TechSummit Rewind #063

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.

Oculus Rift goes on sale at Best Buy later this week

Oculus Touch

The Oculus Rift is coming to retail stores this weekend, with 48 Best Buy locations across the U.S. beginning to offer demos and an “extremely limited” supply of Rifts for purchase on May 7. A small number will also be going on sale online through Amazon and the Microsoft Store, starting at 12 p.m. ET on May 6.

For those still waiting on Rift preorders, there’s a little hope: If you get a Rift retail unit, you can contact Oculus and get your preorder cancelled without losing any attendant benefits.

“We had always planned for retail to come after launch, but we pushed it out as far as we could extend our partnership with retailers. We also scaled units down to very small numbers until we catch up with preorders.

-An Oculus spokesperson

Potential visitors can search for participating locations online, where they can schedule demos up to a month in advance, and see a reel of Oculus’ Dreamdeck short experiences, and Crytek’s The Climb rock-climbing game.

Google Keyboard updated to v5.0 with one-handed mode, key borders, new gestures

Google Keyboard

Google Keyboard has bene updated to version 5.0 with UI tweaks, new gestures, layout changes, and a whole lot more.

Starting with the layout, the keyboard theme and layout have gotten a few tweaks, with the ability to show key boards on material light and dark. However, the old holo themes are gone in the update with key borders rendering them obsolete. The keyboard’s height can also be changed in settings.

Google also added a one-handed mode to the keyboard, accessible with a long-press on the comma on the search/enter button or in settings. The handedness of the keyboard can be changed with the arrow button, with another button switching it back to full-screen mode. The alt/number layout also has new buttons for quick access to the numpad and emoji keyboard on either side of the spacebar.

The gesture typing menu is the other big deal. By default, you’ll now see dynamic suggestions in the suggestion bar instead of floating along with your finger. The floating preview toggle is also gone. There’s a new gesture that deletes entire words with a swipe left from the delete key. Go slowly and words will be highlighted one at a time. Let go, and they’re gone. The new cursor control gesture lets you tap and drag left/right to move the cursor. Anything that pops up in the suggestion bar can be long-pressed and dragged to a trash can (above the keyboard) if you want to remove it.

The new version also has a nifty feature when logging into apps and websites. When you highlight a password field, the suggestion bar becomes a number row. There’s also full Unicode 9 support, which changes how emoji’s implemented. With the expanded Android N emoji, you’ll be able to long-press on certain emoji to get different skin color variations.

As usual, Google is rolling the update out in stages.

Nvidia settles with Samsung over graphics chips


Nvidia and Samsung have settled a patent dispute by agreeing to license a “small number of patents by each company to the other, but no broad cross-licensing of patents or other compensation,” according to a joint statement.

The agreement came hours before the International Trade Commission was set to announce its final decision in the Samsung-filed case, involving graphics chips. The case claimed that Nvidia’s Shield tablet infringed three tablets related to how the chips are made.

Google acquires Synergyse

Google Synergyse

Google has acquired Toronto-based startup Synergyse, which offers a Google Apps training service. The Synergize Training service will be integrated into Google Apps “later this year.”

Synergyze Training is a “virtual coach inside of the Google Apps interface, built on Google Cloud Platform.” The training will become available at no existing cost for all Google Apps users, with anyone being able to download its Chrome extension for free.

The program provides voice and text interactive modules, searchable by topic and directly available in Google’s apps. Because the trainings are hosted in the cloud, they are updated as new features roll out.

“By joining the Google Apps team, we can accelerate our mission because we will be working even closer with the teams that build Google Apps. Advancing our mission at a faster speed is very exciting for the Synergyse team and our customers will directly see the benefits as we move forward.”

-Synergyse CTO Alex Kennberg; Synergyse co-founders Varun Malhotra, Majid Manzarpour; in a blog post

Michael Dell reveals new Dell-EMC name


According to Michael Dell, Dell-EMC will be known as Dell Technologies.

The new name aims to “convey a sense of being a family of businesses and aligned capabilities,” according to Dell.

As far as family names go, I’m kind of attached to Dell.”

– Michael Dell, Dell CEO

The company will comprise brands including Dell, EMC Information Infrastructure, VMWare, Pivotal, RSA, and Virtustream.

The new company’s client services business will be branded Dell, according to Dell, with its combined enterprise business being touted as Dell EMC.

Microsoft sells 50% stake in Caradigm to GE


Microsoft is no longer investing in Bellevue, WA-based healthcare startup Caradigm, selling off its stake to General Electric.

The startup builds software that gives healthcare providers the ability to access, analyze, and act on data. The system works in conjunction with healthcare information exchanges across medical providers, and helps address broader population health.

Caradigm has over 200 customers, and is used in over 1,500 hospitals worldwide.

“This is an extraordinary time to be in healthcare and I am thrilled that Caradigm has the ability to innovate – hand-in-hand with our customers – to bring new ideas and solutions to the forefront, as the industry shifts to value-based care.”

-Neal Singh, Caradigm CEO

SoundCloud extends Go premium service to U.K., Ireland


SoundCloud Go has expanded to the United States and Ireland.

The premium service offers SoundCloud’s audio library free of advertising for £9.99 ($14.64) in the U.K. and €9.99 ($11.50) in Ireland.

“We are planning to roll out to multiple territories this year. We are looking at a couple of years to really take this to the whole world.”

-Eric Wahlforss; SoundCloud CTO, co-founder

Affirm acquires Sweep in play for financial planning services


Affirm, the San Francisco-based online lender started by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, has acquired the technology, staff, and assets of financial planning app Sweep.

According to Affirm growth and new markets VP Brad Selby, “everyone but one guy” on the five-person Sweep team would be joining the company. There are plans to launch an Affirm-branded Sweep app later this year, with the current app shutting down.

Oracle buys Opower for $532 million


Oracle plans to acquire software-as-a-service company Opower for $532 million.

Opower primarily sells customer engagement and energy efficiency cloud services to utilities, using big data analytics to comb through meter reads to help companies cut costs, engage with customers, and meet regulatory requirements.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s