CES Session: Defining and Creating the Killer AR/VR/MR App

At a session on “Gaming is the Killer App for AR/VR,” moderator Ariella Lehrer of HitPoint Studios stated that a “killer app” would be defined as any app that moves hardware units. That brought a wince from Needham & Company’s Laura Martin who objected that money, not hardware, is the metric to look at. Martin added that hardware sales don’t take into account the fact that so much AR will be done on a smartphone rather than a game console. “Because it uses your smartphone, AR will get faster adoption,” she suggested. Continue reading CES Session: Defining and Creating the Killer AR/VR/MR App

CES Session: Predicting the Future of Mobility & Connectivity

In a session on the future of mobility/transportation, speakers from several companies described the tipping point of the impact of technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Deloitte’s Allan Cook spoke about how AR/VR can be used to appeal to a younger generation loathe to enter a car dealership. “The AR/VR glasses are here now and they’re affordable,” he said. “It really helps your customers visualize what they’re seeing and give them an immersive experience.” Continue reading CES Session: Predicting the Future of Mobility & Connectivity

New Netflix CFO Is Expected to Face Cash Flow Challenges

Netflix recently named Spencer Neumann as its new chief financial officer. He faces the unenviable task of convincing investors that the path of investing immense sums of money into original content to grow subscriptions and profits will eventually pay off. Co-founder/chief executive Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos have driven the current strategy relying on original content, which is aimed at battling rivals such as Amazon, Hulu and HBO. They will continue to lead business and content strategy. Continue reading New Netflix CFO Is Expected to Face Cash Flow Challenges

CES Unveiled: A Look at This Year’s Innovation Award Winners

On Sunday, CES “unveiled” its Innovation Award winners for the year, in a room also crowded with numerous startups eager to showcase their technologies. This year was, again, a plethora of self-care, health-oriented products as well as many related to smart homes and home security. The 31 companies/products honored this year for “best of innovation” fell into the categories of digital imaging/photography, smart home, smart energy, wearable technologies, computer hardware, virtual reality and video displays among others. Continue reading CES Unveiled: A Look at This Year’s Innovation Award Winners

Nvidia Debuts Next-Gen Gaming with Ray-Tracing, AI at CES

At Nvidia’s CES 2019 press conference, founder/chief executive Jensen Huang was enthused about gaming. “Usually I also focus on AI and self-driving cars,” he said. “We have a lot of announcements about that. But today it’s all about gaming.” One big announcement was the company’s new GeForce RTX 2060, which is based on Turing architecture and is enabled by both ray-tracing and artificial intelligence. The RTX 2060, priced at $349, will be available January 15 “from every major OEM, system builder and graphics card partner.” Continue reading Nvidia Debuts Next-Gen Gaming with Ray-Tracing, AI at CES

CES 2019: Synamedia Offers AI Solution to Password Sharing

At CES 2019 this week, Synamedia will debut Credentials Sharing Insight, a service enabled by artificial intelligence to discover and halt password sharing, from the casual to the criminal. It’s part of a growing trend among pay TV and streaming video services to curtail the use of shared passwords, especially among friends and family. Synamedia chief product officer Jean-Marc Racine noted that, “the way you secure OTT is evolving.” Parks Associates estimates a loss of as much as $9.9 billion due to password sharing by 2021. Continue reading CES 2019: Synamedia Offers AI Solution to Password Sharing

Apple Among Those Impacted by Slowing Chinese Economy

Apple stock slumped 10 percent last Thursday to $142.19, the company’s biggest single-day percentage drop in almost six years, erasing $74.65 billion from its market value. That came after Apple chief executive Tim Cook warned that China’s economic slump is responsible for slowed-down iPhone sales in the past quarter. China’s wobbling consumer confidence is impacting the entire world economy, however, and Apple has problems beyond China. In India, it’s reaping a mere 1 percent of overall smartphone sales. Continue reading Apple Among Those Impacted by Slowing Chinese Economy

Roku Adds Premium Subs to Roku Channel, Updates its App

Following in the footsteps of its rival Amazon, Roku announced that users will be able to buy pay-TV subscriptions through its streaming service, The Roku Channel, beginning in late January. That mimics Amazon’s sale of access to HBO and other premium channels through its Prime Video platform. Roku’s offering will include Showtime, Starz and EPIX among others. The new feature, which replaces one in which Roku acted as a portal to outside services, will also be financially favorable for the company. Continue reading Roku Adds Premium Subs to Roku Channel, Updates its App

Sony Increases 3D Chip Supply to Meet Demand for Phones

After receiving interest from Apple and other customers, Sony plans to rev up production of its next-generation 3D sensors, which power front- and rear-facing 3D cameras. Sony sensor division head Satoshi Yoshihara reported that the company accelerated production of the 3D chips in late summer to meet the demand for several smartphones slated to debut in 2019. Although he did not provide production targets, he said Sony’s 3D business is already profitable and will impact earnings for the fiscal year beginning in April. Continue reading Sony Increases 3D Chip Supply to Meet Demand for Phones

Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

Amazon plans to build more Whole Foods stores across the United States, indicate sources, with the goal of adding more customers within reach of the company’s two-hour delivery service. The move is a transformation for the grocery store, which had slowed its growth in the years before Amazon’s 2017 purchase for about $13.5 billion. Although Amazon wouldn’t comment on expansion plans, sources say that Whole Foods staffers are searching for potential retail space in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, which currently don’t have Whole Foods stores. Continue reading Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

CES 2019: 5G to Make Debut as a Multi-Faceted Technology

At CES 2019 next week, 5G is expected to make a strong showing, not simply as a means to improve mobile phones, but as a game changer for everything from robots and drones to video games, sports and shopping. Although Samsung has already shown prototype 5G phones for Verizon and AT&T, ETC consultant George Gerba noted that, “the need to upgrade phones will not occur till 2020 when most metropolitan areas should be closing in on the first wave of 5G.” “This is one of those evolutions that will happen in waves and with some bumps,” he said. Continue reading CES 2019: 5G to Make Debut as a Multi-Faceted Technology

Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Netflix released “Bandersnatch,” an interactive episode of “Black Mirror,” its popular techno-paranoia series, that lets the viewer decide what happens at many points throughout the story, beginning with what cereal the protagonist has for breakfast. Netflix, which is using the episode to test if audiences are ready to embrace interactivity, already developed software to organize stories with infinite variations, called on producers to submit proposals for interactive stories, and hinted it has more in the works. Continue reading Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Amazon and Alexa Devices Have a Lucrative Holiday Season

This holiday season has shown that U.S. consumer confidence is high despite the volatile stock market. Amazon reported record-breaking revenue and noted that “tens of millions of people worldwide” registered for the company’s Prime service, many enticed by free two-day shipping. During the holiday, Amazon stated, more than one billion items were shipped via Prime. According to Amazon, year over year, that included millions more Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo, Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Alexa Voice Remote. Continue reading Amazon and Alexa Devices Have a Lucrative Holiday Season

Quibi Chief Meg Whitman Talks Mobile Content, 5G, eSports

Founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and headed by chief executive Meg Whitman, Quibi (“quick bites”) is a subscription service for short mobile videos set to launch in about a year. Quibi will deliver daily news and longer features, with production budgets higher than the typical YouTube video content. The app will also feature a control for adjusting screen brightness; videos are shot and edited for portrait and landscape modes. Every major Hollywood studio has invested in a $1 billion seed funding round. Continue reading Quibi Chief Meg Whitman Talks Mobile Content, 5G, eSports

Facebook Strategizing Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp in India

With an initial focus on the Indian market, Facebook is developing a cryptocurrency aimed for use on its WhatsApp messaging app. More specifically, sources said the company is developing a so-called stablecoin, which is pegged to the U.S. dollar to reduce volatility. The company is, however, still working on its strategy, meaning that debut of the coin is still some time off. In 2014, Facebook hired former PayPal president David Marcus to run Messenger, fueling belief the company was going to engage in financial services. Continue reading Facebook Strategizing Cryptocurrency for WhatsApp in India

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