CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Tech items are making the list this holiday season, with the Consumer Technology Association’s annual shoppers survey forecasting a record-breaking 78 percent of U.S. adults — nearly 199 million people — will purchase devices and related services this season. Streaming services, headphones and earbuds, mobile cases, smartphones and game consoles top the trade organization’s survey, the 2022 Hot Tech Holiday Preview. The seasonal projection marks a 4 percent increase over last year. The 78 percent of American shoppers who intend to purchase tech gifts in the coming months will spend an estimated $145 billion. Continue reading CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Nimo Planet Smart Glasses Target Productivity During Travel

Nimo Planet is garnering buzz for its entry in the smart glasses field. Designed for productivity, the $799 Nimo mixed reality eyewear is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 processor that has been described as turning the spectacles into “a mini-computer that sits on your head.” Relatively light at 120 grams, the lenses can display up to six 720p screens, suggesting it as a potential laptop replacement for traveling workers. The frame arms feature touch support and support voice commands. The glasses aren’t designed for intensive apps like Adobe Photoshop, but for basic productivity like word processing and project management. Continue reading Nimo Planet Smart Glasses Target Productivity During Travel

Samsung Invites Users to Design Their Galaxy Z Flip3 Phone

Samsung used its Galaxy Unpacked Part 2 streaming event to share details of a new Galaxy Z Flip3 5G, Galaxy Buds2 and Galaxy Watch4. Samsung invited users to customize their mobile devices by making design choices on their Galaxy Z Flip3 using the online Bespoke Studio, which provides a 360-degree preview of different color and style combinations. Owners of the Galaxy Z Flip3 Bespoke Edition can sign-up to replace the colors on their device panel, freedom that “allows consumers to express their unique personalities through technology.” Continue reading Samsung Invites Users to Design Their Galaxy Z Flip3 Phone

Spotify Intros Its Own Voice Assistant for Popular Music App

Audio streaming service Spotify unveiled a voice assistant with the wake phrase “Hey Spotify” on Android and iOS. Unlike other voice assistants, the app must be open to work; it will play a song, pull up a playlist and tune into a radio station as well as skip and pause. App researcher Jane Manchun Wong reported that the mobile version of the feature has been in the works for at least a year. It is enabled via the “settings” button in the Spotify app where the user turns on “voice interactions.” Spotify is now facing privacy questions. Continue reading Spotify Intros Its Own Voice Assistant for Popular Music App

CES: Bluetooth SIG’s Low Energy Audio Slows Battery Drain

At CES 2020, the non-profit standards organization Bluetooth Special Interest Group announced that LE (Low Energy) Audio would be incorporated into its technology, improving a standard signal’s ability to manage and share wireless audio streams between devices — without stressing the batteries. In fact, since 2012, Bluetooth has incorporated LE features, dubbed Bluetooth Smart and BLE, to allow wearables and sensors to stay connected and minimize battery drain. But it has had no impact on wireless audio devices, which LE Audio hopes to remedy. Continue reading CES: Bluetooth SIG’s Low Energy Audio Slows Battery Drain

All About You: CES Products Highlight Personal Experiences

The display of Sony’s 360 Reality Audio at CES 2020 just might summarize the entire show: a personalized experience in a 360-degree spherical sound field, exactly as intended by artists and creators. Listeners optimize Sony’s object-based spatial audio technology with an app that captures an image and then analyzes their ears. With the app connected to one of the select new Sony headphones and a premium music service such as Deezer, nugs.net, and TIDAL they will hear individual instruments, vocals, and even the audience placed in the sound field. Continue reading All About You: CES Products Highlight Personal Experiences

Amazon Testing Wearable That Recognizes Your Emotions

Amazon is working on a new wearable, codenamed Dylan, that reportedly can discern human emotions. The voice-activated gadget, developed by Amazon in collaboration with Lab126 and the Alexa voice software team, is worn on the wrist and is meant to address health and wellness. Lab126 previously worked with Amazon to build its Fire phone and Echo speaker. According to sources, the wearable includes microphones that pair with software and work with a smartphone app to glean the user’s emotional state via the sound of his/her voice. Continue reading Amazon Testing Wearable That Recognizes Your Emotions

Amazon Taking Alexa Digital Assistant Mobile with Earbuds

Amazon is reportedly planning to release wireless earbuds with built-in Alexa support as early as this year, according to those with knowledge of the project. The new wearable will be similar to Apple’s popular AirPods, and fit inside the user’s ear without clips, but Amazon team members at the company’s Lab126 hardware division are working on improving the audio quality. Users will be able to interact with the earbuds via voice and summon the digital assistant by saying “Alexa.” Pricing has not been revealed, but AirPods run $159 to $199, and Amazon has consistently charged less than competitors for its hardware. Continue reading Amazon Taking Alexa Digital Assistant Mobile with Earbuds

Consumers Are Adopting Smartwatches and Fitness Bands

Consumers around the world are warming to wearables, including activity trackers, fitness bands and smartwatches. IDC reports that the global wearables market increased more than 31 percent during Q4 2018, representing a new record of 59.3 million units. Total shipments of 172.2 million units for 2018 mark a 27.5 percent jump over the previous year (although IDC now includes ‘hearables’ such as headphones and earbuds in its calculations). Apple led the charge with 16.2 million devices shipped in Q4 2018, 10.4 million of which were Apple Watches. Continue reading Consumers Are Adopting Smartwatches and Fitness Bands

Streaming Audio Gets Better with Free Lossless Audio Codec

The quality of digital audio has waxed and waned since storage migrated from physical media to files stored on devices or in the cloud. Up until now, large technology companies such as Apple have been the ones making audio developments, such as taking MP3 mainstream with the iTunes Music Store in 2003. Increases in bandwidth have helped improve the quality of streaming audio. Consumers have pushed for better audio, and now some music services have adopted FLAC, a Free Lossless Audio Codec that is changing the game. Continue reading Streaming Audio Gets Better with Free Lossless Audio Codec

CES: The Era of Screens in Contact Lenses May Be Upon Us

Beneficial Vision smart contact lenses from Care Harmony Corp. use a variety of technologies distributed among wearable devices to deliver monochromatic text and video images through contact lenses. The smart lenses contain an outer ring of rechargeable batteries and lasers that use wave-guide technology to project an image into the central area of the contact lens. In addition to delivering audio, wireless earbuds track head position and send that information to the contacts, so the projected image can appear to be a stable overlay in a fixed position in the real world when you move your head. Continue reading CES: The Era of Screens in Contact Lenses May Be Upon Us

CES Unveiled: A Look at This Year’s Innovation Award Winners

On Sunday, CES “unveiled” its Innovation Award winners for the year, in a room also crowded with numerous startups eager to showcase their technologies. This year was, again, a plethora of self-care, health-oriented products as well as many related to smart homes and home security. The 31 companies/products honored this year for “best of innovation” fell into the categories of digital imaging/photography, smart home, smart energy, wearable technologies, computer hardware, virtual reality and video displays among others. Continue reading CES Unveiled: A Look at This Year’s Innovation Award Winners

Apple Could Push Wearables, EU Okays Shazam Acquisition

Apple, which has evolved from a PC company to an iPhone company, is searching for its “next big thing.” One WSJ journalist believes a clue to what it might be came from chief executive Tim Cook’s revelation that the Apple Watch and AirPods generated $10 billion in revenue over the last four quarters. The company’s wearables sales are growing, even as smartphone and PC sales level off, and IDC said Apple is the wearables market leader, with 17 percent of the global market. Meanwhile, the European Union has approved Apple’s purchase of Shazam, which should fortify the company’s music ambitions. Continue reading Apple Could Push Wearables, EU Okays Shazam Acquisition

Sennheiser Records 3D Audio Thriller with New Smart Headset

Today’s personal video viewing elevates the need for immersive sound. Sennheiser has created a plug-and-play solution with its new prosumer-priced 3D AMBEO Smart Headset, which was recently used for “Final Stop” — a Sennheiser-sponsored short video billed as “a 3D audio thriller.” Shot on an iPhone with a professional crew, “Final Stop” leverages horror soundscapes made affordably possible by the Apogee-fueled headset. Sennheiser introduced the device last year under the AMBEO brand as a personal binaural recording headset. Continue reading Sennheiser Records 3D Audio Thriller with New Smart Headset

Apple to Roll Out Higher-End AirPods, Other Audio Products

Apple is planning to introduce higher-end AirPods, a next-gen HomePod and studio-quality over-ear headphones as early as 2019, say sources. With regard to the new AirPod, which will likely be priced more than the current earbuds’ $159, Apple is trying to increase the range that it can work away from an iPhone or iPad, and is adding noise-cancellation and water resistance against rain and sweat. A wireless charging case compatible with the upcoming AirPower charger is also in the works. Continue reading Apple to Roll Out Higher-End AirPods, Other Audio Products