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Everything Oculus announced today: $99 Gear VR, Touch release date, Minecraft, and more

It's coming soon.

It’s Oculus Connect keynote day, and the company had a lot of stuff to announce despite a claim that consumers shouldn’t get too excited about the event in Los Angeles.

Here are all the big announcements:

Samsung’s $ 99 Gear VR

While Oculus is planning to release the amazing new Rift headset in Q1 2016, one of its biggest partners, Samsung, revealed it will release the consumer version of Gear VR in November for just $ 99. This will work with Samsung’s Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, and Note 5.

From VentureBeat

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Oculus SDK 1.0 is coming in November

Both Rift and Gear VR will need a lot of VR content, and Oculus is planning to update its software-development kit to help studios do exactly that. One of the big things this SDK will come with is direct drivers — this will enable the headset to work without having to fiddle with setting up the Rift as an external monitor.

Oculus Arcade

This is a 1980s-style arcade simulator that enables you to feel like you’re playing Pac-Man at a stand-up machine.

Trailer for Rift games

 

Twitch, Hulu, Netflix, and more to support Oculus Video

netflix-virtual-reality-app

Developers are working on plenty of games for virtual reality, but Oculus is expecting all kinds of content to make the leap to its Rift and Gear VR systems. That includes video services like Netflix and Hulu — the latter of which revealed it is planning to build VR-native videos.

“Oculus Ready” PCs

You’re gonna need a beefy PC to use an Oculus Rift, but you won’t need to guess if certain systems will work. Oculus announced it will work with hardware manufacturers like Dell, Alienware, and Asus on a line of “Oculus Ready” rigs that cost less than $ 1,000.

Minecraft comes to Rift

Microsoft is planning to make the Windows 10 Edition of its block-building game Minecraft compatible with Xbox One.

Oculus is working on its equivalent of Xbox Live and the App Store

Facebook, the owner of Oculus VR, has said that it won’t try to make a lot of money on the Rift hardware. That means it’s going to make the real cash on the app and software side. And we saw a little bit of that today when the company revealed how its platform will handle social features, analytics, and distribution.

Oculus Touch trailer and release date

The incredible Oculus Touch controllers, which brings your hands into VR, aren’t coming out until Q2 of 2016. But here’s a trailer to show what they can do.

Oculus Medium

Oculus chief executive officer Brendan Iribe said that every new platform needs a paint app, and Medium is what his company is calling its take on 3D drawing.

Epic reveals new Oculus Touch demo Bullet Train

More information:

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Everything Samsung announced today at IFA 2015

A man walks at the Samsung Electronics' headquarters in Seoul January 7, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

All eyes were on Samsung at consumer electronics exhibition IFA in Berlin today, though there weren’t any high expectations for major product launches.

If you missed the event, here’s the gist of what the company did announce.

SmartThings Hub

The Internet of Things featured prominently on the agenda, with the Korean tech giant launching a new SmartThings Hub to help manage all your connected home appliances.

The $ 99 hub was developed by SmartThings, a company Samsung acquired last year, and can be used to connect things like security cameras, smart thermostats, and other smarthome gadgets.

samsunghub

SleepSense

Feeding into this, Samsung also unveiled SleepSense, a smart sleep-tracker that connects to your home appliances.

The SleepSense is a contactless sensor that’s placed under your pillow to analyze your sleep patterns, and the ultimate goal is to improve your sleep. To do so, it connects up with your TV, air conditioning, music system, and other smart home contraptions — all managed through a mobile app.

It can turn off your TV when it senses you’re asleep, or turn your coffee machine on when it reckons you’re awake in the morning.

SleepSense

Above: SleepSense

AddWash

Samsung unveiled a new washing machine at IFA today, but it’s no ordinary spinner.

The AddWash is touted as “the world’s first washing machine that allows consumers to add laundry at any point of the wash cycle.”

Say wha’? It really is quite genius — you can add items of clothing to the main cycle mid-wash. Press a button to stop the drum, and throw in those garments you forgot without having to drain the main compartment.

This is also a connected washing machine that can pair with your Android and iOS devices, letting you monitor and manage a washing load remotely, while receiving update alerts.

AddWash

Above: AddWash

Cars

Related to the Internet of Things, Samsung revealed it was working to integrate SmartThings with BMW cars, with notifications from the SmartThings Hub displayed on the car dashboard. The SmartThings app will also let BMW drivers lock / unlock their car, and view the technical status of their vehicle.

Similarly, an integration between a new Car Mode for Galaxy app and Volkswagen will let drivers take calls, control music, and more using touch or their voice. This partnership will also see the Volkswagen Car-Net e-Remote app integrate with the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch, letting drivers locate their parked car, or even turn the air-con on from their wrist.

HDMI 2.0

The new HDMI 2.0 specification, announced by HDMI Forum back in April, will be landing on Samsung’s SUHD and UHD TVs — the first on the market to support the standard.

The company said it will issue a firmware update shortly, letting viewers display a broader High Dynamic Range (HDR) from external devices. It basically means a higher level of contrast between the lights and darks to create a clearer picture.

First Ultra HD Blu-ray player

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) gave the go-ahead to license a new Ultra HD Blu-ray format last month, and at IFA today, Samsung was one of the first companies to announce an Ultra HD Blu-ray player.

No details such as price or launch date yet, but it’s expected to arrive in early 2016.

Samsung at IFA

Above: Samsung at IFA

In related news..

This wasn’t revealed at IFA, but it’s relevant anyway. Samsung and Barnes & Noble launched the latest version of their tablet / e-reader combo.

Costing $ 400, the The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 Nook is available now in Barnes & Noble stores across the U.S., and online at Nook.com.

VB’s research team is studying web-personalization… Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.



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