Samsung Tackles Home Networking With SmartThings Router

Samsung has launched its SmartThings Wifi router to provide consumers with fast, secure home networking and a reliable smart home hub. Currently available in the U.S. for $120 per single unit or $280 for a 3-pack, the new router leverages artificial intelligence for Wi-Fi management and faster speeds — in addition to mesh networking for optimized Wi-Fi coverage. According to Samsung, a single unit covers up to 1,500 square feet; deploying multiple units helps ensure strong signals throughout the home while minimizing dead zones. Continue reading Samsung Tackles Home Networking With SmartThings Router

Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Within, a Los Angeles-based cinematic virtual reality startup, just unveiled a website that allows users to have a VR experience on any device, from a desktop PC or mobile phone to a dedicated VR headset. The company relies on WebVR technology that avoids the need to download additional software to be able to play VR experiences in supported browsers. Users without a VR headset can navigate the content via the web browser, and those with VR headsets use hand controllers and tracking tools. Continue reading Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Blade Shadow: Reviewers Point to the Potential of Virtual PC

A virtual computer, loaded with personal data and preferences, and able to be used across devices with any screen size, with super-fast Internet, is still a dream of the future. French startup Blade has created Shadow, which offers a tantalizing taste of that virtual PC future, although reviewers suggest it still needs some fine-tuning. One reviewer tried out a Shadow PC with the performance of a $2,000 gaming PC, and was able to stream games in 4K, at high frame rates, with the promise of continuous (invisible) chip upgrades — all for $50 a month (or $35/month for a year’s subscription). Continue reading Blade Shadow: Reviewers Point to the Potential of Virtual PC

Elgato 4K60 Pro Unlocks 4K Playback for Prosumer Creators

On November 21, Elgato will launch a new PCIe component that allows a user’s PC to record video at 4K UHD (2160p), 60 frames per second. Priced at $400, this product is aimed at those making gaming-related video who don’t have access to a professional studio. Games with 4K-resolution imagery are becoming more prevalent, especially with Microsoft’s debut of its Xbox One X console. But it currently costs a minimum of $800 for the hardware to capture video at 4K 60 fps, and the hardware that does exist isn’t built for gaming uses. Continue reading Elgato 4K60 Pro Unlocks 4K Playback for Prosumer Creators

Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

Intel reports that the eighth generation of its Core line of chips, to be debuted in new laptops in September, will offer as much as a 40 percent increase in performance over its previous generation. Although the PC market has been declining, Intel — whose chips are already in 80 percent of PCs globally — is still posting upticks. In Q2, Intel saw a 12 percent increase in chip sales. Intel’s only remaining competitor in this sector is Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which is also bringing its new Zen chips to market this year. Continue reading Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Just weeks after Facebook temporarily reduced the price tag for its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, HTC announced it is chopping $200 off the cost of its Vive headset. The HTC Vive now costs $599, which brings it closer to the $499 Rift (currently $399 during its summer sale). Both VR devices require connection to a computer. HTC’s new price point is intended to spark new interest in the device and its accessories such as the Vive Tracker, wireless adapters and a new head strap. The deal also offers access to VR game titles through a one-month free trial to HTC’s Viveport subscription service. Continue reading HTC Slashes Cost of its Vive Virtual Reality Headset by $200

Facebook Developing Two Wireless Virtual Reality Headsets

Facebook will debut a cheaper wireless version of its Oculus Rift VR headset in another attempt to bring virtual reality to the masses. The current Oculus Rift costs $400 and must be paired to a $1,000 computer to work properly, whereas Samsung’s Gear VR goes for $130. The new Oculus headset from Facebook, which will sell for a mid-range price of about $200, will also not need to be hooked up to a PC or smartphone. The headset, expected to release in 2018, is aimed at gaming, video and social networking. Continue reading Facebook Developing Two Wireless Virtual Reality Headsets

Facebook Introduces Live Video Broadcasting to Social VR

Facebook is ramping up its social VR efforts through live video streaming. “Users of Facebook Spaces, the social hangout in virtual reality that the company launched earlier this year, can now broadcast via Facebook Live,” reports Variety. “The new feature essentially allows Spaces users to host a kind of virtual reality talk show, and stream it to all of their followers, even if those audiences are tuning in with a mobile phone or a desktop browser.” Slate will be the first to use the new feature to produce a weekly live show. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Live Video Broadcasting to Social VR

Facebook Offers New Price Reduction for Oculus Rift Bundle

For the second time this year, Facebook is hoping to jumpstart sales of its Oculus Rift VR headset with a price reduction. Facebook’s Oculus VR unit will offer the Rift, Oculus Touch motion controllers, seven VR games and more as a $399 bundle over the next six weeks. The bundle was earlier offered for $598, which was $200 less than the combined launch prices. According to Jason Rubin, head of content at Oculus, the new bundle price is meant to leverage the increased number of apps and games available for the Rift (700+ today, compared to 400 in March). Continue reading Facebook Offers New Price Reduction for Oculus Rift Bundle

Stream-Ripping: Fastest Growing Form of Music Piracy in UK

According to new research by the Intellectual Property Office and PRS for Music, “stream-ripping” technology is the fastest-growing approach to music piracy in the United Kingdom. The research indicates a 141.3 percent increase in this type of illegal activity between 2014 and 2016. Stream-ripping apps and websites allow consumers to convert streaming content such as Spotify songs and YouTube videos into digital files that can be stored on mobile devices and computers. In September of 2016, such sites were accessed 498,681 times in the U.K., while BitTorrent was only used 23,567 times. Continue reading Stream-Ripping: Fastest Growing Form of Music Piracy in UK

YouTube Intros Heatmaps, Production Tips for VR, 360 Video

YouTube creators who want to see specifically where people are looking in their 360-degree and VR videos are in luck. The company is introducing a new analytics tool that does just that, via heatmaps, available for any such videos that exceed 1,000 views. YouTube is also sharing tips on 360-degree videos aimed to help video producers. Making these videos is particularly challenging since viewers can watch in a variety of ways, including via a VR headset, the YouTube smartphone app or desktop web browsers, where they can rotate the video. Continue reading YouTube Intros Heatmaps, Production Tips for VR, 360 Video

Samsung S8 Offers Bigger Screen and Bixby Virtual Assistant

Samsung Galaxy S8, arriving in stores April 21, sports a high-tech look, featuring a screen that goes from edge to edge, with just a hint of metal at the top and bottom. The screen measures 5.8-inches, compared to the S7’s 5.1-inch. The smartphone’s virtual assistant Bixby offers voice control, and Samsung is positioning the phone as capable of doubling as a desktop computer. That’s a lot of phone, but it’s got a price to match, at $720 at Verizon and starting at $750 for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Continue reading Samsung S8 Offers Bigger Screen and Bixby Virtual Assistant

Microsoft to Roll Out Full Windows 10 Version for Smartphones

Microsoft will provide a full version of Windows 10, with desktop app support, to ARM chipsets with the expectation that ARM-based laptops will be the first adopters. Microsoft recently demonstrated Windows 10 on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip, with support for HD video playback, Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office. With emulation of x86 desktop apps, the consumer experience is unchanged. Although laptops will likely be the first, some believe it’s a harbinger of Microsoft turning a smartphone into a “real PC.” Continue reading Microsoft to Roll Out Full Windows 10 Version for Smartphones

Facebook Messenger to Launch New Instant Games Platform

Facebook is again advancing into gaming. The company not only introduced Facebook Gameroom, its desktop PC gaming platform but now is preparing to launch Instant Games, a platform on Messenger for lightweight HTML5 games. King, of “Candy Crush” fame, is already testing an Instant Game, “Shuffle Cats Mini,” in New Zealand, and game studio Big Viking is also planning on debuting titles for the upcoming Instant Games launch. Facebook added chess, basketball and soccer mini-games to Messenger earlier in the year. Continue reading Facebook Messenger to Launch New Instant Games Platform

Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Microsoft has debuted Surface Studio, a desktop personal computer that transforms into a digital drafting table — and the company’s first desktop PC. Surface Studio is an all-in-one-PC that sports an aluminum body with a 28-inch screen on top of a stand. An accessory device, dubbed Surface Dial, is an add-on to the mouse, for a more precise way to zoom into images. The company also revealed that an upcoming update to its Windows 10 operating system will make it easier to create, manipulate and view 3D objects. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

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