Week in Tech: VR is really here, Microsoft builds bots, and Nintendo goes mobile


What's happy, looks like it's got a bucket on its head and keeps bumping into the furniture? That's right: the future! It's been VR week here at techradar, and we've discovered everything from the best games to the effect virtual reality will have on the very fabric of our civilisation – and of course we've been addressing the all-important question of just how sick it'll make us feel. Meanwhile Microsoft has unveiled its own vision of the future – and it's all about bots. So come with us as we look into the future, hold Nintendo in our hands and find out whether Apple's Night Shift makes us sleep like great big babies. It's Week in Tech!

Have no fear, VR is here

As the first Oculus headsets reach consumers, techradar has been throwing a VR week party. Hugh Langley explains: "We'll be telling you how to build the best PC for your VR system, discovering how the porn industry is changing with virtual reality, and even meeting the people who get high while using VR."

We've got more VR fun and games than you can shake a motion controller at: the virtual worlds we can't wait to see; how social networks will use VR; how VR will sound as good as it looks; the best laptops for VR; and a particularly thought-provoking piece on the wonderful loneliness of Virtual Reality. And that's just the tip of an enormous virtual iceberg of content, so we've put together a VR hub that links to everything right here.

Microsoft builds the future

It's a big, big week for Microsoft: its Build 2016 conference is when it unveils its vision for the future – although the lack of any significant Windows Phone presence suggests that vision is still very much based around PCs. There have been some suitably important announcements so far, including the controversial arrival of ad-blocking in the Edge browser; Microsoft's plans for chat bots to take care of everything from shopping to travel; the Redstone anniversary update for Windows 10, which will also deliver a new Xbox One Dev Mode; some amazing demonstrations of Hololens augmented reality; and a distinct lack of enthusiasm about Windows Phone. Joe Osborne for one is impressed, and argues that Microsoft's bots could be as important to the future of computing as Windows was to its past. But, he adds, they also raise a pretty big question: "just how much do we want to lean on technology to foster human relationships?"

Nintendo's future: in our hands?

Can Nintendo bring its magic to smartphones? We're about to find out, because its first mobile app, Miitomo, is out this week. Hugh Langley's on the case: "What is Miitomo? Not easy to summate in a single sentence, that's what," he says. "It's gaming meets social networking meets the bizarre. It's the type of app you'll probably jump into for a few minutes each day, but while you're there you'll have a lot of fun – and might even learn a thing or two… think Tomodachi Life meets Kik." Hugh likes it a lot, although we suspect he's been on the cheese before bedtime again: "Miitomo is the starting pistol for what's to come," Hugh says. "A starting pistol in a hotdog costume donning a fake mustache."

Toshiba: no more notebooks

It's been rumoured for a while, but now it's official: Toshiba is getting out of the consumer laptop business. In a statement, the company behind the world's first mass-market laptop, the 1985 T1100, said: "Toshiba will concentrate on the B2B PC market globally by developing, manufacturing, and selling its Tecra and Portégé brands to the corporate market." For consumers, though, the whole range – including Chromebooks – is being canned so that Toshiba can focus on selling ultra-think notebooks, tablets and 2-in-1s to corporate users.

FBI vs iPhone: have the Feds cracked it?

The battle between the FBI and Apple over a terrorist's iPhone has come to a sudden end. Following Apple's persistent refusals to open a back door to the device for the FBI, the FBI says it doesn't need Apple's help after all. But while this particular battle may be over, Michelle Fitzsimmons thinks it's raised issues we need to keep talking about. "The issues brought to light by Apple vs the FBI – antiquated laws ill-equipped to deal with 21st Century technology, how far the government can go in seeking assistance from a private company, weighing privacy versus security when so much information is stored on cell phones – shouldn't be swept under the rug now that the book is closed in this case," she says.

Techradar takes the Night Shift

Apple says its Night Shift technology, which changes the display colour in iOS 9.3 from blue-tinted to orange-tinted as night falls, may help you sleep better – so Matt Swider decided to find out if that's true. Armed with sleep-tracking wearables, he tracked his sleep patterns with and without Night Shift – and while the difference was small, it was noticeable. "More importantly," he says, "I felt less eye strain when reading and working while my mobile devices and laptop screens were shaded in orange."

The TechRadar hive mind. The Megazord. The Voltron. When our powers combine, we become 'TECHRADAR STAFF'. You'll usually see this author name when the entire team has collaborated on a project or an article, whether that's a run-down ranking of our favorite Marvel films, or a round-up of all the coolest things we've collectively seen at annual tech shows like CES and MWC. We are one.