Photo Credit: Facebook

Moshi’s Week in Tech: Brave New Virtual Reality

Virtual reality, or VR, captured everyone’s attention with a single photo of Mark Zuckerberg this week. In this edition of Moshi’s Week in Tech we report on the rise of virtual reality and some helpful smartphone battery life tips.

Is 2016 The Year Virtual Reality Takes Over?

Last week, Mark Zuckerberg walked one step further into the history books with an iconic image the internet will not soon forget. As Mobile World Congress 2016 attendees were all wearing their VR headsets, the Facebook CEO snuck past the audience to take the stage to speak about the future of virtual reality.

Photo Credit: Facebook

Photo Credit: Facebook

The photo has caused quite a wide variety of reactions. Mashable found it “disturbingly Orwellian.” Some compared it to the dystopian sci-fi movie The Matrix. Some applauded the photo as a sign of progress. But for CNET’s Jeff Bakalar, this viral photo was ultimately “bad for business” as it plays into VR fear-mongering – that we are all going to turn into braindead VR headset wearing zombies. Regardless of how you feel about the photo though, it seems like 2016 might be the year virtual reality does actually take off (or, according to Engadget, at least it is here to stay).

Aside from Zuckerberg’s speech at MWC, VR was in full force at the event. Samsung debuted its complete VR solution Gear VR, HTC showed off its HTC Vive, and LG among other companies exhibited their VR product offerings. With the first Oculus Rift shipments going out on March 28, HTC Vive launching on March 1, and Samsung’s Gear VR already available, consumers around the world are finally beginning to play with this new immersive technology.

While we all might be wearing VR headsets sometime in the future, right now we could use some helpful battery tips to get the most out of the smartphones in our pockets.

Photo Credit: Minh Uong

Photo Credit: Minh Uong

Tips & Myths About Smartphone Battery Life

This week, The New York Times and The Wirecutter combined forces for an extensive article diving deep into tips and myths about extending your smartphone battery life. Here are some of the best tips from that article that you should try out for yourself:

  • Use auto-brightness so that your phone can automatically adjust the screen’s brightness and save a decent amount of battery life.
  • Email push notifications are “power hogs”, so turn them off to lighten the energy load.
  • Play downloaded music instead of streaming it. Your phone won’t have to reach out to the cloud to stream the music, so less work means more power.
  • In areas with poor reception, go into airplane mode. Your phone has to work harder to find a signal in areas with poor reception, so let it take a quick nap if you know you are in the middle of nowhere.
  • Check your battery usage lists to see what apps are using the most battery, and consider disabling the background activities of some of the more power hungry apps.
  • Disable unnecessary location tracking. Fitness or location-based apps may be using your GPS, Wi-Fi and phone sensors frequently, and that’s asking a lot of your device.
  • Disable push notifications or app alerts to save precious battery. Notifications require almost constant communication with servers, which activates your phone even when it might not necessarily be in use.

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