Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

Canadian wearables startup Thalmic Labs, which has rebranded itself as North, unveiled its second product — holographic smart glasses dubbed Focals. The wearable features lenses with a built-in display that shows the user messages, weather forecasts, directions and more information from the smartphone, and allows the user to call on Alexa to order an Uber and get calendar notifications among other tasks. Two years ago, North raised $120 million from Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Intel Capital and Fidelity Investments Canada. Continue reading Thalmic Labs Changes Name to North, Unveils Smart Glasses

In Taiwan, CE Firms Devise Contingency Plans for Trade War

Taiwan plays an important role in the global technology supply chain, assembling devices from smartphones to computers. Now, as tensions rise between China and the U.S., some of the largest Taiwan-based companies are figuring out ways to avoid the worst depredations of the trade war. Foxconn Technology Group chairman Terry Gou took the first step, by opening a $10 billion display plant in the U.S., and now the chief executives of Pegatron and Inventec are revealing details of their own plans. Continue reading In Taiwan, CE Firms Devise Contingency Plans for Trade War

Foxconn Selects Wisconsin for North American Headquarters

Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group announced that it has acquired a seven-story building in downtown Milwaukee that will serve as the company’s North American corporate headquarters. The new facility will employ 500 people and also house an innovation center that will focus on display technology. Foxconn, which purchased the downtown building from Northwestern Mutual, is additionally planning a major manufacturing complex about 30 miles south of Milwaukee in Racine County, expected to open in 2020. Continue reading Foxconn Selects Wisconsin for North American Headquarters

Samsung Zeroes In on AI to Meet 2020 Goal for Smart Devices

Samsung has committed to integrating artificial intelligence and Internet connectivity into all its products by 2020, even as Google and Amazon beat the South Korean company to market with their AI-powered smart speakers. Samsung’s goal is to have every device from televisions to refrigerators synch with each other and drive demand for its smartphones. Samsung eventually plans to centralize these devices with its SmartThings app, acquired in 2014. It also will include its own virtual assistant Bixby, which debuted last year on its flagship Galaxy S8 smartphone. Continue reading Samsung Zeroes In on AI to Meet 2020 Goal for Smart Devices

Artificial Intelligence at CES 2018: Expect More of the Same

If measured in press impressions, 2017 has most definitely been the “Year of AI,” But looking past the hype, a few things are clear: 1) progress in actual machine intelligence capability has been slow and fragmented; 2) applied AI is still the domain of less than 20 companies; and 3) still, machine learning (not AI) is being deployed across enterprise domains of numerous business sectors and creating big value. Similarly, and since it will take another year or two for current advances in machine learning to trickle down to the consumer sector, we’re not really expecting much breakthrough in AI or even machine learning at CES 2018. Continue reading Artificial Intelligence at CES 2018: Expect More of the Same

Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

Best Buy and Amazon are both betting on salespeople who make visits to homes as one potential model for selling more consumer electronics. Best Buy is already testing that theory by hiring hundreds of salespeople in several cities to do just that. The free service is slated to roll out in the U.S. this fall. For Best Buy, getting salespeople in the home is another way to sell more TVs and CE gadgets while increasing business for its Geek Squad, which offers tech installation and repair services for a fee. Likewise, Amazon is expanding its free “smart home consultations” to help promote interest in its smart speakers and related products. Continue reading Best Buy and Amazon Testing In-Home Sales Consultations

CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

During last week’s CES Unveiled event in New York, the newly named Consumer Technology Association (former Consumer Electronics Association) released its annual holiday purchase pattern study. According to Shawn DuBravac, CTA’s chief economist and senior research director, consumer electronics will have a strong showing this holiday season, but spending is expected to shift from high-end TVs to less expensive audio devices, mobile electronics and emerging technologies. The shift is expected to result in a drag on industry sales growth. Continue reading CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

CEA Announces New Name: Consumer Technology Association

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which represents more than 2,200 technology companies, announced yesterday that its new name is the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Replacing “electronics” with “technology” is meant to address an evolving consumer tech industry and more accurately reflect the diverse member companies. The change will take place immediately. The new name and logo were introduced in New York City at CES Unveiled, a “sneak peek” event that provides highlights of what’s to come at January’s CES 2016, which is produced by the CTA. Continue reading CEA Announces New Name: Consumer Technology Association

Amazon Pulls Rival Streaming Devices to Prevent “Confusion”

Amazon made a bold move yesterday by announcing that it plans to stop selling Google Chromecast and Apple TV streaming devices by the end of October. While the online retailer sells the competing Fire TV, it is expected to continue offering Roku and other streaming devices. According to Amazon, the move is designed to prevent “customer confusion” since the Google and Apple products do not stream Amazon’s video content, offered through its Prime membership. “It’s important that the streaming media players we sell interact well with Prime Video,” said a company spokesperson. Continue reading Amazon Pulls Rival Streaming Devices to Prevent “Confusion”

CEA Predicts Record Year for Consumer Electronics Revenue

Consumer Electronics Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro projects that the CE industry is on course to generate an all-time high of $223.2 billion in sales in the U.S. this year. Shapiro told CES attendees that emerging technologies including 3D printers, Ultra HD televisions, connected appliances, drones, robots, cameras and wearables are likely to grow 108 percent in revenue in 2015. Other areas projected to experience more modest growth include smartphones, tablets and automotive technology. Continue reading CEA Predicts Record Year for Consumer Electronics Revenue

CES 2015: CEA’s Shawn DuBravac to Brief ETC December 4

ETC@USC begins its coverage of the 2015 International CES with a special Entertainment Technology Roundtable featuring Dr. Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association, on December 4 at the ETC quarterly meeting at Paramount Pictures Studios. DuBravac is expected to highlight leading CE trends and innovations and preview indicators from his State of the Industry Report, the traditional kick-off of CES media briefings. Continue reading CES 2015: CEA’s Shawn DuBravac to Brief ETC December 4

Game Consoles Most Popular Video Streaming Device in U.S.

Game consoles now beat out smart TVs and streaming media boxes as the device most frequently used for video streaming, according to a Parks Associates report on Americans’ streaming habits. In the survey of 10,000 households, 44 percent of respondents use a game console as their “primary connected” device for video streaming. Only 20 percent of respondents use smart TVs for streaming and only 12 percent watch video through a streaming media box. Continue reading Game Consoles Most Popular Video Streaming Device in U.S.

Nest and Google are Aiming to Design Smarter Home Devices

With Google’s vast resources, Nest CEO Tony Fadell is hoping to bring home appliances and consumer electronics together in a new line of sleek connected home devices. The plan is to develop a line of smart refrigerators, TVs, light bulbs, thermostats, smoke alarms, and security cameras that can all interact with each other. In typical Google fashion, Nest wants anybody to be able to connect to their hardware, so they released a developer program for other companies. Continue reading Nest and Google are Aiming to Design Smarter Home Devices

3M and Nanosys to Bring Quantum Dot Tech to CE Devices

Quantum dot technology reportedly makes displays more colorful while consuming less power, and development by 3M and Nanosys is nearly ready for use in smartphones, tablets and TVs. 3M issued a press release on Tuesday announcing that its Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF), which allows up to 50 percent more color than current levels in LCD devices, will be made available to manufacturers starting late in the second quarter of this year. Continue reading 3M and Nanosys to Bring Quantum Dot Tech to CE Devices