Twitter Introduces its New In-App Camera Feature at SXSW

Twitter unveiled its new camera feature at SXSW this week, 12 years after the social micro-blog made its initial splash as a hot new app at the Austin, Texas conference. Over the next week, Twitter users on iOS and Android devices will start to have access to the in-app camera for recording and sharing photos and short videos. It also includes the option to livestream from the user’s location, while Twitter will recommend nearby locations to tag and relevant event hashtags if geolocating services are turned on. Additionally, the upgrade allows users to add captions and change the tweet text background color. Continue reading Twitter Introduces its New In-App Camera Feature at SXSW

Elizabeth Warren Looks to Break Up Major Tech Companies

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) aims to be the Democratic Party’s candidate for the 2020 U.S. presidential election, but she just alienated Silicon Valley when she proposed to break up tech companies that generate more than $25 billion in online revenue. Her rationale is that companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google have become too big and too powerful, squashing small businesses and innovation, and more focused on their financial well-being than “the broader interests of the American people.” Continue reading Elizabeth Warren Looks to Break Up Major Tech Companies

NBC News Plans to Launch Free Streaming Service in May

NBC plans to launch its free, ad-supported NBC News Now streaming service in early May. The service will be available to everyone, whether or not they subscribe to NBCUniversal cable networks. “It will be something you can access on Apple TV or Roku or any of those other boxes,” NBC News president Noah Oppenheim told a crowd at SXSW in Austin, Texas. “We are going to launch with 8 hours of programming, including live updates at the top of every hour, and when breaking news mandates, we’ll go up live as well.” Continue reading NBC News Plans to Launch Free Streaming Service in May

Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Facebook has confirmed that it is currently testing an augmented reality camera that goes beyond its earlier functions (and limitations) of selfie masks and inserting 3D objects into locations. Beta users can now test the use of real-world location markers that set off augmented reality experiences right where they stand. The closed beta includes promotions tied to the films “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Ready Player One,” and near future plans include adding tracker-based AR to its AR Studio tool that will be open to all developers.

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Sony Showcases Interactive Hologram Experiences at SXSW

The South by Southwest (SXSW) technology, media and culture conference is taking place in Austin, Texas this week. From March 10-13, Sony invited guests to its WOW Studio, an interactive exhibit blending art and technology that featured displays and prototypes involving spatial audio, AI and robotics, tabletop projection, VR gaming, and more. Sony created interactive augmented reality without the fuss (or added cost) of goggles, glasses or other headgear, and SXSW attendees had the opportunity to participate in immersive hologram experiences.

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MoviePass Ventures Plans to Acquire Films With Distributors

During the Sundance Film Festival, theater subscription service MoviePass announced the launch of MoviePass Ventures, part of a new strategy to co-acquire films with distributors. Data firm Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (HMNY), now the majority owner of MoviePass, claims its new service is already boosting domestic box office. HMNY plans to invest in movies so that it can share in downstream revenues, including streaming, pay TV, Blu-ray, DVD, EST, PPV, and ancillary and foreign markets. HMNY could also eventually sell subscriber data to Hollywood studios for targeted marketing. Continue reading MoviePass Ventures Plans to Acquire Films With Distributors

8i Releases Holo AR App, Partners with Sony for Spider-Man

Startup 8i just released Holo, an Android and iOS camera app that records videos with photorealistic 3D holograms. The company also inked a partnership with Sony Pictures to add Spider-Man holograms, to coincide with the studio’s release of “Spider-Man: Homecoming.” Other partnerships for holograms include Verizon’s go90, Hearst and AOL’s RYOT. Hundreds of holograms will be available at or soon after launch, all of them captured in 8i’s Los Angeles studio and all of them available for free, at least initially. Continue reading 8i Releases Holo AR App, Partners with Sony for Spider-Man

Google, Levi’s Debut Smart Jacket, Sign of Wearables’ Future

At SXSW in Austin, Google and Levi’s debuted the Commuter, a $350 “smart” jean jacket targeting those who bicycle to work. The Commuter also signals a potential direction for wearables; unlike clunky wristbands and watches, the denim jacket gets its smarts from technology woven into the cloth’s fibers. The joint project enables bicycle commuters to tap or swipe the jacket’s sleeves to make phone calls, get directions and check the time through headphones. The jacket will be available for sale in the fall. Continue reading Google, Levi’s Debut Smart Jacket, Sign of Wearables’ Future

South by Southwest Festival Highlights Latest VR Productions

Virtual reality productions are making a splash at SXSW in Austin, Texas. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the festival is featuring shooter game “Archangel,” Skydance Interactive’s first original; a trailer for the interactive, sci-fi experience “Trinity” directed by Patrick Boivin, the first VR series from UNLTD; and alternative reality project “Wonder Buffalo,” made possible by ETC’s “2016 Innovative Technology Award granted to filmmaker Christine Berg and writing partner Simon Shterenberg.” THR also notes that Skydance Interactive is “developing ‘Life VR’ in conjunction with Skydance’s sci-fi thriller ‘Life,’ which is opening March 24 through Columbia Pictures” and “Sony Pictures VR released its first virtual reality project, ‘Passengers VR,’ on Tuesday, timed with the digital and Blu-ray release of the motion picture.” Continue reading South by Southwest Festival Highlights Latest VR Productions

One Million Friends Video-Chatting with New Houseparty App

Life on Air, whose Meerkat debuted at South by Southwest last year and put live streaming on the map, introduced Houseparty, an iOS and Android app for video chatting with friends. Dubbed a “synchronous social network” by the company, the app has operated under the radar for 10 months and now boasts nearly one million users. The question now is if the company can maintain the momentum or whether it will suffer a repeat of its experience in introducing a new sensation — and then losing ground to more sophisticated competitors. Continue reading One Million Friends Video-Chatting with New Houseparty App

New Daily Talk Show from E! Now Livestreaming on Facebook

On March 21, the NBCUniversal-owned cable network E! debuted a daily live talk show — “Live From E!” — on Facebook Live. The show, which runs 15 to 20 minutes each weekday at 12:30 pm Eastern time, is shot with an Apple iPhone 6s Plus smartphone, and is also available on eonline.com and the E! Online app. The show represents a success for Facebook, which has been pitching TV networks, media companies, sports leagues (including the NFL) and celebrities to bring premium live content to its streaming service. Continue reading New Daily Talk Show from E! Now Livestreaming on Facebook

SXSW Focuses on Big Issues, Lifestyle Products Replace Apps

At this year’s SXSW, the verdict is that apps are over. Instead, tech-influenced lifestyle innovations and big picture issues took center stage. President Obama became the first U.S. President to attend the festival, where he delivered a keynote address about encryption and fighting terrorism, without directly referencing the current battle between the Justice Department and Apple. In addition to hearing about futuristic technologies, SXSW attendees discussed the election and enjoyed “lifestyle brand” products. Continue reading SXSW Focuses on Big Issues, Lifestyle Products Replace Apps

Meerkat Shifting From Livestreaming to Video Social Network

Just as Facebook and Twitter are doubling down on livestreaming video, Meerkat, the startup whose livestreaming app was a hit at last year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, is changing course. Chief executive Ben Rubin, who began to realize over a year ago that livestreaming wouldn’t produce the results to succeed, emailed the company’s 48 investors to explain the company’s pivot from mobile broadcast video towards video social networking. Most of the investors, he says, are supportive of the shift. Continue reading Meerkat Shifting From Livestreaming to Video Social Network

Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Sony announced the launch of its Future Lab Program, a new research and development initiative “that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future.” Sony’s program will share prototypes with the user community during development and welcome feedback to help refine projects. The first project — a hands-free interface that offers a new way to experience audio — will be featured in Austin at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Continue reading Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Ustream Offers SDK for Those Interested in Live Broadcasting

Following the positive response to the Meerkat app that enables users to temporarily broadcast live video via social media, and the restrictions placed on it by Twitter (which is likely readying its own similar service with the acquisition of Periscope), live-streaming startup Ustream announced that it is opening its internal API to anyone interested in building their own broadcasting app. This could potentially lead to alternatives for individuals and companies looking to broadcast video without the need for embedded media players. Continue reading Ustream Offers SDK for Those Interested in Live Broadcasting

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