Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

Spotify will debut video content on its Android app this week, and the iOS app by end of next week, in the U.S., the U.K., Germany and Sweden. Originally, the music streaming service planned to offer video in May, but has focused on testing videos on its apps with less than 10 percent of its users in the four launch markets. The content is mostly comprised of short clips from ESPN, Comedy Central, the BBC, Vice Media and Maker Studios, among others. Some companies, like Tastemade, are creating original, music-themed series. Continue reading Spotify Introducing Video Content to Music Streaming Service

Code Reveals Potential Features for Snapchat Including Video

Developers have discovered code within the current version of Snapchat that may offer clues about new features coming to the popular messaging app. While Snapchat may not roll out the features, it does show that the company has been working on ways to ramp up competition with other messaging apps such as WeChat and FaceTime. The hidden code provides a framework for the integration of stickers to sell within the app and an enhanced video chatting system that works more like a phone call. Continue reading Code Reveals Potential Features for Snapchat Including Video

Google Expands Access to its Educational VR Field Trip App

Google has released a beta Android app for its Google Expeditions Pioneer Program that allows educators to bring their students on a virtual reality field trip. The VR content includes immersive educational experiences in locations such as Machu Picchu, Mars, the Great Barrier Reef and Buckingham Palace. Students use Google Cardboard headsets to view the content while the teacher can use a tablet to guide their students through the location and monitor where each student is looking. Continue reading Google Expands Access to its Educational VR Field Trip App

Spotify, Apple Focus on New Ways to Experience, Create Music

Spotify is acquiring Soundwave and Cord Project, two small startups founded in the last few years and known for their design abilities. Soundwave is a social tool for finding, sharing, and talking about music, and Cord Project is an audio-first messaging app for Android, iOS, and the Apple Watch, with a tap-and-talk voice messaging system. Although Cord might seem to be a puzzling fit for Spotify, its founders Thomas Gayno and Jeff Baxter have launched other companies that focus around providing “an audio experience.” Continue reading Spotify, Apple Focus on New Ways to Experience, Create Music

Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Google is testing an app downloading shortcut that bypasses its Google Play app as part of an experiment to make using Google’s search app more convenient. The company is currently testing the shortcut with a subset of Android users, a typical approach by Google when developing new products. The test is limited to the search app for now and does not include using Google.com via browsers. While a spokesperson explains the company is committed to “finding the content you need as easy as possible,” Google has not announced whether the shortcut would become a permanent feature. Continue reading Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

During CES in Las Vegas, Motorola Mobility chief operating officer Rick Osterloh suggested that Lenovo has plans to phase out the Motorola brand. In the wake of news media and analyst confusion resulting from Osterloh’s comments, the company issued a statement to provide clarification, noting that the Motorola name or organization is not being dismantled, but is instead looking to “evolve” under parent company Lenovo. As part of that initiative, the company is looking to “streamline” its products under two brands — Moto and Vibe. Lenovo acquired Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Continue reading Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

During the Sony keynote at CES, CEO Kazuo Hirai announced that the PlayStation 4 console system — which he suggests, “sets the benchmark in collaboration, artistry, imagery and design” — sold more than 5.7 million units over the holidays for a total of 35.9 million units since the console’s launch. PlayStation VR goggles will ship the first half of 2016, reportedly in the $300 range. Sony Electronics president and COO Mike Fasulo took the stage to announce “Ultra,” the company’s new video app that enables users to purchase and stream 4K movies on Sony’s Android TVs. Sony also unveiled a range of new cameras, 4K TVs, audio products and more. Continue reading Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

Augmented Reality Glasses: Vendors Talk Now, Release Later

The main message from many of the AR glasses vendors on the CES show floor was that their current technology meets market needs, but they already plan to release major improvements on the current product line within the next year. Some of them demonstrated working prototypes of those next-generation glasses. Others had non-working mock-ups with descriptions of technical specifications that they said were close enough to the planned deliverable to be discussed publicly. We saw solutions from companies such as Osterhout Design Group, NuEyes, QD Laser, Lumus and Vuzix. Continue reading Augmented Reality Glasses: Vendors Talk Now, Release Later

Facebook, YouTube and Messenger the Top Apps for 2015

Facebook was the top app this year based on the average number of unique users, according to Nielsen. Facebook has more than 126 million unique users each month. Video powerhouse YouTube followed with 97 million unique users. Meanwhile, Facebook Messenger is the fastest growing app with a 31 percent increase in users since last year. More than 96 million unique users are using the Facebook Messenger app to chat each month; it is the third most popular app of the year. Continue reading Facebook, YouTube and Messenger the Top Apps for 2015

CES: Augmented Reality Getting Ready in the Green Room

While companies prepare to release virtual reality experiences into the consumer market, an increasing flow of money and effort is going toward developing and buying augmented reality (AR) technology and ideas. Augmented reality is any situation where your personal experience with the world around you is enhanced, supplemented, or added to via personally worn technology. The AR space is getting busy and increasingly crowded as companies position themselves to secure a piece of a new media ecosystem that is projected to yield $120B in revenue by 2020. Continue reading CES: Augmented Reality Getting Ready in the Green Room

Cord Cutting Gaining Steam as Digital Video Services Grow

Television companies have been telling their investors that the slow decline of pay-TV subscribers will continue at a gentle pace. But new studies show that cord cutting has accelerated, most likely driven by an increased number of digital video services. By 2019, almost 23 percent of U.S. households are expected to have cut the cord. Among the newest services is a Yahoo app that helps viewers find TV shows from a variety of digital services and launch the titles in the smartphone’s video apps. Continue reading Cord Cutting Gaining Steam as Digital Video Services Grow

Google Hones Mobile Search with More Music, TV, Movie Info

Google already offers information on music, TV and movies, but with a new update, Google search will offer more structure to a broader range of information, including recommendations on songs, TV shows, movies and more. For example, a search for a singer will produce tabs on her songs, albums, upcoming events, and a link to listen to her music on YouTube, Spotify, Google Play Music and iHeartRadio. The update is now available to mobile users on Android phones and tablets, and will be available for iOS soon. Continue reading Google Hones Mobile Search with More Music, TV, Movie Info

Facebook Now Offers Live Video to Group of U.S. iPhone Users

Facebook is introducing its tool for sharing live video to a small group of U.S. iPhone users, four months after it was initially debuted by several celebrities and public figures. It differs from its closest competitors, Meerkat and Twitter’s Periscope and Meerkat, in that the videos are only available to a small group of approved viewers, and replay videos are automatically saved and permanently visible. Facebook positions its video feed as ideal for personal and family events, rather than the breaking news featured on other sites. Continue reading Facebook Now Offers Live Video to Group of U.S. iPhone Users

ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Star Wars’ VR Series Ahead of Film Premiere

If you can’t wait until December 18 to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” you’ve got a brand-new 360-degree immersive video series to enjoy. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB studio, partnered with Google and Verizon, just created a virtual reality experience, “Jakku Spy,” which is available on the official “Star Wars” Android and iOS apps and viewed via Google Cardboard. The VR experience puts the user in the desert world of Jakku, as a Resistance secret agent. New “vignettes” will be available every few days until the film’s debut. Continue reading ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Star Wars’ VR Series Ahead of Film Premiere

Streaming Music Services Thrive But Free On-Demand a Threat

Depending on where you live, the top music-streaming site might be Spotify, Pandora or even Saavn. A new music-focused report from App Annie crowns Spotify as “the world’s top streaming music service” in terms of active users, downloads and revenue. But, in the U.S., the No. 1 spot goes to Pandora Radio, a hit among active users on iPhone and Android. And in other markets, local providers are topping the charts, including Saavn and Gaana in India, Deezer in France and South Korea’s MelOn, among others. Continue reading Streaming Music Services Thrive But Free On-Demand a Threat

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