Facebook will start putting ads in Oculus Quest apps

Facebook will soon begin testing ads inside its Oculus Quest virtual reality system. In the coming weeks, ads will start appearing inside the Resolution Games title Blaston as well as two other unnamed apps. Facebook will later expand the system based on user feedback, saying it aims to create a “self-sustaining platform” for VR development.

Facebook introduced ads on the Oculus mobile app last month, and it’s used limited Oculus data to target Facebook advertising since 2019, but this is its first major foray into putting ads inside the Oculus VR platform itself. “Once we see how this test goes and incorporate feedback from developers and the community, we’ll provide more details on when ads may become more broadly available across the Oculus platform and in the Oculus mobile app,” the company said in a blog post.

As on Facebook’s non-VR apps, you can block specific posts or companies from appearing in ad slots. And Facebook says it’s not changing how it collects or analyzes user information. It says that some of the most sensitive data — like raw images from Oculus headset cameras and weight or height information from Oculus Move fitness tracking — remains solely on users’ devices. Also, Facebook says it has “no plans” to target ads based on movement data or recordings from its voice assistant.

A Facebook spokesperson says the system will use information from your Facebook profile, as well as “whether you’ve viewed content, installed, activated, or subscribed to a Oculus app, added an app to your cart or wishlist, if you’ve initiated checkout or purchased an app on the Oculus platform, and lastly, whether you’ve viewed, hovered, saved, or clicked on an ad within a third-party app.”

As shown above, users can click an ad and either open it or save the link for later. The former option will launch a landing page in the Oculus Quest’s web browser, and the latter will save the ad in the Quest in-VR experience and Oculus mobile app’s Explore sections. Developers will get a share of the revenue from ads in their apps, but Facebook isn’t publicly revealing the percentage.

Facebook is leaving its future roadmap open-ended. The spokesperson says Facebook hasn’t determined, for instance, whether ads could eventually appear inside your Oculus Home experience. Facebook also isn’t yet identifying the other apps using advertisements, although it will list additional names in the coming weeks. The first ads look like standard boxes inside game interfaces, but Facebook’s blog post says it’s exploring other options as well. “We’re currently investing in unobtrusive ads as a new way for developers to build businesses — and though we’re not quite ready to test them yet, we’re also exploring new ad formats that are unique to VR,” it says.

VR has arguably been an advertising medium for years, with countless film and TV promotional tie-ins as well as novelty experiences from companies like McDonald’s and Ikea. But ad-supported VR apps are using a different model that more closely resembles that of the mobile and web ecosystem. Letting developers integrate advertising could create a greater incentive to work within Facebook’s official ecosystem rather than distributing through sideloading options like SideQuest.

Facebook says ads are part of an attempt to figure out profitable business options in the growing but often difficult field of VR app development. “This is a key part of ensuring we’re creating a self-sustaining platform that can support a variety of business models that unlock new types of content and audiences. It also helps us continue to make innovative AR/VR hardware more accessible to more people,” says the blog post.

Facebook currently dominates consumer VR with its Oculus Quest 2 headset — which, at $299, is one of the cheapest options on the market. It’s also acquired the studios behind several major VR games, including rhythm game Beat Saber and the battle royale title Population: One. While it may face renewed competition from a second-generation Sony PlayStation VR headset next year, at least one VR company has retreated from consumer hardware in part because of Facebook’s influence: Vive creator HTC, which has called Facebook’s low-cost consumer headsets “artificially subsidized” by the company’s advertising-focused business model.

Meanwhile, Facebook has slowly strengthened ties between its central business and Oculus, which it acquired in 2014. It began requiring Facebook logins for Quest headsets last year, although users can maintain separate profiles and use pseudonyms in VR. Adding advertising isn’t a surprising move for the company — and it’s another signal that Oculus hardware is becoming ever more closely integrated with Facebook.


Polar Ignite 2 review: Enough of a spark?

(Pocket-lint) – The Polar Ignite 2 is the follow-up fitness watch to the 2019 original. While it gives you all those key sports watch features, its key skills are to track your workouts and tell you the ones you should be doing next.

The relatively low asking price puts it up against the likes of the now older Apple Watch Series 3 or Fitbit Versa 3, but does the second-gen Polar deliver enough spark?

Design and display

  • 1.2-inch IPS TFT touchscreen, 240 x 204 resolution
  • 43mm case diameter, 8.5mm thick
  • Waterproof to 30 metres
  • Weighs 35g

The Ignite 2 is virtually identical to the original watch. It has the same-sized round polymer case, with a single physical button tucked away in the bottom corner, and a touchscreen controlled display. 


That’s partnered up with a silicone strap with a traditional watch-style buckle that comes in two size options. Those straps are removable too with a simple pin mechanism, letting you quickly swap for one of Polar’s dressier options or a strap that looks a lot like one of Apple’s sport bands.

Polar is offering some more colourful options here too as well. There’s now champagne, blue, black, and pink strap options to go with the four case colour options.

The Ignite 2 is a light watch – at just 35g – and we’ve found it’s been very comfortable to wear 24/7. If you like the idea of a watch that doesn’t sit big and bulky on your wrist, then it’s got appeal. 

The biggest design change over the Ignite lies with the more textured, grippier finish on the case. With the right case and strap combo, it gives a slightly nicer-looking watch than its predecessor, but it’s the smallest of changes where pretty much everything else otherwise remains the same.


Another element that hasn’t changed is the screen. It’s the same 1.2-inch touchscreen display that offers the same in the way of overall quality and viewing angles. It’s not as crisp, vibrant or as colourful as an AMOLED screen, but it’s a good enough screen surroundings to soak up your stats. 

What isn’t so good is the still lingering lagging you get when interacting with this screen. It was the same on the first Ignite and clearly Polar hasn’t sought to improve things regarding the screen’s slightly delayed response.

Software and performance

  • Phone notifications, music controls and weather forecasts
  • Works with Polar Flow and third-party apps 

As is the case with all of Polar’s watches (aside from a brief play with Google’s Wear OS for its M600 watch), it sticks to packing on its own in-house operating system. 

It’s a software that pairs to your phone over Bluetooth and does offer the ability to pair up external Bluetooth heart-rate sensors. In the Ignite 2 you don’t get the ANT+ connectivity you get on more expensive Polar watches to widen the support of devices you can connect it to.

The software experience is similar to what you’ll find on Polar’s top-end watches, albeit with a greater emphasis on using the touchscreen to navigate your way around the interface. You can commence workout tracking in the same fashion, while swiping left and right on the watch screen will drop additional information around the watch face, such as current heart rate, activity tracking data, and a useful weekly summary of your training.

Polar has sought to offer more smartwatch features on the Ignite this time around, rolling out features that have already appeared on its Vantage series and Grit X watches. Along with the same notification support, you now getting weather forecasts, the ability to adjust the look of watch faces, and there’s now music controls here too.


They’re not groundbreaking features, but they’re ones that make the Ignite 2 more useful to have around when you’re not just working out. They work well enough, too, although displaying notifications still feels a little clunky. The music controls are easy to use and work with third-party apps like Spotify, though, which is good news.

Off the watch, your go-to place for setting things up is the Polar Flow phone app or desktop app, but this is a watch that will play nice with third-party apps if you want to bypass Polar’s own once you’ve set things up. Much like Garmin, there’s a lot going on in Polar Flow and it pays to spend some time to get to know where things live in the app and get a sense of what all of the extra training insights mean.

Sports and fitness tracking 

  • FitSpark workout recommendations
  • Nightly Recharge measurements 
  • Pool swim tracking  

Despite its small stature, Polar still manages to pack in quite an impressive array of features into the Ignite 2. There’s built-in GPS, the same Precision Prime heart rate monitor technology used on its pricier Vantage watches, and a rich collection of training features like adaptive running programmes.


For sports tracking, you’re getting access to over 130 profiles – with activities like running, cycling, pool swimming the best served. There’s also profiles for HIIT and cross training, with a bigger emphasis on monitoring heart rate to measure effort levels during those workouts.

GPS signal pick-up was nice and snappy on our outdoor runs and distance tracking accuracy and core running metrics were in line with a similarly-priced Garmin watch.

In the water, however, the Polar wasn’t so good. Accuracy of tracking laps was fine on shorter swims, but accuracy waned noticeably over swimming longer distances above 400-500 metres.


If you’re hoping for a reliable heart rate monitor, then the one on the Ignite 2 performed well in most of our tests. On runs and home workouts, it was a few beats per minute (bpm) out from a Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap monitor. For something more intense like interval training, that accuracy and ability to keep up with the sudden spikes and drops in heart rate shows though. It’s not a terrible performer, but if you yearn for supreme accuracy, take the opportunity to pair up an external sensor.

One of the standout features on the Ignite 2 is FitSpark. This is Polar’s smart suggested workouts feature that looks at the types of sessions you’ve logged with your watch to recommend workouts you should do around them. So it may suggest working on strength if you’ve been smashing the cardio lately, or adding some mobility work to better balance your training.

It works really well too, clearly instructing you what to do during the workouts and will start a countdown and send a vibrating buzz to let you know when to prepare for the next workout. It’s not a feature unique to this Polar watch, but it’s one that’s great to use if you’re not sure about what to do when it comes to training.


If you’re yearning for some of the more advanced training analysis you get on Polar’s other watches, you can still get details on your cardio load status and you can learn more about whether you’re under- or over-training. You can now also understand what’s fuelling your run with the new Energy Sources feature – this heart rate-fuelled feature gives you a breakdown if you’ve used carbohydrates, proteins or fats to power a workout. 

The Ignite 2 doubles up as a pretty solid fitness tracker too. It will track steps, distances, nudge you when you’ve not been active for a period of time, and display in the app a breakdown of when you were most active during the day.

But what’s really impressive with the Ignite 2 is the sleep tracking. It offers all the typical things you’d expect to find on a sleep monitoring watch, including a breakdown of sleep stages including REM sleep and sleep scores. Where things get interesting are the Nightly Recharge measurements, which aim to help you better assess if you’ve recovered from a tough physical day. It looks at sleep quality and how your autonomic nervous system calms during the early hours of sleep to generate the measurement. It can then offer tips on whether you should train or why you might have had a bad night of sleep.


The accuracy of sleep tracking ultimately dictates how useful this feature is – and against a Fitbit’s pretty impressive sleep tracking the Polar held up really well on that front. So if you’re looking for a watch that tracks sleep but also offers useful, actionable insights based on that data, the Ignite 2 fits the bill. 

Battery life

  • 165mAh battery, up to 5 days per charge
  • 100 hours in training mode
  • 20 hours GPS battery life

The Ignite 2 promises to deliver up to five days of life in smartwatch mode – with continuous heart rate monitoring in use. When you’re using GPS, you can expect to get 20 hours of tracking time. And there’s now a new training mode that will record workouts up to 100 hours.

What we’ve learnt over our experience with Polar’s latest watches is that they can come up a little short on those claims. That doesn’t change with the Ignite 2. It’s clear the more advanced sleep monitoring features Polar has introduced have quite a noticeable drain on battery – and you can’t turn it off. You can disable continuous heart rate monitoring, which will get you to that five day mark – otherwise it’s more like four.


When you’re putting GPS tracking to use, you’re getting around the same battery life as a similarly priced watch from Garmin, but significantly more GPS battery life than what you’re going to get from any Apple Watch model. If you want something that can get you just under a week of training, then that’s what the Ignite 2 will get you.

When it’s time for charging, Polar retains the same disc charger that clips onto the back and takes over an hour to get from 0-100 per cent, so it’s a relatively snappy charger.


Polar hasn’t made wholesale changes compared to the first Ignite, instead focusing on improving the look and trickling down some features from its pricier watches into the Ignite 2.

But it’s got pretty much everything you could want in a fitness watch, offering solid tracking for most activities, plenty in the way of data, features and insights, and is a light and comfortable watch to live with.

Features like FitSpark and the Nightly Recharge measurements is what really makes the Ignite 2 stand out from the similar price competition. The latter though clearly is a drain on battery life. 

As a smartwatch you’ll get more from the likes of Garmin, Fitbit and Apple. But in terms of a fitness watch first and foremost there’s a lot to like here.

If you like the idea of a watch that does a great job of bringing training and recovery closer together and helping you make sense of it, the Ignite 2 is worth strapping on.

Also consider


Apple Watch Series 3

While you’ll have to live with much less battery life, the Series 3 gives you a better screen, smartwatch features, and pretty solid sports tracking in a more attractive, customisable look.

  • Read our review



Garmin Venu Sq

The square Venu Sq is in a similar price range and again offers a nicer display and more smartwatch features like Spotify offline playlist support.

  • Read our review



Polar Unite

If you can live without the built-in GPS, the Unite offers those great FitSpark and Nightly Recharge measurements for less money.

  • Read our review


Writing by Michael Sawh. Editing by Mike Lowe.


Facebook plans first smartwatch for next summer with two cameras, heart rate monitor

Facebook is taking a novel approach to its first smartwatch, which the company hasn’t confirmed publicly but currently plans to debut next summer. The device will feature a display with two cameras that can be detached from the wrist for taking pictures and videos that can be shared across Facebook’s suite of apps, including Instagram, The Verge has learned.

A camera on the front of the watch display exists primarily for video calling, while a 1080p, auto-focus camera on the back can be used for capturing footage when detached from the stainless steel frame on the wrist. Facebook is tapping other companies to create accessories for attaching the camera hub to things like backpacks, according to two people familiar with the project, both of whom requested anonymity to speak without Facebook’s permission.

The idea is to encourage owners of the watch to use it in ways that smartphones are used now. It’s part of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s plan to build more consumer devices that circumvent Apple and Google, the two dominant mobile phone platform creators that largely control Facebook’s ability to reach people.

The planned device is Facebook’s first stab at releasing hardware specifically for the wrist, opening up another area of competition with Apple at a time when the two tech giants are already at odds on other fronts. Apple has aggressively positioned itself as a protector of privacy by limiting the kinds of data that apps like Facebook can collect, while Facebook has for years been besieged by scandals regarding its handling of user data. That dynamic could create an uphill battle for Facebook to convince people to buy its forthcoming Apple Watch competitor, especially since it plans to also position the watch as a fitness device with a heart rate monitor.

Facebook is working with the top wireless carriers in the US to support LTE connectivity in the watch, meaning it won’t need to be paired with a phone to work, and sell it in their stores, the people familiar with the matter said. The watch will come in white, black, and gold, and Facebook hopes to initially sell volume in the low six figures. That’s a tiny sliver of the overall smartwatch market — Apple sold 34 million watches last year by comparison, according to Counterpoint Research.

In future versions of the watch, Facebook is planning for it to serve as a key input device for its planned augmented reality glasses, which Zuckerberg thinks will one day be as ubiquitous as mobile phones. The company plans to use technology it acquired from CTRL-labs, a startup that has demonstrated armbands capable of controlling a computer through wrist movements.

Facebook aims to release the first version of the watch in the summer of 2022 and is already working on second and third generations for subsequent years. Employees have recently discussed pricing the device at roughly $400, but the price point could change. While it’s unlikely, Facebook could also scrap the watch altogether, as the device has yet to enter mass production or even be given an official name.

Facebook’s track record for making hardware is spotty. Its 2013 phone with HTC was a spectacular flop, and it has yet to disclose sales for its Oculus VR headsets or Portal video chat device for the home. In recent interviews, executives have said that sales for the Oculus Quest 2 headset have surpassed all previous Oculus headsets combined.

Facebook’s interest in building a smartwatch dates back at least a few years. It looked at acquiring Fitbit in 2019 before Google bought the fitness wearable maker. Since then, the social network has spent roughly $1 billion to develop the first version of its watch and has hundreds of people working on the effort, according to one of the people with knowledge of the matter.

A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment for this story. The Information earlier reported that Facebook was building a smartwatch with health and messaging features, but details about its cameras and other specifics in this story are new.

Using a custom version of Google’s Android operating system, Facebook plans to lean on its suite of apps and external partnerships to create compelling experiences for the watch, which will include a companion app for phones. Even still, Facebook’s wrist wearable resonating with people is far from guaranteed. Smartwatches with cameras on them have so far failed to catch on, and Apple has cornered the high end of the market already.

Apple announces watchOS 8 with new health features

Apple has just announced watchOS 8, the latest version of the company’s smartwatch platform for the Apple Watch. The new software succeeds last year’s watchOS 7 and is going to be first available for developers to test their apps with. A public release is expected later this fall.

Apple is debuting a new Mindfulness app, an extension of the Breathe app that nags you to breathe throughout the day. It’s adding new animations and other features to help you relax.

The Fitness app is getting more workout types for tai chi and pilates. The Apple Watch’s Health app will explicitly track your respiratory rate and notify you if it’s outside of your normal patterns.

Developing… we’re adding more to this post, but you can follow along with our WWDC 2021 live blog to get the news even faster.


Huawei Watch 3 vs Huawei Watch GT 2 Pro: What’s changed?

(Pocket-lint) – Huawei’s latest watch has been announced, and is the first to launch officially running HarmonyOS, the new cross-category operating system designed to make multiple devices seamlessly connect with each other. 

The manufacturer has built some great fitness tracking watches of late, including the previous flagship watch: the Watch GT 2 Pro. So, what’s changed between the last watch and the Watch 3? Let’s dive in. 


  • GT 2 Pro: 46.7 x 46.7 x 11.4mm – 52g
  • Watch 3: 46.2 x 46.2 x 12.15mm – 54g
  • Watch 3 Pro: 48 mm x 49.6 x 14mm – 63g
  • GT 2 Pro: Titanium, Sapphire glass and ceramic
  • Watch 3: Stainless steel, hardened glass and ceramic
  • Watch 3 Pro: Titanium, Sapphire glass and ceramic
  • All: Waterproof to 50m 

All of Huawei’s watches are fully round and in basic terms they do look similar. They share similarities like having the same ceramic underside, with the same design for the optical sensors for reading your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation. 

Where they differ is in the glass, metal and shape of the lens. For instance, both the GT 2 Pro and Watch 3 Pro have completely flat Sapphire crystal glass screens and titanium cases. The standard Watch 3 has curved hardened glass on top of stainless steel. 

While all three have two buttons on the side, only the new Watch 3 and Watch 3 Pro feature a rotating crown which functions similarly to the Apple Watch’s Digital Crown. You can turn it or press it to control various functions and interface elements. 

All of them are waterproof to a high level (up to 50m) and all three charge wirelessly using the same magnetic plastic cradle. 

The one other thing worth noting is that the Watch 3 is the more compact of the three, but not by a huge amount. With a 46mm case, it’s hardly tiny. At 14mm, the Watch 3 Pro is clearly the thickest as well as being the largest. 


  • GT 2 Pro: 1.39-inch AMOLED screen
  • Watch 3 and 3 Pro: 1.43-inch AMOLED screen
  • GT 2 Pro: 454 x 454 resolution – 326ppi
  • Watch 3 and 3 Pro: 466 x 466 resolution – 326ppi

As mentioned, all three watches have completely round screens and they’re all AMOLED and have the same pixel density. There’s a difference in size though, with both the new Watch 3 models featuring a 1.43-inch panel versus 1.39-inches on the older one. That means skinnier bezels, not a bigger watch. 

More importantly, however, they have refresh rates up to 60Hz, which means you’ll get smoother and more graphic rich images and animations on it compared to the GT 2 Pro. That – of course – also means it eats more battery (more on that later). 

With a peak brightness of 1000nits, that means the watches will be easier to see in daylight too. From a hardware perspective, this is the biggest – or at least most noticeable – upgrade over the Watch GT 2 Pro. 

Software and Fitness tracking

  • GT 2 Pro: LiteOS
  • Watch 3/3 Pro: HarmonyOS
  • All: GPS, Heart Rate, spO2, steps, sleep and stress tracking
  • Watch 3/3 Pro: Temperature sensor
  • Watch 3 Pro: Precise dual-GPS location
  • All: Compatible with iOS and Android through Huawei health

The Watch 3 and 3 Pro are the first watches to run HarmonyOS, that means a few things have changed when it comes to the interface and software, but key elements have remained the same. 

Controls are similar, although you can now view apps in a grid and even use AppGallery to install them directly from your wrist. The other addition is a fall detection feature which can be set up to call an emergency contact when you fall and don’t respond within a certain time frame. 

From a fitness and health perspective, the three watches are largely similar and capable of all-day tracking for things like heart-rate, spO2, stress, sleep and steps. The new sensor on the Watch 3 series also allows skin temperature sensing. 

As for the Pro, that one has a dual-GPS mode which allows for much more precise tracking during runs and outdoor sessions to give you a more accurate distance reading and mapped route. 

All three are compatible with Android, iOS and HarmonyOS devices using the Huawei Health app. 

Performance and battery 

  • GT 2 Pro: 14 days battery life
  • Watch 3: 3 days in smart mode, 14 days in ‘Ultra-long’
  • Watch 3 Pro: 5 days in smart mode, 21 days in ‘Ultra-long’
  • GT 2 Pro: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Watch 3/3 Pro: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and eSIM/4G 

What’s interesting about the Watch 3 series’ is that it has – essentially – two modes of running. You can use it as a regular smartwatch and get either three or five days of battery, or kick it into ‘ultra-long’ mode and get either two or three weeks of battery life. 

What this does, sort-of, is switch the software and capabilities so that it’s very much like the Lite OS software running on the Watch GT 2 Pro. Due to its lightweight software, Watch GT 2 Pro can get up to two weeks on a full battery. 

Watch 3 – as well as having Wi-Fi and Bluetooth like the GT 2 Pro – has eSIM support. This enables 4G connection on networks that support it, allowing you to stream music, answer calls and see notifications. The only downside to this is that it’s only supported by a couple of Chinese networks currently with no news on planned expansion worldwide. 


  • GT 2 Pro: £249
  • Watch 3: £349
  • Watch 3 Pro: £499

With its higher-end internal hardware, revamped software, higher refresh screen and eSIM support it’s no surprise that the Watch 3 starts at a higher price than its predecessor. 


In the UK, the standard Watch 3 starts at £100 more than the GT 2 Pro’s original price at £349. Because it’s no longer new, you can now find the GT 2 Pro even cheaper without too much trouble. The Watch 3 Pro is a pound short of £500. 


When it comes to fitness and health tracking, there’s little reason to go for the Watch 3 over the Watch GT 2 Pro. It does mostly the same stuff which is then display in the same way on the watch and in your smartphone app. 

Where the Watch 3 comes into its own is when it comes to the display and the richer graphics and interactions on that screen. It’s starting to feel much more like a proper smartwatch and less like a rebadged fitness tracker. With a built-in eSIM and potential to stream music and answer calls away from your phone, that’s freedom you don’t get from the Watch GT 2 Pro. Sadly though, that’s not yet available outside China. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.


AirPods 3 launching this year, AirPods Pro 2 arriving in 2022, report says

(Image credit: Apple)

The AirPods 3 will launch this year, but we won’t see the AirPods Pro 2 until 2022, a new report says.

According to Bloomberg, the new AirPods will sport a new design that mimics that of the AirPods Pro – namely a new case and shorter stems. This is in keeping with what we’ve heard previously.

The same article states the new AirPods Pro will have updated motion sensors for a greater focus on fitness tracking, which is again in line with previous rumours.

It’s fair to say both pairs of true wireless earbuds are due an update. The second-gen AirPods launched in March 2019, while the AirPods Pro followed in October of that year. Since then the competition has heated up, with budget pairs like the Earfun Air Pro offering similar features at a fraction of the price, and the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus besting Apple for battery life.

We’re also expecting the highly anticipated Sony WF-1000XM4 to launch any day now.

New AirPods aren’t the only audio products Apple has in the pipeline. The firm is said to be working on a new HomePod speaker with a built-in screen. Apple recently retired the original – keeping the HomePod Mini – but the fact it has recently gained some new features suggests Apple could be planning more HomePod devices in future.

Apple’s also announced an upgrade to Apple Music. Due to go live this month, Apple is adding support for hi-res audio, although the AirPods don’t actually support hi-res.


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Sony WF-1000XM4: release date, price and leaks for Sony’s next wireless earbuds