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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Facebook moves into virtual reality with $2 billion Oculus VR deal

Facebook has agreed to acquire virtual reality company Oculus VR in a deal worth approximately $2 billion (£1.2 billion).

Oculus VR has become well-known for its ‘immersive’ virtual reality technology, having received more than 75,000 development kit orders for its Oculus Rift 3D virtual reality headset.

The deal includes $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook common stock, with the option of an extra $300 million in cash and stock based on future targets. It’s expected to be finalised in the summer.

Although Oculus has been focussed on gaming, Facebook says it plans to move the company into communications, media, entertainment, education and other areas - with virtual reality technology described as “a strong candidate to emerge as the next social and communications platform”.

Brendan Iribe, co-founder and CEO of Oculus VR, said “We are excited to work with Mark and the Facebook team to deliver the very best virtual reality platform in the world. We believe virtual reality will be heavily defined by social experiences that connect people in magical, new ways. It is a transformative and disruptive technology, that enables the world to experience the impossible, and it’s only just the beginning.”

Oculus will maintain a separate headquarters building in California and will continue its development of the Oculus Rift.

[Oculus blog]

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Opinion Articles

Smartphone innovation is slowing down, as Samsung struggles to differentiate

Lawrence Lundy of Frost & Sullivan writes:

While the Galaxy S5 is an evolutionary product, there is not enough in there to make people upgrade from the 4. It doesn't push the envelope in any real way; we are in a sort of stasis now when it comes to smartphone innovation.

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Welcome to the digitised city

M2M technology transforms parking in Pisa

Jürgen Hase of Deutsche Telekom writes:

The Smart City is on its way. All over the world more and more cities are connecting all areas of their infrastructure. Pisa in Tuscany, for example, aims to improve its traffic management with a machine-to-machine (M2M) solution and a Big Data service provided by Deutsche Telekom.

Author: The Fonecast
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Last week at The Fonecast: 31st March 2014

HTC goes One better

Mark Bridge writes:

“Hey, everybody, we’re releasing a new flagship smartphone that carries all the hopes of the company with it. If this sells well, we could be saved. If not, it could be disaster.”

“Great. What shall we call our new phone?”

“Oh, we’ll give it the same name as the previous model. That’ll be fine.”

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Last week at The Fonecast: 24th March 2014

The new iPhone no-one was expecting

Mark Bridge writes:

New Apple products! New Android smart watches!

You’d be forgiven for not having noticed either of those news stories last week. Apple did indeed announce a new iPhone – but it was simply a new iPhone 5c with just 8MB of memory.

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LTE fuels the race for the fastest network

Noam Green of Flash Networks writes:

The introduction and deployment of LTE networks offers real promise for both subscribers and operators worldwide. It brings the potential for revolutionary improvements in quality of experience for mobile broadband, and even faster downloads and video streaming.

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