Nintendo’s Switch Console to Offer Mobile, TV-Connected Play

Nintendo’s Switch, a $300 tablet with wireless controllers, debuts on March 3, for on-the-go gameplay or connecting to a TV. The platform offers a seamless transition between mobile and docked operation, well-designed hardware, a sleek, refined look, with sensor-packed Joy-Con motion controllers that offer vibration feedback and work as game controllers and Wiimote-like wands. But the platform needs a compelling game to “make us fall in love with flailing our arms around at parties again,” and Super Mario Odyssey might fit the bill. Continue reading Nintendo’s Switch Console to Offer Mobile, TV-Connected Play

Sony CEO Reveals Plan to Make Products ‘Objects of Desire’

During his CES presentation, Sony president and CEO Kazuo Hirai revealed plans for the company’s future, including an emphasis on creating personal experiences for customers, generating sustainable growth for the Sony brand through continued innovation, and developing new products as “objects of desire.” “When you experience one of our products, interact with one of them, we want to generate an emotional response,” he explained. Hirai recognized Mike Fasulo, president/COO of Sony North America, for his “incredible efforts in this pursuit,” and announced the company’s new 4K OLED offerings, new 4K Bravias and Android TV OS. Continue reading Sony CEO Reveals Plan to Make Products ‘Objects of Desire’

Holiday Shoppers Buy Record Number of Products on Amazon

Amazon experienced its “best ever” holiday shopping season, with its voice-controlled Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers leading sales, followed by the Fire TV Stick and $50 Amazon Fire tablet. Sales of the Alexa-enabled devices were nine times higher than sales during the previous year’s holiday season and the company had trouble keeping them in stock. Amazon Prime members reportedly purchased more than one billion items over the holiday season. The online retailer said its customers purchased enough 4K TVs to scale Mount Everest more than nine times. Among the top sellers included Samsung’s 32-inch smart LED TV and Avera’s 32-inch LED TV. Continue reading Holiday Shoppers Buy Record Number of Products on Amazon

DJI Debuts New Drone Models and Produces Showcase Film

DJI, whose Phantom drones dominate the nascent market sector, just introduced Inspire 2, an upgrade to its flagship model, and Phantom 4 Pro, an upgrade from last year’s Phantom 4. To showcase its UAV tech, the company has produced a short film using the new Inspire 2. The Phantom 4 Pro introduces multiple crash-avoidance features, including rear and infrared sensors. It can now both fly fast (31 mph) and keep obstacle avoidance engaged; the previous Phantom 4 could only fly that fast in “Sport Mode,” with no obstacle avoidance. Continue reading DJI Debuts New Drone Models and Produces Showcase Film

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

Apple Rolls Out 2TB iCloud Storage Tier Ahead of New iPhone

Apple fans now have more choice when it comes to storing their photos, videos and documents. One week before the company is expected to unveil its new iPhone, Apple is introducing a new top-tier option for iCloud, offering up to 2 terabytes of cloud storage for $20/month. The new “macOS Sierra is about to be released with iCloud Drive support built in, so it’s entirely possible that the new 2TB tier was released in anticipation of users wanting more than the previous 1TB option,” notes Digital Trends. In addition, the company is reportedly planning “to unveil a 256GB iPhone option, an amount of storage that might previously have been a little too much for those with 1TB limits, especially when all of a computer’s files are added into the mix.” Continue reading Apple Rolls Out 2TB iCloud Storage Tier Ahead of New iPhone

Redbox Beta Tests its New Streaming Service Redbox Digital

Redbox has begun to test its new streaming service, Redbox Digital, on a trial basis. In preparation for the current tests, Redbox issued a Redbox Digital iPad app on the App Store, and updated its terms of service on its website. There, the company details common usage restrictions, including territories, for the digital services. Redbox has not yet gone public with the catalog or fee structure for Redbox Digital, but streaming rentals will likely cost more than the current fee of $1.50 for physical disc rentals. Continue reading Redbox Beta Tests its New Streaming Service Redbox Digital

Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

By the end of the year Google plans to release its own smartphone, which will compete directly with the Apple iPhone and extend the company’s reach into hardware. Google is presently in talks with carriers about the branded phone. Its Android operating system already powers 80 percent of smartphones sold around the world in phones made by, among others, Samsung, LG and Huawei’s Google Nexus brand. With its new smartphone, Google will take charge of design and manufacturing as well as software. Continue reading Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

Lenovo Introduces Project Tango Smartphone, Modular Moto Z

Chinese company Lenovo just introduced two new smartphones: Phab 2 Pro, based on Google’s Project Tango, which measures and maps surrounding objects and spaces, and Moto Z handsets that feature interchangeable, snap-on modules. The Moto Z handsets, which come out of Lenovo’s 2014 purchase of Motorola Mobility, already offer three “Moto Mods” – an extra speaker, a projector for presentations and an expanded internal battery. The company will make a reference kit available for developers to build other Moto Mods. Continue reading Lenovo Introduces Project Tango Smartphone, Modular Moto Z

Samsung May Intro New Phones with Bendable OLED Screens

Samsung is considering the 2017 launch of two new smartphones with bendable screens, giving the company a leg up on competitors such as Apple, say people familiar with the plans. One phone would reportedly fold in half similar to a cosmetic compact, while the other would feature a 5-inch screen with the ability to unfurl into an 8-inch display. “Codenamed ‘Project Valley,’ Samsung could unveil one or both of the devices as soon as February, when Mobile World Congress takes place in Barcelona,” reports Bloomberg. “That timing would give Samsung a head-start on Apple’s iPhone using OLED screens that may be released later in 2017.” Continue reading Samsung May Intro New Phones with Bendable OLED Screens

Google Readies to Ship Developer Kit for Modular Ara Device

Is Google’s Ara modular smartphone the next revolution in mobile devices, or a cynical ploy to refresh the company’s brand as an innovator? It depends who you listen to. Google’s modular Ara, which began in the company’s ATAP skunkworks program, is on the verge of shipping a developer kit, with a consumer version slated for 2017. The modular device allows users to add or replace a wide-angle or telephoto camera module, a larger battery or E Ink displays; modules can be developed by third parties. Continue reading Google Readies to Ship Developer Kit for Modular Ara Device

Amazon Profits from AWS, Doubles-Down on Original Content

Boosted by Amazon Web Services, Amazon just posted its most profitable quarter in its nearly 22-year history. The company’s revenue is often on a roller coaster; for Q1 2016, it showed net income of $513 million ($1.07 a share), compared to losses of $57 million (12 cents a share) in the same quarter last year. Revenue has bumped to $29.13 billion from $22.72 billion a year ago, with share prices rising more than 12 percent. This compares with less-than-stellar Q1 reports from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Intel. Continue reading Amazon Profits from AWS, Doubles-Down on Original Content

YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

YouTube has begun supporting 360-degree live streaming video and spatial audio. Google has supported 360-degree video since last year and spatial audio in the Cardboard since January via the company’s VR platform. This announcement broadens that support to the main YouTube platform. For YouTube creators, all that’s required is a camera that captures 360 video. From the end-user perspective, there’s no extra technology or headsets required to watch 360-degree live streams. The videos will play on any device, including desktop, tablet, iOS and Android. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

Facebook Looking to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

Facebook is interested in global live-streaming rights to “Thursday Night Football” as well as a selection of the National Football League’s 2016-17 games, say sources knowledgeable about the Silicon Valley company’s plans. If Facebook succeeds in obtaining those rights, it will be its first major TV content deal and would mark a departure from its video strategy thus far, which has focused on short-form for the last two years. As Facebook Live has become more of a priority, sports have shifted to the fore. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

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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