Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Mattel has announced a partnership with Google to revive the toymaker’s iconic View-Master device. In place of cardboard discs with stereoscopic images, the updated toy will incorporate the View-Master app on a user’s mobile phone and deliver a true virtual reality experience. The technology used for the View-Master is identical to that which powers Google Cardboard, and like Cardboard, the View-Master was designed to make VR affordable. The View-Master will retail for $30 and be available later this year. Continue reading Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Digital Newsstand Magzter Offers Unlimited Access to Pubs

Subscription-based app Magzter wants to become the Netflix of the magazine industry by offering customers unlimited access to nearly 2,000 titles. For $10 per month, subscribers can enjoy access to titles such as Maxim, ESPN and Fast Company among other popular publications. Magzter also plans to offer an alternative plan by which customers pay $5 per month to read any five titles on a monthly basis. The company is in competition with two other subscription magazine services: Readily and Next Issue. Continue reading Digital Newsstand Magzter Offers Unlimited Access to Pubs

Dish Goes National with Sling TV Service, Adds AMC Networks

Dish Network’s new Sling TV service is transitioning from its invitation-only beta phase to public availability, starting at $20 per month (various add-ons are available for $5 each per month). Unveiled during CES, the pay TV service features access to channels ranging from ABC Family, CNN and the Disney Channel — to ESPN, TBS and TNT. It also includes access to a VOD library, the WatchESPN app, and content from Maker Studios. Yesterday, the company announced that AMC Networks would become another programming partner. Continue reading Dish Goes National with Sling TV Service, Adds AMC Networks

Photo/Video Sharing and Backup App Odysee to Join Google+

Google has confirmed that it is acquiring Odysee, an Android and iOS app created by Nimbuz Inc. that enables users to privately share smartphone and tablet photos and videos with select groups of people and automatically back up content on their home computers. Odysee also features an API for integration with other apps. The Odysee app will be shut down as of February 23, when its team joins Google+ and all the photos and videos that have passed through the service will become available as a downloadable archive. Continue reading Photo/Video Sharing and Backup App Odysee to Join Google+

Global Tablet Shipments Drop 12 Percent Year-Over-Year in Q4

Facing the growing popularity of phablets, the tablet market experienced its first worldwide decline after multiple quarters of slowing demand. According to Canalys, global tablet shipments fell 12 percent from Q4 2013 to 67 million units in Q4 2014. The end of 2014 also marked the fourth consecutive quarterly loss for Apple’s tablet shipments. In Q4, iPad shipments plunged 18 percent, while Samsung’s tablet shipments fell by 24 percent. Although Amazon and Lenovo had promising seasonal sales, the industry experienced an overall drop in demand. Continue reading Global Tablet Shipments Drop 12 Percent Year-Over-Year in Q4

Cyanogen: Microsoft Plans to Invest in New Version of Android

Microsoft is planning to invest in Cyanogen, a startup that is building another version of the Android mobile operating system independent of Google. While Google requires smartphone manufacturers to feature Google apps and Google search, Cyanogen’s new operating system does not plan to have any similar requirements. For Microsoft, that means its Bing search engine and other software has a better chance of succeeding on smartphones with the alternative Cyanogen-built operating system. Continue reading Cyanogen: Microsoft Plans to Invest in New Version of Android

Android Dominated in Global Smartphone Shipments Last Year

According to recent figures released by Strategy Analytics, 2014 marked significant milestones for the mobile industry. Global annual shipments reached 1.28 billion devices from OEMs to retailers and carriers for sale, and Android-based smartphones captured 81 percent of the worldwide market, accounting for more than one billion handsets. Android has become the first platform to surpass the one billion mark for shipments. Apple captured 15 percent of the market last year, shipping 193 million units. Continue reading Android Dominated in Global Smartphone Shipments Last Year

Apple Sells Nearly 75 Million iPhones, Posts Record Quarter

Apple’s quarterly profit jumped 38 percent to a record high, thanks in large part to demand for its bigger-screen iPhones. Apple recorded net income of $18 billion for the quarter ending December 27, an increase of nearly $5 billion over the same period the previous year, while earnings per share rose 48 percent. The company launched its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September and sold 74.5 million units during the quarter, earning back market share it had slowly been losing to Samsung over three years. Continue reading Apple Sells Nearly 75 Million iPhones, Posts Record Quarter

Cablevision and Google to Challenge Wireless Business Model

In a first time move for a U.S. cable operator, Cablevision announced it would launch a Wi-Fi-only mobile phone service dubbed Freewheel next month. For $9.95 per month, Freewheel will offer unlimited data, talk and text to Cablevision broadband Internet subscribers (the company also plans to offer a $29.95 service for non-customers). Meanwhile, Google is expected to launch its own wireless service this year through deals with Sprint and T-Mobile. Both services are expected to put pressure on the wireless industry, already at war over prices.  Continue reading Cablevision and Google to Challenge Wireless Business Model

Samsung Sets High Goals for Future of Tizen-Powered TVs

Samsung has ambitious plans for its Tizen operating system, which the South Korean manufacturer is promoting as an alternative to Google’s Android. After launching an affordable mobile phone powered by Tizen in India, Samsung’s next goal is to equip half of all its TV sets with the Tizen operating system this year. At CES this month, Samsung said it aims to sell 60 millions TVs in 2015, 30 million of which would be powered by Tizen. The company hopes that by 2017, all of its Internet-connected TVs will be Tizen-enabled sets. Continue reading Samsung Sets High Goals for Future of Tizen-Powered TVs

FreedomPop Targets Affordable Alternative to Cellular Plans

Los Angeles-based FreedomPop wants to make Wi-Fi hotspots more accessible to mobile phone users by eliminating the process by which users typically have to accept terms and conditions or enter a password in order to connect. Users of the new service would pay $5 monthly in exchange for automatic and seamless access to about 9 million hotspots (and growing). With its new Wi-Fi service, FreedomPop hopes to provide customers with an alternative to costly service plans from cellular carriers. Continue reading FreedomPop Targets Affordable Alternative to Cellular Plans

Facebook Aims to Make Social Media a Tool for the Workplace

Facebook is launching a new service designed to be appropriate for the workplace called Facebook at Work. The service is almost identical to the regular social network, except for a white color scheme that replaces the iconic blue layout. The difference in colors is to help employer’s distinguish when someone is using a work account as opposed to a personal one. Facebook at Work will allow users to connect with colleagues to become more efficient around the office. Continue reading Facebook Aims to Make Social Media a Tool for the Workplace

Samsung Launches New Phone Powered by Android Rival Tizen

Following earlier setbacks, Samsung has launched its Tizen mobile operating system in New Delhi, India with the entry-level Samsung Z1, priced less than $100. Tizen joins the likes of Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS systems that collectively hold over 95 percent of the market. Samsung is initially focusing on India’s population of mobile phone users since many of them still own basic phones. Samsung hopes to build from the market in India, gain momentum and incentivize app developers to build for Tizen. Continue reading Samsung Launches New Phone Powered by Android Rival Tizen

UltraFlix Aims to Become Your Choice for Streaming 4K Content

NanoTech Entertainment is hoping that its 4K movie-streaming service, UltraFlix, will become the Netflix of Ultra HD. However, its immediate obstacle is a lack of 4K content, which is expected to change now that more companies are embracing the format. Consumers who already purchased a 4K smart TV from Hisense, Samsung, Sony or Vizio likely already have the UltraFlix app (next up is LG, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba, according to NanoTech). Competing with Netflix and Amazon could prove an additional obstacle. Continue reading UltraFlix Aims to Become Your Choice for Streaming 4K Content

Epson Moverio BT-200 Making Strides Toward Immersive AR

Several augmented reality devices debuted at CES this week, but Epson’s Moverio BT-200 offers one of the more complete experiences to-date. The glasses run Android 4.0 from a wired smartphone-like controller and provide a full-color image in the center of the user’s field of view. Sensors for the device include a camera, accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone and compass. The product is not consumer ready, but priced at less than half that of Google Glass ($699.99), it is a promising platform for developers to build an app library for AR. Continue reading Epson Moverio BT-200 Making Strides Toward Immersive AR

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