Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

In order to accommodate consumers’ increasing desire to shop on mobile devices, home shopping pioneer QVC plans to launch a new tablet app that will feature content related to its television broadcasts. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report, 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching television. Leveraging this trend, QVC’s app will accompany its TV programming in order to help drive sales.  Continue reading Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

Verizon Wireless Promises Double the Bandwidth with XLTE

Following months of expanding its LTE data pipes, Verizon Wireless is now offering improved 4G speeds under its new “XLTE” banner. The carrier is introducing improved performance in areas where it has added AWS wireless spectrum. Verizon promises that XLTE regions will feature double the bandwidth and faster peak speeds. The company says that more than 35 percent of devices operating on its network can take advantage of the added capacity of AWS. Continue reading Verizon Wireless Promises Double the Bandwidth with XLTE

FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

The following is on the schedule for the Federal Communications Commission: whether to approve or block AT&T’s newly announced $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, whether to allow Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, establish rules for next year’s auction of TV airwaves to wireless carriers, and determine whether and/or how to regulate the way broadband providers treat traffic over networks (and possibly face a busier calendar if Sprint makes a bid for T-Mobile). Continue reading FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Late last week, Google added new payment options to the Google Play Store, including the ability to use PayPal for the purchase of apps, music and movies. Paypal can now be used as a payment method for Google’s virtual storefront in 12 countries including the U.S. While this is the first time Google has offered the PayPal option (Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store has featured the option since its inception), the payment method can only be used for digital content, which excludes devices or accessories. Continue reading PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Mobli Updates its App for Live Broadcasting from Your Phone

While many consumers turn to Skype and FaceTime for live video conversations, Israeli company Mobli promises that the tech behind a new upgrade to its photo-sharing app will introduce the potential for millions of people to see what an individual smartphone lens is seeing. An update to Mobli’s app yesterday allows users to stream live video from their phone to a large audience in real time. This opens the possibility for journalists or performers to broadcast without the need for expensive cameras or satellite trucks. Continue reading Mobli Updates its App for Live Broadcasting from Your Phone

Mobile Apps and Infotainment for Cars Shifting into High Gear

Earlier this week, we reported that GM is getting ready to release more than 30 new vehicles equipped with built-in 4G LTE service provided by AT&T. A number of new models from various automakers are also looking to become rolling Wi-Fi hot spots this year as car and app makers make the long-awaited push into new software and communications links. New models will feature dashboard electronics that make it easier to access smartphone apps for traffic, weather, news, entertainment and more. Continue reading Mobile Apps and Infotainment for Cars Shifting into High Gear

Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Cinema ad network Screenvision announced this week that it is launching a new mobile engagement platform created in partnership with audio recognition leader SoundHound. Levi’s and Warner Bros. Records will be among the first brands to participate as advertisers. The partnership will help marketers target moviegoers with mobile ads tied to Screenvision’s pre-show programming on cinema screens. SoundHound’s audio recognition tech will be used for mobile devices to unlock related content from the Web. Continue reading Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Music-identification app Shazam has landed investments from the industry’s biggest record labels, including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. London-based Shazam’s most recent valuation was $500 million. Its value for the labels involves its potential as a marketing partner. Not only does the app enable users to identify music playing on the radio or TV, but it lets them share a song’s name via social media, download it from iTunes, or stream it via services such as Spotify. Continue reading Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Take-Two Interactive Software announced that it has sold more than 33 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” since the game’s launch in September, generating an estimated $1.98 billion in retail sales. The New York-based company claims “GTA V” was the best-selling console game last year in North America, Latin America and Europe — and the fastest title in video game history to reach $1 billion in sales. For additional perspective, it’s worth noting that Take-Two generated $2.4 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year. Continue reading GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

After a Lukewarm Response, Square Pulls the Plug on Wallet

Although Wallet seemed to have tremendous potential as the next big thing, Square recently pulled the app from mobile app stores after receiving a lukewarm response from consumers and retailers. Square Wallet, created by Twitter inventor Jack Dorsey, offered a radical new way of performing an everyday task by making payments through a mobile app easier. Dorsey’s vision was to reinvent in-person payments for the mobile era, but the public did not seem to respond well. Continue reading After a Lukewarm Response, Square Pulls the Plug on Wallet

GM Scheduled to Launch Cars Equipped with 4G LTE Service

General Motors released prices for its first vehicles equipped with built-in LTE 4G, essentially turning the cars into rolling Wi-Fi hot spots. The automaker will launch its 2015 models in the next month, and plans to release more than 30 new vehicles with LTE broadband connectivity, as well as numerous new communications, safety, and navigation services. The communications service will be provided by AT&T, and the cars will come with a free, three-month trial with three gigabytes of data. Continue reading GM Scheduled to Launch Cars Equipped with 4G LTE Service

NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo is currently planning new wireless trials that could increase the capacity of future mobile networks to 10 Gbps (1,000 times today’s LTE networks). The new radio technologies could become an important part of a future 5G standard. NTT Docomo is working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung to perform lab trials at Docomo’s research & development facility in Yokosuka, which is expected to be followed by outdoor trials in 2015. Continue reading NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Wanelo: Like a Digital Mall That Makes Online Shopping Social

Deena Varshavskaya launched Wanelo, a platform for both online shopping and social networking, in 2012. Two years later, the site has 11 million users and access to 12 million products and 300,000 stores worldwide, from big brand names to small boutiques. The image-intensive site allows users to browse, share, and purchase products immediately. Wanelo does not stock the products itself, but rather, every product is linked to a store’s online site. Continue reading Wanelo: Like a Digital Mall That Makes Online Shopping Social

California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

Weeks after the California Senate voted down legislation that would require anti-theft tech in all new smartphones, it has now passed a revised version of the bill after Apple and Microsoft withdrew their opposition. While the legislation is applauded by law enforcement groups, it is still opposed by some wireless carriers, and could face an uphill battle in the state Assembly. If passed, kill-switch technology would be required for phones sold in California that are manufactured after July 1, 2015. Continue reading California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

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