One Million Friends Video-Chatting with New Houseparty App

Life on Air, whose Meerkat debuted at South by Southwest last year and put live streaming on the map, introduced Houseparty, an iOS and Android app for video chatting with friends. Dubbed a “synchronous social network” by the company, the app has operated under the radar for 10 months and now boasts nearly one million users. The question now is if the company can maintain the momentum or whether it will suffer a repeat of its experience in introducing a new sensation — and then losing ground to more sophisticated competitors. Continue reading One Million Friends Video-Chatting with New Houseparty App

Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

On Tuesday, Microsoft exec Panos Panay unveiled the Surface Pro 3, calling it a potential successor for laptop PCs. The device is not only lighter and thinner than previous versions of Surface tablet computers, but it is also larger. While previous versions measure at 10.6-inches diagonally, the Pro 3 screen measures 12-inches. Along with other Surface tablets, the Pro 3 is powered by Intel chips. Rather than comparing the tablet to others on the market, Panay discussed Apple’s MacBook Air as a competitor.

Continue reading Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

Apple Leads Global PC Market, Lenovo Holds the No. 2 Spot

According to market researcher Canalys, Apple is maintaining a comfortable lead in the global PC market, despite a disappointing quarter for the iPad. In the worldwide market sector that includes tablets, laptops and desktops, Apple is the number one supplier, with Lenovo gaining ground. Apple sold about 20 million Macs and iPads in the first quarter. While the decline in iPads was the sharpest to date, Canalys believes Apple will continue to dominate the tablet market, due in large part to its robust ecosystem. Continue reading Apple Leads Global PC Market, Lenovo Holds the No. 2 Spot

Virgin Atlantic Turns to Wearable Tech for Enhanced Service

Virgin Atlantic Upper Class passengers became the first air travelers to benefit from wearable technology while flying into London Heathrow airport this week. Concierge staff has begun using Google Glass and the Sony Smartwatch to give a more personal customer service experience by greeting travelers by name and keeping them updated on their flight status. Down the line, wearable tech may even be used to track travelers’ food and beverage preferences. Continue reading Virgin Atlantic Turns to Wearable Tech for Enhanced Service

Vacuum Sealed Protection for Smartphones That Also Floats

A new version of the DryCASE for smartphones and larger sizes for tablets was introduced at CES by Dry Corp. If you grew up by the sand and water you’ll appreciate how this crystal clear vacuum bag can both protect your phone from the elements and save it from a watery grave. Learning the hard way that anything in a pocket seems destined to end up 100 feet below the surface, this case and it’s armband supply both protection and flotation. So even if it’s not stowed on your arm it will bob to the surface. Continue reading Vacuum Sealed Protection for Smartphones That Also Floats

Innovid and Cisco Team Up to Deliver Ads to Second Screens

Innovid, a Sequoia-backed video ad company, announced that it is working with Cisco to bring advertisements to smartphones and tablets based on TV shows that viewers are watching during a specific moment. Cisco is able to do this by working with cable companies to analyze a TV show’s content, and pull keywords from that content, and show ads in the providers’ apps that are relevant to those keywords. While no cable partnerships have been announced, the companies are showing the tech at CES. Continue reading Innovid and Cisco Team Up to Deliver Ads to Second Screens

Warner Archive Instant Adds iPad App and Closed Captioning

Warner Bros. launched Warner Archive Instant in April, offering rare and hard-to-find movies and TV shows online. The $9.99 per month service streams content from Warner Bros., MGM, RKO, Allied Artists and others. Last week, the studio announced a new iPad app for the service. Many of the titles are available for streaming to HDTVs in 1080p via an iPad or Roku player. The entire Warner Archive Instant collection is also now available with closed captioning. Continue reading Warner Archive Instant Adds iPad App and Closed Captioning

Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

Forbes reports that Apple was a big winner on Black Friday. The article notes that InfoScout reviewed more than 90,000 shopping receipts in the U.S. and learned that Apple products accounted for 22 percent of Target’s sales on Black Friday. The iPad Air 16GB, iPad mini 16GB and iPad Air 32GB models were the number one, two and three sellers, respectively. Additionally, the iPad mini 16GB model was the number one seller at Walmart. Continue reading Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

Thinner, Lighter, Faster: Apple Unveils New iPad Air Tablet

At yesterday’s product launch event in San Francisco, Apple announced the fifth generation of its market-leading tablet, promising a “thinner, lighter, faster” device — and introducing a new name. The new iPad Air will feature the same 9.7-inch screen as the fourth-gen iPad and the same A7 processing chip that is in the new iPhone 5S, making it 72 times faster than the original iPad. The new 1-pound tablet is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the current model. Continue reading Thinner, Lighter, Faster: Apple Unveils New iPad Air Tablet

Apple Takes New Direction by Offering Free Operating System

In addition to the new iPads unveiled yesterday, Apple made several announcements regarding its hardware and software products. The new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops will go on sale immediately, while the $2,999 Mac Pro desktop will ship before the end of the year. Apple’s iWork and iLife suites of office and creative software are now free with every hardware purchase. Another surprise is the company’s decision to offer its Mac operating system, OS X Mavericks, as a free download. Continue reading Apple Takes New Direction by Offering Free Operating System

SIGGRAPH: Disney Creates Air-Based Touch Feedback System

Disney Research has created a haptic, or touch feedback, system that uses bursts of air. The AIREAL system simulates touch, or tactile sensation, in three-dimensional empty space. The haptic feedback can be applied to countless applications and situations, and may offer new ways for users to interact with their devices. The concept is to make touchless experiences, such as motion and gesture control, a physical interaction. This will ultimately give the user a more natural, touch-like perception. Continue reading SIGGRAPH: Disney Creates Air-Based Touch Feedback System

Apple Expected to Unveil New Streaming Music Service Today

At its annual developers conference in San Francisco today, Apple is expected to unveil its ad-supported streaming music service. The company is also expected to introduce new Mac notebooks and a redesigned iOS featuring a simpler interface. Apple’s new Internet radio service will compete with online music services such as Pandora, Rdio and Spotify. The move into streaming music could also help it compete with rival Google, which has been successful with robust Internet services. Continue reading Apple Expected to Unveil New Streaming Music Service Today

Adobe Announces Aggressive Focus on HTML5, Abandons Mobile Flash

  • Adobe will no longer continue to develop its Flash Player for mobile devices. Instead, it will focus its resources on HTML5, according to the company’s blog.
  • “HTML5 is now universally supported on major mobile devices, in some cases exclusively,” writes Danny Winokur, VP and GM, Adobe Interactive Development. “This makes HTML5 the best solution for creating and deploying content in the browser across mobile platforms. We are excited about this, and will continue our work with key players in the HTML community, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, to drive HTML5 innovation they can use to advance their mobile browsers.”
  • Future efforts for Flash on mobile devices will focus on creating native apps with Adobe AIR for all the major app stores.
  • “Did Apple ensure mobile Flash’s demise by preventing it from competing properly? Or did Adobe’s insistence on keeping the format proprietary, complicated by Flash’s alleged performance issues, tie Cupertino’s hands?” asks TIME. “Whatever the case, with Adobe’s mobile development switching to HTML5, all eyes are on the desktop version of Flash, and whether after nearly a decade-and-a-half of use, Adobe will eventually opt to retire it, too.”

In-Flight Satellite Wi-Fi Coming to United and Continental by Next Year

  • Through an agreement with Panasonic Avionics Corporation, United and Continental travelers will be provided in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity on more than 300 aircraft beginning in mid-2012.
  • According to the press release: “Panasonic’s Ku-band satellite technology offers faster speed than air-to-ground technology (ATG) and will provide connectivity on flights worldwide. The system will also enable wireless streaming of video content.”
  • The system will initially be installed on Airbus 319 and 320 and Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft.
  • Additionally, United Continental Holdings expects to have its entire mainline fleet equipped with Wi-Fi access no later than 2015.

Flash Player 11 and AIR 3: For HD Video and 3D Gaming on Multiple Platforms

  • Adobe announced this week Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 software to enable “console quality” 2D and 3D games and scientific visualizations for multiple platforms including Android, Apple iOS (via AIR), BlackBerry Tablet OS, Mac OS, Windows, connected TVs and others.
  • Adobe touts 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash 10 and AIR 2 enabling 60 frames per second rendering and console-quality games on Mac OS, Windows and connected TVs. A production release for mobile is coming.
  • Content protection is available using Adobe Flash Access 3 on supported platforms — “including support for mobile platforms,” explains the press release — with support for rental and subscription options “to more than 80 percent of the U.S. pay TV subscribers.”
  • HD full frame video quality can be displayed on iOS devices using H.264 hardware decoding to deliver 7.1 channel surround sound.

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