Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

Periscope, Twitter’s new mobile live streaming app (and Meerkat competitor), is starting to draw the attention of advertisers and programmers. The app, which Twitter purchased this year for a reported $100 million, allows users to live stream content directly to and from their smartphones. The app was initially released only for iOS devices, but went live on Android phones this week. VH1 recently used the social tool to promote the wedding of two stars on “Love & Hip Hop” by providing users access to the ceremony’s red carpet arrival. Continue reading Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

Interest in Acquiring Flipboard Heats Up with Tech Companies

Reports recently surfaced that Twitter has been in talks this year to purchase Flipboard, in a deal that would value the company at more than $1 billion. The acquisition would bring an experienced product team to Twitter as well as an heir apparent to CEO Dick Costolo in Flipboard co-founder Mike McCue. However, updates to the news have suggested that talks between the two companies have stalled, and other companies, including Google and Yahoo have since had discussions about possibly acquiring the newsreader app. Continue reading Interest in Acquiring Flipboard Heats Up with Tech Companies

FIDO Certification is First Step for a World Without Passwords

Official FIDO certification for 31 products — from physical devices to login services — has been issued to 18 companies, marking the first certification under the new spec that aims to foster alternatives to password authentication and provide new opportunities for interoperating services. Systems compatible with FIDO can accept logins from any certified device, such as a fingerprint reader or voiceprint detector. Google’s all-purpose login service was certified as a universal two-factor server, and Yubico received certification for two USB security keys. Continue reading FIDO Certification is First Step for a World Without Passwords

Mary Meeker: Internet Growth is Slowing, Video Remains King

Analyst and venture capitalist Mary Meeker has released her annual Internet Trends report, noting that nearly everything is now being optimized for mobile, online video continues its upward trajectory, global Internet user growth is finally showing signs of slowing (as is smartphone adoption), the on-demand economy is healthier than ever, and diversity increasingly matters to the tech industry. Interestingly, Meeker points out that video was responsible for 64 percent of Internet traffic and 55 percent of mobile traffic last year. Continue reading Mary Meeker: Internet Growth is Slowing, Video Remains King

Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Justin Lin, who directed four films from the “Fast and Furious” franchise, has been collaborating with Google on a mobile movie project. “Help,” Lin’s five-minute short intended for mobile phones, is being released at the Google I/O developer conference this week. The film tells the story of an alien attack on Los Angeles. It is distributed via a mobile app that enables viewers to explore multiple angles by moving the phone around. Google also recently teamed with animation legend Glen Keane on three animated shorts. Continue reading Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

FOVE, which claims to be the only virtual reality headset with built-in eye-tracking, has surpassed its Kickstarter goal by nearly $100,000 with 37 days left to go in the campaign. A $399 donation awards backers with a headset and development kit, and FOVE plans to deliver both by May 2016. Eye-tracking not only enables users to play games by aiming their eyes, it opens the door to foveated rendering, which reduces the computational demands on real-time processing and provides contextual feedback, avatar eye-mapping, and more. Continue reading FOVE, a VR Headset with Eye-Tracking, Thrives on Kickstarter

Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

The Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA), the consortium of entertainment and storage companies, announced the final specifications for its new premium content playback technology and gave it a name: Vidity. The solution supports the secure delivery, storage and consumption of movies, including those mastered in 4K and HDR, across multiple devices. Vidity partners include Fox, Warner Bros., Universal, Samsung and Walmart, but neither Disney nor Apple are involved. Compatible products and services are expected to reach market late 2015. Continue reading Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

Some marketers believe fewer customers complete purchases on their small-screen smartphones, but Google says its data on mobile advertising shows otherwise. According to Google’s store-measurement data, one-third of mobile ads for Target led to a customer visit to a Target store during the 2014 holiday season. The rising popularity of larger smartphones, like the Nexus 6, and tablets also helps mobile sales because the screens are bigger and therefore the sites are easier to use. Continue reading Google Claims Data and Larger Phones Will Boost Mobile Ads

Apple Shifts UHD TV Plans to a Focus on Apple TV Upgrade

Apple spent several years researching new ways to innovate the television set, and now the company has decided that transparent UHD displays, sensor-equipped cameras and FaceTime capabilities are not worth launching in a new Apple product. Instead, the company plans to continue developing its online television service as an alternative to cable and will redesign the Apple set-top box. This way, the company will be able to uphold its reputation for innovation and high profit margins. Continue reading Apple Shifts UHD TV Plans to a Focus on Apple TV Upgrade

Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

As part of the growing backlash to Facebook’s Internet.org project, 65 advocacy organizations from 31 countries released a letter of protest this week to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has partnered with wireless carriers and other organizations on the initiative that hopes to bring free Internet service to the developing world. However, the letter argues that the project “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.” Continue reading Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

Google Buy Buttons Could Offer Alternative to Amazon and eBay

As Internet browsing via mobile devices continues to become the norm, tech companies are scrambling to add new functionality to the scaled-down mobile versions of their sites. In the coming weeks, Google plans to introduce buy buttons to its mobile search-result pages. The buttons will direct users to other Google product pages where purchases can be made (products will be sold by retailers). The move is seen by many as an effort by Google to create an online marketplace to take on leaders such as Amazon and eBay. Continue reading Google Buy Buttons Could Offer Alternative to Amazon and eBay

Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Apple is refuting a recent report that suggested HomeKit — its home automation software platform — was experiencing problems and could expect delays. This week the company announced that the first HomeKit-enabled devices will ship next month. The company first unveiled HomeKit at last June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The platform enables Apple devices to control connected appliances in the home, essentially turning iPhones and iPads into a command system for smart thermostats, lights, garage doors, locks, security systems and more. Continue reading Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Verizon to Acquire AOL in Push for Mobile Video and Ad Tech

Verizon Communications announced that it plans to acquire AOL for $4.4 billion as part of its larger initiative to develop mobile video and advertising opportunities. As part of the deal, Verizon will pick up assets such as Adap.tv, Convertro, The Huffington Post, Moviefone, and TechCrunch, among others. According to AOL, the combination of networks will match the scale of Facebook and Google. Following the merger, expected to close this summer, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will continue running the company and help build the growing content business. Continue reading Verizon to Acquire AOL in Push for Mobile Video and Ad Tech

TiVo is Working on Legal Version of Aereo Distribution Model

DVR maker TiVo has confirmed that it is developing a legal version of the failed Aereo service, which combined cloud DVR tech with a system of antennas for capturing over-the-air TV and distributing the content online to subscribers via smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and Web browsers. Aereo filed for bankruptcy after the Supreme Court ruled it had violated copyright law, and then TiVo purchased Aereo’s trademarks and customer lists for about $1 million. The company has scheduled a July event in San Jose to discuss the new product. Continue reading TiVo is Working on Legal Version of Aereo Distribution Model

Periscope Update Allows Users to Sign Up with Phone Number

As Meerkat and Periscope battle for the lead in live broadcasting via smartphones, Periscope is rolling out a version 10.4 update to make it easier for users to sign up. No longer requiring a Twitter account, users can now use the streaming app by simply entering a phone number. However, Periscope still recommends that Twitter users sign up for the app through its microblogging service since it is easier to identify other interesting users to follow. The update also makes it easier to reply to comments during a broadcast. Continue reading Periscope Update Allows Users to Sign Up with Phone Number

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