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HTC’s China-exclusive Vive Focus VR headset is now launching worldwide

HTC will start selling its standalone Vive Focus virtual reality headset worldwide today, after an initial launch in China earlier this year. The headset, which will cost $599 in the US, is aimed at business customers in 37 countries. It’s part of a larger attempt to make HTC VR headsets appealing to companies, including a…

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HTC’s China-exclusive Vive Focus VR headset is now launching worldwide

HTC will start selling its standalone Vive Focus virtual reality headset worldwide today, after an initial launch in China earlier this year. The headset, which will cost $599 in the US, is aimed at business customers in 37 countries. It’s part of a larger attempt to make HTC VR headsets appealing to companies, including a newly announced collaboration app called Vive Sync, which lets employees in different offices meet and work together in VR.

The Vive Focus is a self-contained mobile headset that tracks a user’s motion with outward-facing cameras — similar to the upcoming $399 Oculus Quest headset. HTC announced it after canceling a similar headset based on Google’s Daydream VR platform, and it was initially unclear whether the Vive Focus would launch outside China. However, HTC confirmed an international release this spring, making a development kit available to US buyers.

We were impressed by the Vive Focus’ tracking quality, and since its launch, HTC has developed fully tracked motion controllers to supplement its original remote-like pointing device. But don’t expect a direct Oculus Quest competitor. HTC isn’t pitching this as a consumer device — it’s more likely to show up in training simulators, industrial design facilities, or arcades. Buyers can add one of two “Advantage” premium service and repair packages, bringing the cost up to either $749 or $799.

The Vive Focus will sit alongside HTC’s older $499 Vive and $799 Vive Pro headsets, which are tethered to a computer. HTC touts the Vive Focus as a headset for “businesses that want a truly mobile VR experience.” Unlike the original Vive, it doesn’t require any external sensor boxes, and it features the same high-end 2880 x 1600 resolution as the Vive Pro; it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 mobile chipset and has a battery life of up to three hours.

HTC highlighted another upcoming all-in-one headset by Chinese company Shadow Creator, which is using HTC’s Vive Wave mobile VR platform to launch a headset called the Shadow VR. It will launch worldwide on November 11th, and has a similar feature set to the Vive Focus, albeit with a slightly lower-resolution screen.

HTC has set its sights on business customers for a while now, but it’s emphasizing that aim more than ever with the Vive Focus. That’s a contrast with competitors Oculus and Sony, which have portrayed their VR headsets as mass-market entertainment devices — although Oculus also provides headsets to companies like Walmart for training and other uses. HTC is likely making the safer move here, since businesses have consistently used VR systems for decades, while it’s only recently carved out a niche in the consumer market. But for anyone looking to buy an HTC-built VR headset for personal gaming or VR movies, it’s a bit of a disappointment.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Now on Sale in India, New Alexa Voice Remote Also Available

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has now been available in India. The new Fire TV Stick model that was launched in the country last month comes with a price tag of Rs. 5,999. Amazon.in is offering EMI options starting from Rs. 282. As an upgrade over the original Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick…

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Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Now on Sale in India, New Alexa Voice Remote Also Available

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K has now been available in India. The new Fire TV Stick model that was launched in the country last month comes with a price tag of Rs. 5,999. Amazon.in is offering EMI options starting from Rs. 282. As an upgrade over the original Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick 4K is designed to deliver high-quality, 4K content and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+ technologies. There is also an all-new Alexa Voice Remote that supports voice commands as well as functions as a remote controller of your TV. Customers with the existing Fire TV Stick can also avail the controlling support by purchasing the new Alexa Voice Remote.

The Fire TV Stick 4K is available for purchase in India through Amazon.in. Customers can also opt for a two-year OneAssist Protection Plan at Rs. 499. Additionally, the new Alexa Voice Remote is available separately for existing Fire TV Stick users at Rs. 1,999.

Amazon claims that the Fire TV Stick 4K is over 80 percent more powerful than last year’s Fire TV Stick. It is powered by a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz and is touted to be the “first media stick available with Dolby Vision” support. Further, there is support for 4K Ultra HD, Dolby Atmos, HDR, HDR-10, HLG, and HDR10+ content. Users can also use the Alexa integration by pressing the voice command button on the bundled remote to watch their 4K content using their voice. There is also 8GB of onboard storage as well as Bluetooth 5.0+ LE and dual-band, dual-antenna Wi-Fi that supports 802.11ac networks. For connectivity, the Fire TV Stick 4K has an HDMI output and supports power via Micro-USB.

The bundled Alexa Voice Remote combines Bluetooth and multidirectional infrared technology alongside using a proprietary cloud-based service from Amazon to enable controlling of your TV set as well as the Fire TV Stick simultaneously – without requiring the use of the native remote controller of your TV. There are dedicated power, volume, and mute buttons to control your TV, soundbar, or other AV equipment. Also, the Alexa Voice Remote has a voice button and other Fire TV Stick controls. Users with the previous-generation Fire TV Stick can also use the new Alexa Voice Remote to avail its ability to control TV sets. Amazon is additionally bringing Alexa integration to the existing Fire TV Stick via a software update.

amazon alexa voice remote Amazon Alexa Voice Remote

New Alexa Voice Remote

Similar to the previous Fire TV Stick, the Fire TV Stick 4K supports content from services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Netflix, Zee5, and SonyLIV among others. It also has Firefox and Silk browsers to let you surf the Web or access YouTube and Facebook. Furthermore, you can listen to your favourite music by accessing Amazon Prime Music, Gaana, and TuneIn. It is worth mentioning here that while the Fire TV Stick 4K supports 4K UHD content delivery, your TV set needs to have 4K support in order to enable the high-quality experience.

You can also use new Alexa skills on the Fire TV Stick 4K to view live camera feeds, check sports scores, order food, book a cab, or stream songs using your voice. Likewise, you can pair your Echo devices with your Fire TV to control your TV and ask Alexa to play and search for your favourite content, access new apps, or control the playback on your Fire TV – all without using the bundled remote.

With the latest arrival, the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K becomes one of the cheapest native 4K players in India. The Apple TV 4K is already available in India as a 4K player. However, it is not as affordable as the Fire TV Stick 4K, with a starting price of Rs. 17,430 for the 32GB storage variant, and Rs. 19,480 for the 64GB variant.

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Thunderlord and Heavy Machine Guns are Back in Destiny 2

Bungie revealed today that Thunderlord, the fan-favorite Heavy Machine Gun exotic from Destiny 1, has made its way into Destiny 2. Not only is that pretty exciting news, more importantly, it triggers the official return of Heavy Machine Guns into Destiny 2.Destiny 2 did away with HMGs when launching Destiny 2 over a year ago.…

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Bungie revealed today that Thunderlord, the fan-favorite Heavy Machine Gun exotic from Destiny 1, has made its way into Destiny 2. Not only is that pretty exciting news, more importantly, it triggers the official return of Heavy Machine Guns into Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 did away with HMGs when launching Destiny 2 over a year ago. They were pretty overpowered in the Crucible, but lacked punch in most PvE situations. Rather then try and fix its problems in both major areas, it seemed like Bungie decided to just get rid of them all together.

However the first of the annual pass content. Black Armory, coming out later this year will usher in the return of the lost power weapon class, and Thunderlord is your sneak preview of that.

The Thunderlord can only be obtained by completing the Lost Cryptarch event which launched around Halloween. Talk to Amanda Holiday in the Shipyard if you haven’t started it up yet.

You have a few weeks to complete the quest in order to guarantee yourself one if you stick with it. If you end up skipping the quest when the event ends on Nov. 27, you’ll still be able to get Thunderlord via normal means. Also known as praying to the RNG gods. So you know what that means: go do that quest.

Ed has been a proud member of the Twinfinite staff since 2014. He plays everything on everything but is particularly fond of JRPGs, MMOs, and sports. He holds a B.A. in history and political science and a M.S. in education all from the University at Albany.

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Essential’s $149 magnetic dongle will bring back your headphone jack

Essential’s headphone adapter is expensive.Image: essentialBy Johnny Lieu2018-11-14 02:37:17 UTC We know, you miss your headphone jack. Like other smartphones, the Essential Phone has done away with the feature, but the company has just launched its long-touted external headphone adapter and DAC, which magnetically snaps on to the back of your phone. SEE ALSO: Apple…

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Essential’s $149 magnetic dongle will bring back your headphone jack
Essential's headphone adapter is expensive.
Essential’s headphone adapter is expensive.

Image: essential

2016%2f09%2f16%2fe7%2fhttpsd2mhye01h4nj2n.cloudfront.netmediazgkymde1lzex.0f9e7By Johnny Lieu

We know, you miss your headphone jack.

Like other smartphones, the Essential Phone has done away with the feature, but the company has just launched its long-touted external headphone adapter and DAC, which magnetically snaps on to the back of your phone.

SEE ALSO: Apple quietly releases USB-C to headphone jack dongle

And it ain’t cheap: The Audio Adapter HD will set you back an eye-watering $149.

To be fair, Essential’s adapter doesn’t claim to be like the other plasticky dongles, which are a fraction of the price.

Essential claims its titanium adapter “sports an audiophile-grade amp that can drive audiophile-grade headphones” thus providing “studio quality audio performance.” 

At the time of writing, the accessory has sold out, with stock to be replenished next week. It’s a different outcome to Essential’s first phone, the PH-1, which sold poorly following delays.

Still, Essential is reportedly working on a new phone which will be controlled entirely by your voice, which it is looking to unveil next year at CES. 

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