Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey parts with Facebook after rocky tenure

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One of the central figures in the now burgeoning field of virtual reality, Palmer Luckey, has decided to part with his new employer, Facebook, after just one year.

Like any good tech entrepreneur, Luckey pieced together the first Oculus Rift headsets in his parent’s garage, and from there developed, promoted and toured the tech until Facebook snapped up the company in 2014 for $2 billion.

However, he got tripped up by politics in the run-up to the 2016 election when he at first denied and then admitted to funding a pro-Trump troll group called Nimble America. The revelation roiled the Oculus group just as the first headsets were coming to market, and he was also a focus in the Zenimax lawsuit that resulted in a half-billion dollar settle against Facebook, $50 million of which came out of Luckey’s pocket.

Don’t cry too much for the 24-year-old VR icon, though, as estimates put his net worth at close to $750 million. Where he’ll end up next is the real question of the day.

“Edition” = bring money

OK, are you feeling fully informed about the new Samsung Galaxy S8? No? Well hit the link for a full roundup, and then turn your attention to the next big smartphone event, because Apple’s big new iPhone reveal is just 5 months away!

Hot on the heels of Samsung’s big show, fresh rumors are swirling about the 10th anniversary iPhone, which iDrop News claims a Foxconn insider told them will be called the iPhone Edition. That makes sense for a halo phone, because you can just keep on improving it rather and never have to rename it. IDrop News also mocked up some renders according to their new information, and one key change they claim to have seen is a vertically stacked dual camera.

Why vertical? Apparently, that will work better with VR and/or AR features on the phone. Additionally, iDrop says the fingerprint sensor will move to the back of the phone since the front will ALSO feature dual cameras for facial recognition and other functions. The OLED display goes edge to edge horizontally, but small bezels cap the top and bottom. Look familiar? Also, the Foxconn source said the back of the phone will be metal, and not glass.

One thing we do know is that the iPhone Edition specs are likely finalized by now so work on actually making the phones can begin so there’s stock on hand for the expected September release.

Is there a good story in the Shell?

Hey it’s Friday, which is movie night, and today’s big opening is the live –action version of the anime classic Ghost in the Shell, starring Scarlett Johansen. The movie has been dogged by criticism over Johansen’s casting in a role many thought should have gone to an Asian actor, but the creator of Ghost reportedly signed off on the choice so, hey, let’s move on to whether it’s going to be a good movie.

The plot surrounds Johansens’s character, called Major, who’s a cyber-terrorist hunting cyborg with a human brain looking for a hacker out trying to mess with a powerful AI run by a robotics company. Doesn’t get much more anime than that. The movie’s effects look insane of course, we’ll have to see if the story holds up. Our TV and movie podcast Between the Streams will have more on Ghost in the Shell later today, se be sure to catch that.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.


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