Samsung Temporarily Halts Production of its Troubled Note 7

Samsung has reportedly stopped production of its Galaxy Note 7 as the company struggles with the smartphone’s recall and additional reports about battery problems, overheating and fires regarding replacement devices (including one incident prior to takeoff of a Southwest Airlines flight). “Samsung understands the concern our carriers and consumers must be feeling after recent reports have raised questions about our newly released replacement Note 7 devices,” the company said, noting that an investigation is underway. According to The Wall Street Journal, AT&T and T-Mobile “said that they would stop issuing new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to replace the ones turned in by U.S. customers.” Continue reading Samsung Temporarily Halts Production of its Troubled Note 7

Samsung’s Viv Digital Assistant to Bring AI to Phones, Beyond

Samsung just acquired Viv, an AI-powered digital assistant created by the founders of Siri. Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham created Siri and sold it to Apple in 2010, leaving shortly thereafter to found Viv in 2012. Viv will operate as an independent company, but provide services to Samsung, which ships 500 million devices annually. Viv’s highlights are that it allows interconnectedness of information across apps and services, and its AI can write its own code to accomplish new tasks. Continue reading Samsung’s Viv Digital Assistant to Bring AI to Phones, Beyond

Google Unveils Pixel Phones, Daydream VR, Chromecast Ultra

Alphabet’s Google unveiled several new products at its annual hardware event in San Francisco yesterday, including a pair of Pixel smartphones; the $79 mobile Daydream VR headset; its Amazon Echo rival, the $129 Google Home; a multi-point network system called Google Wifi; and an upgraded Chromecast streaming dongle. Shipping November 4, Google Home is on sale now, with a free six-month subscription to YouTube Red. Also shipping in November, Chromecast Ultra supports HDR and 4K video streaming. Key to many of Google’s new products is its artificial intelligence software. Continue reading Google Unveils Pixel Phones, Daydream VR, Chromecast Ultra

Samsung Cautious Regarding Plans for All-in-One VR Headset

Samsung president/chief strategy officer Young Sohn clarified that, although the company is actively engaged in smartphone-based VR headsets and standalone products, it’s taking a wait-and-see stance with regard to developing and shipping a dedicated all-in-one device. More specifically, says Sohn, the company is waiting to see where the virtual reality market is going, and if often clunky headsets click with users. Earlier, Sohn had confirmed the company was looking at developing a standalone headset. Continue reading Samsung Cautious Regarding Plans for All-in-One VR Headset

FCC, Market Trends Push Move to Unlock Set-Top Box Market

Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler continues to promote his plan to “unlock” the set-top box marketplace, ending the dominance of cable and satellite TV companies. Opposing the plan are, no surprise, those same cable and satellite companies, including Comcast and AT&T’s DirecTV, which reap profits of $20 billion a year in set-top-box rentals. CBS also opposes the plan, as do other studios that believe regulation will get in the way of quickly making their content available on multiple platforms. Continue reading FCC, Market Trends Push Move to Unlock Set-Top Box Market

NBA, Oculus Release 25-Minute VR “Story of the NBA Finals’

Oculus, the NBA and a production company called m ss ng p eces (as in “missing pieces”) just released a 25-minute virtual reality film, “Follow My Lead: The Story of the 2016 NBA Finals.” About the dramatic game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, the film, narrated by actor Michael B. Jordan, is the NBA’s first major VR effort. Previously, in early 2015, the NBA worked with Samsung to create 360-degree videos, and the Cavaliers’ LeBron James starred in a VR short produced by Felix & Paul. Continue reading NBA, Oculus Release 25-Minute VR “Story of the NBA Finals’

Samsung Formally Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phones in the U.S.

In response to 92 reports of batteries overheating, in some cases leading to explosions and fires, Samsung and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued a formal recall of the Galaxy Note7. “Consumers have the option of a refund or a replacement device with a new battery,” reports Recode. “Samsung is offering customers $25 extra if they stick with either a new Note7 or opt to exchange their phone for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge.” Replacement devices are expected to be available in retail stores by September 21. Less than 15 percent of the one million Note7 phones sold in the U.S. have been returned since Samsung launched the exchange program two weeks ago. Continue reading Samsung Formally Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phones in the U.S.

Samsung Relies on IBM TrueNorth Chip to Create Digital Eye

Samsung created the Dynamic Vision Sensor, a digital eye based on the IBM TrueNorth chip, which relies on neuromorphic computing optimized for low-power processing of large amounts of data. The chip is composed of 4,096 tiny computing cores — which create a million digital brain cells and 256 million connections — sending short messages to one another. The result is a chip that acts similarly to the brain’s neurons. The Dynamic Vision Sensor processes video imagery in which each pixel operates independently. Continue reading Samsung Relies on IBM TrueNorth Chip to Create Digital Eye

Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

Samsung has partnered with NBCUniversal and the Olympic Broadcasting Services for 80 hours of virtual reality broadcasts of the Rio Games, including the opening and closing ceremonies, diving, basketball, track and field, and gymnastics. The scope of VR content will be limited: 80 hours is a smidgen of a total 6,700 hours of programming and the VR will air the day after each event. Samsung, a major Olympics sponsor since 1998, will apply lessons learned in Rio to the 2018 Winter Olympics in its home turf of Korea. Continue reading Samsung, NBC and OBS Test VR Broadcasts of Rio Olympics

With Xbox One S, Microsoft Is the Latest Supporter of HDR10

The new version of Xbox One S launched with the ability to output high dynamic range to compatible TV sets. The move highlights the current competition between two different HDR standards: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Xbox One S adopted the open standard HDR10 promoted by Samsung, Sony, Sharp, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and Paramount. Many content creators (Netflix and Amazon are two) and TV set manufacturers (Vizio, LG and Philips) are hedging their bets by offering content or hardware in both HDR standards. Continue reading With Xbox One S, Microsoft Is the Latest Supporter of HDR10

Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

Samsung will roll out the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note7, a new version of its larger sized Galaxy Note, on August 19. The new phone features an iris scanner that identifies users based on their eye patterns, a “secret folder” that hides owner data from people who might use the device, and a stylus with a finer point that feels more like pen on paper. Samsung also added water resistance, expandable memory, a curved screen in a metallic housing, a next-gen USB Type-C port, and a camera flush with the rest of the housing. The AMOLED display is capable of playing HDR video. Continue reading Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

According to Multichannel News: “Dish Network and Comcast will be joining AT&T in offering access to NBCUniversal’s delayed 4K coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio.” Comcast will provide content from Rio on demand via its Xfinity in UHD app for Samsung and LG smart TVs, while Dish will offer content on linear channel 146 and on VOD via the Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey box. Dish will also include a sports hub on channel 148 for access to NBCU’s coverage and integrate the NBC Olympics app on its Hopper and Joey devices. Dish’s Sling TV will also carry select coverage on its Sling Blue service. Continue reading Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

Journalists to Use Samsung Gear 360 Cameras for VR News

As part of a global initiative to introduce the potential of 360-degree news reporting, Samsung is providing 50 Reuters photojournalists in 25 countries with its Gear 360 cameras. According to Digital Trends, “The cameras and new content will fuel Focus 360 — Reuters’ new virtual reality and 360-degree video and photography worldwide news portal, which launches online and on Android August 2 and on iOS August 5.” Samsung Galaxy phone owners “will also be able to watch Focus 360 content on the Samsung Gear VR headset.” Continue reading Journalists to Use Samsung Gear 360 Cameras for VR News

SES Begins Ultra HD Linear TV Trials with Small Cable Ops

The transition to Ultra HD is the classic chicken-and-egg scenario: Programmers don’t launch services because pay TV operators can’t distribute them, and consumers don’t buy UHD TV sets because there’s nothing to watch. Fifteen years ago that was the identical conundrum for High Definition, however, and now HDTV is ubiquitous in the U.S. Ultra HD just got one step closer to that with satellite operator SES’s launch of its first trials of Ultra HD 4K linear channels, to be followed by subscriber tests later in 2016. Continue reading SES Begins Ultra HD Linear TV Trials with Small Cable Ops

Apple Experiences Downturn, iPhone SE Sales a Bright Spot

Apple’s quarterly profit fell 27 percent to a net income of $7.8 billion in the fiscal third quarter ending June 25, compared with $10.68 billion in last year’s third quarter. This downturn, which marks a second straight quarter of reduced revenues, reflects a prolonged downturn in iPhone sales, the first since the smartphone was introduced in 2007. The smaller, less expensive iPhone SE, which debuted in March, alone enjoyed strong sales, with sales of all other models dipping. Continue reading Apple Experiences Downturn, iPhone SE Sales a Bright Spot

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