DMA TECH WATCH: ‘Force’ Rules, Oculus Pre-Orders & SpaceX Soars

By Phill Powell

Welcome to DMA Tech Watch, where we review the biggest news events and tech trends now on the radar. Here’s what we’re watching as of January 4, 2016:

RULE BY ‘FORCE’: CROWNING A NEW BOX OFFICE CHAMP

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Sorry, cats. Your domestic box office record is on borrowed time…

Records are made to be shattered, and the current all-time U.S. (and Canadian) box office winner, Avatar, will surrender its crown this week to 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Force is setting speed records, too: While it took 2009’s Avatar 72 days to dominate the U.S. record (which is $760 million), Force should take the top ranking within 20 days. Its current domestic gross: $740.3 million.

The next record: the all-time global box office record. As of today, Force has raked in $1.5 billion, and is now chasing Avatar, which still holds the record at $2.8 billion.

OCULUS RIFT PRE-ORDERS BEGIN WEDNESDAY!

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Come explore virtual reality this summer at Digital Media Academy summer tech camps!

Here at DMA, we’ve been pretty jazzed about virtual reality for a while now, and this year we introduced our cool new summer VR tech camps, which feature Oculus Rift VR headsets.

This Wednesday (Jan. 6) at 8 a.m. (Pacific time), Oculus will finally be accepting pre-orders for the Oculus Rift.

The only unknown variable at this point: what the Oculus Rift headset will cost, which will be announced this week. It’s expected to carry a price tag somewhere north of $350, and will probably be available in a bundle along with Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie.

MICROSOFT’S VERY MERRY HOLIDAY SEASON

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Massive sales: Windows 10 gained 40 percent of its user base since November’s Black Friday event.

Christmas is over, but there’s still a lot of good cheer in the air – especially in Redmond, Wash., where Microsoft is headquartered. Microsoft’s Windows 10 enjoyed a most successful holiday buying season.

Windows 10 is now running on more than 200 million devices. And here’s the key stat: As much as 40 percent of the devices now running Windows 10 weren’t using it until the recent Black Friday or thereafter.

Microsoft’s stated goal is to have Windows 10 running on 1 billion devices within a few years.

SPACEX CONNECTS WITH FIRST SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH IN YEARS

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Back home: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launched on Dec. 21 and returned to Cape Canaveral on Jan. 4.

It was a nice way for Elon Musk to ring out the old year, and an even better way to start the new year.

The inventor’s space exploration company, SpaceX, not only successfully launched a Falcon 9 rocket on Dec. 21, but was also able to return the rocket back to its Cape Canaveral launch site on Jan. 4. The rocket deployed 11 ORBCOMM satellites during its wild ride.

According to Musk, this launch was aided by even more extensive testing than usual, as well as a change to new steel struts. (Want to learn rocket science this summer?)

CES PREPARES FOR SHOW IN VEGAS

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Vegas explodes with CES tech excitement from Wednesday through Saturday. Check back here for reports about the show.

Later this week, the Consumer Electronics Show will take place in Las Vegas. Come back to DMA’s News page for reports on the trends that are driving tradeshow techies wild.

Also this week: DMA in action at this past weekend’s Young Innovators Fair in Pennsylvania.

Plus, more about DMA’s Made by Girls push to get girls interested in tech pursuits. All of this, as well as an exciting update on how DMA is developing a cool new course curriculum. Check it out…this week at DMA News!

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