Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

New standalone VR headsets continue to ramp up competition in the emerging tech sector. HTC has introduced its Vive Focus (starting at $599) to additional markets beyond China — including Europe and the U.S. — while launching an SDK and encouraging developers to experiment with its 6DoF controller add-on. This week, it also unveiled an enterprise version of the Vive Focus. Meanwhile, the all-in-one $399 Oculus Quest headset is scheduled to launch by spring of next year. And new to the scene is Shadow Creator’s $399 Shadow VR, which recently launched globally and is the latest of 15 partners to leverage HTC’s Vive Wave platform. Continue reading Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

Rabbit Updates Features for More Versatile Social TV Viewing

Rabbit, which lets users watch online videos with friends, is updating its features, adding real-time and delayed viewing among others to the mobile/web platform. Company chief executive Amanda Richardson noted that Rabbit’s ability to “let you watch any video content with anyone, anywhere in the world, at the same time, is unmatched.” The 30-employer Rabbit, launched in 2015, now has 3.6 million monthly active viewers and has experienced a two-time to three-time growth year over year. Continue reading Rabbit Updates Features for More Versatile Social TV Viewing

Samsung Prototype Debut May Help Kickstart Foldable Trend

Samsung chose its San Francisco developer conference to unveil the anticipated prototype of its foldable two-screen smartphone. The Infinity Flex Display touts a 7.3-inch screen that can be folded to easily fit in a user’s pocket. The device also includes what the company calls a “multi active window” feature that enables running up to three apps simultaneously. Google will support the phones with its Android operating system and is working with Samsung on next year’s planned launch. Meanwhile, foldable tech is becoming an emerging trend, with products in various stages from Huawei, Lenovo, Royole, Xiaomi and LG, some of which we may see at CES in January. Continue reading Samsung Prototype Debut May Help Kickstart Foldable Trend

CBS Introduces Streaming Network for Entertainment News

CBS launched its latest streaming network this week, as part of its strategy to reach younger viewers who are losing interest in traditional pay TV. The free ET Live channel, developed by CBS Interactive and “Entertainment Tonight,” will offer a wide array of entertainment news and related original programming via CBS All Access and ETLive.com, in addition to its own standalone app for Android, iOS, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV (integration with more platforms is expected in the future). CBS recently rolled out a number of streaming services as part of its CBS Local brand. Continue reading CBS Introduces Streaming Network for Entertainment News

Facebook Growth Slows in Early Stage of its Shift to Video

Facebook recorded lower Q3 revenue than expected, the result said chief executive Mark Zuckerberg of “an unsteady transition” from News to more popular but less profitable Stories, which allows users to build photo/video montages that disappear after 24 hours. The company relayed that the transition’s early stage will be marked by higher costs, including more investment in 2019, and continued slow growth. Investors took the news in stride, unlike the July earnings report that resulted in a stock price plummet. Continue reading Facebook Growth Slows in Early Stage of its Shift to Video

Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

Canadian wearables startup Thalmic Labs, which has rebranded itself as North, unveiled its second product — holographic smart glasses dubbed Focals. The wearable features lenses with a built-in display that shows the user messages, weather forecasts, directions and more information from the smartphone, and allows the user to call on Alexa to order an Uber and get calendar notifications among other tasks. Two years ago, North raised $120 million from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Intel Capital and Fidelity Investments Canada. Continue reading Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

Google, Yubico Security Keys May Lead to End of Passwords

Swedish-based Yubico, in business for 10 years, debuted its latest online security product, YubiKey 5, a device that plugs into a computer to authenticate the user with a “handshake” that is more secure than a password or authentication code. Google has come out with a similar device, the Titan Key. Both devices can also be used with some smartphones, by plugging into a port or via a wireless communication. These keys are the first arrivals in an Internet security strategy that might displace the password. Continue reading Google, Yubico Security Keys May Lead to End of Passwords

Facebook Gives HTML5 Another Shot for its Instant Games

Although its first experiences with HTML5 were just short of disastrous, Facebook is now using it again to expand Instant Games to developing countries via Facebook Lite and to interest communities via Facebook Groups. Because smartphone processing power and mobile browser app technology have improved, HTML5 is now able to support more complicated games, and Instant Games can launch in a mobile browser or directly into Groups. Currently, 90 million people take part in 270,000 Facebook Groups about gaming each month. Continue reading Facebook Gives HTML5 Another Shot for its Instant Games

Pro Sports Teams Offer Immersive, Interactive Experiences

Professional sports are often the first to embrace new technology because their fans demand the best experiences available. That’s why the professional sports arena is now integrating immersive technologies including augmented reality, virtual reality and the Internet of Things. The Sacramento Kings use Reddit, Facebook Live, video streaming, virtual reality and bitcoin to immerse their fans in an interactive world. Meanwhile, Los Angeles Clippers chief executive Steve Ballmer is launching CourtVision to offer more interactivity for fans. Continue reading Pro Sports Teams Offer Immersive, Interactive Experiences

Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

In an effort to become more of a personal shopping assistant, Pinterest has introduced product recommendations with its new Product Pin system based on an individual’s tastes. It has also launched a shopping shortcut in the main home feed that provides easy access to a shopping-specific feed and list of shoppable Product Pins by holding down a Home or Style pin to access a shopping tag icon. Pinterest previously rolled out Buyable Pins for direct purchases through the platform in addition to other recommendation features such as Shop the Look and Lens that use machine learning and visual search. Continue reading Pinterest Introduces New Features to Make Shopping Easier

Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

Facebook introduced its Fb.gg online gaming hub this summer, created to draw game streamers and their followers away from rival sites such as Amazon-owned Twitch. The hub — featuring videos based on games and streaming celebs that Facebook users follow, as well as Liked Pages and Groups — is going mobile with an Android launch, now in its beta testing stage. The Android version is expected to provide gamers who stream via Facebook Live a more prominent landing page for improved discovery. Continue reading Facebook Launches Android Version of Game Streaming Site

Google Debuts New Phones, Smart Speaker, Hybrid Laptop

Google debuted its third iteration of Pixel smartphones to rival high-end Apple and Samsung phones. The company also introduced a smart speaker with built-in display and a hybrid laptop/tablet. Although the hardware devices showcase Google’s chops in AI and image processing, they haven’t moved the needle on the company’s sales or market share; its most popular hardware product is a wireless router. Google also unveiled Duplex, a human-sounding bot to be available on Pixel smartphones by the end of 2018 in a few U.S. cities. Continue reading Google Debuts New Phones, Smart Speaker, Hybrid Laptop

Microsoft Joins OIN, Open Sources its Entire Patent Portfolio

Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), the North Carolina-based open-source patent community that launched in 2005 with a mission to protect Linux and Linux-related software. In joining OIN, Microsoft is essentially granting an unrestricted, royalty-free license for its patents to the community’s 2,650 members. Microsoft’s corporate VP and chief IP counsel Erich Andersen said the company is pledging its “entire patent portfolio to the Linux system. That’s not just the Linux kernel, but other packages built on it.” Continue reading Microsoft Joins OIN, Open Sources its Entire Patent Portfolio

Senators Ask FTC to Examine Kids Apps’ Privacy Violations

Two Democratic senators — Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — sent a letter on Wednesday to the Federal Trade Commission asking for an investigation into whether the thousands of “child-friendly” apps in the market are actually collecting children’s personal information. To do so would violate a federal law protecting children’s online privacy, since it requires sites and apps targeting persons under 13 years old to obtain verifiable parental permission before collecting data. Continue reading Senators Ask FTC to Examine Kids Apps’ Privacy Violations

Microsoft Introduces Updated Surface PCs, New Headphones

At a New York City event, Microsoft unveiled updated Surface Pro, Surface Laptop and Surface Studio computers, and debuted Surface-branded wireless headphones with Cortana capabilities. Microsoft is one of several big tech companies holding hardware-related events this fall; Apple held its smartphone reveal in September and Google will hold its event on October 9. The Microsoft event mainly showed off updated existing products and made it clear the company is committed to manufacturing its own computers. Continue reading Microsoft Introduces Updated Surface PCs, New Headphones

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