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

Snapchat Rebrands Itself, New Spectacles Record POV Video

Snapchat, rebranded Snap Inc. to acknowledge the company is now more than an app, debuted its first hardware product. Spectacles one-size-fits-all sunglasses in black, teal or coral can record up to 10 seconds of video from the wearer’s first-person point of view. The user is able to record video hands-free, and the camera, which relies on a 115-degree-angle lens, also gives a wider image that more closely mimics our natural field of view, even to the point of being circular. Spectacles is priced at $129.99. Continue reading Snapchat Rebrands Itself, New Spectacles Record POV Video

Energous, Other Firms to Offer Wireless Charging 2.0 in 2017

Energous has seen its share price more than double this year, due to its success with charging mats. But this company, along with a few others, has its sights set on Wireless Charging 2.0: the ability to charge phones, tablets and smart watches from across the room. In the second half of 2017, Energous plans to incorporate its technology in a transmitter that uses radio waves to charge devices from three to five feet away. In the next two years, consumers will see similar technology from WiTricity, AirFuel Alliance and Ossia. Continue reading Energous, Other Firms to Offer Wireless Charging 2.0 in 2017

Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

Having exited beta, Google’s VR platform Daydream is now available to developers who can use the VR SDK to build virtual reality experiences for Daydream-capable phones and headsets. Daydream is already baked into Android 7.0 (Nougat) and can also integrate with Unity and Unreal game engines. Apps to be available at launch include CNN, HBO, Hulu, IMAX, MLB, NBA, Netflix, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as Ubisoft and Electronic Arts games. Daydream was first introduced at Google I/O in May. Continue reading Google Offers Daydream SDK and Unity Support to Developers

AT&T’s Project AirGig Aims for Fast, Cheap, Wireless Internet

AT&T debuted Project AirGig, intended to one day provide low-cost, multi-gigabit wireless Internet speeds via power lines. The benefits, says AT&T, is that it will be easy to deploy and deliver super-fast wireless connectivity to the home or any handheld wireless device, relying on license-free spectrum. The company is, however, still in what it is calling its “experimentation phase,” with the first field trials scheduled to roll out in 2017. AT&T already has more than 100 patents/patent applications related to the project. Continue reading AT&T’s Project AirGig Aims for Fast, Cheap, Wireless Internet

Comcast Plans to Launch its Own Wireless Service Next Year

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts confirmed yesterday that the company plans to launch a wireless cell service by mid-2017. Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference, Roberts said the company would leverage its 15 million Wi-Fi hotspots and use airwaves leased from Verizon to handle much of the traffic. “Comcast has a deal with Verizon dating back to 2011 that allows the cable company to sell wireless service using the telecom carrier’s network at set terms and pricing,” explains The Wall Street Journal. Since “Comcast is essentially renting Verizon’s network,” it will not need to invest in major infrastructure. Continue reading Comcast Plans to Launch its Own Wireless Service Next Year

Google May Intro New Pixel-Branded Phones, 4K Chromecast

On October 4 in San Francisco, Google will likely reveal new Pixel-branded smartphones, the Pixel and larger Pixel XL. Google manufactures the Pixel phones by itself rather than in collaboration with LG, Huawei or other partners. A teaser video for the event features a rotating group of photos shown in a phone-shaped format. In addition, Google may also use the event to debut Google 4K Chromecast, go into more details about Google Home and reveal more specific plans for its upcoming Daydream VR headset. Continue reading Google May Intro New Pixel-Branded Phones, 4K Chromecast

European Commission Pledges Free Internet, Wi-Fi and More

In his “State of the European Union” address, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker spelled out a list of proposals. Internet access will be established as a universal service, obsoleting old universal services such as pay phones. Free Wi-Fi will be provided in the next four years for every EU city, town and village, and the Commission suggests a target date of 2025 for all EU households to have download speeds of at least 100Mbps, and full deployment of 5G mobile communications systems. Continue reading European Commission Pledges Free Internet, Wi-Fi and More

Spincle Debuts Shareable 360-Video on Smartphones via App

Launching at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, startup Spincle showcased a new way to capture 360-degree imagery with smartphones. Up until now, most 360-degree photography has required specialized cameras, and posting the results takes multiple apps and expertise. The popularity of the 360-degree panorama brought about by Google Cardboard, however, has also given birth to the “magic window,” which allows the user to move the phone and, without a VR headset, have a quasi-VR experience. That’s where Spincle fits in. Continue reading Spincle Debuts Shareable 360-Video on Smartphones via App

Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

Twitter has introduced a new video-centric app available for Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One as the social platform readies its live-streaming debut of “Thursday Night Football.” The new app “will contain only video, photos and tweets curated by the company,” explains The Wall Street Journal. Live streaming is now a major component of the company’s latest business strategy as evidenced by deals with “the NFL, MLB, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Pac-12 Networks for sports, and Bloomberg News and Cheddar for financial news.” Continue reading Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

Apple Uses Computer Vision to Give iPhone 7 DSLR Abilities

The cameras on Apple’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus use machine-learning-enhanced image signal processing (ISP) to achieve looks created by professional Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras. The iPhone 7 Plus’ dual camera lenses opens up an even greater range of photography possibilities. The technology uses computer vision artificial intelligence that “learns” to recognize photos’ contents and create neural networks. A Chinese startup has introduced a device that beautifies the faces of those using phones to live-stream selfies. Continue reading Apple Uses Computer Vision to Give iPhone 7 DSLR Abilities

Intel Acquires Movidius, Plans Next Wave of RealSense Tech

Intel announced it is acquiring Movidius, the Irish computer vision company that builds processors for drones, robots, VR systems and more. Movidius was an early partner with Google and was responsible for Project Tango’s 3D sensor technology. Intel is planning to move beyond PCs; the Movidius deal is expected to help it expand its artificial intelligence portfolio and build upon its RealSense platform. According to Intel, with Movidius the company “gains low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision applications.” Continue reading Intel Acquires Movidius, Plans Next Wave of RealSense Tech

Apple Rolls Out its Latest iPhones, Smartwatch, Headphones

During yesterday’s Apple event in San Francisco, the company unveiled its next-gen iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. New features include the A10 Fusion SoC, IP67 water resistance, a home button upgraded with force touch tech, 25 percent brighter display panels, 12MP camera with new options, and support for wide color gamut displays and photography. In addition, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 2 featuring second-gen S2 SiP (System in Package) — also now water resistant and GPS-equipped — and Bluetooth AirPods and other new wireless headphones to make up for the loss of the iPhone’s headphone jack. Continue reading Apple Rolls Out its Latest iPhones, Smartwatch, Headphones

Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

The Washington Post is unrolling a new “lightning-fast” mobile website based on Google’s Progressive Web Apps that loads pages in under one second; the current mobile site loads pages in about three seconds. The goal is to create the fastest mobile news site possible, says chief technology officer Shailesh Prakash, who notes that 70 percent of the newspaper’s digital traffic is from mobile devices. The Post plans to direct 10 percent of traffic to the new site now, segueing to a complete switch by the end of the year. Continue reading Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phablets Due to Battery Fires

On the eve of Apple’s expected new iPhone unveiling September 7, Samsung announced on Friday that it is recalling its Galaxy Note7 due to a problem with the battery cell that could lead to overheating. The world’s biggest maker of smartphones plans to replace 2.5 million phones shipped to consumers and stores. Reports first appeared online when users posted images and videos of charred phones that had reportedly exploded, often while charging. Manufacturing the replacement phones will take two weeks, according to Samsung, although it has yet to say how much the recall will cost the company. Continue reading Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phablets Due to Battery Fires

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