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Meta's VR OS Horizon Expands to Third-Party Headsets: Asus, Lenovo, Microsoft Onboard

+ 7 breaking tech stories.


Meta is pulling away from political engagement by reducing the visibility of politics-focused accounts and posts on Facebook and Instagram, and imposing new restrictions on political advertisers. This signifies a major departure from its previous role as a crucial tool in political campaigns and could potentially reshape future elections. Nevertheless, with political ads on social media projected to increase from $324 million in 2020 to $605 million in 2024, campaigns cannot afford to overlook Facebook. Both Democrats and Republicans are strategizing new ways to reach and influence voters amidst these changes.

Apple is reportedly advancing its AI strategy with a focus on on-device processing instead of cloud for its large language model. This move is different to Google and Microsoft's cloud-run models, but could enhance privacy. However, this could also potentially lead to performance issues due to the computational power required by the AI. The company's alleged approach aims to adapt language models for efficient smartphone operation with the company expected to reveal more in June at the WWDC event.

The European Union has launched a second probe into TikTok, this time focusing on the 'Lite' version of the app. The EU believes TikTok may be in breach of the Digital Services Act, due to concerns about the app's potentially addictive design and harmful impact on users' mental health. Possible penalties for violations could amount to up to 6% of TikTok’s global annual revenue. TikTok has until April 24 to counter the allegations.

Amazon is ceasing drone operations in its Lockeford, California location and refocusing on other markets. The tech giant plans to launch a new Prime Air location in Tolleson, Arizona, projecting for same-day deliveries in the West Valley Phoenix metro area. Amazon continues to test its latest MK30 drone, countering a backdrop of its delivery service falling behind competitors.

In a strategic move, Meta (formerly Facebook), has announced that its VR Operating System, known as Horizon OS, will support third-party devices, incluidng Asus, Lenovo, and Microsoft. Accordingly, Asus is developing a VR gaming headset, while Lenovo will focus on 'productivity, learning, and entertainment'. Meta's decision opens the door to a variety of 'Quest-like' headsets in the future.

Enthusiasm for Apple's $3,500 spatial computing device, the Vision Pro, has seen a significant dip since its U.S. debut in February 2024. Bloomberg reports declining demand for demos and sales, while frequent usage appears diminished thanks to complex setup procedures and lack of engaging content. Meanwhile, production may remain below 400,000 units in 2024, with a newer, affordable version slated for 2025.

Microsoft is developing an Artificial Intelligence (AI) application, VASA 1, capable of creating lifelike audio-synched visualizations of talking faces. An AI-rendered video of Mona Lisa rapping, created using this technology, has generated over seven million views. Despite the buzz, Microsoft has not announced a release date, citing concerns of potential misuse of this technology.

Apple has reportedly acquired French startup Datakalab, known for its expertise in artificial intelligence compression and computer vision. The acquisition aligns with Apple's future projections for AI in iOS 18. Notably, Datakalab's advanced technology and strict adherence to privacy could also enhance features like Photos and Face ID.

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