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

Apple Readies Debut of iPhone 5se, Feature-Rich Version of 5s

Apple fans browsing the Internet were excited to read about a new 4-inch iPhone 6c. Not so fast. According to sources who have used the upcoming iPhone with a 4-inch display, the information is false. Rather than release a smaller version of the iPhone 6s (for customers yearning for a less daunting screen size than 4.7 or 5.5 inches), Apple is upgrading the iPhone 5s first released in fall 2013. The upgrade is not a preview of the iPhone 7, as rumored, but retains the 5s’s design and include a headphone jack. Continue reading Apple Readies Debut of iPhone 5se, Feature-Rich Version of 5s

Fossil’s New Smartwatches Mimic Design of Analog Watches

Some traditional watch companies are taking a different approach to the wearables market than the tech companies that have joined the competition in recent years. Instead of manufacturing smartwatches with all of the bells and whistles of today’s smartphones, traditional watchmakers like Fossil are making wearables that look more like traditional analog watches. These devices only have basic fitness tracking and notification features, but they may be the key to helping wearables go mainstream. Continue reading Fossil’s New Smartwatches Mimic Design of Analog Watches

Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Market research firm Gartner is forecasting a decline for CE device spending in 2016. While end-user sales are expected to inch up less than 2 percent this year, overall spending on devices like PCs, tablets and mobile devices will decline, according to the researcher. This decrease, the first since Gartner started tracking the market in 2010, is largely due to the falling price of phones. In markets like China, consumers are opting for basic models of smartphones rather than upgrading to higher-end devices. Continue reading Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

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

GM Debuts Maven, Program for Several Car-Sharing Initiatives

Electric cars, autonomous cars and ride-sharing are all disruptors in the automotive industry, but General Motors, for one, is focusing on taking advantage of opportunities in changing times. The company just launched Maven, a program that aggregates its various car-sharing efforts, with a team of 40 GM staff and others from Google, Zipcar and Sidecar, with the goal of developing additional car-sharing services. First up is a car-sharing trial in Ann Arbor, Michigan, focusing on the university community. Continue reading GM Debuts Maven, Program for Several Car-Sharing Initiatives

PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

Recent industry reports suggest that 2015 was a challenging year for PCs. Industry analysis companies Gartner and IDC both issued reports showing a drop in the PC market of 8 and 10.4 percent, respectively. That 2.4 percent difference is based on how the two companies defined PCs. Gartner included detachable devices such as Microsoft’s Surface — which are becoming more popular — in its numbers, but IDC did not, now saying that including hybrid devices would have meant a 7.5 percent decline. Continue reading PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Twitter now allows some mobile users to watch live video feeds on its sister app Periscope within the Twitter timeline. Previously, Twitter users linked to Periscope broadcasts via the discrete app. Acquired by Twitter in 2015, Periscope has taken off among users who use it to broadcast their whereabouts from smartphones. Users have posted an estimated 100 million live feeds on Periscope in the 10 months since its purchase. By linking the two apps, Twitter will introduce Periscope to new users and become home to more content. Continue reading Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Apple Claims Early Lead in the Emerging Smartwatch Market

The Apple Watch is leading the pack in smartwatch sales. Last year, it captured 52 percent of market share in the 8 months since its April debut. Android Wear, the smartwatch platform behind wearables from Huawei, Motorola, Fossil, Asus and Sony, followed with less than 10 percent of market share. Apple’s domination is making investors reluctant to believe that other companies like Fitbit can compete. While Juniper Research data places Apple on top, the market is still relatively new and a lot could change in the next couple of years. Continue reading Apple Claims Early Lead in the Emerging Smartwatch Market

Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

Since Amazon had a surprise hit with its tabletop, voice-controlled Echo speaker, released in November 2014, competitors have stepped into the space. Amazon is fighting back with another, smaller, portable and lower-cost version, code-named Fox, expected to debut in a few weeks. Echo, which costs $180, must be plugged into an outlet; its Alexa software answers questions, creates shopping lists, plays music and can control connected lights. Originally a voice activation experiment, Echo has become a popular personal assistant. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

According to CES producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), this year’s confab drew more than 170,000 industry professionals to Las Vegas. The show featured 3,800+ exhibitors covering 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space. Attendees represented over 150 nations and 100 delegations, including the first Cuban delegation. More than 6,000 media members attended this time around. The #CES2016 hashtag generated nearly 1.28 million mentions and CTA claims there were 15.2 billion potential social media impressions during CES week. Continue reading CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

Apple News App Glitch Causes Underreporting of Readership

Apple announced that it has been underestimating the number of readers using the Apple News app to read news from more than 100 publishing partners. The company is working on fixing the problem, but for now, neither the publishing partners nor Apple know how popular the app has become. Publishers need an accurate number to manage their advertising strategies. Executives at the publishing partners have been underwhelmed by the reported traffic from the Apple News app so far. Continue reading Apple News App Glitch Causes Underreporting of Readership

Oculus Aims for High-End Virtual Reality with $600 Headset

Despite a sticker price of $599 for its new Rift VR headset, Oculus VR has already sold out its preorders, resulting in an extension of its shipping date. The headset, over $100 more expensive than originally predicted, also requires the processing power of a PC that costs in the vicinity of $1,000. Starting in February, Oculus will sell a bundled headset/PC for $1,499. The expense of the Rift is justified, say observers, since its quality needs to sell VR to a public that has, in the main, never experienced virtual reality. Continue reading Oculus Aims for High-End Virtual Reality with $600 Headset

Mics, Sensors, Natural Language Combine for New ‘Earables’

Audio is finally getting attention as an important component of wearables. Microphone companies are integrating MEMS and sensors to create a new category of “earables.” “Fitness bands and smartwatches have dominated thus far, as a source for sensor data,” says TechKnowledge Strategies principal analyst Mike Feibus, who moderated a panel on the topic at the MEMS and Sensors conference at CES. He identified the user interface — in this case, voice — as having the effectiveness to make earables marketable and profitable. Continue reading Mics, Sensors, Natural Language Combine for New ‘Earables’

A Twist on Wearables: Two Examples that Use Data Differently

Wearables have mostly been discussed in terms of the data they provide — be it steps walked, calories burned or blood pressure measured. Two examples showcased by The New York Times tech writer Eric Taub at CES do more than simply serve data to the user, differences that help to define this new category. One uses sensory information and a rhythmic feedback to change people’s level of happiness and energy; a second was developed by academics, medical centers and Apple to conduct a global medical study on heart health and exercise. Continue reading A Twist on Wearables: Two Examples that Use Data Differently

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