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IMAX pulls the plug on its dream of VR arcades – TechCrunch

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The company behind the biggest screens in cinema is giving up on bringing VR screens within a few inches of users’ faces. The company announced today in a SEC filing that it will be shutting down its three remaining virtual reality centers including its flagship location in Los Angeles.

Via the filing:

In connection with the Company’s previously-announced strategic review of its virtual reality pilot initiative, the Company has decided to close its remaining VR locations and write-off certain VR content investments.

The locations in LA, Bangkok and Toronto will be shuttered in Q1 of 2019 according to Variety.

After making a lot of noise about the centers at launch, the company seemed to realize pretty quickly that the economics just weren’t there. Previous to today’s announcement, IMAX had already shut down 4 of the 7 VR centers that had been opened.

A lot of virtual reality startups who were counting on the pipe dream resurgence of the American arcade scene are probably sweating a bit after today’s news. It was clear that IMAX’s efforts hadn’t been a raving success, but there’s a big difference between dialing it back and shutting it down.

Earlier this year, IMAX confirmed that it had paused work on a VR camera project it was developing with Google.

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OnePlus 7 and 7T Android 11 update is reportedly very buggy

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OnePlus has been making great strides and making big promises regarding its Android updates but it might need a bit more work when it comes to the quality of those updates. Though fortunately not the norm, OnePlus has been known to have pushed updates with rather notable issues, some of them worse than others. That is the unfortunate experience that OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7T owners are reportedly having after the Android 11 and OxygenOS 11 upgrade brought not only new features but also bugs that remain unfixed more than a month later.

OnePlus has had rather problematic upgrades but it seems that the OxygenOS 11 update, which also brings Android 11, is taking the cake. There have been reports about problems with the latest update across many of OnePlus’ phones, including the OnePlus Nord, but owners of the company’s 2019 models are the ones that seem to have gotten the short end of the stick.

A growing number of complaints on Reddit as well as OnePlus’s own forums reveal the rather unfavorable situation regarding the update. Those complaints are all over the place, from greater battery drain to dropped frames that could affect mobile gaming. There are also worrying reports of overheating, at least more than usual, which could raise red flags when it comes to safety.

Given the wide range of issues, there is no single known source of the problem other than the Android 11 update. Of course, other phones on Android 11 don’t report such problems and OnePlus users are quick to blame OxygenOS 11 as the real culprit. It doesn’t help that this version of OnePlus’s custom Android experience isn’t exactly that popular because of the heavy changes that the company made.

OnePlus already pushed a minor update to these phones but it doesn’t seem to have addressed the problems to users’ satisfaction. Unfortunately, the only way to get around the problem is to downgrade back to Android 10, which is also impractical for many OnePlus 7 and 7T owners.

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Windows Holographic 21H1 update brings major new features to HoloLens

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Windows 10’s first major feature update of the year is already being prepared for rollout but it seems that the HoloLens 2 is getting dibs on its own major update before PCs. In fact, this update might be even more feature-packed than Windows 10’s May 2021 update itself. Windows Holographic version 21H1 is now available for download and it finally brings Microsoft’s better version of its Edge web browser, the one based on Google Chromium, of course.

Microsoft has been pushing its Chromium-based Edge rather aggressively wherever it can, replacing the old edgeHTML version as if it never existed. It isn’t just on PCs, of course, and even its mixed reality platform is getting the new Microsoft Edge web browser. And it isn’t just about having a shiny, modern web browser either.

The new Edge also enables WebXR experiences that the older web engine couldn’t support. Perhaps more importantly, it also allows PWAs or Progressive Web Apps to be installed alongside proper Windows apps from the Microsoft Store. Microsoft has also been pushing these web apps hard in an attempt to fill in the gaps left by its UWP platform.

Windows Holographic version 21H1 also pushes some changes to the operating system’s settings UI. One very notable change is the power menu that now behaves and looks more similar to the ones you see in Windows 10 on desktops. That includes the orange dots that indicate an update will occur when you restart or shut down the device.

The upgrade also makes handling multiple users less painful, now showing a list of users on the login screen to save you from typing user names over and over again. For devices in Kiosk mode, visitors can also be automatically logged in, though that default behavior can also be turned off by the device administrator. Windows Holographic 21H1 is available for the HoloLens 2 and also marks the end of support for the old version 1903 from two years ago.

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Google Docs performance upgrade could break Chrome extensions

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There was a point in time when the war between Google, Microsoft, and even Apple was just over productivity suites. While Microsoft Office probably still reigns in that market, Google Docs and its siblings have definitely eaten a large chunk of that pie, partly thanks to being browser-based as well as the surging popularity of Chromebooks. The platform’s age, however, may be starting to show and Google is giving it an important upgrade that could, in turn, make third-party Chrome extensions for Google Docs stop working properly.

Given its reliance on the Internet and the Web, Google naturally pushes Web standards and technologies more heavily than some. It is, for example, a strong proponent of HTML-based content in contrast to those that require plugins like Flash. For Google Docs, it used an HTML-based approach to display documents, one that it is now abandoning for a canvas-based alternative.

Canvas, which is still part of the HTML standard, is designed specifically for drawing and displaying things that go beyond text and images, for example, videos and diagrams. Google says that switching to a canvas-based approach will significantly improve the performance and consistency of the way Google Docs displays documents, especially across different platforms. End users shouldn’t notice any change in functionality, other than Docs feeling faster, not unless they happen to use some third-party Chrome extensions.

Google warns that those extensions could suddenly break if they happen to depend specifically on how a Google Doc is structured with HTML. This might be especially true for companies that develop internal Chrome extensions specific to their needs, in which case they will need to update their software, which might not be a small undertaking at all.

Fortunately, the migration from HTML-based to canvas-based rendering will be happening slowly over the next months, giving those developers time to adjust. Either way, Google recommends that developers use its Google Workspace Add-on framework to make sure those extensions will work even when Google changes things like it often does.

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