EPIX Streaming Content Coming to the New Honda Odyssey

MGM-owned pay TV network EPIX is revealing details of its video streaming app being integrated into the 2018 Honda Odyssey, that company’s upgraded fifth-generation minivan. The move is significant because, even as in-car entertainment has become increasingly sophisticated (with Spotify being integrated into many vehicles, for example, and Google developing a version of Android just for cars), mainstream visual entertainment services have not shown up in vehicles until now. Continue reading EPIX Streaming Content Coming to the New Honda Odyssey

Apple Launches Its First Original Series: ‘Planet of the Apps’

At WWDC 2017 this week, Apple debuted its first original series produced for distribution via Apple Music, aimed at its 27 million subscribers. The 10-episode “Planet of the Apps” features Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow, musician will.i.am and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. Structured similarly to “The Voice” and “Top Chef,” the show’s judges counsel inventors as they develop apps focusing on shopping, exercise and other services. Apple already produced a spinoff of “Carpool Karaoke” (to launch August 8) and acquired rights to a documentary about music tycoon Clive Davis. Continue reading Apple Launches Its First Original Series: ‘Planet of the Apps’

Apple Debuts ARKit AR Tool for App Developers at WWDC

This week at WWDC, Apple unveiled its ARKit augmented reality platform that enables app developers to use detailed camera and sensor data to map digital objects in 3D space, more immersive than previous 2D camera overlays. With ARKit, Apple can begin to compete with Google, which currently dominates phone-based AR. The move may also signal that Apple will build AR glasses. Many industry sources believe that Apple plans to integrate augmented reality features into its 10th anniversary iPhone and wants to develop a global AR platform. Continue reading Apple Debuts ARKit AR Tool for App Developers at WWDC

Google Develops New Ad Filtering Tool for Chrome Browser

Google plans to introduce a new ad-blocking tool for its Chrome web browser in 2018, and is giving publishers at least six month’s notice to prepare. According to sources, the new default setting will appear on desktop and mobile Chrome versions and will prevent ads from popping up on websites known to create a bad advertising experience for users. Google’s new “Ad Experience Reports” will let publishers know if their website hosts such “bad experience” ads and will detail how to fix the problems. Continue reading Google Develops New Ad Filtering Tool for Chrome Browser

Apple Develops AI Chip to Compete in Autonomous Cars, AR

Apple is reportedly working on Apple Neural Engine, the internal name for a new AI-enhanced processor that will enable facial and speech recognition ordinarily accomplished by human intelligence. The company, which would not comment, had an early AI win with Siri, but has since been playing catch up with Amazon and Google, both of which offer AI-powered digital assistants. Apple Neural Engine would give Apple more capabilities in autonomous vehicles and augmented reality devices, both fields Apple is involved in. Continue reading Apple Develops AI Chip to Compete in Autonomous Cars, AR

Microsoft Rebrands and Upgrades Game Streaming Platform

Microsoft is rolling out new features to its Beam live-streaming game service, along with a new name: Mixer. With a renewed focus on social interactivity, the company will face competition from Amazon’s Twitch, Alphabet’s YouTube and, now, Facebook, which has signed e-sports streaming deals. Microsoft joins the growing live social streaming sector armed with its popular gaming console, the Xbox. Although Microsoft stopped reporting Xbox sales in 2014, it noted last month that its Xbox Live gaming service had 52 million users in the quarter ending March 31. Continue reading Microsoft Rebrands and Upgrades Game Streaming Platform

Google, IBM and Lyft Debut Istio to Streamline Microservices

Google, IBM and Lyft have come together for Istio, an open-source project to consolidate microservice management and security. Microservices are a nascent sector whereby large application software is discrete and independent modular services can be combined to form more complex applications. Red Hat, Pivotal, Weaveworks and Tigera are early supporters. So-called “service orientation” actually has a history, with BEA, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft and TIBCO promoting a service orientation for applications. Continue reading Google, IBM and Lyft Debut Istio to Streamline Microservices

Chat App Kik Plans Debut of Ethereum-Based Cryptocurrency

Ted Livingston, founder/chief executive of messaging app Kik, is a Bitcoin enthusiast — so much so that he plans to debut his own cryptocurrency, dubbed Kin and based on the Ethereum network, later this summer. The company plans what is called an initial coin offering (ICO), which lets startups create their own digital money, raise funds via crowdsourcing, and thus develop their own cyber economies. Livingston had previously launched another cryptocurrency, Kik Points, in 2014, which ended its run in the fall. Continue reading Chat App Kik Plans Debut of Ethereum-Based Cryptocurrency

Mossberg Retires Weekly Column, Talks Ambient Computing

Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly personal technology column since 1991, first at The Wall Street Journal, and then at The Verge (for which he serves as executive editor) and Recode (where he is co-founder and editor-at-large). As he retires his weekly column, Mossberg takes one more look at how consumer tech has evolved over the last three decades, “and what we can expect next.” Specifically, he addresses “The Disappearing Computer” as we enter a new world of ambient computing, in which personal computers start to fade into the background. Continue reading Mossberg Retires Weekly Column, Talks Ambient Computing

HTC Develops a Mobile VR Headset For Its U11 Smartphone

HTC, maker of the popular Vive VR headset, has developed a mobile-only virtual reality headset named Link specifically for use with the HTC U11 flagship smartphone. “It’s important to note here that this isn’t a Vive-branded handset,” reports Ubergizmo. “HTC is marketing the new headset under its own brand.” It has “six degrees of freedom tracking, which is a first for smartphone-based VR headsets.” The device supports USB-C connectivity and features “two built-in [1080 x 1200] LCD panels with a 90Hz refresh rate and 110 degree field of view.” HTC Link is launching first in Japan. No word yet on pricing or availability for other markets. Continue reading HTC Develops a Mobile VR Headset For Its U11 Smartphone

Facebook Inks Deals With BuzzFeed, Vox for Video Content

Facebook has inked deals with millennial-focused news and entertainment publishers ATTN, BuzzFeed, Group Nine Media, Vox Media and others to produce original programming for its upcoming video service. The social network will pay up to $250,000 per episode for long-form scripted shows, which it will then own, and up to $35,000 for shorter videos, for which creators will receive 55 percent of ad revenue (both formats will carry advertising). The video initiative is expected to position the platform in competition with YouTube Red, Snapchat’s Discover, and even traditional TV networks. Continue reading Facebook Inks Deals With BuzzFeed, Vox for Video Content

Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

For a year-and-a-half, Amazon has been promoting subscriptions to HBO, Starz and other streaming services. Now, it plans to expand Amazon Channels to Austria, Germany and the U.K. with between 25 to 42 live and on-demand channels from its content partners, thus offering the kind of a la carte TV that many viewers want. Apparently, the success of Channels took Amazon by surprise, and it has created two new channels — Anime Strike and Heera for Bollywood fans — while postponing plans for its own live service. Continue reading Following U.S. Success, Amazon Brings Channels to Europe

Facebook, Google Debut Advertising, Online Tracking Tools

Facebook is testing Audience Direct, a self-service tool to help publishers sell video ads across websites and apps. Publishers list available video ad inventory, with prices, and marketers then log into the system and buy ad space, with Facebook’s massive database allowing them to choose the types of users they hope to reach. Meanwhile, Google is launching a new tool that will help advertisers track online views more closely, and learn if such views led to a retail store visit. Continue reading Facebook, Google Debut Advertising, Online Tracking Tools

Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

In a unanimous ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court tightened rules on where patent lawsuits may be filed. The consequences, say the experts, will make it much more difficult for patent trolls to seek out friendly courts that are likely to rule in their favor. Patent trolls are companies that buy patents solely to demand royalties and sue for damages. Currently, more than 40 percent of all patent lawsuits are filed in a federal court in East Texas, with a single judge there overseeing 25 percent of all nationwide patent cases. Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Is Likely to Suppress Patent Troll Suits

FCC Chair Pai Begins His Promised Rollback of Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has begun to rollback net neutrality rules established during President Obama’s time in office. FCC chair Ajit Pai, who leads the commission in creating new rules that will benefit mainly cable and wireless companies, argues that net neutrality rules have slowed down investment in broadband infrastructure. To prove his point, he cited a study showing that domestic capital investment among large ISPs has dropped 5.6 percent between 2014 and 2016, which he blames on heavy-handed rules. Continue reading FCC Chair Pai Begins His Promised Rollback of Net Neutrality

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