Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Facebook, Google and numerous startups are among those actively researching new possibilities with artificial intelligence technology. Japanese automaker Toyota is joining the crusade with a five-year, $1 billion R&D effort. The planned Silicon Valley facility will become one of the largest research labs in the area. Toyota Research Institute will initially open a lab next to Stanford and an additional facility near MIT in Cambridge. Toyota’s plans represent a shift in tech research — a return to a focus on science and engineering rather than a push for tech that would become a specific product or service. Continue reading Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

Vice Media has generated more buzz, media partnerships and revenue than most new media companies. Traditional media companies following young male viewers fleeing TV find the coveted demographic at home at Vice, making it a particularly attractive target for investments, partnerships and, potentially, acquisition. One recent blip, however, is an accounting snafu: whereas Vice says company revenue will hit nearly $1 billion this year, others have said that number is much closer to $500 million. Continue reading Vice Media, Valued at $5 Billion, Keeps Growing, Inking Deals

BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

BlackBerry has finally done something it said it would never do: ditch its own operating system. Expected to ship by the end of November, Priv is based on the Android operating system but also incorporates BlackBerry’s encryption technology, still considered superior by the government and industry entities that have been central to the company’s success. Whereas BlackBerry phones once dominated usage among bank, law and other professional employment, the Canadian company lost market share to Apple and Android smartphones. Continue reading BlackBerry’s First Android Device Retains Security Technology

SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers opened its annual conference in Hollywood with a day devoted to the technical and artistic challenges of virtual reality and augmented reality, otherwise known as mixed reality. AMD lead architect for VR and advanced rendering Layla Mah gave the keynote address, detailing the technical parameters that will allow VR to become a commercial reality: an untethered device capable of one petaflop (a quadrillion floating point operations per second) among other criteria. Continue reading SMPTE 2015: VR, AR Open Annual TV/Film Engineering Show

Qualcomm to Challenge Intel in Growing Server Chip Market

Qualcomm, which dominates the mobile phone chip market, is preparing to launch a new chip containing 24 processing cores, designed for server computers that run corporate networks and are the backbone of the Internet. Up until now, Intel has been the leader in that arena, but Qualcomm, slated to report its first annual decline since 2009, is eager to seek out new areas of growth and believes that providing an alternative chip to the operators of data centers could be worth $15 billion by 2020. Continue reading Qualcomm to Challenge Intel in Growing Server Chip Market

Consumer Edition of Samsung Gear VR to Arrive Black Friday

During Oculus Connect in Hollywood yesterday, Facebook’s virtual reality developer conference, Samsung SVP Peter Koo announced that the new Gear VR headset co-developed by Oculus and Samsung will ship in November, in time for Black Friday, for $99. Consumers can expect a lighter, more comfortable Samsung Gear VR that is compatible with smartphones including the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. The previous $200 version for developers was only compatible with the Note 4 and Galaxy S6. Continue reading Consumer Edition of Samsung Gear VR to Arrive Black Friday

Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

As interest in virtual reality heats up across industries, a number of international media players — including Disney, Sky, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat.1 Media, China Media Capital and Evolution Media Partners (backed by TPG and Creative Artists Agency) — are investing $65 million in Palo Alto-based VR startup Jaunt. The investment follows other high-profile moves in immersive tech: Google joined venture funds in investing $542 million in Magic Leap last year, and Oculus VR raised $75 million before Facebook picked up the company for $2 billion. Continue reading Investment from Media Firms Brings Jaunt’s Funding to $100M

Apple Takes the Latest Round in Patent Battle with Samsung

Apple has won the latest legal battle in a back-and-forth case that began in 2014 when a jury trial in San Jose awarded the company more than $119 million in damages for infringement by Samsung. At that trial, the presiding judge denied Apple’s request for an injunction against Samsung including features that Apple said infringed on its smartphone patents. In this most recent ruling, a U.S. Federal Appeals Court flipped that ruling, saying that Apple is entitled to an injunction barring Samsung from using those specific features. Continue reading Apple Takes the Latest Round in Patent Battle with Samsung

Facebook’s Standalone Video App to Support 360-Degree Video

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has called virtual reality the next computing platform after mobile devices. His company also shelled out $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR last year; the company will ship its Rift headset for consumers in early 2016. So it’s no surprise that the company is reportedly working on a standalone video app to support 360-degree video on multiple platforms, including Apple and Android devices. Zuckerberg has also stated that Facebook would support 360-degree video in its newsfeed. Continue reading Facebook’s Standalone Video App to Support 360-Degree Video

Tech Leaders Envision a Globally Connected Future with VR

Oculus chief executive Palmer Luckey and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg are “ground zero” for the 3D immersive technology, but the big-name fan base is growing, including SpaceX/Tesla chief executive Elon Musk and Facebook board member Mark Andreessen, who not long ago was skeptical about funding a virtual reality company. What they all believe is that VR will be a truly paradigm-shifting technology that will connect everyone in the world, for a growing range of activities from video games to business meetings. Continue reading Tech Leaders Envision a Globally Connected Future with VR

IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

As 4K UHD TVs slowly come to market, and streaming services continue to introduce support for 4K and high dynamic range programming, Ultra HD Blu-ray is the next logical step. During its press conference at the IFA trade show in Berlin yesterday, Samsung became the first company to officially announce a 4K UHD Blu-ray player. Samsung’s UBD-K8500 supports HDR, offers 64 times the colors of standard Blu-ray, and plays UHD content at up to 60 frames per second. 20th Century Fox is providing content for the player, and plans to issue all its new releases in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. Continue reading IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

Apple to Launch News App with iOS 9, Adds More Publishers

Apple plans to include its Flipboard-like newsreader app, simply named News, in the upcoming iOS 9 this fall. First announced at WWDC in June with 18 publishers on board, News now touts more than 50 publishers. Conde Nast, Hearst and Vox Media are among the initial launch partners hoping that iPhone and iPad users will consume more of their content. While some publishers have expressed concerns about ad-blocking capabilities made possible by iOS 9, launch partners are pleased with Apple’s advertising terms. Continue reading Apple to Launch News App with iOS 9, Adds More Publishers

Mobile Companies Face Stagefright, Android Security Issues

The emergence of Stagefright, a malicious code that targets Android phones, has impacted all mobile companies using the Google operating system. Google has already fixed the problem in its own line of Nexus phones and tablets, and now plans to supply monthly security updates wirelessly. Both Samsung and LG have also announced they will be issuing a monthly security update; other impacted mobile phone manufacturers include Sony, HTC and Android One, all of which have provided or plan to provide Stagefright patches. Continue reading Mobile Companies Face Stagefright, Android Security Issues

Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

A new 4K Ultra HD movie drive aimed at consumers is now on offer from WD, Western Digital’s storage company. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is partnering with WD by offering several movies and TV shows on the drive, dubbed My Passport Cinema. The drive plays back 4K/UHD, HD and HDR on Samsung SUHD TVs and a select range of other Vidity-enabled devices. Vidity is a 4K movie service backed by Warner, Universal, LG, SanDisk, Dolby, M-GO, Comcast and others in addition to Fox, WD and Samsung. Continue reading Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

Nokia Introduces 360-Degree VR Camera for Pro Filmmakers

Nokia Technologies launched a 360-degree 3D VR camera targeted at professional content creators, and, in the process, rebranded itself. The company sold its mobile phone business to Microsoft in 2013. The new VR camera, dubbed OZO, which was unveiled in Hollywood and is slated for a Fall 2015 release, features eight lenses, each of which captures 2Kx2K resolution, and eight microphones to capture and create spatial audio. Nokia also plans to enable live broadcasting to VR headsets. Continue reading Nokia Introduces 360-Degree VR Camera for Pro Filmmakers

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