virtual reality disrupted many industries and social networking is one of them. VR is enhancing the way we communicate and interact with our friends and family on social networking platforms.

Buy Groceries Virtually from Well.pk – Virtual Reality in E-commerce

unilever virtual store well.pk

E-commerce allowed us to shop from our homes without stepping out. Now virtual reality will enhance the online shopping experience with its immersive environment.

Big players like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba are already working on Virtual Reality to provide users a digital shopping mall experience.

Virtual Reality is going to be the next big thing in e-commerce.

RetinaVR have done a pilot project with Pakistan’s leading online shopping website Well.pk. For first time in Pakistan, you can shop virtually from an virtual store.

We have developed a virtual tour of Unilever store where you can find products popping up. You can buy products by clicking them which will redirect you to product page on Well.pk.

The virtual tour contain three sections of virtual store featuring over 15+ different Unilever products hovering on the shelves.

VISIT LIVE TOUR

Working with Well.pk we explored how virtual reality can influence e-commerce and bring an enhanced shopping experience to users.

With this project Retina VR is entering into a completely new dimension where we are working on different projects for e-commerce and retail and bringing the power of virtual reality in different industries.

This virtual tour is created using our VR platform. With Retina platform you can make your own virtual reality tours using your panoramic or 360 photos.

Enjoy Facebook in VR with Facebook Spaces

Facebook launched its most awaited Social VR app beta version with different alias Facebook Spaces.

facebook-spaces-social-vr

Facebook was working on it for quite some time and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook time to time showed demos of it to us at Developer Conferences.

In our previous article where we predicted Virtual Reality trend for 2017, this was one of our prediction.

Social networking in virtual reality was something everybody had their eyes on and now it’s happening.

And Great to see our prediction becoming true : )

Facebook launches AR Platform at F8 Developer Conference

Let’s see some Facebook Spaces awesome features.

Facebook Spaces Features

1. Customize Avatars

facebook-spaces-vr-avatar

Create your own customize avatars inspired by your Facebook photos.

2. Share Memories

facebook-spaces-vr-memory

Share 360 and panoramic pictures.

3. Draw objects

facebook-spaces-vr-draw

facebook-spaces-3d-objects

Draw 3d objects in virtual environment and interact with them.

4. Take Selfie

facebook-spaces-vr-selfie

Take a virtual selfie and share it on Facebook.

5. Messenger in VR

facebook-spaces-vr-messenger

Check out some Facebook Spaces videos

Check out official website: https://www.facebook.com/spaces

Download it on Oculus Store: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1036793313023466/

Everything you need to know about the new Samsung Gear VR

samsung-gear-vr-controller

Samsung is not only content to be the market leader when it comes to smartphone manufacturing but it’s also making progress in the VR world.

Samsung Gear VR has been an extraordinary platform for virtual reality over the past few years but the latest Gear VR comes with a new controller.

The controller is very user-friendly that let you browse through libraries, play first person shooter and navigate through things easily.

This new headset announced alongside the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus will be compatible with previous Samsung phones including the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S6 range, so this headset will be replacing the older Gear VR model.

Old vs New

As compare to the old Gear VR, the new one is lighter in weight. However, it still looks huge but its smaller than Google Daydream View.

Samsungs’ VR headsets are designed very well. There is and was no issue of light coming inside the headset, it is full light proof.

The cushion around the eyes and nose are more comfortable.

USB port at the bottom of charge phone is now replaced with USB-C port.

Samsung added more air vents in the new Gear VR which allow breathing while gaming more comfortable and also don’t allow air to come inside and make lense foggy. Which was a big issue in old one

Controller

gear-vr-controller

 

Taping headset every time to control the game was not a feasible option in VR gaming so controller was the most awaited accessory for the Gear VR.

The design of the controller looks like a mixture of Google Daydream View controller and HTC Vive controller. It’s very handy and brings amazing gaming experience.

The controller itself contain some extra sensors like Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetic Sensor.

The controller is supported by all Gear VR headset old and new both.

Samsung’s new Gear VR comes with a price of 129$ which would be available on 21st April with a new controller but if you already have a Gear VR then you don’t have to upgrade, you can just buy the controller standalone with a price of 39$.

Facebook launches AR Platform at F8 Developer Conference

facebook-f8-developer-conference

Today at F8 Developer Conference, Facebook announced its own Augmented Reality Platform. Platforms which will allow developers from all around the world to create AR experiences for Facebook Camera app.

After building the world’s largest social community platform Facebook, now Mark Zuckerberg is focusing towards making more platforms of technologies like AR, VR and AI.

Augmented Reality will mix our digital and physical life and make our physical life easier. – Mark Zuckerberg

At F8, Mark Zuckerberg talked about 3 use cases of augmented reality on which Facebook is building their AR platform.

1. Information

It is one of the most used and popular use case of AR, displaying digital information like direction, notes, messages and notifications.

Blippar is the most successful example of this.

2. Digital Objects

AR games come under this category where 3d objects are augmented on the real physical world and you can interact with them like Pokemon Go.

3. Enhancements

Face filters and stylers fall under this category. Snapchat happened to be dominant in AR facial enhancements and masks but now its looks like Facebook is going to take over its market.

Hera are some cool things Facebook unveiled at F8 Developer Conference

Create your own Face Masks and Filters!

ar-platform-f8-developer-conference

Facebook AR platform will allow developers to build their own custom face masks and filters and allow users to use them and have fun with their images and videos.

3D Text using Precise Location

3d-object-f8

Now text will become a 3d model on your images or videos

Converting still photos to 3D

Object Recognition

AR Notes

Create art on walls

Zuckerberg said that Camera Effects Platform will be available in beta for developers today and more exciting features are coming in future.

Stay tuned for more Facebook F8 Developers conference updates. We will keep posting about VR/AR launches.

Meanwhile, check our virtual reality platform at https://www.retinavr.co

Expedia will let you book hotel rooms in VR

expedia-using-vr

According to recent news by Mashable, Expedia is testing virtual reality and planning to offer virtual reality tours to users. Which will allow to explore and book hotels in an immersive environment.

Expedia is researching and testing different technologies at their innovation lab at Singapore. With virtual reality Expedia wants to take hotel booking experience to the next level.

Currently Expedia is using images and maps. Which are not enough to give user a satisfying idea about the hotel room . Virtual reality will allow to view every single side of the room, from top to bottom and left to right.

Not only VR !

Expedia at its innovation lab not only testing virtual reality but also working on incorporating Amazon Echo and artificial intelligent chat bots, which interact with users and provide them great service.

RetinaVR is also working on something similar but in real estate market. We believe that virtual reality can solve a lot of problems like physically going to places and finding suitable property and make property hunting more comfortable.

How to capture 360 photos with Smartphone?

2016 was not only the year of VR but also 360 photos and panoramas also had a comeback with new opportunities. 360 photos and panoramas not only introduces new possibilities of exploration and experiences but also fulfill the need of immersive Virtual Reality content for early adopters.
360 photos with Smartphones

While large tech companies like Facebook, Google and Samsung invested in VR headsets and development software they also introduced their own 360 cameras like Samsung’s Gear360 and Facebook’s Surround 360 camera.

If a picture worth a thousand words then It can’t be wrong that a 360 picture worth a million words.

What a normal picture can’t show you 360 picture can show you. From top to bottom and left to right form every angle, 360 picture can expose your vision with immersive views.

360 Cameras

ricoh-theta-s

There are lot 360 cameras available in market which you can buy and start capturing your own 360 photos.

Ricoh Theta S is a low-cost and quality 360 camera in the market.

But what if you don’t have a 360 camera? Then don’t worry today we’re listing some apps from which you can capture 360 photos with your smart phones.

Google Official Cardboard Camera Apps

google-cardboard-camera

Google had officially launched its 360 capture app on Android 4.2 with Nexus 4. But it didn’t stay there long. After that Samsung launched its own 360 camera app along with HTC and LG.

Here are the links from where you can get Google Cardboard Camera app.

Download Google Cardboard Camera App for Android

Download Google Cardboard Camera App for iOS

Or you can also use Google’s Street View app for capturing 360 photos.

More Android 360 Camera Apps!

Many different app development companies also launched apps for capturing 360 photos, here are some below.

Sphere – 360 Camera

sphere-360-app

Photo 360 by Sfera

photo360-sfera

Photoaf Panorama Pro

Photaf-Panorama-Pro

Panorama 360 camera

panorama-360-camera

If the above apps does not work on your phones, then try this cracked version of Google Camera app which can solve your problem. http://goo.gl/XlYoCP

Note: This application is from unknown source. Download at your own risk. 

Facebook now support 360 photos and panoramas, I am sure you’ve seen them before. So start capturing your own 360 pictures and panoramas and share them with your friends.

Tell us if you know more 360 photo capturing app we will definitely add them in our list.

Top 5 Virtual Reality Predictions for 2017

As the 2016 ends we have seen great progress in Virtual Reality industry. With the launches of new products like Oculus Touch controllers, Google Daydream platform, developing platforms like Unity EditorVR, Virtual Reality have taken a great leap. And 2017 is coming and experts are predicting awesome things to come.  So today we are listing top 5 virtual reality predictions by experts for 2017. Let’s get started.

Virtual Reality Predictions for 2017

Apple will release its AR/VR iPhone and HMD

Apple VR Patent - Virtual Reality Predictions

Apple has been working on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for past 10 years but now when VR/AR hype is at its peak, everybody got amaze when Apple’s VR headset patents leaked back in 2013. The patents are confirming that Apple is secretly working on something.Apple VR Patent - Virtual Reality Predictions

Not just the patents in recent years Apple hired many engineers, scientists and Human Computer Interaction experts from different companies. It is reported that Apple had hired team members of Microsoft Hololens, Oculus and Magic Leap.

Most of the hiring is done by acquiring different companies that were working on VR and AR. Some of them are listed below

  • Metaio ( Marker based Augmented Reality)
  • PrimeSense (3D body tracking)
  • Faceshift ( Transforming face to 3D animated face in real time)
  • Emotient ( Face tracking)

New VR headsets with greater features

VR Headsets - Virtual Reality Predictions

Google DayDream VR headset was the big VR headset launch of 2016. Moreover many different Chinese companies also launched their vr headsets. With larger capacity for bigger phones and with high powered lenses.

But still industry is waiting for an eye-tracking and motion sensing VR headset. Which will boost up the Virtual Reality experience more.

Everybody’s eyes are on MagicLeap’s headset, a Mixed Reality headset and we think Mixed Reality is the future of VR headsets. Samsung is also working on its next version of Gear VR. So 2017 will be the year of new HMDs which will not be only VR but also have AR technology in them.

World Wide Web in VR

Web VR - Virtual Reality Predictions

Imagine surfing internet in VR. That is the future of web. Samsung has already developed a VR web browser for its GearVR and there are many other available.

W3C, Mozilla and Google Chrome team are working on VR standards for web and working on projects like MozVR and ChromVR. Hopefully in 2017 they will start to introduce VR support in their browsers.

Haptics will bring feelings in Virtual Reality

Haptics VR

Feeling in Virtual Reality is one of the biggest challenges in VR industry. Feeling virtual objects in VR can be a big game-changer.

Haptics and Robotics experts are working on great technologies to introduce feelings like coolness, hotness and pressure.

We are compiling a list of companies that are working on VR haptics will publish it soon.

VR will revolutionize Social Networking

Oculus Social VR

VR social networking is also one of the trending topic in VR industry. We connect and communicate with our friends on social networks but we can’t meet with them. Imagine meeting with people living in other side of the World just like teleportation in the movies. Amazing isn’t?

Social VR

Facebook is working on SocialVR for quite some time and tries to amaze users by showing glimpse of it in Oculus events. Mark demonstrated it in the last Oculus connect event and it was awesome.

Social VR

In Social VR you can use 360 photo to teleport yourself with your friends to real world locations. You can play games like chess, cards, sword fight and can watch movies together. You can even take a selfie and share it on Facebook instantly. Through facial tracking you can also see your friends’ facial expression while they’re talking.

Another cool feature was that you can also do a video call through Facebook Messenger.

AltSpaceVR is also on a mission to bring VR in Social Networking. AltSpaceVR have similar features like Social VR you can meet friends have conversations, watch movies, play games and can also surf the web.

These are the top 5 virtual reality predictions for 2017 for VR Industry. Get ready to see more VR launches and exciting moments in 2017.

Happy New Year ! Have a great 2017 🙂