The Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch are getting a big (but temporary) price drop: for the next six weeks, the VR headset and motion controller bundle will sell for $399, nearly a $200 discount to the normal price. It’s part of Oculus’ summer-long attempt to promote the Rift, now that it’s been out for over a year. According to Oculus VP of content Jason Rubin, the sale is meant to draw people who “may have been sitting on the sideline because of price,” and entice people who may not have been considering the Rift to look at its growing app and game library.
The summer sale follows a permanent price drop this spring, when the Rift and Touch each got $100 cheaper. (This new sale doesn’t affect buying them individually — the Rift alone will still be $499, and Touch $99.) Echoing what we heard back then, Rubin promises that the current-generation Rift is still far from the end of its lifespan. “Somebody who goes out and buys a Rift [on sale] is not going to find themselves with hardware that’s outdated any time soon,” he says. “The Rift is going to be driving a lot of enjoyment for people for many years.”
Rubin says that’s because “the hardware is not holding up VR adoption. It’s price and content, and now that we’ve kind of gotten to the point where we feel comfortable with content, we’re continuing to attack price.”
Buyers will still need a gaming computer to use the Rift, and there’s no bundle discount for them as part of this sale. However, Rubin notes that the price of an Oculus-approved PC has dropped steadily over the past year, especially after Oculus introduced a lower minimum specification — you can now get one for around $650. (The Rift also works with some gaming laptops now, which also makes it more appealing to people who have more money but don’t want a desktop.) “The PC is very quickly not becoming the expensive part of the VR equation,” he says. “And we want to make sure that the VR hardware itself isn’t an expensive part of the equation. So we’re headed toward mass-market pricing.”
Google on the eve of I/O 2019 announced the Play Award winners to celebrate the top Android apps and games. The nominees in nine categories were unveiled late last month, with the ceremony this evening in Mountain View, California.
There are nine categories with criteria factoring overall quality, strong design, technical performance, and innovation. The nominees were first selected by various teams across Google. Winners during the May 6th event also received a silver Play trophy, and are featured on the Play Store.
We’re sharing the winners that rose to the top for providing the best experiences for fans, making an impact on their communities and raising the bar for quality content on Google Play.
Standout Well-Being App
Apps empowering people to live the best version of their lives, while demonstrating responsible design and engagement strategies.
Look closely at the picture above, and you can see a small bulge right on the crease of my Galaxy Fold review unit. It’s just enough to slightly distort the screen, and I can feel it under my finger. There’s something pressing up against the screen at the hinge, right there in the crease. My best guess is that it’s a piece of debris, something harder than lint for sure. It’s possible that it’s something else, though, like the hinge itself on a defective unit pressing up on the screen.
It’s a distressing thing to discover just two days after receiving my review unit. More distressing is that the bulge eventually pressed sharply enough into the screen to break it. You can see the telltale lines of a broken OLED converging on the spot where the bulge is.
Whatever happened, it certainly wasn’t because I have treated this phone badly. I’ve done normal phone stuff, like opening and closing the hinge and putting it in my pocket. We did stick a tiny piece of molding clay on the back of the phone yesterday to prop it up for a video shoot, which is something we do in every phone video shoot. So perhaps a tiny piece of that snuck into a gap on the back of the hinge and then around or through its cogs until it lodged in between the screen and the hinge. It’d be sort of like Charlie Chaplin getting caught in the gears in Modern Times.
Or maybe something got in another one of the little gaps somewhere else. Or maybe it was pieces from the hinge itself breaking loose and working their way up into the screen. I don’t know. I just know that the screen is broken, and there was no obvious proximate cause for the bulge that broke it. I certainly haven’t used it on a beach or shook it in a bag of chips or anything wild. Just normal use.I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED; I JUST KNOW THE SCREEN IS BROKEN
We’ve seen worries about scratches on expensive phones and debris breaking the keyboard on expensive MacBooks, but a piece of debris distorting the screen on a $1,980 phone after one day of use feels like it’s on an entirely different level.
I reached out to Samsung right away to get a statement, but it took about 24 hours for the company to put one together. Here it is, and the gist is that Samsung is looking into our unit and also warning users not to try to peel off the protective layer on the top of the screen.
Also, I have, however, received a replacement review unit from Samsung. I think the first one is on a jet to South Korea for Samsung’s engineers to take apart and diagnose.
By the way, it appears I’m not the only reviewing the phone who has had a problem with the screen. Here’s Steve Kovach:
Mark Gurman of Bloomberg also broke his, but that’s perhaps because he removed a protective layer that looks like a screen protector, but definitely isn’t meant to be removed.
And here’s Marques “MKBHD” Brownlee confirming he, too, had to get a replacement unit after peeling off the outer layer (which, again, wasn’t our issue):
It looks like retail units of the Galaxy Fold will include a warning about not removing the protective layer, but review units don’t seem to have included this one:
Like everybody else, I said in my original hands-on with the Galaxy Fold that I absolutely am able to see the crease between the two sides of the screen. But when I’m using the phone, I don’t actually notice it much. It’s easy to talk about it as a small first-generation compromise you have to make for what is otherwise a wonder of engineering: a tablet that folds in half.
I took a photo in my hotel room when the bulge first appeared. The next morning, that same bulge finally broke the screen.
Another thing people are worried about is the plastic screen scratching or picking up nicks easily. There are already a couple of minor dings on my unit, but they’re minor enough that I didn’t see them until our photographer zoomed way in to show them to me. If you look closely at the edges of the screen, there’s a sort of built-in screen protector on the front of the device. Samsung calls it a “polymer layer.” It is not designed to be removed. (Please don’t try it if you get your hands on a Fold.)
But while the crease and the nicks feel like compromises you could live with, a mysterious bulge that breaks the screen is something else entirely — especially one that appears just a day after pretty normal use. It’s a problem that is unacceptable on a phone that costs this much.
Every phone with movable parts is going to have more points of failure than a fully sealed, static phone. So it’s natural to say that you need to treat it with more care than usual. Before I saw this bulge, my impression was that this phone was much more durable than I expected. The hinge always felt solid and well-built. That impression of (relative) durability is obviously as broken as the flexing screen now.
If I’m right and it’s debris, it means that not only do you need to treat your phone with care, but you also have to worry about stuff getting in underneath the screen. If I’m wrong and it’s some kind of defect in the hardware, well… then we’re in entirely different territory. Either way: yikes.
Hopefully Samsung lets us know the results after it takes my original review unit apart to see what happened.
Apple is discounting the iPhone XR by a massive 22% from Friday.
Apple is kicking off a massive discount on the iPhone XR in India that will bring the device down to just ₹59,900 ($870). That’s a staggering ₹17,000 ($250) discount from the phone’s retail price of ₹76,900 ($1,120). What makes this particular deal even better is that HDFC is getting in on the action, offering an additional 10% cashback on top of the discounted price.
That effectively brings the price of the 64GB iPhone XR down to just ₹53,900 ($780), which is a fabulous deal. The promotional price extends to all three variants of the iPhone XR, and you’ll similarly be able to avail the HDFC cashback on all three models. The deal will go live from Friday, April 5, and will be valid until stocks last.
Here’s the breakdown of the new pricing:
For HDFC customers
iPhone XR (64GB)
iPhone XR (128GB)
iPhone XR (256GB)
The HDFC cashback is valid for both debit and credit card holders, and if you don’t have an eligible card yet, you can pick one up to avail the discount on the iPhone XR. I’m partial to the Regalia for the airline benefits and low markup on international spends.
This is Apple’s most aggressive move yet in the Indian market, and it’s clear that the company is positioning the iPhone XR against Samsung’s Galaxy S10e, which retails for ₹55,900 ($810). The discount will be a huge driver for iPhone XR sales in the country, and should give Apple some much-needed momentum in the premium segment.