Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Microsoft recently invited journalists into its Envisioning Center for a peek into its vision of the future — in particular, its vision of the future of productivity. Inside the center, Microsoft houses some of its prototype work. Journalists witnessed teams working together on giant collaborative screens, meeting in rooms equipped with devices to automatically recognize participants, and doing work at touch-powered desks. The bulk of all provided demonstrations revolved around the use of touch, voice, and augmented reality. This marks a new way forward for Microsoft.

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Manufacturers Show Higher-Res VR Headset Display Panels

During Display Week in Los Angeles, several VR headset displays were showcased by companies including Google, LG, Japan Display and Samsung. Google and LG developed a display panel with 18.1 megapixels of detail per eye, which was similar to those from Japan Display and Samsung. The Google/LG panel, at 18.1 megapixels, goes up against Oculus Rift’s 1.3 megapixel per eye and HTC Vive Pro’s 2.2 megapixel per eye. Facebook was also at Display Week, but wasn’t quite ready to show off its Half Dome varifocal prototype. Continue reading Manufacturers Show Higher-Res VR Headset Display Panels

Sony Showcases Interactive Hologram Experiences at SXSW

The South by Southwest (SXSW) technology, media and culture conference is taking place in Austin, Texas this week. From March 10-13, Sony invited guests to its WOW Studio, an interactive exhibit blending art and technology that featured displays and prototypes involving spatial audio, AI and robotics, tabletop projection, VR gaming, and more. Sony created interactive augmented reality without the fuss (or added cost) of goggles, glasses or other headgear, and SXSW attendees had the opportunity to participate in immersive hologram experiences.

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Apple Looks to Other Chip Suppliers Amid Qualcomm Dispute

In the midst of its legal battle with Qualcomm, Apple is designing next year’s products with modem chips from Intel or MediaTek. According to sources, Apple has taken this step because San Diego-based Qualcomm has not supplied the software necessary to test its chips in the Silicon Valley company’s iPhone and iPad prototypes. However, Qualcomm argues this point and is now suing Apple for failing to abide by the terms of its software license. Apple filed a federal suit against Qualcomm in January, claiming it unfairly blocks rivals and charges excessively steep patent royalties. Continue reading Apple Looks to Other Chip Suppliers Amid Qualcomm Dispute

Motorola Introduces Early Concepts of Moto Z Phone Gadgets

Motorola is doing something that few electronics companies dare to do — show the world concepts of gadgets that they may or may not make. Consumers can finally get a glimpse of innovation, instead of the another product release of devices that often look the same. Motorola, for example, imagines that people could attach gadgets like a VR headset, a photo printer, an interactive LED panel, or Lego-like building blocks to their modular Moto Z smartphone. The company calls the accessories Moto Mods. Motorola’s phone primarily competes with Samsung Galaxy S and LG G series phones.  Continue reading Motorola Introduces Early Concepts of Moto Z Phone Gadgets

Alphabet’s Waymo Driverless Vehicle Unit Partners With Fiat

Alphabet just spun off its research lab X’s autonomous vehicle project into a separate company named Waymo, to be led by chief executive John Krafcik. The move means the company believes its driverless car technology is nearing readiness for commercialization, due to advancements in sensor technology and breakthroughs in machine learning. Although Alphabet was an early leader in this field, the company has struggled to build a business around the technology, as Tesla, Uber and GM have moved forward. Alphabet is working with Fiat Chrysler on a ride-sharing service to launch next year. Continue reading Alphabet’s Waymo Driverless Vehicle Unit Partners With Fiat

Adobe Project VoCo Audio Editor Offers Photoshop-Like Tools

Adobe Research and Princeton University are collaborating on software that acts like Photoshop for audio, including the ability to add words not found in the original audio file. Adobe developer Zeyu Jin, who spoke at the Adobe MAX conference, described the would-be product, codenamed Project VoCo, as a “sneak peak.” Project VoCo is intended to be an audio editing application, with more typical speech editing and noise cancellation features, but the Photoshop-like tool also raises potential ethical issues regarding the use of doctored audio clips.

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Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Sony announced the launch of its Future Lab Program, a new research and development initiative “that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future.” Sony’s program will share prototypes with the user community during development and welcome feedback to help refine projects. The first project — a hands-free interface that offers a new way to experience audio — will be featured in Austin at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Continue reading Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Apple, BMW Continue Conversations About Connected E-Car

When Apple chief executive Tim Cook and other senior executives visited BMW headquarters last year, to learn how the German car manufacturer makes its i3 electric car, rumors were rife that a partnership deal was in the works. When no announcement followed, many concluded that Apple was pursuing its own branded electric car. Now, industry insiders have come out with another twist in the story: Apple and BMW are still talking about their mutual interest in an intelligent electric car. Continue reading Apple, BMW Continue Conversations About Connected E-Car

Sony Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Employee Projects

Sony launched First Flight, a crowdfunding platform/online store for its employees’ projects seeking outside funding. In the company’s Creative Lounge, employees and outsiders can develop pitches and construct prototype products. Some of these nascent projects have been presented to senior Sony executives, and Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai has given the Seed Acceleration Project (SAP) a relatively large amount of autonomy. Among the more developed products is the HUIS programmable universal remote. Continue reading Sony Launches Crowdfunding Platform for Employee Projects

Tangible Media Group Aiming to Interact with the Digital World

The Tangible Media Group at MIT is developing technology that makes it possible to reach into your computer screen, pull something out, and manipulate it. The group’s new device, inFORM, is described as a “Dynamic Shape Display” that can “render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way.” The team believes the tech will be useful for creating maps and architectural prototypes, and simplifying collaboration across distances. Continue reading Tangible Media Group Aiming to Interact with the Digital World