Snap Opens Online Store for Spectacles and Readies its IPO

Snap Inc. will open the doors to a new online store dedicated to expanding sales of its connected sunglasses. Spectacles.com launches just as the company’s New York City pop-up store closes, and anyone in the U.S. can buy a pair of Spectacles, priced at $130. At the same time, Snap’s founders will start marketing its upcoming IPO to mutual funds and hedge funds in London. Snap released Spectacles, its first hardware product, before filing for its IPO. They were initially sold in a handful of vending machines. Continue reading Snap Opens Online Store for Spectacles and Readies its IPO

HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

The Android and iOS app stores have been dominant in gaming, but the advent of HTML5 may change that up. Developers will be able to create instant games, which they hope will grab the attention of more consumers. Games based on HTML5, which run in a browser and don’t require a download, are already being built into social media platforms and messaging systems. Instant game advocates argue that apps can be hard to find, require heavy advertising, and have to be downloaded and installed in order to play. Continue reading HTML5 Instant Games Threaten to Disrupt the App Store Model

Snap Inc. Preps for Public Offering, Embarks on Investors Tour

Snap Inc. revealed that it expects to be valued at as much as $22.2 billion in its upcoming public offering. Share prices are expected to land between $14 and $16, the midpoint of which would value the company at $20.9 billion. All of these figures are significantly higher than the $16.5 billion Snap valued itself at in late 2016, and the final pricing of the new shares, and the company’s overall valuation, could still change. First Snap executives will launch a two-week tour of investors across the country. Continue reading Snap Inc. Preps for Public Offering, Embarks on Investors Tour

Leaked Photo Shows Magic Leap Augmented Reality Prototype

Augmented reality company Magic Leap has operated in secrecy since its founding in 2010. Based in Florida, Magic Leap, valued at $4.5 billion, has raised almost $1.4 billion from Google, China’s Alibaba, Qualcomm, Andreessen Horowitz and Kleiner Perkins, among others. Rumors of its augmented reality headset have been rife, but the only product to be unveiled thus far was an AR app in 2011. Now, a public photo of a prototype has been released, offering possible details of what the company has been working on. Continue reading Leaked Photo Shows Magic Leap Augmented Reality Prototype

Twitter Reveals Plans to Attract More Users, Draw Ad Revenue

President Donald Trump’s frequent use of Twitter has increased that platform’s visibility. That is potentially drawing in new “passive, non-tweeting” users, which may, in turn, result in more much-needed advertising revenue. But even as usage increases, the company still struggles to burnish its financial profile. To improve its fortunes, Twitter says it plans to tweak its advertising strategies, focus more on video and expand its data licensing business, by which companies pay to mine billions of daily tweets. Continue reading Twitter Reveals Plans to Attract More Users, Draw Ad Revenue

Cisco Study: Live Video via Mobile to Experience Major Growth

According to Cisco’s latest Mobile Visual Networking Index forecast, live video streaming via mobile devices is expected to grow by 39 times over the next five years (good news for Facebook, Twitter and others currently investing in live video). The study indicates that global live video streaming on mobile represented 52 petabytes of data last year, a figure projected to reach 2.02 exabytes by 2021. Interestingly, that will still only represent about 5 percent of all mobile traffic. “Cisco also predicted that mobile data traffic will grow to represent 20 percent of all Internet traffic in 2021, up from just 8 percent in 2016,” reports Variety. “By 2021, there will be 12 billion mobile devices in use, compared to 8 billion last year.” Continue reading Cisco Study: Live Video via Mobile to Experience Major Growth

Snap to Spend $1B on Amazon Cloud Services Over 5 Years

Yesterday we reported that Venice-based Snap Inc. — owner of the Snapchat app — had signed a 5-year deal for Google Cloud services valued at $2 billion. A revised version of its S-1 IPO filing, made public this morning, indicates that Snap is also planning to spend up to $1 billion on cloud support from Amazon Web Services. The deal was originally signed in 2016 and amended this week. According to Snap, it provides “redundant infrastructure support of our business operations,” and may lead the company toward investing in its “own infrastructure to better serve our customers.” Continue reading Snap to Spend $1B on Amazon Cloud Services Over 5 Years

YouTube Aims to Be Mobile Platform for Live Video Streaming

Google’s YouTube has debuted live video recording from its mobile app for creators with at least 10,000 subscribers. Super Chat, which lets viewers pay to move their comments up in the stream, is also now out of beta. These moves will impact creators in 20 countries, and viewers in 40 countries. Six months ago, Google first offered live recording to a handful of users, including Unbox Therapy founder Lewis Hilsenteger and athlete Ben Brown. Product managers Barbara Macdonald and Kurt Wilms say the feature will have a wider rollout later. Continue reading YouTube Aims to Be Mobile Platform for Live Video Streaming

Historic Super Bowl Marks Firsts and Generates Social Activity

This year’s Super Bowl made a major splash on a number of fronts. It marked the NFL’s first overtime game in Super Bowl history, a fifth ring for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a historic fourth quarter comeback, the first time a squadron of drones were featured during the halftime show, some impressive overall ratings, and a collection of ads that focused on social issues such as gender equality, ethnic diversity and immigration. The game delivered Fox an average viewership of 111.3 million, making it one of the top-five most-watched Super Bowls. Nielsen notes the broadcast generated a 45.3 household rating, while 70 percent of U.S. households turned in. Continue reading Historic Super Bowl Marks Firsts and Generates Social Activity

Snap Inc. Files for IPO, Describes Itself as a Camera Company

In its IPO filing, Snap Inc. revealed that an average of 158 million people use the Snapchat app — sending more than 2.5 billion messages and images — every day. The company’s annual revenue grew from $58.7 million in 2015 to $404.5 million last year. Nearly all its revenue comes from advertising, especially on mobile. Expected to seek a market valuation of $20 billion, Snap may receive $4 billion, which, according to Standard & Poor’s Global Market Intelligence would make the company one of the biggest tech offerings ever in the U.S. Continue reading Snap Inc. Files for IPO, Describes Itself as a Camera Company

Gen X Now More Obsessed with Social Media Than Millennials

A new report from Nielsen notes that Americans 18-34 years of age are less reliant upon social media than some older consumers. “Adults 35 to 49 were found to spend an average of 6 hours 58 minutes a week on social media, compared with 6 hours 19 minutes a week for their younger counterparts,” reports The New York Times. “More predictably, adults 50 and over spent significantly less time on social media, with an average of 4 hours 9 minutes a week on the networks.” Not surprisingly, the report stressed how important smartphones have become to people of all ages. The most popular mobile platforms, in order: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat. Continue reading Gen X Now More Obsessed with Social Media Than Millennials

Twitter Partners with DCP to Live-Stream More Awards Shows

Twitter will again partner with Dick Clark Productions to live-stream three major awards shows: the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards on April 2, the Billboard Music Awards on May 21, and the American Music Awards in November. Later in the year, Twitter also plans to live-stream the 7th annual Streamy Awards. The social media platform first teamed up with Dick Clark Productions for the Golden Globe Awards red-carpet pre-show on January 8, which drew in 2.7 million viewers and was deemed a success by the two companies. Continue reading Twitter Partners with DCP to Live-Stream More Awards Shows

Snapchat Preps for IPO with Metrics, Stricter Publishing Rules

Snapchat just updated its guidelines for publishers, who are now restricted from posting on Discover so-called questionable pictures devoid of news or editorial value, or providing links to or reports of fake news, stressing that all content must be accurate and fact-checked. In Feburary, Snapchat will offer publishers a tool to “age-gate” content, with the option for preventing minors from seeing some content altogether. These guidelines are being introduced as parent company Snap Inc. is preparing for an IPO. Continue reading Snapchat Preps for IPO with Metrics, Stricter Publishing Rules

DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

Since AT&T launched DirecTV Now on November 30, the streaming service has experienced its share of difficulties, including missing features, billing issues and interruptions. The streaming service, developed as a replacement for cable/satellite, offers access to about 60 channels for $35/month and about 120 channels for $70/month. The service competes in the same arena as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. AT&T acknowledges the problems faced during the launch, but chief technology officer Enrique Rodriguez states that most issues have been addressed. Continue reading DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

Twitter Shifts Gears, Describes Itself as a Place to Get News

After years of struggling to effectively define its purpose, Twitter CMO Leslie Berland told a CES audience that the company has overcome that challenge. According to Berland, the platform no longer views itself as a social network, but rather a place to go for the latest news and world events as they unfold. “The beauty of Twitter is that you can see all sides of any conversation that is happening at any moment in time,” she said, placing an emphasis on neutrality. Instead of denying the many terms and clichés used to describe Twitter in the past, she embraces them. “We were a platform, a product, a service, a water cooler, a time square, a microphone, and we are every single one of those things,” she said. Continue reading Twitter Shifts Gears, Describes Itself as a Place to Get News

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