Amazon Now Spends More on R&D Than Other Companies

Despite an overall slowdown in U.S. productivity, tech companies currently lead the charge in overall spending on research and development, a key factor in measuring productivity of an economy. According to data about companies in the S&P 500 collected by analytic software firm FactSet, Amazon spends more on R&D than any other company in the U.S., followed by Alphabet, Intel, Microsoft and Apple. Other tech companies on the Top 20 list include Oracle, Cisco, Facebook, IBM and Qualcomm. Continue reading Amazon Now Spends More on R&D Than Other Companies

Apple is the Latest Tech Giant to Launch Bug Bounty Program

Apple has announced its new “security bounty” initiative that will offer payments up to $200,000 to any hackers who inform the company about critical vulnerabilities to its products. In doing so, Apple joins major tech companies that have similar programs in place. Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft “have paid out millions of dollars in bug bounties over the past few years,” reports The Wall Street Journal. Automobile companies such as Tesla and GM are also introducing bounty programs as vehicles are relying more on software to control their systems. Continue reading Apple is the Latest Tech Giant to Launch Bug Bounty Program

Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

Panasonic has announced that it plans to exit the television screen manufacturing business, and “will stop producing TV screens at its plant in Himeji, western Japan, by the end of September,” according to Reuters. The decision leaves Sharp as Japan’s sole remaining TV panel company. Panasonic’s Himeji plant opened in 2010, but struggled to earn a profit while faced with stiff price competition by rivals located in China and South Korea. Moving forward, the plant is expected to continue manufacturing screens for medical equipment and automobile dashboards. Continue reading Panasonic to Bow Out of TV Display Business by September

GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft and Partners on New Initiatives

Ride-hailing service Lyft announced yesterday that General Motors recently invested $500 million in the San Francisco-based startup. The investment represents half of Lyft’s latest venture financing round, which values the company at $4.5 billion. GM and Lyft will work together to develop an on-demand network of autonomous vehicles, taking on companies such as Google, Tesla and Uber in the process. In addition, the two companies are planning short-term car rental hubs that would provide work opportunities for potential Lyft drivers who do not have their own vehicles. Continue reading GM Invests $500 Million in Lyft and Partners on New Initiatives

CES 2016: HTC’s Chief Exec Hints at Major VR Announcement

The Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR are not the only anticipated virtual reality devices shipping this year. While VR fans may be disappointed that the HTC Vive release has been pushed to April, CEO Cher Wang hinted at December’s Vive Unbound Developers Conference in Beijing that Valve and her team recently made “a very, very big technological breakthrough” to the system that prompted them to push the original Q1 launch date in favor of a more sophisticated product. Wang did not offer details, other than to suggest that the company is poised to make a major announcement at CES. Continue reading CES 2016: HTC’s Chief Exec Hints at Major VR Announcement

Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

Clarion is bringing what it claims to be the first fully digital, in-car audio system to CES this week. The company’s Full Digital Sound (FDS) system also plays high-resolution audio. “This all-digital approach operates on a purely digital audio signal from the source to the speaker voice coils, resulting in pristine sounding audio with zero loss in quality and no added noise from DACs or analog connections,” explained the company. The digital signal travels from the head unit to a processor and then to the speakers; at no point is it converted from digital to analog or passed through an amplifier. Continue reading Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

CTA: Tech Spending to Increase This Holiday Shopping Season

About 160 million U.S. adults — or 74 percent of holiday shoppers — plan on purchasing tech gifts this season, according to the Consumer Technology Association’s 22nd Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, which predicts holiday tech spending will reach $34.2 billion this year. Top gifts include smartphones, headphones, tablets and portable Bluetooth speakers, while 12 percent of shoppers indicate they plan to purchase a wearable device. CTA has identified six types of tech shoppers that could help retailers better understand the preferences of today’s consumers. Continue reading CTA: Tech Spending to Increase This Holiday Shopping Season

Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

E-commerce giant Amazon launched a new delivery system this week called Amazon Flex. The Uber-like model offers individuals with their own vehicles and an Android smartphone the opportunity to deliver packages for $18-25 per hour. Drivers have the option of two-, four- or eight-hour shifts. In addition to a car and an Android phone for managing deliveries with the Flex app, drivers must be over 21 and pass a background check. The new system, initially rumored back in June, works with Amazon’s Prime Now service, which offers members one- and two-hour delivery on items. Continue reading Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

Should We Expect a Fiat-Apple Partnership in the Near Future?

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne recently commented that he would be open to the possibility of developing a partnership between his auto company and one of the major tech companies. Apple, which has already begun the process of developing an electric car, seems like a logical fit for such a partnership. During Apple’s most recent annual shareholder meeting, CEO Tim Cook was reportedly urged by investors to explore the idea of partnering with Tesla Motors. Continue reading Should We Expect a Fiat-Apple Partnership in the Near Future?

Deezer Plans to Add Podcast Support with Stitcher Acquisition

Deezer, one of the most comprehensive music streaming services, operates in more than 180 countries with an active user base of around 16 million. Deezer has yet to launch in the U.S., but its arrival is expected soon. When it does, the streaming service will feature podcast support, now that Deezer has acquired podcast and talk radio platform Stitcher, which currently carries 35,000+ shows from ABC News, AP Radio, BBC, CBS Sports, KROQ, MSNBC, NPR, PBS, TED, WNYC and many others. Continue reading Deezer Plans to Add Podcast Support with Stitcher Acquisition

Google’s Self-Driving Car Faces New California DMV Rules

California’s DMV requires — in new rules which will take effect September 16 — that, when necessary, a driver must be able to take “immediate physical control” of any vehicle on public roads. This process has traditionally involved a steering wheel and brake and accelerator pedals, which could be a setback for Google’s self-driving car, that does not include these parts. While Google said that it will add them for testing purposes, it is unclear what the company will do in the future. Continue reading Google’s Self-Driving Car Faces New California DMV Rules

36 Million Smart Homes Coming to U.S. and Europe by 2017

Analyst firm Berg Insights forecasts that the number of smart homes in the U.S. and Europe will reach 36 million by 2017, with sales of $9.4 billion per year. The second edition “Smart Homes and Home Automation” report indicates the U.S. had 3.5 million smart homes at the end of 2012. Berg defines smart homes as those with connected products that work in conjunction with apps or a Web portal. However, most of today’s smart homes simply include products such as a Nest thermostat. Continue reading 36 Million Smart Homes Coming to U.S. and Europe by 2017

Google I/O: The Future is All About the Android Mobile OS

During yesterday’s keynote event at Google I/O, the company unleashed its Android Everywhere strategy and a slew of related announcements. Google envisions us taking the more contextually aware Android mobile OS from place to place through every part of our lives, including our televisions, laptops, vehicles, bodies and workplaces. Major announcements unveiled details regarding Android L (5.0), Android Wear, Android Auto, Android TV, and integrating Android applications into Chromebooks. Continue reading Google I/O: The Future is All About the Android Mobile OS

Annual Internet Traffic to Grow More Than 20 Percent by 2018

Cisco’s latest Visual Networking Index forecasts an increase in annual Internet traffic of more than 20 percent by 2018, at which point global network traffic will exceed that of all previous Internet years combined. More users and devices, faster broadband speeds and an increase in video viewing is expected to expand global Internet Protocol traffic nearly three-fold over the next five years. Also, the Internet of Everything, M2M technologies and Ultra HD adoption will be key growth drivers. Continue reading Annual Internet Traffic to Grow More Than 20 Percent by 2018

Mobile Apps and Infotainment for Cars Shifting into High Gear

Earlier this week, we reported that GM is getting ready to release more than 30 new vehicles equipped with built-in 4G LTE service provided by AT&T. A number of new models from various automakers are also looking to become rolling Wi-Fi hot spots this year as car and app makers make the long-awaited push into new software and communications links. New models will feature dashboard electronics that make it easier to access smartphone apps for traffic, weather, news, entertainment and more. Continue reading Mobile Apps and Infotainment for Cars Shifting into High Gear

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