SoundHound Raises $75M to Advance AI Speech Recognition

Twelve-year old audio recognition company SoundHound just raised $75 million to build its speech recognition AI-based platform, Houndify, betting that voice will become the dominant form of interaction with Internet-connected devices. Although large companies like Apple, Baidu and Microsoft dominate the space, SoundHound has built its own AI technology to identify audio. In contrast to these other companies, SoundHound also plans to offer its voice AI tools to other device manufacturers. Continue reading SoundHound Raises $75M to Advance AI Speech Recognition

Fiat Chrysler/Waymo Self-Driving Vehicle a Collaborative First

At the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Google unveiled a self-driving minivan built by Fiat Chrysler and featuring sensors and vision systems from Waymo, the company that spun off from Google parent Alphabet. The van is the first major collaboration between a Detroit car manufacturer and a Silicon Valley behemoth, and is an example of Waymo’s strategy of partnering with automakers that may not want to fully shoulder the financial burden of building a self-driving car from scratch. General Motors and Ford Motor are building their own autonomous cars. Continue reading Fiat Chrysler/Waymo Self-Driving Vehicle a Collaborative First

Nintendo Releases Super Mario Franchise on iPhones, iPads

Nintendo is finally releasing its super-popular Super Mario franchise to iPhones and iPads. Although the Super Mario games have been available on Nintendo portable devices since the early 1980s, this marks the first time that the company has released them to mobile devices made by another company, in this case Apple. With more than a half-billion copies sold since he first appeared in “Donkey Kong” in 1981, the iconic mustachioed plumber is believed to be the best-selling game franchise ever. Continue reading Nintendo Releases Super Mario Franchise on iPhones, iPads

Apple Considers Curved OLED Screen for Next Year’s iPhone

A future iPhone featuring a curved OLED screen could be available by next year. According to Apple’s suppliers, Apple has requested thinner OLEDs and new prototypes with higher resolution than screens offered by Samsung. As Apple gets ready for next year’s 10th anniversary of its popular iPhone, the company has been contending with slowing smartphone sales. Samsung, Google and Xiaomi are among those that have already made the transition from conventional LCD displays to thinner and lighter OLED tech that does not require the same backlight and allows for flexible designs. Continue reading Apple Considers Curved OLED Screen for Next Year’s iPhone

High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

Snapchat parent company Snap Inc. has confidentially filed for its IPO, according to sources familiar with the matter. The four-year old messaging app could go public as early as March 2017, in what is expected to be one of the highest-profile stock debuts in years, and one that could potentially convince other tech startups to test public markets. The Venice, California-based company is looking to raise as much as $4 billion, with a valuation in the $25 billion range, which could make it the largest U.S.-listed tech offering since Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba went public in 2014. Continue reading High Profile Snap IPO Could Push Other Startups to Go Public

Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Insiders report that Apple is working on a pair of wireless digital glasses that would connect to iPhones and possibly use augmented reality. “While still in an exploration phase,” reports Bloomberg, “Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers” and “the company has ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing.” According to those familiar with the concept, Apple isn’t ready for mass production and, if it moves forward with the eyewear, we shouldn’t expect to see a product until 2018. Chief exec Tim Cook, under pressure to make up for waning iPhone sales, has expressed interest in AR following the success of “Pokémon Go.” Continue reading Apple Considers AR Tech for Wireless Digital Glasses Project

Snapchat Offers its Spectacles via Snapbot Vending Machines

Snap is already sold out on its first run of Spectacles, the $130 Snapchat sunglasses with a built-in camera for shooting video. The sunglasses were for sale in a pop-up vending machine, dubbed Snapbot, at the company’s Venice Beach headquarters, and now some of them are already for sale on eBay priced at $600 to $1,000. Snap is deliberately rolling out Spectacles in a playful fashion, with vending machines festooned with balloons and designed to look like a Cyclops cartoon character. Continue reading Snapchat Offers its Spectacles via Snapbot Vending Machines

Intel Eyes Future Beyond PC Chips, Buys VR Company Voke

Intel is acquiring Santa Clara-based Voke, a small company that develops virtual reality tech. While most VR “software is based on animated scenes,” notes The Wall Street Journal, “Voke developed a system called TrueVR that uses sets of paired cameras and software that help capture live images and simulate the sensation of three-dimensional space for viewers with computer displays or virtual-reality headsets.” Voke helps broadcasters capture and stream live events such as sports and fashion shows to provide users with multiple angles. Earlier this year, Intel announced plans to purchase Replay Technologies and its 3D video tech used for sports broadcasting. Continue reading Intel Eyes Future Beyond PC Chips, Buys VR Company Voke

Facebook Develops Video Filters, Retools Publishing Policies

To encourage users to publish videos on Facebook Live, Facebook is developing new filters, currently in prototype, that will help users create compelling looks for video. Video’s importance to Facebook — and, indeed, all social media platforms — is growing, expected to account for 71 percent of all Facebook mobile traffic by 2021. With the new filters, videos look as if Monet or Rembrandt painted them. The company reiterated it’s “not a media company” even as it grapples with issues that news organizations face. Continue reading Facebook Develops Video Filters, Retools Publishing Policies

Amazon’s Reach in Online Retail Much Bigger Than Estimated

Amazon accounts for 15 percent of U.S. consumer online shares, according to the Department of Commerce. But Amazon’s actual reach in the retail market may be as much as double that due to an undetermined volume of sales transacted with third parties. Just as Walmart destroyed many smaller retailers, so may Amazon’s massive reach have an even greater disruptive impact. The comparison is apt because Amazon is now building pickup locations for groceries in Seattle that could open by the end of 2016. Continue reading Amazon’s Reach in Online Retail Much Bigger Than Estimated

Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

Netgear is launching its $500 Nighthawk X10, which the company claims is the “world’s fastest router.” The X10 features quad-stream Wave 2 Wi-Fi architecture, a 10-gigabit port and a 1.7-gigahertz quad-core processor, the fastest processor found in a home router today. Intended for 4K video streaming, instant backup and VR gaming, the Nighthawk X10 Smart Wi-Fi Router can handle next-gen 802.11ad Wi-Fi and speeds up to 7.2 gigabits per second. “The Nighthawk X10 supports Plex Media Server with transcoding for smooth 4K streaming, even to remote devices,” reports VentureBeat. “It is also the industry’s first router to run Plex Media Server without the need for a computer.” Continue reading Netgear Nighthawk Router Ideal for 4K Streaming, VR Gaming

W3C to Host Workshop This Week on Web and Virtual Reality

WebVR development, VR content, 3D audio, user interfaces, codecs, file formats and standardization will be among the many topics addressed at this week’s W3C Workshop on Web & Virtual Reality (October 19-20) in San Jose, California. The goal “will be to establish the overall roadmap to standardization to make the Web a robust platform for Virtual Reality,” explains organizer Dominique Hazaël-Massieux. Through presentations and breakout sessions, the workshop plans “to bring together practitioners of Web and Virtual Reality technologies to make the Open Web Platform a better delivery mechanism for VR experiences,” notes the event page. Continue reading W3C to Host Workshop This Week on Web and Virtual Reality

Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued permits to French auto company Valeo North America and the privately held Wheego Electric Cars to test a single autonomous vehicle with up to four operators on public roads. Another company receiving a permit was Cruise Automation, which was then acquired by General Motors for $1 billion. So far, Alphabet’s Google has driven 2 million miles in autonomous vehicles on public roads. Permits are a marker of which companies are moving forward in the new field. Continue reading Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

In a Big Win for Apple, Appeals Court Reinstates Jury Verdict

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC reinstated the $119.6 million that a San Jose, California jury awarded Apple against Samsung. The recent ruling was 8-3, representing a full slate of judges, unlike the previous three-judge panel that, this last February, overturned the original verdict. The judges in the latest ruling stated that that panel examined evidence outside the record of the case, contrary to U.S. Supreme Court limits on the scope of review. Continue reading In a Big Win for Apple, Appeals Court Reinstates Jury Verdict

Snapchat Parent Preparing IPO, Valuation Could Exceed $25B

Snap Inc., the newly named parent company of messaging service Snapchat, is readying an initial public offering that could value the company at more than $25 billion. Snap is reportedly prepping “for an IPO with a view toward selling the shares as early as late March,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “There is no guarantee the four-year-old Venice, California, company will proceed with a share sale in that time frame, and there is no guarantee it will achieve a valuation of $25 billion or more.” However, if the company does reach that value, “it would be the biggest company to go public on a U.S. exchange since 2014″ when China’s Alibaba Group Holding made its debut. Continue reading Snapchat Parent Preparing IPO, Valuation Could Exceed $25B

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