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Tech News Today for July 13, 2017

Tech News for Thursday July 13, 2017

Sources tell Marc Gurman from Bloomberg that Facebook will release a $200 Wireless Oculus VR Headset next year. That's right, wireless — meaning it won't be tethered to a PC or a phone. The device, code-named Pacific will look like the Rift, but will reportedly be lighter and be able to handle graphics better than Samsung Gear VR headset since it will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon mobile processor. Gurman says the new device will not have positional tracking. Oculus told TechCrunch that they don't have a device to unveil at this time, but they confirmed investments in the standalone VR category. Read more at bloomberg.com. 

In other "according to people familiar with the matter" news, Engadget's Devindra Hardiwar's sources say Amazon is working on a competitor to Apple's yet-to-be released HomePod. The upgraded Amazon Echo will reportedly feature a cloth covering, better sound, and an improved microphone. Hardiwar says it will be slimmer and taller, about the size of four Echo Dots piled on top of one another. Read more at engadget.com.

Axios reports that Dev Bootcamp, one of the first coding schools, is going under. The school was founded in 2012 in San Francisco and acquired by test prep company Kaplan in 2014. In a Facebook post, Dev Bootcamp, which had grown to locations is 6 cities, wrote that their business model was unsustainable. The company is often credited with rethinking traditional education models and will be missed by many. Read more at axios.com.

We're always in search of a bigger better battery for our cell phone, while keeping our devices thin and light. But what if the best battery for a cell phone is no battery at all? Researchers at University of Washington have created the first battery-less cell phone that works by harvesting ambient power from radio signals and light using tiny photo diodes. It includes capacitive touch buttons and sends the call through Skype. You're not going to be streaming Netflix in HD on this device anytime soon. It consumes only microwatts of energy at a time. Read more at washington.edu.

If you're not planning on giving up your iPhone for the battery-free phone, then you'll be happy to know that we have some more iPhone rumors for you — and they involve lasers! Sources tell Fast Company that Apple is working on a rear-facing 3D laser for AR and Autofocus to be attached to the back of one of the three iPhones that Apple will announce this fall. Fast Company says Apple engineers are working on the new laser system as fast as they can, but it might not be ready until the 2018 phones. When it is available it will be used for the 3D selfie effects that make Snapchat so popular as well as facial recognition for authentication purposes. Read more at fastcompany.com.

Jason Howell is out today, so Megan Morrone is joined by Mikah Sargent. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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