Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

Google’s quarterly profit rose 24 percent, while revenue increased 21 percent to $21.5 billion, thanks in large part to its advertising and push into mobile, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google is also experiencing success with its cloud services division. Parent company Alphabet reported 33 percent growth of its non-advertising business over the previous year, surpassing Wall Street expectations. “The strength of the quarter is about mobile,” said Google chief exec Sundar Pichai. “Our investment in mobile now underlines everything that we do today, from search and YouTube to Android and advertising.” Continue reading Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

LeEco Acquires Vizio to Bring its Streaming Services to U.S.

Chinese tech company LeEco (formerly LeTV), has paid $2 billion for California television seller Vizio, which presently controls about 20 percent of the U.S. market. The Beijing-based company is often referred to as the Netflix of China, although it sells hardware devices such as TVs, set-top boxes, smartphones and electric cars in addition to its streaming services. With the acquisition, LeEco can now bring its services to the U.S. “Our strategy is to integrate our platform — including software and services — with devices,” said LeEco exec Winston Cheng. Continue reading LeEco Acquires Vizio to Bring its Streaming Services to U.S.

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

Twitter Struggles with Worst Quarterly Revenue Growth Ever

Twitter announced lackluster Q2 earnings, with $602 million in revenue for a net loss of $107 million. While the company improved over Q2 2015, when it lost $136.6 million, and monthly active users increased from 310 million to 313 million, its numbers fell short of Wall Street expectations and the company’s stock dropped more than 10 percent in after-hours trading. Despite new deals for live-streaming sports in the near future, the platform is not keeping up with the growth of social rivals such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Continue reading Twitter Struggles with Worst Quarterly Revenue Growth Ever

Banks Make Move to Real-Time Person-to-Person Payments

J.P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and other banks just introduced real-time person-to-person payments — something PayPal’s Venmo has done for years — to their five year-old joint effort clearXchange. Previously, clearXchange could take up to three days to transfer money. PayPal upped its game, by signing a deal with Visa to let Venmo and PayPal app users instantly access monies they receive. PayPal and the banks collect no fees on these transactions, which they regard as a gateway to other, paid services. Continue reading Banks Make Move to Real-Time Person-to-Person Payments

Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

For 13 years, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has been presiding over Second Life. Now, the company is about to create a virtual reality network, dubbed Project Sansar, to provide an environment for individuals and businesses to experiment in VR. Sansar has been constructed to be incredibly scalable and immense, which could be either exciting or daunting to potential users. Linden Lab hopes it’s the former, and that people will use Sansar to build innovative VR worlds for problem-solving and social interaction. Continue reading Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

SoftBank to Purchase UK-Based Chip Designer ARM Holdings

Japan’s SoftBank Group has agreed to acquire United Kingdom’s ARM Holdings for more than $32 billion in an all-cash deal, which insiders suggest marks a major move by the Japanese telecom toward the mobile Internet. As a top designer of chips for companies such as Apple and Samsung, ARM dominates the smartphone market and is a leader in the mobile revolution. Its designs appear in a range of devices, including Internet of Things sensors. The number of chips featuring ARM processors reached 14.8 billion in 2015, up from 6.1 billion five years earlier. Continue reading SoftBank to Purchase UK-Based Chip Designer ARM Holdings

ABC Targets Cord Cutters with Expanded Streaming Offerings

ABC relaunched its streaming service yesterday to attract cord cutters with an increased number of TV shows and a collection of new digital originals. The network is introducing seven digital short-form series that focus on comedy and lifestyle, with more than 40 digital programs in development. The content is available via the free, ad-supported app and online at ABC.go.com. The app is debuting a redesigned user interface for iOS devices and Apple TV boxes. In addition, pay TV subscribers will have access to exclusive content and, in select markets, the ability to view live television. Continue reading ABC Targets Cord Cutters with Expanded Streaming Offerings

Facebook Messenger Will Soon Enable ‘Secret Conversations’

Facebook Messenger currently has more than 900 million regular monthly users, more than quadruple the 200 million it touted in early 2014. To grow in international markets, Facebook is testing a new feature inside Messenger that will encrypt some messages, creating “secret conversations” between the users of the two mobile devices. Users must opt-in to a secret conversation. Although this isn’t the full encryption found in WhatsApp, the new feature offers more security than before, which Facebook hopes will appeal to global users. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Will Soon Enable ‘Secret Conversations’

Nintendo ‘Pokémon GO’ Creating an Augmented Reality Craze

Nintendo added $7 billion in market value since debuting “Pokémon GO,” its location-based, augmented reality mobile game that it says has attracted more than 10 million players in its first month. The game takes users away from videogame screens and out into the real world where they search for virtual monsters in parks, historical monuments and even police stations. While gamers excitedly take to the streets, reports have recently pointed to distracted players falling into holes, walking into street signs, and even being robbed by criminals using the location tech to locate their prey. Continue reading Nintendo ‘Pokémon GO’ Creating an Augmented Reality Craze

Snapchat to Debut Memories to Save, Tweak, Re-Share Snaps

Next month, Snapchat will introduce Memories, a new feature designed to let users save favorite photos and videos, re-edit them by adding filters and text and then re-share the latest versions. Included is a search function that lets the user search Memories by date, location or keywords. Prior to Memories, a Snapchat user could save a photo or video by downloading it to her smartphone, but couldn’t view it in the app or share it. Memories still does not allow a Snapchat user to save a photo/video sent by someone else. Continue reading Snapchat to Debut Memories to Save, Tweak, Re-Share Snaps

Apple Releases Public Beta Version of its Feature-Rich iOS 10

Apple released an early public beta version of its next mobile operating system yesterday for iPhone and iPad users interested in testing the new updates. Some industry analysts have described iOS 10 as the most extensive update in years, citing features such as improved photo software, a new messaging app, and a more convenient way to take devices out of sleep mode. Beta testers can also check out redesigned apps for music, maps and news. “If more early testers report bugs and give other feedback to Apple, it is less likely that major problems will remain on release” this fall, reports The New York Times, noting that Microsoft was largely successful with its similar testing process for Windows 10. Continue reading Apple Releases Public Beta Version of its Feature-Rich iOS 10

Walmart Makes Mobile Payment App Available to Entire Chain

Walmart is expanding its mobile payment service, Walmart Pay, to its entire chain of 4,600 U.S. stores. The feature can be found on the retailer’s app, which is available for Android and Apple devices. According to the company, more than 20 million consumers regularly use the app, which offers discounts and helps locate products. Walmart, which has 140 million weekly shoppers, is aiming to make the shopping and checkout experience more convenient. It is also looking to compete with companies such as Apple, Alphabet and Samsung, all of which offer ways to make mobile purchases. Continue reading Walmart Makes Mobile Payment App Available to Entire Chain

Facebook to Test Downloading Social Video for Offline Viewing

As a means of addressing concerns related to social video and costly data consumption, Facebook will start testing a new video download option next week with users in India. “While on Wi-Fi, people can sync videos to their device for offline viewing within Facebook’s app,” explains TechCrunch. “Facebook is touting this as a win for video publishers, who might be grumpy about Facebook’s recent feed ranking algorithm change that prioritizes friends over pro content creators.” To avoid piracy, videos will be locked in the platform’s app, and not viewable from a device’s local memory. Also, publishers can opt out of the feature via the Content Distribution setting. Continue reading Facebook to Test Downloading Social Video for Offline Viewing

Amazon Debuts Budget Phones Loaded with Apps and Widgets

Amazon unveiled two new Android smartphones for its Prime members, the BLU Products R1 HD and 4th generation Lenovo Moto G. Both phones, dubbed Prime Exclusives, are subsidized by Amazon ads: the R1 HD starts at $50 unlocked, $100 and up without the discount; the Moto G starts at $150 unlocked, $200 and up without the discount. With the discount, the Prime Exclusive phones include Amazon apps, services and ads, the latter appearing on the lock screen. The user has to forego the discount to get rid of the ads. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Budget Phones Loaded with Apps and Widgets

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