CES: Qobuz High-Res Music Service to Launch in U.S. in 2018

In mid-2018, Qobuz, a European online music streaming and downloading service, will be available in the U.S. The company, which claims it is “the highest resolution music streaming service in the world,” offers 40-million music tracks, among them one million high-resolution tracks. The service is compatible with Mac, iOS, Android and Windows operating systems. Qobuz also produces original editorial content including album reviews, bios, introductions to discographies and exclusive photos, art and videos. The company will showcase its service at CES in Las Vegas next week. Continue reading CES: Qobuz High-Res Music Service to Launch in U.S. in 2018

Apple to Merge Software Development for iOS & macOS Apps

Although apps have been a huge success on Apple’s iPhone and iPad, the same cannot be said for its laptop and desktop computers. Apple hopes to change that by creating apps that work equally well across all its devices, including Macs. Beginning as early as 2018, software developers will have the capability to design a single application that will work with a touchscreen, mouse or trackpad, across the iPhone/iPad operating system or Mac hardware, say sources. Currently, they must design two apps, one for iOS and another for macOS. Continue reading Apple to Merge Software Development for iOS & macOS Apps

MoviePass Continues Rapid Ascent, Tops 1 Million Subscribers

MoviePass is a service that lets subscribers attend up to one 2D movie screening per day in theaters for a monthly charge. Shortly after a price drop to $9.95 per month in August (from a tiered $15-$50 model), the New York-based company announced it had jumped to 400,000 customers. By October, that number increased to 600,000. Last month, MoviePass dropped its monthly fee again for a limited time offer of about $6.95 per month for those willing to pay up front for a year. Now the company announced it “has since reached one million subscribers in less time than Spotify, Hulu, and Netflix.” Continue reading MoviePass Continues Rapid Ascent, Tops 1 Million Subscribers

Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Redbox, known for its red kiosks where users can rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, has unveiled a new on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows. The new service is not subscription-based but, similar to iTunes or Google Play, allows the user to pay for each movie or show that they rent or buy; the on-demand service, currently in public beta, will offer the same kind of new release movies and shows available in the kiosks. The privately held company offers content from every studio except Disney. Continue reading Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

After testing out AR face masks with selected outside developers, Facebook is now rolling out its Camera Effects Platform to any outside developer to build AR features for its in-app camera. HBO used it to build masks for “Game of Thrones” fans to become the Night King, and Lucasfilm used it so “Star Wars” fans could become Kylo Ren. With the wide introduction, we’re likely to see all kinds of AR face masks and effects. Facebook AR Studio, its AR platform, debuts this week and will be live to all in a couple of days. Continue reading Facebook Promotes AR Features with Platform Wide Release

Facebook Creator App Offers Tools to Fine-Tune Social Video

In an effort to foster growth of video communities, Facebook recently rolled out its Facebook Creator app, providing social influencers with tools for creating feature-rich content. Available to all on iOS (and soon on Android), the product is an update and rebrand of the Facebook Mentions app, originally only offered to verified public figures. The new app includes enhanced fan engagement tools to help influencers add intros and outros to their streaming video broadcasts, cross-posting to Instagram and Twitter, and a central inbox for Facebook, Instagam and Messenger. Creator also features expansive analytics. Continue reading Facebook Creator App Offers Tools to Fine-Tune Social Video

AWS Debuts Amazon Sumerian to Build VR, AR and 3D Apps

Amazon Web Services announced a new service called Amazon Sumerian during the kick-off event for its AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas. The service was created for developers to quickly and easily build virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D applications with minimal coding for a range of platforms including browsers, head-mounted displays, mobile devices and digital signs. Initially, Sumerian-built apps will run on any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR rendering, which includes Google’s Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and iOS devices. Continue reading AWS Debuts Amazon Sumerian to Build VR, AR and 3D Apps

Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

Amazon’s new AR addition to its iOS app, called “AR View,” allows customers the ability to visualize products in their own home. Thousands of products are viewable across a range of categories for both the office and home. By utilizing Apple’s ARKit, the experience unfolds in real-time, allowing the customer to rotate both the object and change its perspective. By introducing the new feature, Amazon joins other retailers such as Target and IKEA that have all recently introduced augmented shopping experiences to their mobile platforms. Continue reading Amazon Introduces New ARKit Shopping Feature to iOS App

Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Philo, the latest streaming TV service to hit the market, has eliminated sports from its line-up of three-dozen cable TV networks. The service will deliver programming to the user’s phone, laptop or connected TV. Because of the lack of sports, the base package will cost $16 per month, compared with YouTube TV’s $35 per month subscription or Hulu’s $40 per month fee. Participating cable networks include A&E, Scripps, Discovery, AMC and Viacom. Venture capital companies have invested $25 million in the new service. Continue reading Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Apple Planning AR Headset by 2020 and New ARKit by 2018

As early as 2020, Apple plans to ship an augmented reality headset that will have its own display and rely on a new chip and operating system, say knowledgeable sources. Apple chief executive Tim Cook considers AR to have the potential to be as revolutionary as the smartphone. By working on an AR solution, Apple joins Google, which is working on a business-oriented version of its previously launched Google Glass. Startup Meta is another company that has developed an AR headset, for use in education and medicine. Continue reading Apple Planning AR Headset by 2020 and New ARKit by 2018

Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Google has launched Resonance Audio, a spatial audio software development kit based on technology from the company’s current VR Audio SDK. The latter was introduced with the Cardboard SDK in January 2016 and then integrated into the main Google VR SDK in May of the same year. The goal with Resonance Audio is to make it easier to develop for mobile and desktop platforms. The VR SDK audio engine already supports multiple platforms, but Google recognized that it could be “confusing and time-consuming” to work with various audio tools. Continue reading Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

Disney, with Lenovo, just released a new augmented reality kit for “Star Wars: Jedi Challenges,” which retails for $200 and includes the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, AR-powered lightsaber controller and LED puck for motion tracking. The headset relies on a phone for graphics rendering and can work with the most recent Android and Apple iOS phones. The phone is placed above the user’s field of view, and the image then mirrored on a transparent plane, allowing her to see the environment combined with “Star Wars” games. Continue reading Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

Signal’s Encryption Features Make It a Choice Messaging App

Messaging has become increasingly confusing, as users pick among Instagram, iMessage, Skype, Snapchat, Twitter and Google’s Hangouts and Allo — not to forget the basic but limited SMS. Notifications pile up and search becomes difficult if not impossible. According to Wired, all that confusion would disappear if users would simply pick a single app, Signal, which is free, has strong encryption and works on every mobile platform. Signal’s developers say they won’t add emojis, ads, stickers or web-tracking, to keep it simple to use and speedy. Continue reading Signal’s Encryption Features Make It a Choice Messaging App

Live Mobile Trivia Game ‘HQ’ Gives Away Money, Goes Viral

A new live mobile game called “HQ” is giving away real money and adding something new to the genre. The iOS game is the brainchild of Vine creators Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, and combines elements of current popular game shows, including “Jeopardy!” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” The game goes live daily at 3:00 pm and 9:00 pm ET, and lasts for 13 minutes as one of two hosts (either New York comedian Scott Rogowsky or British on-air personality Sharon Carpenter) shoots off 12 multiple choice questions that range in difficulty and topic. Continue reading Live Mobile Trivia Game ‘HQ’ Gives Away Money, Goes Viral

Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

Roku has taken an important step in its long-time efforts to evolve from a hardware-based to a services-based model. Although the company will not comment, sources say that Roku is preparing to begin streaming videos on third-party devices from rivals Apple and Google. Those same sources say that the initial efforts will likely focus on mobile devices. Most consumers still think of Roku as a hardware company, but Roku recently began licensing its operating system to TV manufacturers and making money on advertising. Continue reading Roku May Be Prepping to Stream Video on Third-Party Devices

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