CTA Breaks Down Worldwide CE Trends by Product Category

The Consumer Technology Association and market researcher GfK annually join forces on a comprehensive report on Global Consumer Technology Spending Forecasts, with CTA responsible for U.S. domestic data and GfK for data from over 70 countries around the world. CTA senior director of market research Steve Koenig shed light on the report’s results, revealing that a mere seven products are responsible for about 80 percent of global consumer tech spending: tablets, laptops, TVs, standard handsets, smartphones, digital cameras and desktops. Continue reading CTA Breaks Down Worldwide CE Trends by Product Category

Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Analytics service Mixpanel reports that Apple had a decent holiday season, as more iPhone 7 devices were sold than Google Pixel smartphones. During the first few days following Christmas, iPhone 7 numbers “increased by 12.7 percent, compared with an 8.5 percent increase for Google’s newest flagship,” explains TechCrunch. “And when comparing iOS to Android devices in general — including phones, tablets, and iPods — more new Apple devices were switched on … after Christmas than Android devices.” Apple devices had the most global activations leading up to Christmas, while Samsung came in second. The number of “Apple Watches increased by 8.9 percent … the first three days after Christmas,” but “that’s down from 18.6 percent during the same time last year.” Continue reading Apple Experiences Strong Holiday Sales Numbers for iPhone 7

Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Marking the biggest week of the year for mobile games, research firm Sensor Tower reports that sales of game apps between Christmas and New Year’s Day jumped 53 percent over the same period last year. “Smartphone and tablet users spent a record $967.6 million on game apps for iOS and Android devices,” notes The Wall Street Journal. “Two factors typically goose spending during the week: mobile devices given as gifts, and people off from work and school who have free time to load up on apps.” Additionally, game developers typically introduce “discounts and special holiday-timed events during the week.” According to Newzoo, mobile is now the largest slice of the $100 billion video game pie. Continue reading Mobile Gamers Spent Nearly $1 Billion Last Week of December

Facebook Takes Multiple Steps in Effort to Combat Fake News

After accepting some responsibility for the fake news plaguing Facebook, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has begun to institute steps to get rid of the worst offenders. Facebook has identified sites that consistently peddle fake news and will demote their posts from news feeds. Fact-checking will be outsourced to groups affiliated with the Poynter Institute, including ABC News, Associated Press, Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org. Facebook users will also find it easier to flag stories they believe to be fake. Continue reading Facebook Takes Multiple Steps in Effort to Combat Fake News

Uber Purchases AI Startup for Autonomous Vehicle Research

To further its efforts in autonomous cars, Uber acquired AI startup Geometric Intelligence and appointed its leads, Gary Marcus and Zoubin Ghahramani as co-directors of its new in-house AI research division. In addition to Marcus and Ghahramani, that company’s entire 15-person staff will also become part of Uber. Since Uber inked that deal, its value now approaches $70 billion. The new team’s first task is to tackle the data from millions of Uber rides, to further development of the computers that run self-driving vehicles. Continue reading Uber Purchases AI Startup for Autonomous Vehicle Research

Ambient Paradigm Has Implications for Media & Entertainment

A future ambient business model would change the way we think about screens, mobile and IoT in a post-device world — an emerging reality that we expect to see illustrated at CES 2017. Recently, a look at what it means for businesses to operate in a post-device world has surfaced in forward-thinking analyses. Specifically, some reports have examined how Apple continues to prosper as customers increasingly do almost everything on anything. At UBS, analyst Steve Milunovich thinks Apple is already moving towards an ambient (present on all sides) paradigm, with a proliferation of devices that increasingly allow you to interoperate seamlessly across a full range of digital formats. In this new paradigm, the real growth will likely be extensions of services. Continue reading Ambient Paradigm Has Implications for Media & Entertainment

Facebook Considers Artificial Intelligence to Battle Fake News

After being heavily criticized for the spread of fake news during the latest U.S. presidential election, Facebook is now looking at the possibility of using its research in artificial intelligence to gain control over the problem. Facebook has done research in AI since late 2013, when it hired its current director of artificial intelligence Yann LeCun. But the company is moving gingerly into the field, still trying to figure out the pitfalls of AI, and how to introduce it sensibly and responsibly. Continue reading Facebook Considers Artificial Intelligence to Battle Fake News

It’s Official: Cyber Monday Bigger Than Black Friday This Year

As projected, this week’s Cyber Monday shopping event set a new single-day online sales record, according to Adobe. Following Black Friday’s record of $3.34 billion in online sales, as well as a new record of $1.2 billion in purchases made via mobile devices, Cyber Monday reached a staggering $3.45 billion in sales in the U.S., up 12.1 percent compared to the same day in 2015. Thanksgiving weekend is generally considered the start of the holiday shopping season and an indicator of economic health and consumer confidence. From November 24-28, consumers spent $12.81 billion, a 16.4 percent jump over last year. Continue reading It’s Official: Cyber Monday Bigger Than Black Friday This Year

Apple Considers Curved OLED Screen for Next Year’s iPhone

A future iPhone featuring a curved OLED screen could be available by next year. According to Apple’s suppliers, Apple has requested thinner OLEDs and new prototypes with higher resolution than screens offered by Samsung. As Apple gets ready for next year’s 10th anniversary of its popular iPhone, the company has been contending with slowing smartphone sales. Samsung, Google and Xiaomi are among those that have already made the transition from conventional LCD displays to thinner and lighter OLED tech that does not require the same backlight and allows for flexible designs. Continue reading Apple Considers Curved OLED Screen for Next Year’s iPhone

Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs

In a new first, Internet monitoring firm StatCounter reports that more consumers are accessing the Internet from their mobile and tablet devices (51.2 percent) than from their desktop PCs (48.7 percent). According to TechCrunch, “this means going forward, companies that haven’t yet decided to focus on a mobile-first approach to their Internet services and Web properties really should, as the trend line is unlikely to reverse.” Mobile platforms are by far the method of choice for accessing the Internet in emerging markets such as India, while the gap is narrower in more mature markets like the U.S. and U.K. As of May, Google noted that more searches conducted through its engine originated from mobile platforms than desktop. Continue reading Attention Brands: Internet Users Prefer Mobile to Desktop PCs

Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

Until now, people risked a lawsuit if they reverse-engineered their cars, PCs or even insulin pumps. Now, there’s an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that protects those who want to hack a device they own, without fearing that the manufacturer of that device will sue them. More specifically, the exemption covers security research on consumer devices, and digital repair of vehicles. The Library of Congress’ Copyright Office enacted the exemption in October 2015, but implementation was delayed for a year. Continue reading Copyright Act Exemption to Reverse Engineering Takes Effect

FilmStruck Offers Classic, Foreign and Indie Films via SVOD

After a short delay to address some glitches in the registration process, Turner’s FilmStruck SVOD service is now live. The new offering, developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection, features select classic, foreign and independent films. The service costs $10.99 per month with the Criterion Channel, and $6.99 without (an annual sub to both is $99). While FilmStruck joins a growing field of subscription services, it is targeting cinephiles interested in indie and art-house fare, those who are willing to pay for cable TV in addition to streaming services. Continue reading FilmStruck Offers Classic, Foreign and Indie Films via SVOD

Deep Learning Pioneer Yoshua Bengio Launches AI Incubator

Yoshua Bengio, a leader in deep learning and professor at the University of Montreal, is opening Element AI, a startup incubator focused on this form of artificial intelligence. The incubator will help develop AI-centric companies coming from both Bengio’s university and nearby McGill University, part of Bengio’s stated goal of creating an “AI ecosystem” in this Canadian city. According to Bengio, Montreal is home to “the biggest concentration in the world” of researchers in the powerful field of deep learning. Continue reading Deep Learning Pioneer Yoshua Bengio Launches AI Incubator

President Obama and MIT Media Lab Director Talk Future of AI

Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich recently sat down with President Barack Obama and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito in the White House to discuss the numerous possibilities and potential implications of artificial intelligence and machine learning. “It’s worth thinking about because it stretches our imaginations and gets us thinking about the issues of choice and free will that actually do have some significant applications for specialized AI,” said Obama. “If properly harnessed, it can generate enormous prosperity and opportunity. But it also has some downsides that we’re gonna have to figure out in terms of not eliminating jobs. It could increase inequality. It could suppress wages.” Continue reading President Obama and MIT Media Lab Director Talk Future of AI

YouTube Go Maximized for New Users of Brazil, China, India

YouTube has spent more than a year creating YouTube Go, a site that has been customized to accommodate the limitations and needs of millions of new users from Brazil, China, India and Indonesia. These new users, online for the first time, bring different devices, connectivity and ideas about what the Internet is to them. YouTube has sent designers, engineers and researchers to those countries to plan a strategy. The challenges are balanced by the chance to engage more than one billion people of every socioeconomic level. Continue reading YouTube Go Maximized for New Users of Brazil, China, India

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