New Phones, 8K TVs, Alexa Garner the Most Attention at IFA

While the IFA conference in Berlin has traditionally targeted consumers in Europe, the show has recently become a global launching pad for products being readied for the holiday shopping season, one reason IFA has become more significant. According to TechCrunch, this year’s more notable announcements included Alexa routers from Netgear and Huawei; 8K TV sets from LG, Samsung, Sharp, Toshiba and others; smartphones such as the Sony Xperia XZ2, LG G7 One and HTC U12 Life; Polaroid’s new instant camera the OneStep+; and Lenovo’s Yoga Book C930 convertible, which features an E Ink display instead of a keyboard. Continue reading New Phones, 8K TVs, Alexa Garner the Most Attention at IFA

Qualcomm Inks Partnerships With 5G Device Makers, Carriers

For 5G to take off, manufacturers have to produce devices that integrate the technology. To that end, Qualcomm has partnered with 19 device makers, all of which will be relying on the chipmaker’s new Snapdragon X50 5G-compatible modem in at least one of their devices. Qualcomm has inked additional partnerships with global carriers, which will also be using the X50 modem for their 5G trials. All four major U.S. networks will begin their rollout of 5G networks by the end of this year, with full nationwide coverage by 2020. Continue reading Qualcomm Inks Partnerships With 5G Device Makers, Carriers

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

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

Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

Terry Gou, chairman of Foxconn Technology Group, announced plans to build an $8.8 billion flat panel TV factory in Guangzhou, China, where the Taiwanese company will manufacture advanced liquid-crystal displays with tech from Sharp Corp. (Foxconn acquired the Japanese electronics brand in 2016). The investment “will be made by Sakai Display Products Corp., which is mostly owned by Gou personally,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Gou has sometimes taken on riskier investments for Foxconn under his personal portfolio, saying it was safer for Foxconn shareholders. The new Guangzhou facility is expected to begin production of 10.5-generation 8K displays, smart TVs and electronic whiteboards in 2019.” Continue reading Foxconn to Build Flat Panel Factory and Make Advanced LCDs

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

Google to Roll Out its Jamboard Digital Whiteboard Next Year

Google just added to its list of new hardware products with the Jamboard, a 55-inch 4K touchscreen that will sell for under $6,000 next year. The company’s other hardware products include the new Pixel phone, Google Home, Chromecast, and Google Wi-Fi, the latter introduced this month. A digital whiteboard, Jamboard is the first hardware product from Google’s so-called G Suite — cloud-based tools that include Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs. G Suite tools are aimed at long-distance online collaboration. Continue reading Google to Roll Out its Jamboard Digital Whiteboard Next Year

Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Roku updated its line-up of streaming media boxes, discontinuing the Roku 1, 2, 3 and 4 devices but hanging on to its $50 Roku Streaming Stick. New products for the “low-end” HD market now include the compact $30 Roku Express that has an HDMI port to connect to HDTVs and an infrared remote, and the $40 Roku Express Plus, sold exclusively at Walmart, offering a composite cable port to connect to TV sets without an HDMI port. Roku also emphasizes 4K/Ultra HD with three new players, two of which are HDR-capable. Continue reading Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Panasonic, Sony Partner for 8K Broadcasts at Tokyo Olympics

At the Rio Olympics, Japanese broadcaster NHK conducted tests of 8K video, broadcasting footage from the games and a variety of other 8K content, including a J-pop concert by star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. These tests were just the latest step in NHK’s methodical plan to unveil 8K video at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020. To achieve this goal, Panasonic and Sony are partnering with NHK and others for an all-Japanese alliance to create the required technology. Producing 8K is no small feat, with a resolution four times that of 4K among its other features. Continue reading Panasonic, Sony Partner for 8K Broadcasts at Tokyo 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

Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

Panasonic has announced that it plans to exit the television screen manufacturing business, and “will stop producing TV screens at its plant in Himeji, western Japan, by the end of September,” according to Reuters. The decision leaves Sharp as Japan’s sole remaining TV panel company. Panasonic’s Himeji plant opened in 2010, but struggled to earn a profit while faced with stiff price competition by rivals located in China and South Korea. Moving forward, the plant is expected to continue manufacturing screens for medical equipment and automobile dashboards. Continue reading Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

Google Partners with Xiaomi and its 4K Mi Box for Android TV

During its I/O conference, Google introduced new hardware partners for Android TV and Google Cast, its solutions for watching Web content on TV screens. One of these is Chinese electronics company Xiaomi, showing a new Mi Box that supports 4K, high dynamic range and, for the first time, will ship to the U.S. The Bluetooth remote-equipped Mi Box offers voice recognition and built-in Google Cast technology, enabling the user to cast content from iOS and Android devices. Google also says new Sony Bravia and RCA TVs and a Sharp Net Player will ship running Android TV. Continue reading Google Partners with Xiaomi and its 4K Mi Box for Android TV

After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Foxconn, the Taiwan-based factory operator best known for assembling Apple’s iPhones, is acquiring two-thirds of Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp, which supplies phone screens to Apple. The $3.5 billion deal, which follows a slew of public negotiations, rumors and setbacks, could provide Foxconn with leverage to make it a more attractive Apple partner. However, some analysts suggest that the acquisition will hand Foxconn an ailing and costly business. Foxconn is facing rising labor costs in China and a global slowdown in smartphones, while Apple diversifies its supply chain. Continue reading After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Google and Vizio Partner for First Chromecast-Powered TV Set

According to multiple unnamed sources, Google and TV manufacturer Vizio are partnering on new TV sets with built-in Chromecast-like functionality. The new sets are reported to allow consumers to initiate streaming of online services like Netflix and Hulu from mobile devices. This move is a sharp contrast to Google’s previous model, which drew a line between Chromecast and its Android TV, a smart TV platform launched in 2014 that runs apps on the TV set with navigation via a remote control. Continue reading Google and Vizio Partner for First Chromecast-Powered TV Set

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