Sony CEO Reveals Plan to Make Products ‘Objects of Desire’

During his CES presentation, Sony president and CEO Kazuo Hirai revealed plans for the company’s future, including an emphasis on creating personal experiences for customers, generating sustainable growth for the Sony brand through continued innovation, and developing new products as “objects of desire.” “When you experience one of our products, interact with one of them, we want to generate an emotional response,” he explained. Hirai recognized Mike Fasulo, president/COO of Sony North America, for his “incredible efforts in this pursuit,” and announced the company’s new 4K OLED offerings, new 4K Bravias and Android TV OS. Continue reading Sony CEO Reveals Plan to Make Products ‘Objects of Desire’

Microsoft Brings Cortana to Nissan, Amazon Signs Ford Deal

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn delivered a CES keynote that addressed the company’s goal to integrate Microsoft tech into its automobiles. Nissan’s connected vehicles will use Microsoft programs including the Cortana voice assistant, Dynamics, Office 365, Power BI and Skype for Business. Microsoft is launching a new Connected Vehicle Platform based on its Azure cloud platform, and the Renault-Nissan alliance will be the first automotive partner for the tech giant’s new initiative. The move comes during increased competition in automotive tech; Amazon, for example, is looking to get its virtual assistant Alexa into cars and just announced a deal with Ford. Continue reading Microsoft Brings Cortana to Nissan, Amazon Signs Ford Deal

Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Roku is introducing new hardware at CES this week, including a number of 4K TVs featuring Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range). The company, whose app platform is now the basis of 13 percent of smart TVs sold in the U.S., has partnered with Element Electronics on Roku TVs expected to hit shelves later this year. TCL, which uses the Roku TV program for all its smart TVs, is also introducing new Roku-based 4K HDR TVs. And Hisense unveiled its H4 series, the company’s first 4K HDR Roku TVs. Dish, Dolby, Element, Hisense, Hitachi and TCL are among the vendors showcasing Roku TVs in Las Vegas. Continue reading Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Lenovo Plans to Launch Windows VR Headset Later This Year

Microsoft is planning a push into VR this year with its Windows Holographic software and Windows-compatible VR headsets. At CES, Chinese consumer tech company Lenovo is previewing its own upcoming headset based on the Windows Holographic platform (users will need a PC with Windows 10), which is expected to launch during the second half of 2017. Priced under $400, it seems Lenovo is looking to compete with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Interestingly, the unnamed Lenovo headset will also feature the ability to run some augmented reality experiences using external cameras. Continue reading Lenovo Plans to Launch Windows VR Headset Later This Year

First Impressions of CES 2017: Where is All the Data Going?

CES is always a data scientist’s nightmare, and this year is no different. Why? It’s simple. The hardware vision we’re being served (24/7 connection with everything) immediately triggers one critical question: Where will all this data go? How will this comically fragmented data be integrated in a way that creates value for your lives, our families, our organizations? The central conundrum of wearables and IoT, which we see nowhere here, is that the firehose of data created by these devices can only create value if merged together in a way that’s (a) central, (b) safe, and (c) relevant to our lives. Emphasis on (c), of course. Continue reading First Impressions of CES 2017: Where is All the Data Going?

Holiday Shoppers Buy Record Number of Products on Amazon

Amazon experienced its “best ever” holiday shopping season, with its voice-controlled Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers leading sales, followed by the Fire TV Stick and $50 Amazon Fire tablet. Sales of the Alexa-enabled devices were nine times higher than sales during the previous year’s holiday season and the company had trouble keeping them in stock. Amazon Prime members reportedly purchased more than one billion items over the holiday season. The online retailer said its customers purchased enough 4K TVs to scale Mount Everest more than nine times. Among the top sellers included Samsung’s 32-inch smart LED TV and Avera’s 32-inch LED TV. Continue reading Holiday Shoppers Buy Record Number of Products on Amazon

Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Analytics service Mixpanel reports that Apple had a decent holiday season, as more iPhone 7 devices were sold than Google Pixel smartphones. During the first few days following Christmas, iPhone 7 numbers “increased by 12.7 percent, compared with an 8.5 percent increase for Google’s newest flagship,” explains TechCrunch. “And when comparing iOS to Android devices in general — including phones, tablets, and iPods — more new Apple devices were switched on … after Christmas than Android devices.” Apple devices had the most global activations leading up to Christmas, while Samsung came in second. The number of “Apple Watches increased by 8.9 percent … the first three days after Christmas,” but “that’s down from 18.6 percent during the same time last year.” Continue reading Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Marking the biggest week of the year for mobile games, research firm Sensor Tower reports that sales of game apps between Christmas and New Year’s Day jumped 53 percent over the same period last year. “Smartphone and tablet users spent a record $967.6 million on game apps for iOS and Android devices,” notes The Wall Street Journal. “Two factors typically goose spending during the week: mobile devices given as gifts, and people off from work and school who have free time to load up on apps.” Additionally, game developers typically introduce “discounts and special holiday-timed events during the week.” According to Newzoo, mobile is now the largest slice of the $100 billion video game pie. Continue reading Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, announced plans to build an $8.8 billion flat panel TV factory in Guangzhou, China, where the Taiwanese company will manufacture advanced liquid-crystal displays with tech from Sharp Corp. (Foxconn acquired the Japanese electronics brand in 2016). The investment “will be made by Sakai Display Products Corp., which is mostly owned by Gou personally,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Gou has sometimes taken on riskier investments for Foxconn under his personal portfolio, saying it was safer for Foxconn shareholders. The new Guangzhou facility is expected to begin production of 10.5-generation 8K displays, smart TVs and electronic whiteboards in 2019.” Continue reading Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

CES 2017: Conference Sessions Explore Products and Trends

Beyond the sights and spectacle of CES, almost 2.5 million square feet of exhibits, 3,800 exhibiting companies, and 175,000 attendees, are oases of insight and information to be found among more than 300 conference sessions. CES conferences leverage the attendance of senior executives, experts, and policymakers to populate panels that cover the spectrum of product categories, tech trends, and consumer interests represented throughout the show. Eight SuperSessions feature senior leaders grappling with their experiences in emerging sectors, while 44 different tracks explore a wide range of timely topics. Continue reading CES 2017: Conference Sessions Explore Products and Trends

Yves Bergquist to Present Trailblazer Talk at January AI Event

ETC’s Yves Bergquist will be presenting “From Demographics to Storygraphics: Audience Intelligence at the Frontier” during the Lionbridge #AIShowBiz conference on January 12 in downtown Los Angeles. The new conference brings together industry leaders to discuss trends and strategies related to the intersection of artificial intelligence and the entertainment industry. Members of the ETCentric community will receive 50 percent off the early-bird ticket by entering ‘AIHoliday50’ as the promo code. For more information about the conference, visit the AIShowBiz site. Continue reading Yves Bergquist to Present Trailblazer Talk at January AI Event

Samsung Readies New QLED TV Technology to Debut at CES

Samsung is reportedly planning to unveil a next-gen quantum dot screen technology called ‘QLED’ at CES in January. The 2017 quantum dot TVs are expected to increase black color representation (one strength of OLED) and brightness (the strength of LCD). The QLED name is meant to describe a combination of LED and quantum dot, and will likely replace the company’s SUHD naming convention. Samsung recently registered trademarks in Korea for ‘HDR 1500,’ ‘Q HDR’ and ‘Real Black’ to apply to its new TVs, which will likely achieve light outputs of 1500 nits and offer a premium HDR experience.  Continue reading Samsung Readies New QLED TV Technology to Debut at CES

CES 2017: An Argument for Opacity in Our Next Technologies

As noted by Bolter and Grusin in their seminal work Remediation: Understanding New Media, there is a trend towards transparency of the supports that underlie media content. For example, consider the current obsession with grinding down smartphone bezels so that all that remains is a gleaming, five-inch window into the world of “Angry Birds.” Or, look to the excitement of panel manufacturers who boast of new color spaces, dynamic ranges, and resolutions. Virtual reality presents the possible apotheosis of this kind of mediation: a technology where content has no borders, instead utilizing the totality of one’s senses, the net cast by its content so wide that the machinery which deploys it becomes eclipsed. Continue reading CES 2017: An Argument for Opacity in Our Next Technologies

Virtual Reality Will Be a Major Force at CES 2017 Next Month

In 2016 the definition of virtual reality became somewhat diluted as it entered mainstream culture. Everything from non-interactive 360 videos viewable on a tablet to free-roaming full-body head-mounted display experiences inside warehouse spaces was marketed as VR. We saw ‘magic window’ VR experiences, a push for consumer HMDs including Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, and the introduction of low-cost alternatives such as Google Cardboard. It should come as little surprise that more than 210 companies exhibiting at CES 2017 use the keywords AR and/or VR in their descriptions; 72 are clustered in the Gaming and VR Marketplace section in South Hall Lower Level between spaces 21760 and 26025. Continue reading Virtual Reality Will Be a Major Force at CES 2017 Next Month

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