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Facebook reorganizes Oculus for AR/VR’s long-haul – TechCrunch

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Facebook is again looking to whip Oculus into shape for its 10-year journey towards making virtual reality mainstream. According to two sources, Facebook reorganized its AR and VR team this week from a divisional structure focused around products to a functional structure focused around technology areas of expertise. While no one was laid off, the change could eliminate redundancies by uniting specialists so they can iterate towards long-term progress rather than being separated into groups dedicated to particular gadgets.

Facebook confirmed the reorg to TechCrunch, with a spokesperson providing this statement: “We made some changes to the AR/VR organization earlier this week. These were internal changes and won’t impact consumers or our partners in the developer community.” Oculus CTO John Carmack and Oculus co-founder/newly-promoted Head of PC VR Nate Mitchell will remain in their leadership positions within VP of AR/VR Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth’s hardware wing of the company.

The shift obviously communicates that Facebook believes Oculus could be running more effectively. Organizing the company around areas of expertise rather than broader divisions is probably more appropriate for a moonshot effort that can’t afford redundancies, on the other hand, keeping expertise siloed could isolate new approaches and advancements from reaching other teams. As the company builds out its first full lineup of headsets, there seems to be significant overlap in the tech problems and products bring tackled by those working on mobile and PC products.

TechCrunch reported earlier this week that the company is planning to release a new Rift headset as early as 2019, possibly called the Rift S, which will featured upgraded displays and an inside-out tracking system. The company’s “Rift 2” project, codenamed Caspar, was left behind in the reorganization, a source tells us. We can’t confirm whether any other products or concepts have been shelved.

While an immersive virtual world that users can hang out and communicate in certainly seems to fit Facebook’s broader mission, the company has spent the better part of the past few years deciding how a costly, ambitious venture like Oculus fits into its corporate structure.

First, things went smoothly. The company and its empowered co-founders were building out a developer network and prepping for the launch of their Rift headset after creating a successful partnership with Samsung for the Gear VR. Then, the company’s good fortune turned as the Rift headset was racked by expensive delays and Oculus failed to ship the company’s Touch motion controllers at launch losing some initial ground to HTC. 

By the end of 2016, it was announced that co-founder Brendan Iribe was out as CEO and that the company would be reorganizing around divisions focused on things like PC VR, mobile and content with Xiaomi exec Hugo Barra coming aboard as VP of VR to lead the new effort working directly beneath CEO Mark Zuckerberg. An additional layer of oversight has been built in since then, with Bosworth was put in charge of the company’s consumer hardware ambitions with Oculus as a central pillar. His title is now VP of AR/VR.

The absorption of Oculus deeper into Facebook’s corporate structure was a trend that soon replicated itself as the company looked to rein in the independent teams under a more cohesive vision. The culmination of this was a major executive reshuffle earlier this year that changed the landscape for how divisions within the company were managed.

Now, they’re changing things up even more.

Oculus Go

The new structure sounds like it could coordinate efforts around more general lines like hardware and software allowing insights to flow more intuitively across Facebook’s planned devices.

Given the slow adoption of VR and engineering challenges of AR headsets, which at TechCrunch’s LA conference last month Facebook’s head of AR Ficus Kirkpatrick confirmed it was building, this structure could help Oculus iterate its way to long-term success rather than just getting the next product out the door.

If Facebook is going to beat companies solely focused on AR like Magic Leap, and potential incumbent invaders like Apple if it so chooses, it needs to maximize efficiency. And if it’s going to get both developers and users excited about these next-generation computing platforms, it will have to produce products that make cutting-edge technologies feel unified and accessible. That’s a lot easier when everyone’s not stepping on each other’s virtual shoes.

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Nothing’s Ear (Stick) Teaser Tells Us A Whole Lot Of Nothing

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The good news for fans of the relatively new company is that we know Nothing will be launching a new audio product by the end of the year. The bad news is that we know almost nothing about the product except for its name: the Nothing Ear (Stick). The company included a couple of teaser images with its announcement, but none of them really give us a look at the product, instead showcasing a cylindrical container (presumably the charging case) with the company’s logo on it.

Nothing calls the Ear (Stick) “the next evolution” in its own audio lineup, reinforcing the same ethos it used to hawk its smartphone: that of a simplistic device that doesn’t get in the way — possibly in the literal sense this time around, as Nothing describes the product as featuring “supremely comfortable” ergonomics and a “feather-light” design. If there’s any point that seems worth getting excited about, it’s the mention that Ear (Stick) will be “molded to your ears.”

Whether that refers to a pair of earbuds that will come with silicone putty for creating custom ear molds is anyone’s guess, but the concept itself is definitely a thing. Beyond that, Nothing confirmed the earbuds will have a “unique charging case,” so it’s safe to say they likely sport a true wireless design. Sadly, Nothing won’t tell us anything about the product’s specs and price right now, but it did say the model will arrive sometime before 2023.

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Apple Stage Manager’s iPadOS 16 Surprise Could Save You From Buying A New One

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Among the older Apple iPad models that have officially received the nod (via Engadget) for Stage Manager on iPadOS 16 include the 11-inch iPad Pro (first generation and above) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (third generation and above). These relatively new iPad models come powered by Apple’s A12X Bionic and A12Z Bionic chipsets. Since Stage Manager was initially designed for M1-powered iPads running iOS 16 or beyond, enabling it on older hardware comes with a few trade-offs. 

While the M1-powered iPad can simultaneously open up to eight live apps on the screen, the maximum number of live apps on older models is limited to just four. In addition, older iPads running iPadOS 16 and beyond would also not be able to invoke Stage Manager while using the devices with external displays. Interestingly, Apple is yet to enable external display support for Stage Manager on even the M1 iPads. However, the company did confirm that Stage Manager for the M1 iPads will be enabled on the M1 iPads via a software update before the end of 2022. 

Apart from enabling Stage Manager on older iPads, the next version of iPadOS 16 (likely to be called iPadOS 16.1) could incorporate a lot of bug fixes. Per Apple’s current plan, the public beta version of iPadOS 16 should reach customers by October. Apple has also confirmed that Stage Manager will also make it to macOSVentura, which is also set for release in October 2022.

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How To Reset And Pair Your Roku Remote

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When your Roku streaming device is freezing up or your remote isn’t working correctly, the problem can often be fixed by simply rebooting the machine, which Roku calls a system restart. If that method doesn’t work, however, users also have the option of resetting the device, which will return it to factory settings. That means you’ll need to set the device back up as if it is new, and that’s why you should try restarting the device before resetting it. The steps to restart are identical for the simple Roku remote and the basic voice remote, both of which use standard AAA batteries:

  1. Slide the battery compartment cover off and remove the batteries.
  2. Disconnect the main device’s power cable and reconnect it after at least 5 to 10 seconds have passed.
  3. Immediately after Roku’s main interface appears onscreen, complete the restart process by re-inserting the batteries into the remote and sliding the cover back in place.

The following are steps for people who own a Roku Voice Remote Pro:

  1. Disconnect the main device’s power cable.
  2. Reconnect it after at least 5 to 10 seconds have passed.
  3. As soon as Roku’s main interface appears onscreen, complete the restart process by long-pressing the pairing button on the remote for 20 seconds.
  4. When you see a slowly blinking green light stop then switch to rapid-fire blinking, let the reset button go.

Another way to restart that works for most types of Roku remotes is by going through the gadget’s “Settings” menu. This is the option you’ll want to use if the Roku’s power cord is located somewhere difficult to reach, according to the company.

  1. Hit the Home icon on the remote.
  2. Go to “Settings.”
  3. Pick “System.”
  4. Choose “Power.” If it’s unavailable, go to the next step.
  5. Hit “System restart,” then confirm by choosing “Restart.”
  6. Immediately after Roku’s main interface appears onscreen, follow step 3 onwards for your specific Roku remote listed above.

Simple Roku remote users can instantly press buttons to check for responsiveness. Those who own voice remotes have to wait at least half a minute to check whether the system restart fixed the issue.

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