CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

Eighty-four million wearables were sold in 2015, and experts are predicting the market will grow to 245 million by 2019. That means that, once again, CES 2017 will be the venue to check out the latest commercially available products and the newest technologies that will power wearables of the future. MEMS and sensors are key to wearables’ capabilities and, Karen Lightman, executive director of the MEMS Industry Group, says CES 2017 will showcase some “exciting” new wearables features. Continue reading CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

Microsoft to Roll Out Full Windows 10 Version for Smartphones

Microsoft will provide a full version of Windows 10, with desktop app support, to ARM chipsets with the expectation that ARM-based laptops will be the first adopters. Microsoft recently demonstrated Windows 10 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, with support for HD video playback, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office. With emulation of x86 desktop apps, the consumer experience is unchanged. Although laptops will likely be the first, some believe it’s a harbinger of Microsoft turning a smartphone into a “real PC.” Continue reading Microsoft to Roll Out Full Windows 10 Version for Smartphones

Sony to Launch Mobile Versions of PlayStation Titles in Japan

In April, Sony will start releasing smartphone versions of popular PlayStation games in Japan as well as a pad and playing cards that gamers can connect to their smartphones via Bluetooth technology. Among those games are “Everybody’s Golf” and “PaRappa the Rapper.” Sony’s goal is to have a new and more constant revenue stream, given that the console business is dependent on the introduction of new hardware. Sony already provides die-hard PlayStation fans a subscription program for low-cost game rentals. Continue reading Sony to Launch Mobile Versions of PlayStation Titles in Japan

Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Launched less than four years ago, Google Play has become much more than the official Android app store, establishing itself as a top retailer in home entertainment. Users treat it like a digital media store, where they can buy movies or TV shows digitally — often sooner than they can on Netflix or other streaming services. Google is now selling movies in 117 countries. Next, Play Movies & TV will be offering 4K for over 125 movies in its collection, for sale via Web or mobile. Continue reading Google Play Sells Movies in 117 Countries, Launches 4K Titles

Reviews: With Touch Controller, Oculus Rift Is Now Complete

After months of anticipation, Oculus finally rolled out its Touch controller — years after PlayStation unveiled its Move controllers in 2010, and even after Vive began shipping two motion controllers. But reviewers who’ve gotten their hands on the Touch are giving it a thumbs-up, saying that its addition now “completes” the promise of the Rift VR headset for a sophisticated and satisfying VR experience. Among Touch’s features is that it tracks the positions of the user’s hand in 3D space. Continue reading Reviews: With Touch Controller, Oculus Rift Is Now Complete

Supreme Court Rules in Apple-Samsung Design Patent Case

In the carefully watched design patent battle between Apple and Samsung, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday that Samsung may not be liable for its entire $399 million in profits after copying the iPhone’s distinctive look, including its rectangular front face, rounded corners and grid of icons. In 2012, a jury decided that Samsung had infringed on Apple’s patents. “Design patents, which address what products look like, are far less common than utility patents, which cover how products work,” explains The New York Times. “The Supreme Court’s opinion, while not decisively resolving the case, found that liability in design patent cases is not necessarily an all-or-nothing proposition.” The two companies will return to court to determine an appropriate amount for damages. Continue reading Supreme Court Rules in Apple-Samsung Design Patent Case

OpenAI Rolls Out Virtual World, Google Opens DeepMind Lab

OpenAI, the Elon Musk-supported artificial intelligence lab, just debuted Universe, a virtual world that is a software training ground for everything from games to Web browsers. Universe begins with approximately 1,000 software titles, with games from Valve and Microsoft. OpenAI is also in discussions with Microsoft to add the Project Malmo platform, based on the game “Minecraft,” and hopes to add Google AI lab’s DeepMind Lab environment, which was just made public. The goal is that Universe will help machines develop flexible brainpower. Continue reading OpenAI Rolls Out Virtual World, Google Opens DeepMind Lab

Facebook Rolls Out Instant Games in News Feed, Messenger

In its newest effort to keep users on its site and amp up gaming, Facebook introduced Instant Games, which allows users to play 17 different titles in its News Feed and messaging app Messenger. Currently, 15 percent of the time people spend on Facebook is for gaming. The game titles, which will be available on iOS and Android devices and the Web for free, include Bandai Namco Entertainment’s “Pac-Man” and Activision Blizzard’s new “Shuffle Cats Mini.” Instant Games will debut initially in 30 countries. Continue reading Facebook Rolls Out Instant Games in News Feed, Messenger

Instagram Mimics Snapchat and Periscope with New Features

Facebook’s Instagram just debuted two new features for live streaming video and ephemeral messaging, both of which reflect the popularity of such features in Snap’s Snapchat and Twitter’s live-streaming Periscope. By doing so, Instagram has heated up its competition with Snapchat and now competes more directly with Periscope. Instagram, which will roll out the new video features to a small group before a wider launch, also recently introduced Instagram Stories, which apes Snapchat Stories.  Continue reading Instagram Mimics Snapchat and Periscope with New Features

Sony Pictures, Nokia Partner to Create, Distribute VR Content

Sony Pictures and Nokia have partnered to produce and distribute VR content. In addition to using Nokia’s OZO VR camera to produce videos, Sony will use the OZO’s Live VR broadcast feature to live stream 360-degree video of Sony Pictures events for fans. Sony will also add Nokia’s SDK to its Privilege Plus app, which is only available on Sony mobile phones. Nokia debuted the OZO a little over a year ago for about $60,000; the cost goes up with additional gear required to produce VR films. Continue reading Sony Pictures, Nokia Partner to Create, Distribute VR Content

Apple Cuts Fees Charged to Streaming Services in App Store

Apple is halving the amount it charges streaming services to sell video on its App Store, in response to widespread discontent among content partners. Earlier, Apple tried unsuccessfully to create its own live TV service, but instead released an app that relies on programs from streaming services including HBO, Hulu and Showtime. Apple is now cutting its share from 30 percent to 15 percent. Some non-video apps will also dip to 15 percent after the customer has been a subscriber for a year. Continue reading Apple Cuts Fees Charged to Streaming Services in App Store

AOL Layoffs Reflect New Emphasis on Mobile, Video and Data

AOL is planning to release 5 percent of its staff today, affecting about 500 employees. “CEO Tim Armstrong said that most of the cuts will come in its corporate units, while resources will be shifted more at mobile, video and data offerings going forward,” reports Recode. AOL, which was purchased last year by Verizon, recently added 1,500 employees from its ad deal with Microsoft and acquisition of Millennial Media. AOL’s current structure features its media unit (with properties such as Huffington Post and TechCrunch) and its platforms groups, which includes its advertising tech. “Armstrong said the layoffs are not related to current discussions AOL execs are having with Yahoo counterparts about integration between the two companies,” notes Recode. Continue reading AOL Layoffs Reflect New Emphasis on Mobile, Video and Data

CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

CBS is launching apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV that will add 360-degree videos to CBSN’s news coverage. The apps will debut with a show documenting production of a “60 Minutes” episode on searching for gorillas in Africa. The apps, which will also feature a new playlist for 360-degree videos, will offer curated video playlists, a personalized playlist of favorite videos and features for finding related videos. Viewers will be able to use their remote control to navigate the videos. Continue reading CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

Google, Facebook Ban Fake News From Earning Ad Revenue

During the U.S. presidential election, the preponderance of fake news on various social media sites got a lot of attention. Now, Google says it is updating its policies to ban fake-news websites from using AdSense, its ad-selling software. The company defined fake news as “pages that misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about the publisher, the publisher’s content, or the [website’s] primary purpose.” Following in Google’s footsteps, Facebook similarly banned fake news sites from using its advertising network. Continue reading Google, Facebook Ban Fake News From Earning Ad Revenue

Google Releases Daydream View Headset to Positive Reviews

Google’s first VR headset, the $79 Daydream View, started shipping, the first step in the company’s goal to make Android the dominant VR operating system. Daydream faces some stiff competition, however, including Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR for PC and mobile devices, and Microsoft’s holographic version of Windows. So far, reviewers are giving Daydream a thumbs-up, as simple to use, inexpensive and light, and one reviewer calls the content on YouTube VR the new headset’s “killer app.” Continue reading Google Releases Daydream View Headset to Positive Reviews

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