LG Abandons Flashy Gimmicks with New Signature G6 Phone

LG Electronics has a new strategy to reverse disappointing smartphone sales: ditch the gimmicks and focus on strong basic features. The company launched its new flagship phone this week; the G6 boasts more battery life, a longer 5.7-inch screen, and a sleek design. It also supports Dolby Vision HDR. Previous LG smartphones emphasized features such as a fingerprint scanner on the back or a modular approach for swapping accessories. Even with a simpler design, LG may still struggle to draw consumers in the slowing smartphone market. Continue reading LG Abandons Flashy Gimmicks with New Signature G6 Phone

Google Takes On Siri, Opens its Assistant to Android Partners

Google is making Assistant available to all its Android partners, in an effort to entice more Apple iPhone customers. Introduced five months ago, Google Assistant, which answers questions, plays music and completes tasks, is showcased in a closer partnership with LG Electronics, announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Up until now, Google’s Pixel smartphone, which was introduced in October, has been the only handset with Assistant. Apple’s iPhone will have its tenth anniversary this year. Continue reading Google Takes On Siri, Opens its Assistant to Android Partners

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

Sony Is the First to Debut 4K TVs with Built-in Google Assistant

According to Sony, its newest 4K TVs have built-in Google Assistant, which will be added later this year via a firmware update. The timing is perfect, as more people have become interested in upgrading to a 4K set, and the market offers variety in feature sets and price points. Samsung touts its quantum dot technology; Vizio offers great prices; LG sports OLED screens; and now Sony, which also has an OLED screen, is marketing itself as the first TV manufacturer to offer Google Assistant. Continue reading Sony Is the First to Debut 4K TVs with Built-in Google Assistant

Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Facebook will soon launch a TV app that will let users stream videos in their News Feed through set-top boxes including Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, and smart TVs from Samsung. The move to a television app is evidence of Facebook’s new directive from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to become a “video first” company, and positions the social network to compete for TV advertising dollars. Users can employ the TV app to watch Facebook videos on their living room TV sets, and Facebook is in discussions to provide access to other video content. Continue reading Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Apple’s iPhone 8 to Feature Wireless Charging, OLED Screen

Apple may dub its next smartphone either iPhone 8 or iPhone X, but whatever the name, it will be a special 10th-anniversary version and, says a knowledgeable source, is likely to cost more than $1,000. That’s not really a stretch when you note that the 256GB version of the iPhone 7 Plus already sells for $969. The iPhone 8 will feature a range of new features, including an OLED display and a memory upgrade, both of which are expensive. The 5.8-inch phone is expected to look like a smooth black monolith. Continue reading Apple’s iPhone 8 to Feature Wireless Charging, OLED Screen

Android Wear 2.0 Comes to Smartwatches, Apple On the Rise

With Google’s streamlined Android Wear 2.0 on two new LG watches, starting at $250, and Samsung’s $300 Gear S3 smartwatch, fans of the Android operating system finally have some good smartwatch choices that even offer Google Assistant. Meanwhile, Apple is still the giant in the smartwatch market, cornering an estimated 80 percent of smartwatch sales last quarter. Although Apple didn’t release specific figures, it says its smartwatch “hit record numbers” in units and revenue during the recent holiday season. Continue reading Android Wear 2.0 Comes to Smartwatches, Apple On the Rise

HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

During a conference call yesterday with analysts detailing HBO’s strong 2016 earnings, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes announced that the cable network’s standalone streaming service HBO Now, which launched in April 2015, has officially surpassed the 2 million domestic subscriber mark. “Wall Street has been keenly attuned to the pace of subscriber growth for HBO Now as a bellwether of how major media giants will evolve their businesses in the digital era,” reports Variety. The service is vital to Time Warner since “HBO is in the midst of carriage renewal deals with major MVPDs, including the two largest cable operators, Comcast and Charter Communications.” Time Warner is also looking to merge with AT&T, parent of DirecTV. Continue reading HBO Now Service Has More Than 2 Million Subscribers in U.S.

Apple Notes iPhone Sales Increase, Looks to Expand Services

After three consecutive quarters of falling revenue, Apple is now experiencing strong demand for its iPhone 7, with a record number of iPhone shipments for the quarter ending December 2016. Despite that good news, the iPhone 7 failed to deliver the double-digit increase in sales that previous new iPhone models typically did in the first quarter after their debut. The iPhones, accounting for two-thirds of the company’s sales, pushed revenue up 3 percent to a record $78.4 billion. Apple’s service business is also booming. Continue reading Apple Notes iPhone Sales Increase, Looks to Expand Services

SoundHound Raises $75M to Advance AI Speech Recognition

Twelve-year old audio recognition company SoundHound just raised $75 million to build its speech recognition AI-based platform, Houndify, betting that voice will become the dominant form of interaction with Internet-connected devices. Although large companies like Apple, Baidu and Microsoft dominate the space, SoundHound has built its own AI technology to identify audio. In contrast to these other companies, SoundHound also plans to offer its voice AI tools to other device manufacturers. Continue reading SoundHound Raises $75M to Advance AI Speech Recognition

China’s Phone Makers Dominate Fast-Growing Market in India

In the last few months, Chinese smartphone brands have begun to dominate sales in India, the world’s fastest growing phone market. Led by Vivo, Chinese phones represented four of the top five phones there in Q4 2016, according to a report by Counterpoint Research, which noted that the move demoted former top-of-the-list Indian phones Micromax and Intex. Samsung is the smartphone manufacturer with the most to lose. Although its phones are still No. 1 in India, its share of sales nationwide lost 5 percent in the last year, now at 24 percent. Continue reading China’s Phone Makers Dominate Fast-Growing Market in India

Japan Display Plans to Introduce Flexible LCD Screens in 2018

Apple supplier Japan Display Inc. announced it plans to provide flexible LCD panels next year as part of an effort to take on its South Korean competitors. Samsung introduced the angled display for its Galaxy Edge series in 2014 using OLED tech. Rival LCDs were limited due to their glass layer, “which is why the LCD screens on Apple’s iPhone series — some made by Japan Display — are flat,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Japan Display’s new LCD uses plastic instead of glass. While not as flexible as OLED screens, Japan Display’s chief operating officer, Shuji Aruga, said it is flexible enough to be used in Galaxy Edge-type designs.” Continue reading Japan Display Plans to Introduce Flexible LCD Screens in 2018

Samsung Creates 8-Point QC Process to Curb Tech Problems

A Samsung investigation into the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone batteries found the cause for the problem that led to the total recall of 2.5 million phones, say sources: irregularly sized batteries and others with manufacturing problems. Since some Galaxy Note 7 phones caught on fire, Samsung, which revealed the results of its investigation on Monday, saw damage to its brand and a loss of at least $5 billion. Led by Samsung, the investigation was conducted by three quality control and supply chain analysis firms. To avoid future mishaps, the company has developed a new QC process. Continue reading Samsung Creates 8-Point QC Process to Curb Tech Problems

LG Display Signs Deal to Supply LCD TV Panels to Samsung

LG Display, a major panel supplier for Apple, will reportedly supply TV displays to rival Samsung as early as this year in a deal that is expected to replace the Sharp-Foxconn venture as a lead supplier to Samsung. A deal between LG Display and Samsung (the world’s largest television manufacturer) would mark a first for the South Korean rivals. Sharp and Foxconn are cutting back production of LCDs, which would also likely impact panel supply and display prices throughout the industry. Meanwhile, Sharp and Foxconn are considering expansion into the U.S. Continue reading LG Display Signs Deal to Supply LCD TV Panels to Samsung

3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Support for 3D television has experienced a steady decline and now its demise seems inevitable (unless it is later resurrected). Samsung ceased its 3D support last year and Vizio has not offered 3D since 2013. Hisense, Sharp and TCL were among the companies that did not showcase 3D sets during CES earlier this month. “LG and Sony, the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs, will stop doing so in 2017,” reports CNET. “None of their sets, not even high-end models such as their new OLED TVs, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.” DirecTV shuttered its 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN did the same in 2013. Despite affordability of 3D TVs and the success of 3D in theaters, the technology failed to gain traction in the home. Continue reading 3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

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