Samsung Unveils Pricing, Availability of Upcoming Ultra HDTVs

Samsung announced details regarding its 2014 lineup of Ultra HDTVs and a new 4K video collection. The entry level U8550 flat panel line, starting at $2,500 for the 50-inch model, will launch this month with a 55-inch set and four other sizes in May. The curved U8700 series is expected by late spring in 55-inch and 65-inch screen sizes. And the flagship line, the U9000 curved sets with proprietary Auto Depth Enhancer, will be available in 55-, 65- and 75-inch models, priced at $4,000, $5,000, and $8,000 respectively. Continue reading Samsung Unveils Pricing, Availability of Upcoming Ultra HDTVs

Android Wear: Google’s Move to Become Key Name in Wearables

Google announced its first operating system for wearable technology yesterday. Android Wear will initially be introduced in smartwatches to feature Google Now reminders, fitness trackers, app notifications from smartphones, and voice capabilities that offer interaction with multiple screens. The company is working with Android partners such as Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung. LG’s upcoming G Watch and Motorola’s Moto 360, for example, will be two early smartwatches featuring the OS. Continue reading Android Wear: Google’s Move to Become Key Name in Wearables

Google Buys Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller and Arena App

Google has acquired Green Throttle Games’ Atlas controller and Arena app-maker in a move that could point to new gaming features for its long rumored set-top box. Green Throttle’s Bluetooth Atlas controller and Android Arena app essentially allow users to transform tablets or smartphones into game consoles. As part of the deal, two of the three co-founders, Matt Crowley and Karl Townsend, will be joining Google. The third co-founder, Charles Huang (“Guitar Hero”) is reportedly keeping the rights to the Green Throttle business. Continue reading Google Buys Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller and Arena App

Samsung Enters the Music-Streaming Market with Radio Service

Samsung launched a free radio-streaming service in the U.S. last week, which aims to attract customers for its Galaxy-branded smartphones while taking on the likes of Pandora, Spotify and Apple. The initially ad-free “Milk Music” combines content licensed from Slacker Radio’s catalog of about 13 million songs with music obtained exclusively for Samsung. It differs from other services in that users do not need to log in or even register. The application can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. Continue reading Samsung Enters the Music-Streaming Market with Radio Service

K-Glass: South Korea Developing Alternative to Google Glass

South Korean researchers at public university KAIST have developed an alternative to Google Glass called the K-Glass. Although similar to Google’s electronic eyewear, KAIST’s wearable alternative is equipped with a special AR chip that enables the device to recognize objects without relying on barcodes or other markers. While currently bulkier than Glass, KAIST explains that its processor “duplicates the ability of the human brain to process visual data.” Continue reading K-Glass: South Korea Developing Alternative to Google Glass

Update: Ellen and Samsung Stir Up Oscars with Tweeted Selfie

Ellen DeGeneres helped the Oscars take over Twitter on Sunday night, with her selfie taken with several Hollywood celebrities. Overall, there was a 75 percent jump in tweets related to the Oscars since last year. Although Samsung sponsored the Oscars, and spent an estimated $20 million on ads, the company may have gained its largest promotional value from DeGeneres’ pre-planned selfie with Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Kevin Spacey, Jennifer Lawrence and others. Continue reading Update: Ellen and Samsung Stir Up Oscars with Tweeted Selfie

Worldwide Tablet Sales Up 68 Percent, Android Takes the Lead

Global tablet sales reached 195.4 million units last year, a 68 percent increase compared to 2012, according to Gartner. While sales of iOS tablets declined to 36 percent of the market in 2013, Android tablets captured the number 1 spot with with 62 percent of the market, thanks to the growth of low-end smaller screen tablets and first time buyers. However, when looking at sales by vendor, Apple still holds the lead, followed by Samsung, Asus, Amazon and Lenovo. Continue reading Worldwide Tablet Sales Up 68 Percent, Android Takes the Lead

Early Oscar Numbers Look Strong, Ellen Breaks Twitter Record

While total viewer numbers will not be available from Nielsen until later today, last night’s telecast of the 86th Academy Awards from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood scored impressive numbers in the major markets, up 7 percent from last year. In addition, host Ellen DeGeneres set a new social media record by taking a celebrity-filled selfie during the broadcast that has been retweeted more times than any photo in Twitter history, besting President Obama’s tweet after he won the 2012 presidential election. Continue reading Early Oscar Numbers Look Strong, Ellen Breaks Twitter Record

ABC to Live-Stream Academy Awards via Web and Mobile Apps

ABC plans to live-stream Sunday’s Oscars telecast in eight markets via online and Watch ABC apps for customers of participating pay TV partners including AT&T U-verse, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Google Fiber, Midcontinent Communications and Verizon FiOS. ABC also announced it has retired its standalone Oscars app; red carpet and backstage action will be folded into Watch ABC, available to Oscar fans for free. Continue reading ABC to Live-Stream Academy Awards via Web and Mobile Apps

Phone Makers Target Emerging Markets with Low-End Devices

Although high-end smartphone makers such as Apple and Samsung usually get the most press, other established companies are attempting to tap into emerging markets by focusing on inexpensive, low-tech versions of their phones. At the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, companies including Nokia, Google and BlackBerry displayed phones priced between $100-$200. Other companies are aiming to go even lower, below $100, including China’s ZTE Corp. Continue reading Phone Makers Target Emerging Markets with Low-End Devices

Google and LG Partner on New Smartwatch for June Launch

After successful launches of the Nexus 4 and 5 smartphones, Google and LG are creating a new smartwatch which will likely debut at the Google I/O conference in June. Google will be responsible for creating the software and logistical aspects of the product launch, while LG will be in charge of manufacturing the product. Wearable technology continues to generate significant buzz; according to Juniper Research the market will be worth $19 billion by 2018. Continue reading Google and LG Partner on New Smartwatch for June Launch

Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatches Switch from Android to Tizen

Samsung recently announced it will make two follow-up smartwatches to the Galaxy Gear. The new Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo will be available just five months after the release of their predecessor. While most of the key specs are similar to the first Gear, the new models will have a 1.0GHz dual-core SoC of unspecified make, in contrast to the 800MHz single-core chip in the first Gear. The new battery will last twice as long, and most importantly, the next-gen smartwatches will run on Tizen rather than Android. Continue reading Samsung Gear 2 Smartwatches Switch from Android to Tizen

Samsung Expands Retail Presence in Europe and North America

Samsung has become the largest smartphone maker worldwide without having many of its own retail stores. Since its growth has slowed while faced with a variety of cheaper models from rivals, Samsung is looking to expand its retail presence in North America and Europe. In the next few months Samsung is planning to open around 60 stores in Europe, and 90 kiosks in Canada. The company has no independent retail stores in the U.S., but teamed up with Best Buy last year to create 1,400 “store-in-store” kiosks. Continue reading Samsung Expands Retail Presence in Europe and North America

New Samsung Smartwatch to Use Tizen Rather Than Android

Amidst the rapid growth of the wearables market, Samsung intends to bypass Google’s Android operating system in favor of the Tizen OS for its new version of the Samsung Gear smartwatch. Hoping to avoid giving Android the same boost it received in the smartphone and tablet markets, Samsung is aiming to develop more of its own software and services. Samsung is expected to unveil the updated Gear smartwatch along with a new HTML5 version of Tizen at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week.

Continue reading New Samsung Smartwatch to Use Tizen Rather Than Android

Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

In addition to its Winter Olympics coverage across television, Web and mobile, NBC is also capturing some of the action from Sochi in 4K resolution. However, since the distribution infrastructure is not in place for Ultra HD broadcasts and only a small number of consumers own UHD TVs, the network is shooting limited 4K content for demonstration purposes only. NBCUniversal’s parent Comcast has scheduled invitation-only viewing parties in Washington DC, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Continue reading Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

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