Apple to Unveil New MacBook and Other Hardware This Year

Apple is planning to release a new low-cost MacBook laptop later this year that features a high-resolution 13-inch Retina display. The laptop will reportedly look much like the MacBook Air but with thinner bezels. Apple will target consumers looking for an affordable laptop and schools that purchase computers in bulk. The company is also expected to introduce a professional-focused upgrade to its Mac mini desktop, the macOS Mojave operating system, three new iPhones, Apple Watches with larger screens, and new versions of the iPad Pro tablet. Continue reading Apple to Unveil New MacBook and Other Hardware This Year

Increased Business Demand Fuels Strong Q2 for PC Industry

According to data from Gartner and International Data Corp., Q2 2018 marked the best quarter in six years for PC shipments. Increased demand from business customers is credited for the jump in numbers. “With sentiment looking improved for the second half of the year, the U.S. could deliver a strong market performance for the year,” said IDC analyst Neha Mahajan. However, Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa points out that business demand is expected to “weaken in two years when the replacement peak for Windows 10 passes.” Continue reading Increased Business Demand Fuels Strong Q2 for PC Industry

Xerox Sides With Investors, Cancels Planned Fujifilm Merger

Xerox is scrapping the proposed $6.1 billion takeover by Fujifilm Holdings Corp. in a settlement with activist investors Carl Icahn and Darwin Deason that also removes Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson from his position, along with five company directors. According to Xerox, Icahn Enterprises chief Keith Cozza will become chairman, while John Visentin — a former senior exec at Hewlett-Packard and IBM — will take over as CEO. Fujifilm disputes Xerox’s right to terminate the planned merger. Continue reading Xerox Sides With Investors, Cancels Planned Fujifilm Merger

Tech Firms Sign a Cybersecurity Pledge to Protect Customers

Led by tech titans Facebook and Microsoft, more than 30 tech companies have signed a Cybersecurity Tech Accord as part of their efforts to protect customers from cyberattacks and “the misuse of their technology.” According to the agreement, tech companies pledge not to assist governments that initiate attacks against “innocent civilians and enterprises.” Among the signatories are companies that power Internet technology and information infrastructure, including Cisco, Cloudflare, Dell, HP, LinkedIn, Nielsen, Nokia, Oracle, Symantec and VMware. Continue reading Tech Firms Sign a Cybersecurity Pledge to Protect Customers

NAB 2018: Immersive Media & Location-Based Entertainment

Location-based entertainment (LBE) is at the forefront of virtual reality and mixed reality content, and an NAB panel took a look at the role that LBE plays in distributing and popularizing this form of entertainment. Phil Lelyveld, ETC@USC’s lead of the Immersive Media Initiative program, noted that LBE represents the high-end of VR/MR storytelling, in contrast to home-based solutions. Technicolor Experience Center lead VR/AR experience producer Brian Frager said the industry adoption of standards will change that. Continue reading NAB 2018: Immersive Media & Location-Based Entertainment

ETC@USC to Present Sessions at the NAB Show in Las Vegas

ETC is participating in a restructured/streamlined NAB Show schedule (April 7-12, Las Vegas Convention Center). ETC directors Yves Bergquist (data & analytics), Phil Lelyveld (immersive media) and Seth Levenson (adaptive production) have programmed sessions for the Next-Generation Media Technologies education track, focusing on AI and machine learning, immersive media and cloud technology. The sessions are scheduled for Monday-Wednesday in North Hall 257. In addition, ETC will present Future of Cinema sessions in South Hall 222/223 on Sunday, April 8, prior to Monday’s official NAB Show floor opening. Continue reading ETC@USC to Present Sessions at the NAB Show in Las Vegas

Nvidia Introduces Big Format Gaming Displays to Las Vegas

Nvidia unveiled the first big-screen TVs designed for gamers this week at CES. The company’s “Big Format Gaming Displays” (BFGDs) are 65-inch, 4K screens that tout impressive features such as HDR, low latency, 120Hz refresh rates, full-array backlighting, full DCI-P3 color gamut support, and Nvidia’s G-SYNC technology for smooth game performance (it minimizes screen tearing). “Nvidia is partnering with Asus, Acer and HP to build these displays,” reports Engadget. “With their built-in Shield support, they’ll do everything Nvidia’s set-top box can, and they’ll also come with the company’s remote and gaming controller.” Continue reading Nvidia Introduces Big Format Gaming Displays to Las Vegas

Top Tech Companies Bullish On a Wireless Future for AR/VR

A Digital Hollywood panel at CES 2018 comprised of top AR/VR executives from Google, Unity Technologies, THX, HP and MPC considered the pace of the technologies’ adoption and predicted the progress we’ll see in 2018. Moderator Steve Masur, a senior partner at MG+ tech law firm, noted that many are disappointed with the pace of AR/VR adoption — but he is not one of them. “I think the industry is just fine,” he said. “A few years ago we thought we’d gain mass consumer adoption, but we have to go through revolutions of adoption.” Continue reading Top Tech Companies Bullish On a Wireless Future for AR/VR

Qualcomm, Microsoft Debut Laptops Powered by Mobile Chips

Qualcomm just showcased Asustek Computer and HP laptops with mobile phone chips that allow their wireless connections to use battery power so sparingly that they can go for days between charges. That’s part of the chip titan’s strategy to break Intel’s dominance in the laptop market, where 90 percent ship with Intel chips. By using mobile chips, says Qualcomm, the company hopes to create a new kind of PC that represents a new category. Qualcomm aims to expand in this market through its purchase of NXP Semiconductors. Continue reading Qualcomm, Microsoft Debut Laptops Powered by Mobile Chips

Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

The Venture Reality Fund has released its H2 2017 VR Industry Landscape map and report. The organization has generously posted the map, along with maps of the 1H 2017 European Landscape and Q2 2017 AR Industry Landscape. The VR Fund’s latest report highlights more than 450 companies developing infrastructure, tools, platforms, and applications for the VR/AR ecosystem. An interactive table, which VR Fund co-founder Tipatat Chennavasin began building in 2014, provides details of the companies.  Continue reading Venture Reality Fund Reports on Current VR/AR Landscape

Microsoft, Harman Kardon Debut New Speaker With Cortana

Microsoft and Samsung Electronics’ Harman Kardon division have married digital assistant Cortana with the Invoke speaker to create a new voice-enabled device priced at $199. The smart speaker, the first for Microsoft, comes three years after Amazon launched Echo, the first product to pioneer a now-burgeoning space. The Invoke has a similar form factor to Amazon’s original Echo, and can play music, answer questions about sports scores and perform other tasks typical of digital assistant-powered speakers. Continue reading Microsoft, Harman Kardon Debut New Speaker With Cortana

Samsung Takes on Rift With Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Microsoft and Samsung have partnered on a new virtual reality headset, HMD Odyssey, that relies on the former’s Windows Mixed Reality, Windows 10 software for immersive computing on devices and headsets. Samsung is not the first company to base its VR headsets on Windows 10: Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo Group are all building such VR devices. But Samsung is Microsoft’s most important partner thus far as the computing company faces Apple, Google, Facebook and other major rivals in the virtual reality/augmented reality arena. Continue reading Samsung Takes on Rift With Windows Mixed Reality Headset

Microsoft Debuts AI-Powered Software, Customer Service Bot

At the Microsoft Ignite annual IT event in Orlando, Florida this week, Microsoft announced it will soon debut a customer-service virtual assistant as part of its Dynamics 365 product line that will incorporate artificial intelligence. A user will be able to describe a problem in her own words, and the virtual assistant will answer by relying on user manuals, help documents and other materials. The customer can request a human, in which case the bot will assist the human customer service agent; a manager can view the result on a dashboard. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts AI-Powered Software, Customer Service Bot

Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

Best Buy and Amazon are both betting on salespeople who make visits to homes as one potential model for selling more consumer electronics. Best Buy is already testing that theory by hiring hundreds of salespeople in several cities to do just that. The free service is slated to roll out in the U.S. this fall. For Best Buy, getting salespeople in the home is another way to sell more TVs and CE gadgets while increasing business for its Geek Squad, which offers tech installation and repair services for a fee. Likewise, Amazon is expanding its free “smart home consultations” to help promote interest in its smart speakers and related products. Continue reading Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

Asus, Dell, Lenovo Unveil Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

At Computex 2017, Microsoft exhibited Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Asus, Dell and Lenovo, weeks after showing headsets from HP and Acer. Asus, which collaborated with Microsoft to ensure speed and power, displayed a headset with a polygonal cover panel. Dell’s headset, designed by the team that made its high-end XPS and Alienware PCs, is being marketed as offering an affordable price, customizable cushioning, a flip-up visor and convenient cable routing. Lenovo’s headset is positioned as the least expensive. Continue reading Asus, Dell, Lenovo Unveil Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

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