Major Discounts Propel Cyber Monday to New Sales Record

Cyber Monday racked up $11.3 billion in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics, which reports a 5.8 percent increase over 2021’s spending of $10.7 billion (which was down slightly from 2020’s $10.8 billion). The 2022 result was a record for Cyber Monday and also for the year-to-date. Thanksgiving sales totaled $5.29 billion, while Black Friday hit $9.12 billion — both outperforming earlier forecasts. All in, “Cyber Week,” including the days off and workdays during which people continued to shop, is estimated to have tallied $35.27 billion in online sales, a 4 percent increase year-over-year. Continue reading Major Discounts Propel Cyber Monday to New Sales Record

Report: 2022 Online Sales Sets Another Record, Says Adobe

Digital Black Friday shopping was brisk, with a record $9.12 billion spent, according to Adobe. Online sales were up 2.3 percent year-over-year for Friday, November 25, the day after Thanksgiving. Also a hit, Buy Now Pay Later payments increased by a whopping 78 percent over the prior week, beginning November 19, with inflationary pressures seeming to drive that pattern. Adobe tracks transactions on retail websites. Total seasonal revenue is estimated to top-out at $209 billion, Adobe says, noting that Cyber Monday alone accounted for $11.3 billion. U.S. consumers also spent more time and money shopping in stores on Black Friday than they did the same day last year. Continue reading Report: 2022 Online Sales Sets Another Record, Says Adobe

Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Google’s Project Loon, a plan to use balloons to beam broadband Internet to unserved areas, was shut down in 2021 after eight years, but Loon’s core technologies have propelled a spinout, Aalyria, which is developing advanced networking and laser communications that far exceed anything available today, extending connectivity where there is no infrastructure “at an exponentially greater scale and speed,” according to the company. Aalyria’s first commercial client is the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a division of the U.S. Department of Defense that awarded an $8 million contract to develop high-speed Internet in space. Continue reading Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

Snap Inc. announced plans to cancel ongoing projects such as Snap Originals, in-app multiplayer games, HTML mini-apps built by outside developers, and future development of its Pixy selfie-camera drone — all part of a corporate restructuring that will include laying off about 20 percent of its more than 6,400 employees. The company, which operates the popular social media app Snapchat, is taking cost-cutting measures as it faces growing competition from TikTok and other rivals and challenges to its core digital advertising business. Continue reading Snap Canceling Projects and Cutting 20 Percent of Workforce

FAA Rule Upheld: Most Drones Will Be Remote ID Compliant

A federal court upheld Federal Aviation Administration rules ensuring drones use Remote Identification technology to transmit a “digital license plate” with unique identifiers while in flight. The rule was challenged by Tyler Brennan, owner of the drone e-tailer RaceDayQuads, who argued the FAA’s Remote ID rules amount to “constant, warrantless governmental surveillance,” in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. The rules are widely supported by the drone industry, which sees them as a path to expanded drone use by addressing concerns about safety and security. Continue reading FAA Rule Upheld: Most Drones Will Be Remote ID Compliant

Netflix Explains Its Camera Requirements and Best Practices

Netflix has updated details for approved camera systems as part of its content delivery requirements. “While capturing at a higher resolution is certainly important to image quality, we know it’s not everything,” Netflix camera systems specialist Kris Prygrocki shared, emphasizing that other attributes include dynamic range, color accuracy, noise performance, sensor readout speed, compression, chrome subsampling and bit depth. Other considerations are post-production software support for the recorded file format, proper color management and metadata options, Prygrocki said. Netflix has had camera standards since 2019. Continue reading Netflix Explains Its Camera Requirements and Best Practices

Amazon, Google Among Companies Testing Drone Deliveries

Companies including Amazon, Google and Walmart are quietly beginning drone deliveries across the U.S., according to reports. Everything from Advil to take-out meals are fair game for robot delivery to one’s doorstep, with the various companies experimenting in the space completing between dozens and up to hundreds of deliveries a day. Walmart has begin working with San Francisco startup Zipline on deliveries in Arkansas. Israeli startup Flytrex, specializing in U.S. food delivery, opened a station in Texas following testing in North Carolina. Wing, a unit of Google-owner Alphabet, is delivering in Virginia. Continue reading Amazon, Google Among Companies Testing Drone Deliveries

Flowcopter Says Its Hybrid Drone Can Fly 6 Hours, 500 Miles

Flowcopter is said to be creating the world’s first gas-fueled drone, with a flight range of hundreds of miles, potentially spanning hours. Current drones rely on battery power or electrical recharging. While the consensus is that battery technology is advancing rapidly, and will someday permit lightweight, long-range travel in drones and other vehicles, fossil fuels currently provide denser sources of energy with less weight and at lower cost. The reasons there are no gas-fueled quadcopters to date is their engines aren’t as precisely controllable as are electric motors. But Flowcopter feels it has overcome that. Continue reading Flowcopter Says Its Hybrid Drone Can Fly 6 Hours, 500 Miles

CES: Updated Drone Tech Offers Possibilities for Production

While drone announcements failed to generate the same buzz during CES 2022 as in previous years, several new products should be of interest to consumers and professionals, especially those in photography, video and movie production. In addition to demonstrations of hydrogen fuel cell tech promising increased flying time and new underwater micro-ROVs touting a range of enterprise applications, CES included affordable feature-rich drones such as Autel Robotics’ Dragonfish with built-in 4K video and 50X optical zoom; Skydio’s self-flying drone, geared toward cinematographers; and Sony’s Airpeak S1, the smallest drone to support a full-size mirrorless Alpha camera. Continue reading CES: Updated Drone Tech Offers Possibilities for Production

CES: TV, Audio and Drone Tech Make a Splash at Central Hall

ETC’s George Gerba and Don Levy spent Thursday navigating the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall looking for unique products from major exhibitors at CES 2022 that would be of special interest to the entertainment industry. They found a Hisense ultra-short throw projection TV, a Samsung TV with an adjustment capability that would be useful in-camera as well, Fraunhofer tech for adjusting the volume of dialog separately from other audio in a consumer device, a winged drone with impressive flight duration and speed, and a few other products of note. Continue reading CES: TV, Audio and Drone Tech Make a Splash at Central Hall

Chinese Drone Maker DJI Suspected of U.S. Data Harvesting

China’s SZ DJI Technology, a leading global producer of unmanned aerial vehicles, has come under scrutiny as a national security threat. The Shenzhen-based company is suspected of turning unwitting Americans into surveillance operatives by harvesting data about U.S. infrastructure from their drones. Last week, the Biden administration imposed a U.S. investment ban against DJI and seven other companies for enabling China’s military-industrial complex. Although the Treasury Department says human rights violations are behind the ban, reports say the FCC wants DJI’s products completely removed from the U.S. market. Continue reading Chinese Drone Maker DJI Suspected of U.S. Data Harvesting

Amazon Will Launch Two Kuiper Internet Satellites Next Year

Amazon has announced the fourth quarter of 2022 as the launch date for the first two prototype satellites in its Project Kuiper Internet-from-space enterprise. The retail giant’s move follows SpaceX, which already has almost 2,000 Internet-beaming satellites orbiting at a cost of about $10 billion on behalf of its competing Starlink venture. Amazon says it plans to spend a like amount. In 2019, Amazon shared its goal of deploying 3,236 satellites in low Earth orbit. These prototypes will essentially field-test Kuiper’s technology design before Amazon sends its flock of thousands skyward. Continue reading Amazon Will Launch Two Kuiper Internet Satellites Next Year

Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

Qualcomm unveiled its Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform, with the hopes of speeding up development of commercial, enterprise and industrial drones. The new platform, which is powered by Qualcomm’s QRB5165 processor and builds on the company’s IoT products, enables drones to utilize 5G and artificial intelligence technologies. Low power 5G drones can capture and transmit a lot of data via cameras that it transmits to an operator or over a network. AI enables the drone to determine what data is most valuable. Continue reading Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

U.S. Will Remove Chinese Phone Maker Xiaomi From Blacklist

The U.S. Defense Department removed Xiaomi from a blacklist preventing U.S. investment in the Chinese tech company, an action taken during the Trump administration that alleged the company had ties with the Chinese military. Two months ago, in a Washington D.C. court, a judge criticized the rationale behind the blacklisting and ordered a temporary halt against its enforcement. Xiaomi shares rose 6.1 percent in Hong Kong following the news. TikTok and WeChat also found redress against Trump-era actions against them. Continue reading U.S. Will Remove Chinese Phone Maker Xiaomi From Blacklist

ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) set “the global stage for innovation” in an all-digital format when CES 2021 opened its four-day run in January. The annual confab shaped up less as a showcase for breakthrough future technology and more as a bellwether for a world massively altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, instead of key product trends to define our media and entertainment industry focus, the ETC@USC team emphasized four dynamics to drive much of the discussion: Adaptation, Change, Snapback and Opportunity. For an examination of these themes, ETC’s CES report is now available online. Continue reading ETC Publishes its Perspective on Consumer Electronics Show