Facebook’s Standalone Video App to Support 360-Degree Video

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has called virtual reality the next computing platform after mobile devices. His company also shelled out $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR last year; the company will ship its Rift headset for consumers in early 2016. So it’s no surprise that the company is reportedly working on a standalone video app to support 360-degree video on multiple platforms, including Apple and Android devices. Zuckerberg has also stated that Facebook would support 360-degree video in its newsfeed. Continue reading Facebook’s Standalone Video App to Support 360-Degree Video

Stripe’s Relay Simplifies E-Commerce on Apps and Social Media

Stripe, a startup already valued at $5 billion, just introduced easy-to-use tools that enable retailers to sell goods on Twitter and e-commerce apps including ShopStyle and Spring. Dubbed Relay, the new tools strip away the complications and expense of adding a “buy button” on Twitter and other apps. Stripe says a retailer can add that button with Relay in as little as 30 seconds. In addition to Twitter, Stripe has also partnered with Facebook and Pinterest, although neither company has yet to launch Relay. Continue reading Stripe’s Relay Simplifies E-Commerce on Apps and Social Media

DARPA’s Brandeis Project Focuses on Technologies for Privacy

At a three-day DARPA conference, the agency highlighted Brandeis, a project to develop technology with plans to protect individual privacy. The move is a 180-degree turn from the post September 11 focus on Total Information Awareness, a program that developed digital surveillance. DARPA has already selected the companies and universities joining the program, among them SRI International and Stealth Software. The meeting to kickoff Brandeis is scheduled to take place in October. Continue reading DARPA’s Brandeis Project Focuses on Technologies for Privacy

Sponsored Geofilters on Snapchat Draw in Advertising Dollars

Mobile video and messaging app Snapchat has become increasingly appealing to advertisers, who are using sponsored geofilters to turn their users into brand ambassadors. Although Snapchat still hasn’t built out its basic advertising infrastructure, advertisers are signing up to run fledgling campaigns in which people can add geofilters only when they are in specific locations. Among the brands that have launched such campaigns are Nike, GE, Target and McDonald’s. Some videos generate between 30 and 50 million views. Continue reading Sponsored Geofilters on Snapchat Draw in Advertising Dollars

Philo, Mobile Cable TV Startup, Expands to More Universities

Philo, which brings live TV and DVR use to mobile devices, was launched to entice young audiences that are not interested in traditional cable television. The company, backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and HBO, just expanded to an additional 15 U.S. universities, bringing its total presence on campuses to 40. The expansion comes in the wake of an additional $10 million raised in venture funding. Among the new campuses to sign on are University of Houston, University of Utah and Virginia Commonwealth University. Continue reading Philo, Mobile Cable TV Startup, Expands to More Universities

Apple Partners with Luxury Brand Hermès on New Smartwatch

On October 5, the Apple Watch Hermès, priced between $1,000 and $1,500, will go on sale in Apple and Hermès stores in 14 countries including the U.S., China, France and Switzerland. The new watch is Apple’s first partnership with a luxury brand, and also the first time that Apple has permitted another brand’s components — in this case, signature watchbands, clasps and fonts — on one of its products. The Apple Watch Hermès was the most expensive new item at Apple’s recent new product introduction. Continue reading Apple Partners with Luxury Brand Hermès on New Smartwatch

Google Unveils Android Pay, Improvement Over Google Wallet

Google now offers Android Pay, a mobile phone payment service similar to Apple Pay. Android Pay works with Visa, American Express, Discover and MasterCard and can be used at more than one million retail locations in the U.S. Android Pay requires a phone that runs Android 4.4 KitKat or newer and has a Near Field Communication (NFC) chip, a feature of most Android phones in the last three years. Android Pay, available in the Google Play app store, will come preloaded in new Android phones. Continue reading Google Unveils Android Pay, Improvement Over Google Wallet

Apple Debuts Subscription Program for Annual iPhone Upgrade

For users who always want the latest and greatest Apple iPhone, Apple just unrolled a program to perfectly suit their needs. For a monthly fee, the iPhone Upgrade Program provides a new iPhone every year plus access to AppleCare+, the top-of-the-line extended warranty program. The amount of that monthly fee depends on the level of iPhone involved, but ranges from $32.61 per month to $44.91 per month. Once enrolled, a subscriber to the program is committed for 24 months but can extend the program after 12 months of payment. Continue reading Apple Debuts Subscription Program for Annual iPhone Upgrade

Qualcomm Debuts Small, Light Drone with 4K Camera Support

Qualcomm has introduced Snapdragon Flight, a platform for consumer drones that has been under development for the last six months. Named after Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 processor, the platform supports a 4K video camera, two cameras for depth and a fourth for indoor stabilization. Snapdragon Flight supports Sony IMX camera sensors for video and Omnivision OV7251 sensors for computer vision. Companies that adopt the platform should be able to develop drones for sale within the first half of 2016. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Small, Light Drone with 4K Camera Support

Canon Developing Professional 8K Camera, Reference Display

Canon is developing a Cinema EOS 8K camera and 8K reference display, for “the production of next generation content.” Also in the works is a still-image single lens reflex camera with a CMOS sensor offering 120 million pixels, which Canon says is “the world’s highest number of pixels for a CMOS sensor smaller than the size of a 35mm full-frame sensor.” The company claims that the sensor was able to capture an image showing the lettering on the side of an airplane flying 11 miles from the shooting location. Continue reading Canon Developing Professional 8K Camera, Reference Display

Google Enters Budding On-Demand Supercomputing Business

Google is now offering Preemptible Virtual Machines (or VMs), a new class of computing resources that can be rented for a steep discount and shut down at any time. The only caveat is that customers must be willing to yield the computing resource on short notice. The solution is ideal for universities and companies that can’t or don’t want to buy their own expensive supercomputers. By offering this service, Google is entering an area dominated, up until now at least, by Amazon Web Services’ short-term use program, Spot Instances. Continue reading Google Enters Budding On-Demand Supercomputing Business

National Geographic and Fox Partner on a New Media Venture

The National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox have formed a for-profit venture, National Geographic Partners, which includes the National Geographic Channels cable TV group and magazine, other print publications, studios, digital media, maps, children’s media, travel, licensing and e-commerce. Fox’s $725 million purchase price bumps up the National Geographic Society’s endowment to $1 billion, enabling the non-profit organization to double its investment in science, research and education. Continue reading National Geographic and Fox Partner on a New Media Venture

Viacom Play Plex Offers Mobile TV Apps for its Major Brands

Viacom International is getting ready to debut Viacom Play Plex, a suite of apps for all its major brands, for iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets. Viacom Play Plex, which will be available in the company’s 180 international territories, will offer live and on-demand content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Channel, Spike and BET. The suite of apps allows the company to make a significant move into the burgeoning mobile TV world. Viacom had previously launched a Nickelodeon app in 2013. Continue reading Viacom Play Plex Offers Mobile TV Apps for its Major Brands

Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Forty-five million small business use Facebook Pages, and the Silicon Valley company is now upgrading the app to make it easier for them to make money with the feature by reaching mobile users. The upgrade includes a tabbed mobile layout, so businesses can display storefront sections and let visitors shop for products or look at a list of services. The new Pages also makes it much easier for a user to contact the small business in question, with Call Now, Send Message and Contact Us graphics bigger, more prominent and colorful. Continue reading Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Tech Leaders Envision a Globally Connected Future with VR

Oculus chief executive Palmer Luckey and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg are “ground zero” for the 3D immersive technology, but the big-name fan base is growing, including SpaceX/Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Facebook board member Mark Andreessen, who not long ago was skeptical about funding a virtual reality company. What they all believe is that VR will be a truly paradigm-shifting technology that will connect everyone in the world, for a growing range of activities from video games to business meetings. Continue reading Tech Leaders Envision a Globally Connected Future with VR

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