IBM Targets Silicon Valley Startups with Planned Watson West

In 2016, IBM plans to open a West Coast headquarters for Watson, its artificial-intelligence system, in San Francisco. The company will also unveil new Watson capabilities, including speech, language understanding, image recognition and sentiment analysis, all of which are associated with AI in computing. The East Coast headquarters in downtown Manhattan was established in January 2014 as a separate business. Watson West, expected to employ several hundred people, is aimed at Silicon Valley startups. Continue reading IBM Targets Silicon Valley Startups with Planned Watson West

Netflix to Open its Own Studio, Lessen Reliance on Hollywood

Up until now, Netflix has made its “original” programming by relying on Hollywood studios. In fact, many of the biggest hits associated with Netflix Originals are actually owned by other studios. But, as some studios grumble about the arrangement, Netflix is taking steps to produce its own original programming, most notably by leasing a 200,000 square foot space in Hollywood, which it plans to open in early 2017. The first production under consideration is Chelsea Handler’s new talk show. Continue reading Netflix to Open its Own Studio, Lessen Reliance on Hollywood

Oculus Conference Puts Spotlight on Virtual Reality Content

At the Oculus Connect 2 developers conference, the company, now a unit of Facebook, focused on its efforts to increase the amount of content available for VR headsets, several of which are slated for launch in early 2016. That’s because a dearth of content is seen as a stumbling block to consumer adoption of VR when it becomes widely available. The conference unveiled newly inked deals for streaming movies and TV shows from Netflix, the popular “Minecraft” game and movies including “The Hunger Game” series. Continue reading Oculus Conference Puts Spotlight on Virtual Reality Content

Users Embrace Live Mobile Video, Data Plan Overages Grow

Live mobile video has exploded in the last few months, with offerings from Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and others. Mobile users have quickly caught on to how they can use live video, from concerts to personal rants. But the Achilles heel, however, is that live video uses a tremendous amount of data and, the immediacy of live video encourages users to go live without a Wi-Fi network handy. The result is that an increasing number of mobile users are going over their data plan, incurring extra charges. Continue reading Users Embrace Live Mobile Video, Data Plan Overages Grow

China President Seeks Commercial Ties with U.S. Tech Firms

During a visit with U.S. tech leaders, Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized cooperation between Chinese and U.S. technology sectors, and highlighted opportunities for U.S. commercial relations in light of China’s “relatively high” growth over a long period of time. Although recent research has tied Chinese hacks to a military unit there, Xi protested that both countries are victim of cybertheft and all hackers are subject to international law. He vowed to ease issues creating friction between the two countries. Continue reading China President Seeks Commercial Ties with U.S. Tech Firms

TBS and WME/IMG Plan to Bring Video Games to Primetime

Video games are coming to primetime TV next year, as Turner Broadcasting System partners with talent agency WME/IMG to create a league for players and fans. The currently unnamed league will broadcast gaming competitions live on Friday nights, with the hope it will draw in young male viewers on a night that is traditionally difficult to program. This first year, the league, which will broadcast 20 weeks a year, will focus competition in the game “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive,” published by Valve Corp. Continue reading TBS and WME/IMG Plan to Bring Video Games to Primetime

Apple Envisions iOS as the Future of Business Computing

With the recent introduction of the iPad Pro, Apple is signaling its intent that iOS become the dominant operating system in the enterprise arena. Driven by millennials whose intimate familiarity with iOS comes from growing up with — and spending most of their time with — Apple mobile devices, iOS is poised, believes Apple, to be the operating system that this demographic brings with them as they move into their careers and business lives. Microsoft, among others, is porting hundreds of apps to iOS. Continue reading Apple Envisions iOS as the Future of Business Computing

Cord-Cutting Trend Spurs Hollywood to Tweak Netflix Deals

As more consumers are cutting the cord and watching broadcast and cable TV shows via Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, network executives are rethinking their deals with those streaming services. They’re especially eyeing contracts with Netflix, which pays a flat fee, doesn’t have advertising and has upped its production of original content. Just how volatile the field is was reflected in an August sell-off of media stocks during which entertainment companies lost over $60 billion in value in two days. Continue reading Cord-Cutting Trend Spurs Hollywood to Tweak Netflix Deals

Fan-Built Virtual Reality Starship Has Trekkies Wanting More

Sci-fi fans and others have tried before to recreate the Enterprise-D starship from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in virtual reality. Although some of these VR experiences have been impressive, another one has just arrived on the scene that stands far above the rest, say some VR enthusiasts. The Enterprise Construction Project is spearheaded by a 3D artist identified only as Jason, whose obsession is to create a VR version of the entirety of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D and all its 42 decks. Continue reading Fan-Built Virtual Reality Starship Has Trekkies Wanting More

21 Bitcoin Computer Enables Machine-to-Machine Payments

When Andreessen Horowitz established Bitcoin startup 21 Inc., the goal was to turning Bitcoin into an Internet protocol or common language between connected devices, enabling machine-to-machine payments. The company just unveiled its first product and first step on the path to that end. The 21 Bitcoin Computer, which will go on sale Monday for $400 and ship in November, is aimed at developers, not consumers, and offers the Bitcoin protocol as a feature of its Linux-based operating system. Continue reading 21 Bitcoin Computer Enables Machine-to-Machine Payments

Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

Simple.tv — the company that has been trying to reinvent the DVR since 2012 — is about to launch ShowDrive, which allows users to record and playback up to 1,000 hours of TV programming from the cloud to Internet-connected TVs, streaming devices and mobile phones. Unlike Aereo, whose live TV and time-shifted TV DVR was killed by a Supreme Court ruling that it didn’t substantially differ from a cable operator, Simple.tv’s technology is based on technology that has standing in past legal cases. Continue reading Simple.tv Plans to Debut ShowDrive Cloud DVR at Next CES

Apple’s Electric-Car Project, Titan, Gets Greenlight for 2019

Apple greenlit its early stage work on an electric car, changing its status internally to a committed project dubbed Titan, say insiders, with a target release date for 2019. The company has decided that its expertise in batteries, sensors and hardware-software integration — honed by developing the iPhone — can serve as a sufficient foundation for developing a car. During the year Apple researched the feasibility of its own electric car, company executives met with two groups of government officials in California. Continue reading Apple’s Electric-Car Project, Titan, Gets Greenlight for 2019

Facebook to Track ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Buttons for Ad Targeting

Next month, hitting the “Like” or “Share” button on Facebook will do more than signal approval. Facebook’s algorithms will begin to share data on peoples’ browsing history into its ad targeting systems, which means that, depending on what a user “Likes” or “Shares,” he or she can be served related ads on Facebook, photo-sharing service Instagram or any mobile app that uses Facebook’s ad network. Facebook’s “Like” button, which adds a bit of code to the page, was first offered to publishers in 2010. Continue reading Facebook to Track ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ Buttons for Ad Targeting

Google Rumored to Debut New Chromecast Hardware, Apps

If rumors are true, on September 29, Google plans to release new Chromecast hardware and Spotify support as well as an updated app for the streaming device. The company will also introduce Chromecast Audio, a second Chromecast device — codenamed Hendrix — to Wi-Fi-enabled speakers in the home. The new device is distinct from Google Cast for Audio, a platform for making speakers and other audio hardware Chromecast-compatible. The new Chromecast app offers “What’s On,” which allows users to browse content on Chromecast-supported apps. Continue reading Google Rumored to Debut New Chromecast Hardware, Apps

Malware Attacks Apple iOS App Store, Infects Over 300 Apps

For the first time, Apple’s iOS mobile operating system was targeted with a large-scale malware attack, infecting several popular Chinese apps and exposing vulnerability in Apple’s mobile platform. The origin of the hack was an unauthorized version of Apple’s developer tool kit, hosted on the Baidu Pan cloud, which was touted as taking much less time to download than the official toolkit, Xcode. An unknown number of apps were infected, but one Chinese security company, Qihoo 360 Technology, estimates 344. Continue reading Malware Attacks Apple iOS App Store, Infects Over 300 Apps

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