Meta’s own store has leaked the Meta Quest 3S – which could be the cheap VR headset you’ve been waiting for

We might know the name of Meta’s next VR headset, as its own store has leaked the existence of the Meta Quest 3S.

Rumors have been swirling for some time that Meta is working on a cheaper version of the Meta Quest 3 – which has been called both the Meta Quets 3S and Meta Quest 3 Lite by people claiming to be in the know. The most recent leak revealed that it’s essentially the Quest 3’s brain (the Snapdragon XR2 Gen 2 chipset) inside the Quest 2’s bulkier body.

It seemed likely Meta might want to launch a cheaper VR headset, as the Quest 3 is a lot pricier than the old Oculus Quest 2. We think it’s worth the added cost, but it comes in at $ 499 / £479 / AU$ 799 instead of the $ 299 / £299 / AU$ 479 the 2 was at launch (and the $ 199.99 / £199.99 / AU$ 359.99 it is currently) which is a fairly hefty price increase.

Now Meta has all but confirmed the Meta Quest 3S is on the way by listing it as one of its headsets in the Quest Store.

The Alo Moves Quest Store page with the Meta Quest 3S name listed

(Image credit: Future / Meta / Alo Moves)

First spotted by UploadVR (and we’ve verified it), if you head to the Alo Moves XR page you’ll see that the app “Supports Meta Quest 3S, Meta Quest 3, Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2.” Upload VR says it also appears on several other store pages – suggesting it’s not simply an error on the Alo Moves developer’s part – but we’ve not been able to spot it on any of the ones we’ve looked through. 

It’s possible many of these pages have already spotted and fixed the mistake, and we expect the Alo Moves reference to the 3S will disappear soon too.

Either way, this is as close to an official confirmation as we’ll get until Meta makes a proper announcement – something we had expected would happen soon as part of this year’s Meta Quest Gaming Showcase, a gaming-focused event that usually lands in June or July.

That official announcement is still going to be important as while this leak does seemingly confirm a Meta Quest 3S is on its way, it doesn’t tell us any details about what we can expect from the device. Yes, leaks have strongly hinted at a more affordable XR device but we won’t know for sure until we hear the details from Meta directly.

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OpenAI’s new Sora video is an FPV drone ride through the strangest TED Talk you’ve ever seen – and I need to lie down

OpenAI's new Sora text-to-video generation tool won't be publicly available until later this year, but in the meantime it's serving up some tantalizing glimpses of what it can do – including a mind-bending new video (below) showing what TED Talks might look like in 40 years.

To create the FPV drone-style video, TED Talks worked with OpenAI and the filmmaker Paul Trillo, who's been using Sora since February. The result is an impressive, if slightly bewildering, fly-through of futuristic conference talks, weird laboratories and underwater tunnels.

The video again shows both the incredible potential of OpenAI Sora and its limitations. The FPV drone-style effect has become a popular one for hard-hitting social media videos, but it traditionally requires advanced drone piloting skills and expensive kit that goes way beyond the new DJI Avata 2.

Sora's new video shows that these kind of effects could be opened up to new creators, potentially at a vastly lower cost – although that comes with the caveat that we don't yet know how much OpenAI's new tool itself will cost and who it'll be available to.

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But the video (above) also shows that Sora is still quite far short of being a reliable tool for full-blown movies. The people in the shots are on-screen for only a couple of seconds and there's plenty of uncanny valley nightmare fuel in the background.

The result is an experience that's exhilarating, while also leaving you feeling strangely off-kilter – like touching down again after a sky dive. Still, I'm definitely keen to see more samples as we hurtle towards Sora's public launch later in 2024.

How was the video made?

A video created by OpenAI Sora for TED Talks

(Image credit: OpenAI / TED Talks)

OpenAI and TED Talks didn't go into detail about how this specific video was made, but its creator Paul Trillo recently talked more broadly about his experiences of being one of Sora's alpha tester.

Trillo told Business Insider about the kinds of prompts he uses, including “a cocktail of words that I use to make sure that it feels less like a video game and something more filmic”. Apparently these include prompts like “35 millimeter”, “anamorphic lens”, and “depth of field lens vignette”, which are needed or else Sora will “kind of default to this very digital-looking output”.

Right now, every prompt has to go through OpenAI so it can be run through its strict safeguards around issues like copyright. One of Trillo's most interesting observations is that Sora is currently “like a slot machine where you ask for something, and it jumbles ideas together, and it doesn't have a real physics engine to it”.

This means that it's still a long way way off from being truly consistent with people and object states, something that OpenAI admitted in an earlier blog post. OpenAI said that Sora “currently exhibits numerous limitations as a simulator”, including the fact that “it does not accurately model the physics of many basic interactions, like glass shattering”.

These incoherencies will likely limit Sora to being a short-form video tool for some time, but it's still one I can't wait to try out.

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Two Windows 11 apps are being ditched – one you might miss, and another you’ve probably forgotten about

Microsoft is dropping two of the core apps which are installed with Windows 11 by default.

As of Windows 11 preview build 26020 (which has just been unleashed in the Canary channel), the WordPad and People apps have been given the elbow.

Although technically, while the People app itself is being dispensed with, that’s because its functionality (or at least much of it) is being transferred to Outlook for Windows, the new default mailbox app for Windows 11 devices (as of the start of 2024).

In short, you’ll still get the People app (contacts) in that mailbox client, but there’ll no longer be an actual People application that can be fired up separately.

WordPad, on the other hand, is being completely dispensed with, or rather it will be when the changes made in this preview build come to the release version of Windows 11.

Going forward from then, any clean installation of Windows 11 won’t have WordPad, and eventually, this app will be removed when users upgrade to a new version of Microsoft’s OS.

You won’t be able to reinstall WordPad once it has gone, either, so this will be a final farewell to the application, which was marked as a deprecated feature back in September 2023.

Also in build 26020, a raft of additions for Voice Access have strengthened Windows 11 on the accessibility front (as seen elsewhere in testing last month).On top of that, Narrator now has natural voices for 10 new locales (in preview), and that includes English (UK) and English (India), as well as the following: Chinese, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Mexico), Japanese, French, Portuguese, German and Korean.

Furthermore, when the energy saver feature is enabled on a desktop PC (a machine that’s plugged in, rather than running on battery), a new icon is present in the system tray (far-right of the taskbar) to indicate it’s running and saving you a bit of power.

For the full list of changes, check out Microsoft’s blog post for the build.


Analysis: Word up

One thing to clarify here is not to confuse WordPad with Notepad, or Microsoft Word for that matter.

Word is the heavyweight word processor in Microsoft 365 (the suite formerly known as Office), and not a default app. Both WordPad and Notepad are currently default apps in Windows 11, but Notepad is staying firmly put – indeed Microsoft is busy improving this piece of software (adding an autosave feature most recently).

Notepad remains a useful and highly streamlined, much-liked app for jotting notes and the like, whereas WordPad is kind of a ‘lite’ version of Word, and as such a bit more complex in nature (but not anything like a full-on effort such as Word).

WordPad sort of falls between stools a little in that respect, and another reason Microsoft may have decided to drop the app is due to potential security risks (or that was a theory floating around last year, when the software was deprecated).

Even so, there are some folks who will miss WordPad, and with no option to reinstall, they’ll just have to look for a different lightweight word processor for Windows 11 – fortunately, we explore some good alternatives right here.

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You’ve all missed the best Oculus Quest 2 deal of the year, but please don’t buy a different one until Black Friday

Sorry folks, you’ve all missed out on Amazon’s best Oculus Quest 2 Black Friday deal – possibly the one of best Black Friday deals in general – that would have got you $ 50/£50 off the 128GB model and a free $ 50/£50 gift card to spend on anything at Amazon. But please don’t panic buy a different Quest 2 deal yet.

The gift card deal is currently sold out at both Amazon US and Amazon UK, but there’s a chance it may rematerialize on Black Friday itself – which is November 24 this year.  It’s not uncommon for deals to appear, disappear then return in the build-up to the biggest sales event of the year; I’m hoping this incredible Quest 2 will continue this trend and show up on Friday.

If it does reappear then you’re in the money; you’ll get a great bargain on Meta’s budget VR headset. If it doesn’t then you’ll still be able to grab one of the other excellent (but not quite as excellent) Quest 2 deals out there. In the US you can get the Oculus Quest 2 (128GB) for $ 249 at Walmart instead of $ 299, while in the UK you can get the Quest 2 (128GB), Elite Strap and case for £249 at Currys, saving you £140. So unless you are absolutely desperate to get a VR headset as soon as possible hold out a few days longer as you might be able to save big.

The best Black Friday Quest 2 deals

Oculus Quest 2 + Amazon Gift Card: was $ 349.99 now $ 249.00 at Amazon
This incredible Black Friday deal on Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 is currently sold out, but it might reappear on November 24 (Black Friday itself). Check this link every so often and worst case you can pick up one of the other great Quest 2 deals on this page.View Deal

Oculus Quest 2 (128GB): was $ 299 now $ 249 at Walmart
Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 was, until recently, our favorite VR headset and this Black Friday you can get it for its lowest-ever price of just $ 249. You’ll then be able to jump into an incredible selection of VR games and apps available on the Quest platform and finally see how much fun VR can be.
You can also find the same deal at Amazon and Best Buy if you’d rather shop somewhere else.View Deal

Meta Quest 2 and £50 gift card: was £349.99 now £249 at Amazon
This deal is sold out at the time of writing but there’s a chance it may return on Black Friday. When November 24 comes around follow this link and see if Amazon has put it live again because this sale hasn’t been beat.View Deal

Oculus Quest 2 (128GB), Elite Strap and case: was £389 now £249 at Currys
Currys’ bundle deal has just got better. Now you’re saving £50 on Meta’s Oculus Quest 2 VR headset and getting the official Elite Strap and a carry case for free. This is one of the best deals we’ve seen this Black Friday, and one you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Preferred partner (What does this mean?)View Deal

Admittedly, I think you should just ignore all of the Oculus Quest 2 deals, no matter how good they are. 

I love my Quest 2, it’s a super solid VR gadget that doesn’t break the bank. But the Meta Quest 3 is the new kid on the block, and it’s more than worth the added cost. It’s more powerful, offers better graphics, and has full-color mixed reality. If you’re looking for a VR headset, get this one – for the vast, vast majority of people, you don’t need anything else.

Though at $ 499 / £479 it’s twice (or almost twice) as pricey as a Quest 2 while it’s on sale for Black Friday. If you’re on a tight budget the Quest 2 will definitely serve you well, but those of you who can stretch to the Quest 3 should splash out.

Meta Quest 3: $ 499 & get a free game at Amazon
The Meta Quest 3 isn’t currently discounted, and likely won’t be for Black Friday as it’s so new, but you can get a free digital copy of Asgard’s Wrath 2 when it launches later this year.
If you’d rather not shop at Amazon the same offer is available from Walmart, Best Buy, and Target as well as others. View Deal

Meta Quest 3: £479.99 & get a free game at Amazon
The Meta Quest 3 only just launched so it was extremely unlikely it would see much of a discount for Black Friday. There is still a deal on though; if you order the headset before January 27, 2024, and activate it before February 9, 2024, you’ll get Asgard’s Wrath 2 for free when the game releases.
If you’d rather shop elsewhere the same deal is available at Very, Currys, and Game among others. View Deal

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This Microsoft Teams rival you’ve never heard of is ready for expansion

Alibaba has announced some new features for DingTalk, an enterprise-focused alternative to Microsoft Teams that has over 500 million users. 

DingTalk is part of Alibaba Cloud, one of the world's leading cloud providers by market share, and the service combines messaging, task management, audio and video conferencing, live-streaming, real-time translation and more. 

According to The Register, the service is currently available to Chinese SMBs for no cost, and an English language version is also available Malaysia. But now, Alibaba is looking to attract a wider selection of customers, with new avenues for extensibility and additional subscription plans.

The company says the free basic version will remain available as before, alongside three paid tiers with extra features, and a new commission model will be added for software and hardware vendors.

The race for corporate messaging 

Corporate messaging apps have taken off during the pandemic, as almost all businesses moved to an online model for working.

Zoom was the early winner, offering best-in-class video tools, but Microsoft was quick to expand and upgrade Teams, its all-in-one offering, and the company's pre-existing relationship with enterprises was a huge bonus. 

On top of that, a host of other services, such as Slack, have catered to remote needs. 

Given the Chinese internet is distinct from the Western internet, it makes sense that Alibaba – one of its largest companies, alongside Tencent – offers the same services for a domestic audience. 

Alibaba says over 19 million organizations use DingTalk already, a formidable number, and one-third of customers have over 2,000 employees. Around 1.9 million developers offer over 2.4 million add-on features.

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This browser you’ve never heard of is now worth a billion dollars

A startup offering an enterprise-focused web browser has surpassed a billion-dollar valuation, despite launching only a matter of weeks ago.

Island exited stealth mode in early February, but has already achieved unicorn status courtesy of a $ 115 million Series B funding round that valued the company at $ 1.3 billion. Although the product was under development for two years prior to launch, Island is still among the fastest startups to achieve the milestone.

The funding round was led by venture capital firm Insight Partners, which has previously invested in the likes of Shopify, Qualtrics and DocuSign, all of which have multi-billion-dollar market capitalizations. Other investors include Sequoia Capital, Stripes and Cyberstarts.

Island browser

The core difference between Island’s browser and the likes of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge is a heightened focus on cybersecurity. According to Island, typical browsers are entirely unsuitable for use in a business context, despite their ubiquity in the professional sphere today.

“The most widely deployed app in the enterprise is the browser, but it’s a consumer-based design,” Island CEO Mike Fey told TechCrunch, when the company emerged from stealth.

“A consumer wants to have infinite freedom; they want to be able to install anything they want, go anywhere they want, and do who knows what with their browser without any issues. The enterprise, however, wants to make sure that their customer data is safe, that their critical information is protected, and that they’re getting a good experience.”

Although Island’s service is built on the same Chromium engine as many popular browsers, and therefore has a familiar interface, it places a number of restrictions on the way in which end users can interact with the web.

For example, the Island browser gives security teams control over simple functionality such as copy-and-paste, screen capture and content downloads. It also places limits on the kinds of extensions that can be installed and the domains that can be visited.

Separately, the service gives IT administrators access to advanced tools to help secure SaaS applications and prevent data leakage, as well as full insight into all deployments to help identify the source of incidents as quickly as possible.

“Island has created a whole new way of thinking about enterprise work. By fundamentally transforming the work environment to be secure-by-design, the Island Enterprise Browser enables organizations to achieve entirely new levels of security, productivity, and IT efficiency,” added Fey.

“New investment from Insight Partners and increased investment from our original funding partners validates our product-market fit, accelerates our momentum, and highlights the huge opportunity in front of us.”

  • Also check out our list of the best VPN services around

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This browser you’ve never heard of is now worth a billion dollars

A startup offering an enterprise-focused web browser has surpassed a billion-dollar valuation, despite launching only a matter of weeks ago.

Island exited stealth mode in early February, but has already achieved unicorn status courtesy of a $ 115 million Series B funding round that valued the company at $ 1.3 billion. Although the product was under development for two years prior to launch, Island is still among the fastest startups to achieve the milestone.

The funding round was led by venture capital firm Insight Partners, which has previously invested in the likes of Shopify, Qualtrics and DocuSign, all of which have multi-billion-dollar market capitalizations. Other investors include Sequoia Capital, Stripes and Cyberstarts.

Island browser

The core difference between Island’s browser and the likes of Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge is a heightened focus on cybersecurity. According to Island, typical browsers are entirely unsuitable for use in a business context, despite their ubiquity in the professional sphere today.

“The most widely deployed app in the enterprise is the browser, but it’s a consumer-based design,” Island CEO Mike Fey told TechCrunch, when the company emerged from stealth.

“A consumer wants to have infinite freedom; they want to be able to install anything they want, go anywhere they want, and do who knows what with their browser without any issues. The enterprise, however, wants to make sure that their customer data is safe, that their critical information is protected, and that they’re getting a good experience.”

Although Island’s service is built on the same Chromium engine as many popular browsers, and therefore has a familiar interface, it places a number of restrictions on the way in which end users can interact with the web.

For example, the Island browser gives security teams control over simple functionality such as copy-and-paste, screen capture and content downloads. It also places limits on the kinds of extensions that can be installed and the domains that can be visited.

Separately, the service gives IT administrators access to advanced tools to help secure SaaS applications and prevent data leakage, as well as full insight into all deployments to help identify the source of incidents as quickly as possible.

“Island has created a whole new way of thinking about enterprise work. By fundamentally transforming the work environment to be secure-by-design, the Island Enterprise Browser enables organizations to achieve entirely new levels of security, productivity, and IT efficiency,” added Fey.

“New investment from Insight Partners and increased investment from our original funding partners validates our product-market fit, accelerates our momentum, and highlights the huge opportunity in front of us.”

  • Also check out our list of the best VPN services around

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Reddit update apes TikTok to show you things you’ve not subscribed to

Reddit has released an update to its mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices that adds a Discover tab, allowing you to find new content and subreddits that you've not come across before, similar to TikTok's 'For You' tab.

The platform is a place of many communities that can apply to many franchises, products, and brands. Its users, or Redditors as the company calls them, usually subscribe to these, which are called subreddits.

But across the site and the app, you would usually find new categories and topics by the algorithm showcasing trending content on the main page, or by searching for something manually.

However, Reddit is aware that there are better ways for its Redditors to discover new content thanks to this update, available for iOS and Android.


Analysis: About time, Reddit

It can be difficult to find new content on Reddit, compared to other social media apps such as TikTok and Instagram.

While the website had a design refresh 2018, it didn't go far enough when making it clear how you could navigate subreddits, or being accessible for new users.

With its app for iOS and Android, Reddit feels much better to navigate thanks to its different design compared to the website. But Apollo, a third-party app does the same function with an even better interface.

The new Discover feature is going to help close the gap for Reddit against Apollo here, but the next step should be how this can work for its website, which arguably still houses a design that's from the late nineties.

If it can attempt another redesign of its site that makes it easier to navigate to new users, alongside making existing content look more appealing, Reddit may appeal to an even bigger userbase than it has now.

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Microsoft is releasing the .NET update you’ve all been waiting for

Although Microsoft's .NET open source framework only just celebrated its 20th birthday the company is now pushing ahead with a new version, .NET 7. 

In a blog post, Microsoft says it is releasing .NET 7 Preview 1 alongside ASP.NET Core Preview 1 and EF7 Preview 1.

“.NET 7 builds on the foundation established by .NET 6, which includes a unified set of base libraries, runtime, and SDK, a simplified development experience, and higher developer productivity,” says Microsoft's Jeremy Likness. “Major areas of focus for .NET 7 include improved support for cloud native scenarios, tools to make it easier to upgrade legacy projects, and simplifying the developer experience by making it easier to work with containers.” 

Open source forever and always 

If you use .NET for work (or pleasure), then it's worth reading the full blog for the details on what's new over .NET 6 as there's a lot. 

Some headline features is the addition of .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI), and new tools to make it easier to build cloud-native apps by simplifying the setup and configuration necessary to implement secure authentication and authorization, and also improving the performance of application startup and runtime execution.

Developers will be able to easily and quickly upgrade their .NET 6 apps to the new platform, with Microsoft providing a range of support tools and services.

After many years opposing open source, Microsoft is really leaning into making the space better. It's fair to say many developers were initially sceptical of Microsoft and it's commitment to making open source tools as the company, seeking to maintain its dominant position, opposed many developers and projects. 

But Microsoft's GitHub acquisition for $ 7.5 billion in 2018 helped the company turn a new page and win over sceptics. 

By maintaining .NET 7 – which is truly open source and cross-platform – so thoroughly (you could even say lovingly), Microsoft is doing its bit for the furtherance of computing.  

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Microsoft Teams is finally getting the update you’ve all been waiting for

Working together with others outside your organization in Microsoft Teams will soon be possible thanks to a new update to Microsoft's online collaboration tool.

Workgroups often extend beyond one's organization with employees connecting with multiple external stakeholders including customers, vendors and partners. However, up until now, users had to rely on different software or even personal apps to collaborate with them.

Not only does this require employees to use multiple apps which takes longer and can reduce their productivity, it also creates security risks for both workers and their companies.

For this reason, Microsoft is currently working on two updates that leverage Microsoft Teams Connect and the secure access capabilities of Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) to make cross-organizational collaboration easier for businesses.

Cross-organizational collaboration

The first update involves shared channels which allow individuals and teams across multiple organizations to work together in Microsoft Teams. When this feature becomes available in preview early next year, shared channels will appear within each Member's Teams tenant alongside other teams and channels. 

Users will also be able to schedule a shared channel meeting, use other Microsoft apps like Office and share each channel with up to 50 teams and as many organizations as they need.  Meanwhile, admins can use cross-tenant access settings in Azure AD to configure granular and differentiated trust relationships for external collaboration with different organizations.

Microsoft is also working on another update scheduled to rollout by the end of this year that will enable Teams users to chat with others outside their network including those using Teams personal accounts. They'll be able to invite any Teams user to chat using an email address or phone number while remaining within the security and compliance policies of their organization.

Cross-organizational collaboration is the Teams update many users have been waiting for as it will allow Microsoft's collaboration tool and video conferencing software to become a one-stop-shop for all of their business dealings both internally and externally.

Looking to improve your Microsoft Teams experience? Check out our roundups of the best business webcams, best headsets for conference calls and best video conferencing software

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