Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch iOS compatible Soon

CES brings wonderful news each year, and 2016 is no exception.  It was announced today that the Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch will be iOS compatible later this year.

Samsung’s VP Alana Cotton stated that Samsung “plans to add iOS compatibility to Gear S2’s feature set later this year”.  Unfortunately, no specific date or time period was given.

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The Gear S2 is actually powered by the Tizen operating system, made by Samsung.  While Tizen is similar to Android Wear, it remains to be seen if Google will release an app to allow their array of watches to be compatible with iOS.

Currently the Gear S2 can only sync up with Android phones.  With iOS capability, it will give iPhone users the opportunity to use the Gear S2 if they are left disappointed with the current apple watch.  Surprisingly there are people that have an iPhone that would like variety.
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Last August, the Gear S2 was introduced to the masses.  It sports a round-face, similar to that of Motorola’s Moto 360, and has a rotating knob like Apple’s watch.  The Tizen operating system includes fitness tracking, heart rate monitor and alerts.  It also has Samsung Pay for purchases on the go.  That poses an interesting question, if you have an iPhone and a Gear S2 Smartwatch, which pay system would you prefer?  Would you use Apple pay with you iPhone?  Or would you bust out the watch and use Samsung Pay?  This could cause a headache for users to setup 2 separate payment methods with their gadgets.

 

It will be interesting to see if Samsung creates an app for the iOS.  I think it is great that the two large companies are starting to overlap.  The ability to choose any watch regardless of your phone is a win for the consumer.

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CES also revealed a rose gold platinum color that seems to be all the rage this year.

Your Computer isn’t Fast Enough for Virtual Reality

The Oculus Rift headset is tested by attendees at the Eurogamer Expo at Earls Court in London.

Well 2016 is upon us.  The most anticipated technology for the year is virtual reality.  Several different headsets are coming out.  Read our review for Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard.

Before you get excited about buying a headset, just remember that a computer or smart phone needs to accompany the device.

Thankfully, most people have a smartphone.  Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard simply need your current compatible phone to work with.  The gear VR is about $100 USD and the cardboard is about $20 dollars.  Sony’s Playstation VR is set to be about the price of a current generation console, on top of that, you’ll need to have a playstation 4, which goes for about $350, so for the full sony VR package, you’re looking at around 700-800 USD just to get started.Oculus2

The tricky part comes when you start looking at Oculus Rift or Steam’s new contender.  The Oculus Rift is expected to go on pre-order this Wednesday.  So far, a set price has not been set.

According to Bloomberg, only thirteen million personal computers in the world this year will have the graphics power needed to run virtual reality.  That’s only one percent of the 1.43 billion personal computers that are currently in use in 2016.   Looks like I’ll have to throw out that old iMac in the living room and get something with a bit more power.

How much will you have to spend to get a computer capable of running Oculus rifts new games with a descent frame rate?  The problem is, it needs more than 2x the power because it needs to render 2 different 3D environments for your two eyes.

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Facebook now recommends that Oculus Rift owners have a computer with an Nvidia GeForce 970 or AMD Radeon 290 graphics card. Each costs of these cards costs at least $300, which is basically the same price as an Xbox One or PlayStation 4. While the graphics card is the big-ticket item, the Oculus Rift will also require more powerful processors, including an Intel i5-class processor, more than 8 gigabytes of memory, and two USB 3.0 ports.

Normal PC games run at around 30 frames per second.  Researchers have found that at least 90 frames per minute are needed to avoid dizziness and nausea.  Basically that means you will need at least a $1,500 laptop to run virtual reality.

Console:                                                   Cost:

Playstation VR with Playstation           About $650

Oculus Rift with laptop                          About $1800

Samsung Gear VR with phone              About $750

After reviewing the costs and the complications, it seems like Sony has the best option.  I’m not sure how smooth, or how complex the games could possibly be on a Samsung phone.  I think the playstation 4 will be able to deliver enough graphics and an unbeatable price point.

Which system are you looking to buy?