Nielsen: Consumers Spending More Time Engaged with Apps

Consumers typically use only a small percentage of available apps each month, but their time spent with these apps is dramatically increasing. According to Nielsen, the time spent engaged with these apps has increased 63 percent over the past two years. In Q4 2012, consumers spent a little more than 23 hours per month with apps, while that figure jumped to 37 hours and 28 minutes in Q4 2014. Meanwhile, the number of apps used has only marginally increased: 23.3 apps per month in 2011, 26.5 apps in 2012 and 26.8 apps in 2013. Continue reading Nielsen: Consumers Spending More Time Engaged with Apps

Apple Blends Streaming, Social, Radio for New Music Service

The new Apple Music service, unveiled during yesterday’s WWDC in San Francisco, will be released for iOS the end of this month and will be coming to Android devices this fall. The service will allow subscribers to stream their favorite music, access curated playlists, and watch music videos and exclusive clips in HD for $9.99 per month. The company is also offering a $14.99 family plan for sharing Apple Music with up to five other people. Apple is adding a global radio station called Beats 1 that will be run by DJ and music producer Zane Lowe. Continue reading Apple Blends Streaming, Social, Radio for New Music Service

Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Apple charges app publishers 30 percent of subscription amounts initiated through apps, the same percentage it collects for in-app revenue. Some companies have been working around the charge by not enabling subscriptions through their mobile iOS app or charging consumers more. However, the company is reportedly considering a change to the agreement, but only for subscriptions that are delivered via Apple devices rather than the App Store. Such a revision suggests that only services offered through Apple TV would likely be exempt from the 30 percent fee. Continue reading Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

New Hound App Could Prove Rival to Siri, Cortana, Google Now

As the battle heats up with tech companies over artificial intelligence and digital assistants, SoundHound released an app this week called “Hound” that promises to enhance voice search with its ability to quickly and efficiently handle complex questions. According to Keyvan Mohajer, SoundHound founder and chief exec, Hound has a leg up on the competition since it performs voice recognition and natural-language processing in a single step, as opposed to translating speech to text and then performing a search using that text. Continue reading New Hound App Could Prove Rival to Siri, Cortana, Google Now

Google Unveils Android M, Project Brillo, Google Now and More

Although somewhat lacking in major device announcements, this week’s Google I/O developers conference featured some interesting news. Google unveiled Android M with simplified permissions, support for its Android Pay mobile payments system, and a promised boost to battery life and charging times. As expected, the company announced Project Brillo, its “underlying operating system for the Internet of Things,” and Google Now, which aims to “make the smartphone smarter.” The company also introduced Google Photos and a new version of its Google Cardboard VR viewer. Continue reading Google Unveils Android M, Project Brillo, Google Now and More

Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

Periscope, Twitter’s new mobile live streaming app (and Meerkat competitor), is starting to draw the attention of advertisers and programmers. The app, which Twitter purchased this year for a reported $100 million, allows users to live stream content directly to and from their smartphones. The app was initially released only for iOS devices, but went live on Android phones this week. VH1 recently used the social tool to promote the wedding of two stars on “Love & Hip Hop” by providing users access to the ceremony’s red carpet arrival. Continue reading Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

New Apple Music Service to Feature Ping-Like Social Features

Latest reports suggest that Apple’s anticipated Beats-based streaming music service will be called “Apple Music” and will feature social networking integration for artists. According to those briefed on feature plans, Apple Music will enable musicians to maintain pages within the service to post content such as photos, videos, sample tracks and concert info. Performers will also be able to cross-promote by sharing content from other artists. Additionally, users will be able to like and comment on the artists’ posts. Continue reading New Apple Music Service to Feature Ping-Like Social Features

Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Apple is refuting a recent report that suggested HomeKit — its home automation software platform — was experiencing problems and could expect delays. This week the company announced that the first HomeKit-enabled devices will ship next month. The company first unveiled HomeKit at last June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The platform enables Apple devices to control connected appliances in the home, essentially turning iPhones and iPads into a command system for smart thermostats, lights, garage doors, locks, security systems and more. Continue reading Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Periscope Update Allows Users to Sign Up with Phone Number

As Meerkat and Periscope battle for the lead in live broadcasting via smartphones, Periscope is rolling out a version 10.4 update to make it easier for users to sign up. No longer requiring a Twitter account, users can now use the streaming app by simply entering a phone number. However, Periscope still recommends that Twitter users sign up for the app through its microblogging service since it is easier to identify other interesting users to follow. The update also makes it easier to reply to comments during a broadcast. Continue reading Periscope Update Allows Users to Sign Up with Phone Number

SiliconDust Launches Kickstarter to Fund its HDHomeRun DVR

SiliconDust, a startup known for its live TV streaming devices, is now making a DVR that will not tie viewers down to their living room televisions. The HDHomeRun DVR is designed for cord cutters. It plugs into SiliconDust’s streaming devices so that users can watch recorded shows on smart TVs, game consoles, tablets, smartphones and computers. The HDHomeRun DVR can also record from premium channels such as HBO. As of press time, the Kickstarter campaign had raised more than $169,000. Continue reading SiliconDust Launches Kickstarter to Fund its HDHomeRun DVR

Comcast Planning to Launch Short-Form Online Video Service

Comcast reportedly has plans to launch an online video service similar to YouTube, which would offer short-form content. By offering original content, Comcast hopes it would appeal to a younger demographic and create shows that could also be distributed as part of its traditional TV cable package. The company has yet to announce an expected launch date. Meanwhile, Comcast has unveiled Xfinity Share for its Triple Play customers, which allows users to beam live video to their TVs or those of their friends. Continue reading Comcast Planning to Launch Short-Form Online Video Service

Software Subscription Marks a Major Shift for Microsoft Model

As mobile computing grows with the prevalence of smartphones and apps, Microsoft announced that it plans to bring in more money on a consistent basis by selling a subscription to Windows software. Currently, individuals and businesses pay a one-time license fee for Windows. To attract a wider user base, Microsoft re-engineered the software so that it will also work on phones and the company will give away the next version, Windows 10, for free to some users. The model will mark a significant change for Microsoft.  Continue reading Software Subscription Marks a Major Shift for Microsoft Model

MergeVR to Ship VR Headset and Controller by Holiday Season

Texas-based startup MergeVR plans to launch a $129 virtual reality headset this fall that is compatible with Android and iOS devices. While Oculus VR and Samsung have partnered on the mobile Gear VR headset, it is limited to Samsung phones and no launch date for a consumer version has been announced. MergeVR CEO Franklin Lyons explains that his company’s headset works with a range of modern smartphones. “We also are the first in the industry to have a wireless motion controller built to work with mobile VR apps,” he says. Continue reading MergeVR to Ship VR Headset and Controller by Holiday Season

React Native Lets Developers Create Apps Using JavaScript

Facebook recently open-sourced its React Native framework to allow developers to build native mobile apps without having to compromise their use of JavaScript. The problem for many app developers has been that in order to build high performing apps, they would often have to go through the trouble of using Apple or Google’s complicated native tools. With React Native, app developers will be to create sophisticated apps while making use of the far less complicated JavaScript software.  Continue reading React Native Lets Developers Create Apps Using JavaScript

Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

New UHD TVs have been announced by companies including Samsung, LG and Vizio. Samsung is touting its quantum-dot-like color tech, and LG is pushing OLEDs and its quantum-dot “ColorPrime,” while Vizio is emphasizing affordable sets with full-array local dimming. Sony just announced pricing and availability of its new Android TV-powered 4K sets. The line features 10 models ranging from 43-inches at $1,300 to 75-inches at $8,000. With its new offerings, Sony is focused on razor-thin panels and HDR features. Continue reading Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

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