Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

Netflix had been fighting to stream two movies produced by Relativity Media ahead of their planned theatrical releases, but a judge on Friday issued an order preventing Netflix from doing so. According to Judge Michael Wiles of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, an early release of the comedy “Masterminds” and horror film “The Disappointments Room” could be “devastating” for Relativity, the studio he recently released from chapter 11. Ruling in favor of Netflix “would threaten the bankruptcy process… with devastating consequences to the plan and distributions” to creditors, the judge said. Continue reading Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

New Study Points to Increase in Social Media as News Source

According to a Pew Research study, 62 percent of U.S. adults now get their news from social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit. Atop the list is Facebook, reaching about 44 percent of the population, while Twitter and YouTube hold second place. The study found that the social media sites with the most growth to their news audiences since 2013 include Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Pew also found that 20-30 percent of users across the top five social platforms still get additional news from local and nightly network television. Continue reading New Study Points to Increase in Social Media as News Source

Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

Panasonic has announced that it plans to exit the television screen manufacturing business, and “will stop producing TV screens at its plant in Himeji, western Japan, by the end of September,” according to Reuters. The decision leaves Sharp as Japan’s sole remaining TV panel company. Panasonic’s Himeji plant opened in 2010, but struggled to earn a profit while faced with stiff price competition by rivals located in China and South Korea. Moving forward, the plant is expected to continue manufacturing screens for medical equipment and automobile dashboards. Continue reading Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

Jawbone is Selling Speaker Biz, Puts Fitness Trackers on Hold

After failing to gain traction in the wearables market currently dominated by Fitbit and Apple, Jawbone has ceased production of its UP line of fitness trackers and reportedly sold its remaining inventory to a third party reseller at a discount. It is not clear whether Jawbone plans to manufacture the fitness trackers again in the future. The company has also discontinued its Bluetooth speaker business and is currently looking to unload remaining inventory. According to multiple sources, Jawbone has been looking to sell its Jambox wireless speaker business. Continue reading Jawbone is Selling Speaker Biz, Puts Fitness Trackers on Hold

Xbox One VR Rumors Fueled by Game Developer and E3 Site

Speculation that Microsoft is planning a more powerful, VR-capable Xbox One for next year has been fueled by news that at least one developer plans to show a virtual reality game for the console at E3 in June. According to Ars Technica, “a well-known European studio is planning ‘a new VR game’ set in the universe of an established, long-running franchise.” To further fan the flames, the E3 site added an Xbox One VR category featuring four developers so far. While Sony announced that it plans to launch a $399 PlayStation VR in October, Microsoft has yet to officially announce plans for a VR console. Continue reading Xbox One VR Rumors Fueled by Game Developer and E3 Site

Drone Sales Grow 224 Percent Year-Over-Year to $200 Million

The FAA’s mandatory drone registration does not seem to be impacting UAV sales, which have grown 224 percent from April 2015 to April 2016 for a total of nearly $200 million, according to The NPD Group. Robotics Trends reports the FAA’s database indicates there are now “461,433 registered hobbyist drone owners in 39,471 zip codes.” NPD notes that DJI is the clear U.S. market leader at 49 percent, followed by Parrot (19 percent), Protocol (6.3 percent), Yuneec (5.6 percent) and 3D Robotics (4 percent). Drones with 4K cameras represented more than one-third of sales for the 12 month period, and GPS-outfitted drones accounted for 64 percent of sales. Continue reading Drone Sales Grow 224 Percent Year-Over-Year to $200 Million

The Netflix Zone: Virtual Video Store Showcased at Hack Day

One of the more compelling demos during Netflix’s latest Hack Day was a virtual reality showroom using HTC Vive’s room-scale VR. Developers Joey Cato, Marco Caldeira and Adnan Abbas created “The Netflix Zone,” where subscribers can peruse titles on shelf racks arranged by categories and personal recommendations. Movies and original shows such as “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” appear on shelves as VHS cassettes. When you select certain cassettes, the shop morphs into a setting that reflects the title. Continue reading The Netflix Zone: Virtual Video Store Showcased at Hack Day

Jury Sides with Google in Oracle Copyright Case Over Software

Yesterday, a jury ruled in favor of Google in its dispute with Oracle over software used to power smartphones. Oracle was seeking $9 billion in its claim that Google used copyrighted material in its software code for the company’s Android mobile operating system. Android uses open-source Java, which Oracle acquired when it purchased Sun Microsystems in 2010. Google argued that it made fair use of the code. According to The New York Times, “The victory for Google cheered other software developers, who operate much the way Google did when it comes to so-called open-source software… The courtroom fight was something of a watershed for technology and could offer clarity on legal rules surrounding open-source technology.” Continue reading Jury Sides with Google in Oracle Copyright Case Over Software

Samsung, SK Telecom to Build First Nationwide Network for IoT

Samsung announced it is partnering with SK Telecom to build a LoRaWAN network to cover all of South Korea, claiming it would be the world’s first nationwide network for the Internet of Things. The IoT network rolls out in Daegu next month and will be available throughout the country by the middle of this year. LoRaWAN (which means “long-range wide-area network”) was already used to build a citywide IoT network in Amsterdam. “LoRaWAN represents an attempt to standardize LPWAN (low-power wide-area networks),” explains TechCrunch, “which are meant to offer a cheaper and more power-efficient alternative to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks for the Internet of Things.” Continue reading Samsung, SK Telecom to Build First Nationwide Network for IoT

Facebook Plans to Shut Down LiveRail as Early as Next Week

Facebook is ready to shutter its video ad exchange LiveRail, which it purchased for a reported $400 million to $500 million in 2014. The news does not come as a surprise; former LiveRail CEO Mark Trefgarne departed in April and employees were told to look for other positions within Facebook about a week earlier. A Facebook spokesperson sent the following statement to Re/code: “We are discontinuing the LiveRail Private Exchange to focus on finding better ways for publishers to sell their ad space directly to advertisers, as well as expanding our video ad offering via Audience Network.” Continue reading Facebook Plans to Shut Down LiveRail as Early as Next Week

Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

During the Moogfest music and technology fest in North Carolina, Google Brain researcher Douglas Eck outlined a new artificial intelligence research project at Google called Magenta. The group, expected to publicly launch next month, plans to use the company’s machine learning engine TensorFlow to explore new ways that computers and AI systems could be trained to create original art and media such as music or video. The initiative should prove challenging; so far, the most advanced AI systems have struggled to replicate styles of existing artists. Continue reading Google to Explore Using AI Systems to Produce Art and Music

Twitter Character Update Makes Room for Interactive Content

Twitter is planning a series of changes designed to make communication easier via the social platform, hopefully without alienating its loyal base (earlier proposed changes led to public outcry). Notably, Twitter will modify the 140-character limit of a tweet, which often frustrates some users, but in many ways has come to define the service. “Under the rule-bending, tagging users by their handles at the beginning of replies and adding photos, GIFs and videos will no longer count against the 140-character limit in tweets,” reports The New York Times. “Twitter users will also be able to quote and ‘retweet’ — or rebroadcast — their own older tweets, which was not possible before.” Continue reading Twitter Character Update Makes Room for Interactive Content

Apple Plans Release of Siri SDK, New Home Assistant Device

Apple is reportedly prepping an SDK that would provide developers with more access to the company’s digital assistant Siri, while a stationary hub similar to Amazon’s Echo is in the works. We should expect an announcement, or possibly the new device, during next month’s WWDC. Apple is facing new competition in this space, and opening Siri “to all developers would go far to make an adequate virtual assistant into a powerful and convenient one,” suggests TechCrunch. “And, as Apple works at shoehorning itself into households with HomeKit, a versatile voice-activated hub seems a natural addition.” Continue reading Apple Plans Release of Siri SDK, New Home Assistant Device

Playmaker Media: NBC Sports Plans Video Streaming Division

Following Disney’s investment in MLB Advanced Media and Turner Broadcasting’s majority stake in iStreamPlanet, NBC Sports will reportedly launch its own sports video streaming business named Playmaker Media. The new division will focus on convincing “leagues and teams to use NBC to stream their events,” reports SportsBusiness Journal. “For media companies like ESPN, NBC and Turner, these moves to set up their own streaming companies are signs of how TV networks plan to approach the next round of sports rights negotiations, many of which will occur early next decade.” Continue reading Playmaker Media: NBC Sports Plans Video Streaming Division

HPA Plans to Spin Off Enterprise Services Unit in CSC Merger

Six months after Hewlett-Packard split into two companies, the Hewlett Packard Enterprise half announced that it plans to spin off its services business to merge with IT services firm CSC in an $8.5 billion deal. HPE will merge its $20 billion Enterprise Services unit with CSC. HPE shareholders will own about half of the combined company, which will begin operating independently next March. “What will remain at HPE is a leaner $32 billion company that leads the world in sales of servers, the computers that are stacked together in data center racks that power the Internet,” reports Re/code. Continue reading HPA Plans to Spin Off Enterprise Services Unit in CSC Merger

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