Huawei, Samsung Hope Consumers Adopt Foldable Phones

At MWC Barcelona (formerly Mobile World Congress), Samsung Electronics and Huawei Technologies debuted foldable smartphones, betting that consumers will upgrade after five straight quarters of diminished sales. Mobile carriers, however, are dubious, since the price tag for these new phones — $1,980 for Samsung’s Galaxy Fold and an estimated $2,600+ for Huawei’s Mate X — is high and folding-screen technology is unproven. Some experts urge buyers to wait for superior glass-based screens, currently not ready for use in foldable phones. Continue reading Huawei, Samsung Hope Consumers Adopt Foldable Phones

Luminary Launches With Plan to Be the Netflix of Podcasts

Luminary is a podcast startup that has debuted with more than 40 exclusive shows and no ads. The company also has almost $100 million in funding and, for $8 per month, subscribers will get full access to the content lineup, which includes a new show from Lena Dunham and series from Conan O’Brien, Malcolm Gladwell and Trevor Noah. Co-founder/chief executive Matt Sacks stated that Luminary aims to be “synonymous with podcasting in the same way Netflix has become synonymous with streaming.” Continue reading Luminary Launches With Plan to Be the Netflix of Podcasts

Password-Free Logins Getting Closer to Becoming a Reality

WebAuthn, with the approval of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the FIDO Alliance, just became an official web standard for password-free logins. After W3C and the FIDO Alliance first introduced it in November 2015, WebAuthn gained the support of many W3C contributors including Airbnb, Alibaba, Apple, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla, PayPal, SoftBank, Tencent and Yubico. With WebAuthn, which is supported by Android and Windows 10, users can log-in via biometrics, mobile devices or FIDO security keys. Continue reading Password-Free Logins Getting Closer to Becoming a Reality

Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

As the Academy Governor representing directors, filmmaker Steven Spielberg is intent on changing the rules so that movies made by streaming content creators won’t be eligible for Oscars but would only be considered for Emmys, along with other TV fare. Spielberg — and the studios — were motivated most recently by how close Netflix-produced “Roma” came to winning Best Picture. As it was, “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón won Academy Awards for best director and best cinematographer. One complaint is the lopsided spending for Oscar competition. Continue reading Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

RIAA Reports On the Rising Dominance of Streaming Music

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)’s annual report revealed that, for the third year in a row, music revenue has been growing robustly. In 2018, music revenue enjoyed an 11.9 percent jump from 2017 for a total of $9.8 billion. The reason behind such growth, said the experts, is streaming services, which accounted for 75 percent of the revenue, equaling $7.4 billion. The RIAA also reported that sales of downloaded songs and albums have slumped significantly, below the sale of CDs and vinyl records. Continue reading RIAA Reports On the Rising Dominance of Streaming Music

Amazon to Launch Another Grocery Store Brand in the U.S.

Amazon plans to open dozens of grocery stores — distinct from Whole Foods — starting with Los Angeles and then in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC, and Philadelphia among other cities, said sources. The L.A. store is expected to open as early as the end of 2019, with others scheduled for early 2020. The name of the stores hasn’t yet been disclosed. The move is part of Amazon’s more recent focus on physical retail, especially grocery stores. Now traditional grocers will have yet more competition from Amazon. Continue reading Amazon to Launch Another Grocery Store Brand in the U.S.

5G Networks Will Impact the Media & Entertainment Industry

Download a movie in six seconds. Watch more immersive sports broadcasts. Enjoy sophisticated game play with only a few milliseconds of latency. Smart movie theater, smart home, smart car, smart personal devices … all will be connected by the new 5G networks, claim the experts. Qualcomm’s chief legal officer Donald Rosenberg told the World Economic Forum that, “we’re on the verge of a new age of interconnectedness, when the daily lives of people across the planet will be more closely intertwined than ever.” Continue reading 5G Networks Will Impact the Media & Entertainment Industry

Cryptocurrencies to Launch Soon From Messaging Services

Facebook, Telegram and Signal plan to utilize their messaging services as platforms to launch new cryptocurrencies over the next year. Their virtual currencies will allow users to send money to contacts around the world via the messaging services. According to inside sources, Facebook has been secretly working on a coin for WhatsApp that users could “instantly” send to friends or family. Facebook’s WhatsApp project is developed to the point that the company is already in discussions with cryptocurrency exchanges. Continue reading Cryptocurrencies to Launch Soon From Messaging Services

Amazon’s Project Zero Lets Brands Delist Counterfeit Goods

In the fight against counterfeiting, Amazon has introduced Project Zero, which allows brand owners to delete listings they deem to be fake. This is the first time that Amazon has shared responsibility for policing counterfeiting, reasoning that it is more efficient for brands than navigating the company’s reporting process. After testing Project Zero with 15 brands for several months, Amazon will begin to select and invite additional brands, with the goal of making it available to all brand owners at some unspecified future date. Continue reading Amazon’s Project Zero Lets Brands Delist Counterfeit Goods

Sony Unveils Three Phones With CinemaWide Aspect Ratio

At MWC Barcelona (formerly Mobile World Congress), Sony introduced its flagship smartphone, the Xperia 1, with a notably tall display and ‘CinemaWide’ 21:9 aspect ratio, shared by the lower cost new Xperia 10 and 10 Plus. The Xperia 1 is the successor to Sony’s Xperia XZ3 released last fall. The Xperia 1’s display is a 4K HDR OLED panel measuring 6.5-inches diagonally. With a bezel on top, it is 6.57-inches tall, almost an inch taller than an iPhone XS. Sony positions the new form factor as ideal for videos, games and multitasking. Continue reading Sony Unveils Three Phones With CinemaWide Aspect Ratio

Disney Brings Immersive ‘Star Wars’ Experience to its Parks

When Disney opens Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (which will debut this summer at Disneyland in California and this fall at Disney World in Florida), visitors will discover a multi-faceted, immersive experience that lets them build a droid, learn how to construct a lightsaber, and use their phones to hack data ports. All the while, they will also engage in a struggle for control of the fictional town of Black Spire Outpost. Walt Disney Imagineering exec Scott Trowbridge noted that visitors now want to be more of a participant than a spectator in experiences. Continue reading Disney Brings Immersive ‘Star Wars’ Experience to its Parks

TikTok to Pay Record Fine After Violating Children’s Privacy

The Federal Trade Commission just inked a settlement with video social network TikTok (which merged with Musical.ly last year) over the charge that its app illegally collected children’s personal information. A large percent of users are under 13, and the personal information collected — without asking for parental permission — included email addresses, names and schools. The site refused to delete video and other data when requested by some parents. The FTC said the $5.7 million settlement is a record for a child privacy violation. Continue reading TikTok to Pay Record Fine After Violating Children’s Privacy

Facebook Debuts Showcase Upfront-Style Advertising Sales

Facebook debuted Facebook Showcase, a premium video-ad program to let buyers for online video/TV ads nail down guaranteed rates and impressions up to one year in advance. With the program, Facebook makes a more aggressive move into upfront buys for its content; its previous program only let advertisers buy video ads one quarter in advance. The Showcase program, which is now only available for ad campaigns aimed at U.S. audiences, coincides with the company’s increase in original content for its Watch video service. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Showcase Upfront-Style Advertising Sales

Department of Justice Revisits 1941 Music-Licensing Rules

The Department of Justice will soon ask for public input on the status of two legal agreements that have been the foundation of music licensing since 1941, said sources. Advocates of overhauling the rules said that artists are harmed, earning less in the digital age. Those who believe the regulations should stay in place counter that the rules have created a stable marketplace. The review of these music licensing rules comes as the DOJ revisits consent decrees written decades ago for several different industries. Continue reading Department of Justice Revisits 1941 Music-Licensing Rules

FTC Targets Anti-Competitive Violations, Fake Amazon Posts

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will create a task force to take a broad look at potential antitrust violations in the tech industry, including re-examining already-approved mergers — possibly undoing deals deemed to have an anti-competitive impact today. At the same time, the FTC brought its first case against using fake ads to sell online products, settling with the New York City-based Cure Encapsulations and its owner for paying for fake ads about a weight loss product to be posted as Amazon reviews. Continue reading FTC Targets Anti-Competitive Violations, Fake Amazon Posts

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