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Meta Quest Pro Mixed Reality Headset With Outward Facing Cameras, Eye Tracking Sensors Launched: Details

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Meta Platforms unveiled its Quest Pro virtual and mixed reality headset on Tuesday, marking a milestone for Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s break into the higher-end market for extended reality computing devices.

The new headset, unveiled at Meta’s annual Connect conference, will hit shelves on October 25 at a price of $1,500 (roughly Rs. 1,23,400), and will offer consumers a way to interact with virtual creations overlaid onto a full-colour view of the physical world around them.

The launch is an important step for Zuckerberg, who last year announced plans for the device – then called Project Cambria – at the same time that he changed his company’s name from Facebook to Meta to signal his intention to refocus the social media giant into a company that operates a shared immersive computing experience known as the metaverse.

Zuckerberg has since poured billions of dollars into that vision. Reality Labs, the Meta unit responsible for bringing the metaverse to life, lost $10.2 billion (roughly Rs. 83,952 crore) in 2021 and has lost nearly $6 billion (roughly Rs. 49,387 crore) so far this year.

The Quest Pro features several upgrades over Meta’s existing Quest 2 headset, which overwhelmingly dominates the consumer virtual reality market.

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Most strikingly, it has outward-facing cameras that capture a sort of 3D livestream of the physical environment around a wearer, enabling mixed reality novelties like the ability to hang a virtual painting on a real-world wall or have a virtual ball bounce off a real table.

The Quest 2, by contrast, offers a more rudimentary grayscale version of this technology, called passthrough.

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The Quest Pro is lighter and slimmer than its predecessors, with thin pancake lenses and a relocated battery that sits at the back of the headset, distributing its weight more evenly while reducing overall bulk.

For fully immersive virtual reality, Meta has added tracking sensors to the Quest Pro that can replicate users’ eye movements and facial expressions, creating a sense that avatars are making eye contact.

Pitching productivity

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Meta is pitching the Quest Pro as a productivity device, aimed at designers, architects and other creative professionals.

In addition to offering its own Horizon social and workspace platforms, the company has also made virtual versions of Microsoft work products like Word, Outlook and Teams available.

At a preview of the device days before its launch, Meta gave reporters a glimpse of the type of user it had in mind by showcasing apps like Tribe XR, a virtual training environment for DJs learning how to use complex equipment.

Tribe XR is already available in virtual reality, but a demonstration showed how passthrough technology may enable DJs to use the app to play real-world gigs, as it means they can look out past their virtual equipment at actual partygoers.

Meta plans to sell the Quest Pro in consumer channels to start, while adding enterprise-level capabilities like mobile device management, authentication and premium support services next year, executives said at the press event.

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They said the device is intended to complement rather than replace the entry-level Quest 2, which sells for $399.99.

For now, that means the Quest Pro stops short of enabling the complex commercial applications Meta has suggested it wants its metaverse tech to support.

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The company is still working on a mixed reality experience for its Horizon Workrooms app that would make a person’s avatar appear to be present in a real-world conference room with other users, which it is calling Magic Rooms.

Still, the Quest Pro’s price point puts it well under the cost of existing enterprise-focused devices like Microsoft’s Hololens 2, which was released for commercial use in 2019 and is already present in operating rooms and on factory floors.

An entry-level Hololens 2 sells for $3,500 (roughly Rs. 2,88,000).

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© Thomson Reuters 2022


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What Are WhatsApp Polls and How Do You Use Them? All You Need to Know

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WhatsApp’s new features and updates which have rolled out over the past few months have made the messaging experience much better. Now, WhatsApp users can even create polls in personal and group chats to see what their friends and contacts think. Both iOS and Android users can use this feature. A poll could help take the opinions of group members on any topic or idea, or could be useful for making plans quickly. Just like your chats, the responses you send to a poll question will be protected by end-to-end encryption. At the moment, Telegram and Facebook Messenger allow group polls. You can easily start using this new WhatsApp feature on your smartphone.

Here is How to Create a WhatsApp Poll

Step 1: Update WhatsApp to the latest version

Step 2: Open the private or group chat in which you want to create a poll

Step 3: For Android, tap on the paper clip icon at the bottom of the screen. For iOS, select the plus (+) icon at the bottom of the screen.

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Step 4: Select ‘Poll’

Step 5: Type the question you want to ask, along with response options

Step 6: Finally, tap on ‘Send’ to share the poll

Up to twelve response options can be offered to recipients for each poll, and these are not time-bound. Users can also see the responses selected by others by tapping on ‘View votes’.

The Meta-owned messaging app has recently worked on several updates, rolling out new tools including the Call Link feature, the ability to message yourself, and Companion Mode. While some of these new features are not available to all users at the moment, WhatsApp does plan to make them accessible to everyone in the coming days. The most recent and talked-about feature apart from WhatsApp polls is Communities. These allow users to have separate groups under one “Community” to organize large conversations.

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“With Communities, we’re aiming to raise the bar for how organizations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else. The alternatives available today require trusting apps or software companies with a copy of their messages – and we think they deserve the higher level of security provided by end-to-end encryption,” stated WhatsApp in a blog post.

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Elon Musk Calls Donald Trump’s Twitter Ban ‘Grave Mistake’, Condemns Violence

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Twitter’s ban on then President Donald Trump after January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol by his supporters was a “grave mistake” that had to be corrected, Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Friday, although he also stated that incitement to violence would continue to be prohibited on Twitter.

“I’m fine with Trump not tweeting. The important thing is that Twitter correct a grave mistake in banning his account, despite no violation of the law or terms of service,” Musk said in a tweet. “Deplatforming a sitting President undermined public trust in Twitter for half of America.”

Last week, Musk announced the reactivation of Trump’s account after a slim majority voted in a Twitter poll in favor of reinstating Trump, who said, however, that he had no interest in returning to Twitter. He added he would stick with his own social media site Truth Social, the app developed by Trump Media & Technology Group.

Republican Trump, who 10 days ago announced he was running for election again in 2024, was banned on January 8, 2021, from Twitter under its previous owners.

At the time, Twitter said it permanently suspended him because of the risk of further incitement of violence following the storming of the Capitol. The results of the November 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden were being certified by lawmakers when the Capitol was attacked after weeks of false claims by Trump that he had won.

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Trump repeatedly used Twitter and other sites to falsely claim there had been widespread voter fraud, and had urged supporters to march on the Capitol in Washington to protest.

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The attack is being investigated by US prosecutors and a congressional committee.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday on Musk’s statement that Trump did not violate any Twitter terms of service when his account was suspended.

Earlier on Friday, Musk tweeted that calling for violence or incitement to violence on Twitter would result in suspension, after saying on Thursday that Twitter would provide a “general amnesty” to suspended accounts that had not broken the law or engaged in spam.

Replying to a tweet, Musk said it was “very concerning” that Twitter had taken no action earlier to remove some accounts related to the far-left Antifa movement. In response to another tweet asking if Musk considered the statement “trans people deserve to die” as worthy of suspension from the platform, the billionaire said: “Absolutely”.

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Change and chaos have marked Musk’s first few weeks as Twitter’s owner. He has fired top managers and it was announced that senior officials in charge of security and privacy had quit.

© Thomson Reuters 2022


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WhatsApp Reportedly Testing Voice Status Update for iOS Beta: All Details

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WhatsApp, the Meta-owned instant messaging app, is reportedly working on a feature that will let iOS users share voice notes in their status updates. As of now, the users can only share pictures, videos and links in their WhatsApp status. However, once the new feature will be rolled out, WhatsApp users on iOS will be reportedly able to share voice notes or voice clips as well in their status updates on the app. According to the report, the messaging platform is testing the feature on iOS Beta for an upcoming update.

According to a report by WhatsApp development tracker WABetaInfo, WhatsApp users on iOS will be able to share a voice note of up to 30 seconds alongside text in their status updates, similar to what they can currently do in a WhatsApp chat.

The report has also shared a screengrab of the same, hinting at the upcoming feature, which shows a microphone icon on the bottom of the text status.

WhatsApp on iOS users will be required to click on the microphone icon and record their voice to upload it as their status update. They can even add text to it, if needed. It is worth noting that the voice status updates will only be shared with the people selected in the privacy settings. Also, these voice notes will always be end-to-end encrypted.

Not only iOS, but this ability is said to be also being tested in WhatsApp beta for Android’s upcoming update. As of now, this feature is still under development, so it would be very early to say anything.

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Meanwhile, WhatsApp recently rolled out WhatsApp Polls to users on both Android and iOS. The Polls feature was introduced alongside ‘Communities’, a feature that allows users to have separate groups under one umbrella to organise group conversations. WhatsApp Polls lets users create polls within the group with the ability to vote. Facebook Messenger and Telegram currently allow users to add group polls. WhatsApp’s poll feature will be protected by end-to-end encryption.

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