Google Releases Cardboard VR App Update and Android SDK

Google is encouraging more people to check out Google Cardboard, the virtual reality platform and headset that connects to a smartphone. Over 500,000 of the devices shipped this year and now VR apps have their own section on the Google Play Store, featuring apps that include musical performances and exotic locations. Now, the tech giant has released an SDK for Android and Unity, so that developers can continue making apps and crafting their own custom headsets. Continue reading Google Releases Cardboard VR App Update and Android SDK

AMC Teams with MoviePass to Get Millennials Back in Theaters

Theater chain AMC has partnered with MoviePass, a company that charges moviegoers a subscription fee to attend movie screenings at participating theaters (up to one film per day for a monthly fee). Subscribers will have the option to pay $35 for standard screenings or a $45 premium fee for access to IMAX and 3D features. AMC announced the partnership with MoviePass shortly after reports from Nielsen showed that attendance for young moviegoers continued to drop this year.  Continue reading AMC Teams with MoviePass to Get Millennials Back in Theaters

Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Wants to Go International

Xiaomi is the most popular smartphone maker in China and the third largest phone maker in the world. During the next year, the company hopes to expand its presence outside of China to developing markets in India, Brazil, and Indonesia. The company specializes in manufacturing low-cost, well-designed phones that they sell primarily online. Xiaomi is also hoping to increase profits by selling apps and entertainment for the phones, along with other electronic devices like a tablet and smart TV. Continue reading Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Wants to Go International

Jaunt Releases New VR Music Experience for Google Cardboard

Virtual reality developer Jaunt has created a new app for Google Cardboard that allows users to experience performances by musician Jack White in a 360-degree, stereoscopic 3D virtual reality experience. The app, called “Jack White: THIRD-D,” is part of Google’s rollout of a new page in its Play store dedicated exclusively to content for Cardboard. Google claims that it has shipped more than 500,000 Cardboard devices as the demand for virtual reality has risen. Continue reading Jaunt Releases New VR Music Experience for Google Cardboard

New eBay App Intends to Improve Mobile Shopping Experience

E-commerce service eBay has remodeled its mobile app to meet the shopping preferences and habits of its customers. The company is starting with a new app for the iPad available now in anticipation of the holiday shopping season. The iPad app displays a page of curated content that reflects a user’s current and previous item views in addition to a list of recommendations to match user preferences. Collectively, the page is a Pinterest-like display of new items to discover and buy. Continue reading New eBay App Intends to Improve Mobile Shopping Experience

Health & Fitness is Fastest Growing Category on Google Play

Google released an end-of-year rundown that measures the most popular apps on its Play Store. This year’s fastest growing app category has been health and fitness, led by diet tracker MyFitnessPal. With 100,000 mobile health apps available now for Android and iOS, the global health and fitness app market is worth about $4 billion. In other categories, Facebook topped social, Netflix was the leader in entertainment, Pandora was the most popular music app, and Flipagram led the photography category. Continue reading Health & Fitness is Fastest Growing Category on Google Play

Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

Galaxy Note 4 users interested in virtual reality can spend $199 for the newly launched Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, available via the Samsung and AT&T sites (a Verizon version is on its way). A variety of VR games and applications are available from the Oculus VR app store and a 16GB microSD card starter kit. Since Gear VR is designed for mobile, there are limitations to the types of games you can play, but Samsung offers a Bluetooth controller with more standard game controls in a $249 bundle. Continue reading Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

Kindle Software Update Comes with Free Washington Post App

The latest software update to Amazon’s Kindle Fire will bring the new Washington Post app to users for free. The ready to read app features the latest news with various articles, images and advertisements. The app was designed with significant contributions from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who purchased the news source last year for $250 million. The release of the app on the Kindle marks the first formal collaborative effort between The Post and its parent company Amazon.  Continue reading Kindle Software Update Comes with Free Washington Post App

New Holiday Sales Records Predicted for Digital Home Video

The home entertainment divisions of Hollywood studios are projected to generate record sales of movies and TV shows on digital platforms this holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Digital sales are experiencing an upswing as more consumers access media via their mobile devices, smart TVs and connected game consoles. In addition, retailers such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart are pushing digital in an effort to make up for the downward trend in disc sales. Continue reading New Holiday Sales Records Predicted for Digital Home Video

Starbucks Order & Pay Service Links Mobile to In-Store Retail

Starbucks is introducing a new app for iPhones that allows customers to order and pay without having to visit the checkout counter. The beta service launched this week in Portland, Oregon. Starbucks plans to follow up by launching “Mobile Order & Pay” city-by-city throughout 2015, and introducing an Android version. The massive reach of a company like Starbucks places it in a position to successfully link mobile devices to in-store retail, an issue Silicon Valley has been trying to address for years. Continue reading Starbucks Order & Pay Service Links Mobile to In-Store Retail

BlackBerry to Acquire Secusmart for Encryption Technology

BlackBerry’s deal to acquire Secusmart, a German security vendor known for its voice encryption technology, was recently approved by the German government. Secusmart’s tech will offer BlackBerry users the ability to encrypt voice and data communication. Given that Secusmart is a company used by the German government, the deal went through a careful assessment process. BlackBerry first announced its plan to purchase the company in July and was only recently granted approval to move forward. Continue reading BlackBerry to Acquire Secusmart for Encryption Technology

New Hardware Lets Developers Make Their Own Smart Devices

Startup Haltian has created a hardware device for the Internet of Things so that developers do not have to worry about designing and manufacturing the gadget. Developers can get straight to finding new ways to implement the open-source Thingsee One device, which is packed with different types of sensors that can send notifications back to an app. Thingsee One uses a 2G radio to communicate with the mobile app, so that battery life can last up to a year without charging. Continue reading New Hardware Lets Developers Make Their Own Smart Devices

Technics to Launch Hi-Res Music Download Service in Europe

Technics announced it plans to launch Technics Tracks, a high-resolution music download service, in the U.K. and Germany starting in January. In addition to tens of thousands of 24-bit FLAC tracks, the service will also carry CD-quality tracks up to 16-bit/44.1kHz. All purchases will be stored in a cloud locker, available for download to multiple devices. The service, custom built by platform operator 7digital, will be accessible from Macs, PCs, and apps for Android and iOS. Continue reading Technics to Launch Hi-Res Music Download Service in Europe

New SiRFusion Tracking Tech Can Follow People Everywhere

Cambridge, UK-based CSR has developed a new technology that can monitor your every move by tracking information from your mobile device. The technology, known as SiRFusion, was designed to provide users with instantaneous directions for areas that often go undetected by other GPS apps, but also has compelling advertising potential. The technology makes use of GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cloud computing to yield accurate results. CSR recently unveiled an SDK for Android developers. Continue reading New SiRFusion Tracking Tech Can Follow People Everywhere

More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

According to Adobe’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping data, 29 percent of online sales on Thanksgiving Day and 27 percent on Black Friday took place via smartphones or tablets (led by iOS shoppers). New online sales records were set for both days, while Singles’ Day also set a new record and could surpass Cyber Monday this time around. Meanwhile, the CEA reports that consumers are purchasing more TVs, thanks in part to more affordable UHD offerings. Continue reading More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

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