IBM’s New Watson Assistant Helps Develop Virtual Assistants

With the launch of Watson Assistant, IBM is offering a new service that helps companies build their own voice-activated virtual assistants (like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri). The new service aims to help companies that want to build these for their own products, using their own datasets. IBM’s pitch includes a belief that companies should want Watson Assistant rather than a competitor because it allows for heightened personalization and privacy. According to IBM, Watson Assistant keeps the data to itself, differentiating it from other virtual assistants.

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Samsung Says All of Its Products Will Be Connected by 2020

Samsung wants to be everywhere. The company’s CES 2018 media briefing led by Tim Baxter, president and CEO of Samsung North America, demonstrated Samsung’s strategic focus on connecting almost every aspect of its customer’s life. When they lifted the black curtains that protected Samsung’s entire Central Hall exhibit before the floor opened, visitors could see the evolution of the tech giant’s product line from the living rooms to living spaces. An R&D investment of $14 billion has accelerated an IoT strategy and the promise that all Samsung products will also be “Smart” by 2020. Continue reading Samsung Says All of Its Products Will Be Connected by 2020

Samsung Creates $300M Fund to Innovate Automotive Tech

Samsung Electronics has formed a $300 million Automotive Innovation Fund focused on technology for new cars. The South Korean electronics company previously showed interest in the automotive industry, spending $8 billion to buy auto parts supplier Harman International. According to Samsung, its first investment from the new fund — €75 million ($89 million) — was to partner with Austria-based TTTech, a company that protects the real-time computer systems used in smart vehicles. Audi is another major investor in TTTech. Continue reading Samsung Creates $300M Fund to Innovate Automotive Tech

Google Demos Android-Powered Vehicle Infotainment System

Google is demonstrating an Android-powered touchscreen car console and infotainment system, offering Google Maps and Spotify as well as controlling seat positioning and temperature. For the first time, Google Assistant is integrated in the system, allowing users to ask for directions and make phone calls. The Android operating system will be demonstrated running on the Audi Q8 and Volvo V90 SUVs at this week’s Google I/O developers conference. Earlier this year, Google showed the software on a Chrysler vehicle. Continue reading Google Demos Android-Powered Vehicle Infotainment System

AR Experiences a Breakout Year, More to Come at CES 2017

Until “Pokémon Go” burst onto the scene last summer, augmented reality was developing quietly in the shadow of virtual reality. With the spike of awareness around the success of “Pokémon Go,” we are rapidly redefining and evolving our ideas of what an AR experience can be. The AR landscape includes developers, storytellers, world builders, platforms and SDKs, apps and browsers, glasses and lenses, image recognition, spatial audio and spatial awareness tech, haptic feedback and other sensory input/output tools, agencies, research institutions, and more. We expect AR to be a major topic at next month’s CES 2017. Continue reading AR Experiences a Breakout Year, More to Come at CES 2017

Samsung Bets on Automotive with $8 Billion Harman Purchase

As Apple reportedly scales back its automotive plans, South Korean smartphone competitor Samsung is pushing into the emerging market with its $8 billion acquisition of luxury audio and connected car leader Harman. Auto connectivity has been a “strategic priority” for Samsung, and the transaction will provide the company with infotainment, telematics, security and safety solutions by Harman that are currently found in 30 million vehicles. Samsung also recently expressed interest in paying more than $3 billion for Fiat Chrysler’s Magneti Marelli autoparts business. Continue reading Samsung Bets on Automotive with $8 Billion Harman Purchase

CES: Mobility, Connection and Intelligence Drive Automotive

Nowhere at CES does more applied innovation come together than in the North Hall automotive exhibits. That is not something that could have been said just a few years ago when the hall was more about sound systems and aftermarket gizmos. The car is now a rolling precursor of the connected/IoT future, redefined mobility, and even the development of smart cities. GM and VW keynotes will showcase new electric cars and two companies, Faraday Future and Rinspeed, promise dazzling concepts, including one with a drone landing pad.

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Neil Young’s High-End Pono Music Player Available Next Week

Musician Neil Young’s high quality Pono music player is slated to hit retail stores next Monday retailing at $399. Young designed the music player to exceed the audio capabilities of any MP3 player currently on the market. The PonoPlayer will have a limited release, initially hitting about 80 locations throughout the U.S. Audio files for the Pono will be available from the PonoMusic Store that went live earlier this week. Young made his announcements in front of an enthusiastic crowd at CES in Las Vegas. Continue reading Neil Young’s High-End Pono Music Player Available Next Week

New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

Performance tracking wireless earphones, The Dash, have become one of the most funded Kickstarter projects in history. The company had a target of $260,000, but has so far raised over $3.1 million. The wireless stereo earphones play music via an embedded music player or Bluetooth and offer fitness monitoring. It will track users’ vital signs including heart rate, oxygen saturation and energy spent, as well as movement such as number of steps, speed and distance. Continue reading New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

CES 2014: Compelling Products Generating Early Buzz (Part 1)

With the annual Consumer Electronics Show just around the corner, we’ve compiled a first pass list of products and services we’re looking forward to seeing in Las Vegas next week. We believe these should be of particular interest to those who work in entertainment media. While we anticipate seeing products that directly compete or overlap with those on this list — and we hope there will be plenty of additional surprises — we wanted to share some of the expected highlights in advance. Continue reading CES 2014: Compelling Products Generating Early Buzz (Part 1)

CES 2013: RIM Quietly Shows BlackBerry 10 in Suite Demo

Unlike last year, Research In Motion was not an official CES booth exhibitor this time around, but BlackBerry devotees got a sneak peek at the company’s new BlackBerry 10 at the Venetian Hotel. The touchscreen-only device does away with the BlackBerry’s iconic QWERTY keyboard and home button. RIM is set to officially unveil its two new BlackBerry units at a press conference January 30 in New York (originally scheduled for the fourth quarter). Continue reading CES 2013: RIM Quietly Shows BlackBerry 10 in Suite Demo