Strategy Analytics latest data on the VR headset market shows a decline in annual hardware revenues for the first time. As data in the VR Headset Forecast by Price Tier shows, this revenue decline is confined to the low-value segment, where Google’s Cardboard and Daydream products are losing traction. The VR Headset Forecast by Device Type shows continued growth in the Console and PC-tethered VR segments. Sony, Facebook (Oculus) and HTC are the big winners by revenue, as tracked in the VR Headset Platform Share data.
In 2018 VR hardware revenues declined slightly to $1.8B from $1.9B in 2017. The decline in shipments was much more dramatic, shrinking over 50% from 31m units in 2017 to only 15m units in 2018. Driving these changes is the evaporation of the market for low-cost VR headsets such as Google Cardboard, Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.
David MacQueen, Executive Director of Strategy Analytics’ VAR (Virtual and Augmented Reality) research program commented on the causes of this decline: “Brands and marketing agencies have transitioned budgets away from VR towards novel AR services such as Snapchat, so the giveaways of Cardboard headsets by brands such as the New York Times and McDonald’s have halted. Samsung and other vendors have largely ceased bundling VR headsets with smartphone sales. However, our research shows that consumers who have tried VR really enjoy the experience, and are seeking out higher-quality experiences with better headsets. The simple devices helped to drive demand, but their time is coming to an end. This is reflected in Google’s market share, which has dropped from a market-leading 21% in 2017 to 11% in 2018.
“The real winners in 2018 and 2019 have come from the higher price tier, higher-quality VR headset market segments, primarily those that are PC- or Console-tethered. Sony’s PSVR headset is continuing to sell well, and its position as the leading hardware vendor will be helped by the news that the PS5 will support the headset, removing fears of compatibility issues with next-generation consoles. HTC and Facebook continue to split the PC segment, which is expanding beyond consumer into enterprise markets, mainly around the design, training and education use cases. These segments will help drive growth in 2019 and beyond.”
David Kerr, VP at Strategy Analytics, says: “The data reflects a turbulent year for VR and a market in transition. With multiple carriers globally looking to VR as one of the use cases to demonstrate the potential of 5G networks, using VR as a marketing tool for 5G can be challenging. The right market entry strategy could define the winners and losers when it comes to VR and 5G.”
ASUS puts more screen into gaming
While others battle over the thinnest bezel for maximizing screen space, ASUS released a dual screen laptop that uses the space where one’s palms would usually rest, writes BRYAN TURNER
When one imagines dual screen, it’s usually two screens side-by-side on a desk, providing a horizontally long desktop experience. There have been clunky dual screen laptops in the past, some that folded out horizontally, but these never really caught the attention of the consumer.
Enter Asus with the ROG Zephyrus Duo 15. Like the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo, the ROG Zephyrus Duo features two screens – the main screen on the top panel (as we’re all used to) and another screen just below that, where the top of the keyboard would usually be. The main difference is the secondary screen pops out at a 13-degree angle to bridge the gap between the two screens, and to give better viewing angles.
That ZenBook Pro Duo is also a pretty good machine for gaming, because it features Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, but it doesn’t have the latest graphics. With the new machine, Asus is one of the first manufacturers to release a laptop featuring Nvidia’s latest RTX 2080 Super Max Q GPU for mobile devices. This is a momentous feat, considering that not only are the external features cutting edge, but also the internals.
The main panel is configured to be either 4K 60Hz or 1080p 300Hz. The former is most likely going to be picked up by video editors and photoshop gurus, because it covers 100% of the Adobe RBG colour space, and the latter will appeal to gamers who want to see their high frame rates in action. Both panels are Pantone Colour Calibrated for high colour accuracy.
The secondary panel features a 32:9 resolution, which is equal to putting two standard 16:9 widescreen panels together. The touchscreen panel outputs a 3840 x 1100 resolution at 60Hz.
The combination of these panels will be ideal for portable gamers. The main game can be on the main panel, while Discord and game streaming software can be on the secondary panel, all at a glance. Not to mention the game developers that have support for two screens, where the second screen highlights stats and other components that had to be crammed into the main screen’s space.
On the inside, the laptop features liquid metal cooling, which lowers the temperatures by 8°C and allows the computer to function with less fan noise. Asus has also slipped some very interesting cooling tech behind the secondary panel, when it pops open, to maximise airflow into the computer from both the bottom and the top of the device.
The laptop features the biggest battery Asus has yet put in a computer, at 90Wh. This is incredibly close to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA’s) limit of 100Wh batteries being allowed on flights to the US. Fortunately, this computer can be taken around the world if necessary.
These computers will come in two variants of 10th Generation Intel processors, namely the i9-10980HK or i7-10875H. They support up to 2 M.2 NVMe PCIE 3 slots for SSDs.
The new ROG gaming range from Asus will be available later this year. The price of the computer has not yet been confirmed
Vodacom, Discovery launch free virtual COVID-19 tests
Vodacom and Discovery have teamed up to launch free virtual COVID-19 testing for all South Africans – not only for their customers.
Vodacom and Discovery have partnered to deliver a powerful online healthcare platform for the benefit of all South Africans during the COVID-19 pandemic. This platform provides easy access to a COVID-19 risk tool for all South Africans, to help understand your personal risk for COVID-19. Where needed, it assists immediately to schedule virtual healthcare professional consultations and get advice.
Globally, telemedicine has proved to be vital in the management of this disease, with many governments and healthcare systems advocating for digital healthcare tools and virtual consults to be the first step and primary means of healthcare support during the COVID-19 outbreak. The risk assessment and virtual healthcare tools can help to identify people who need health professional engagement and a potential referral for testing or to a hospital.
The online healthcare platform therefore makes it possible for South Africans to access a healthcare professional without them having to travel to a healthcare facility.
This reduces overcrowding at clinics and doctors’ rooms where there is greater risk of the virus spreading. It also protects healthcare professionals from potential repeated exposure to COVID-19.
It is free to use and available on any web browser or mobile phone to facilitate a full consultation with a doctor, either through video calls, voice calls, or by text. The service can be accessed by visiting either the Discovery or Vodacom websites. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
Through a partnership with Vodacom, Discovery’s existing DrConnect platform, which was previously available only to Discovery clients, is now accessible to all South Africans. Vodacom and Discovery have also jointly created a fund to pay doctors for approximately 100,000 consultations, making them free to any South African.
There are seven easy steps to use an online doctor consultation:
- Start the process by visiting Discovery’s COVID-19 information hub or Vodacom’s website. Members of Discovery Health Medical Scheme can access the service through the Discovery app. Vodacom customers can get additional information and do a self-assessment via USSD by dialling *111#.
- Utilise the COVID-19 self-screening risk assessment tool, by answering a few easy questions.
- If you are confirmed as high risk of having COVID-19, a short registration and consent process on the DrConnect app will follow.
- Book a virtual consultation with a doctor who is available to assess the need for COVID-19 testing.
- If the doctor recommends testing, a photo of the completed pathology form will be sent to you by SMS, WhatsApp or email. The same process will apply to scripts for medicine.
- Testing and collecting of medicine will be facilitated by the relevant essential healthcare service providers that you must visit.
- Doctors will receive test results electronically and can then advise if you should schedule follow-up appointments to discuss results and next steps.
The Vodacom COVID-19 information hub contains other up-to-date information for consumers about COVID-19.
With virtual consultations, the location of the doctor or the location of the patient will not restrict access to fast and effective healthcare. All doctors can register to help.