Nokia Makes the First-Ever 3D Spatial Audio Cell Phone Call

Nokia made what it claims is “the world’s first immersive voice and audio call” using cell phones, made possible by the new 3GPP Immersive Voice and Audio Services (IVAS) codec that lets consumers hear 3D spatial sound in real-time. The codec — which Nokia participated in crafting — is a major leap from today’s standard monophonic smartphone voice call experience and is part of the upcoming 5G Advanced standard. The innovation paves the way towards enhanced immersive spatial communications, extended reality and metaverse applications, says Nokia, explaining that it works across “any connected device,” including smartphones, tablets and PCs. Continue reading Nokia Makes the First-Ever 3D Spatial Audio Cell Phone Call

Sega to Purchase ‘Angry Birds’ Maker Rovio for $776 Million

Sega Corp. has agreed to pay about $776 million for Rovio Entertainment, the Finland-based maker of the “Angry Birds” game franchise. The move aims to help Sega establish a presence in mobile gaming while launching Rovio IP in the PC and console markets. The tender offer — equivalent to about $10.15 per share — was issued from Sega’s wholly-owned UK subsidiary Sega Europe Ltd. and parent company Sega Sammy Holdings. Sega, based in Japan, has as part of its mid-term plan earmarked $1.8 billion for expanding its global presence and “exploring new ecosystems” through 2026. Continue reading Sega to Purchase ‘Angry Birds’ Maker Rovio for $776 Million

Netflix Expands Games Initiative with a New Studio in Finland

Netflix has made some budgetary cuts recently, but not in gaming. After three acquisitions, the company is building its first game studio from scratch. The new unit will be Netflix’s second gaming outfit in Finland, and the company has hired Zynga’s Marko Lastikka to run it. Earlier this year, the streamer acquired the Helsinki-based Next Games. The company’s mobile games portfolio also includes developers Boss Fight Entertainment in Allen, Texas and Glendale, California’s Night School Studio. Helsinki “is home to some of the best game talent in the world,” according to Netflix VP of game studios Amir Rahimi. Continue reading Netflix Expands Games Initiative with a New Studio in Finland

China Mobile Limits Purchasing From Non-Chinese Suppliers

Government-owned wireless company China Mobile has cut its use of non-Chinese suppliers to 5.4 percent from 11 percent in its last 2020 buying round. Hardest hit was Sweden’s Ericsson, whose 5G gear sales were cut to a mere 1.9 percent, compared to 11 percent in the 2020 round. China stated the move was “retaliation” for Sweden’s decision to ban Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. gear from its 5G networks. The U.S. also banned Huawei, the world’s biggest mobile gear maker, from its networks as have other regions in the world. Continue reading China Mobile Limits Purchasing From Non-Chinese Suppliers

U.S. Turns to Open Standards to Launch New 5G Equipment

According to researcher Dell’Oro Group, the U.S. efforts to stop Huawei progress led to 60+ percent of the global wireless gear market to restrict or consider restricting that Chinese company’s products. Now the U.S. government may offer financial support to a domestic cellular equipment industry that has lagged behind for years. In the last five years, said Dell’Oro, Huawei, Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia accounted for 20 percent of the wireless gear market, with no rival even reaching 10 percent of the market. A new competitive landscape and building 5G equipment based on open standards could have a major impact on the industry. Continue reading U.S. Turns to Open Standards to Launch New 5G Equipment

Companies Call on U.S. Government to Up Its AI Investment

The U.S. federal government has come up with $973.5 million for multiple agencies that have requested funding for non-defense-related artificial intelligence pursuits. (Spending on AI for national defense is classified.) This is the first time the government has done so, but numerous industry executives are already saying that it’s not enough to “maintain a competitive edge.” The Trump administration stated that the figures they are putting forward are more transparent than those from China, which aims to dominate AI by 2030. Continue reading Companies Call on U.S. Government to Up Its AI Investment

Huawei Inks 40 Contracts to Build and Operate 5G Networks

Huawei Technologies has inked 40 commercial contracts for 5G technology, leading its Q1 revenue to leap 39 percent to 179.7 billion yuan ($26.8 billion). The Chinese company also stated that it has shipped about 70,000 5G base stations, making it a leading supplier of 5G gear. Huawei’s net-profit margin rose a bit to 8 percent. The company also introduced what it calls the world’s first 5G-communication hardware for the auto industry. Its MH5000 module is built on its newly launched Balong 5000 5G chip. Continue reading Huawei Inks 40 Contracts to Build and Operate 5G Networks

Experts Examine Ethical Implications of Artificial Intelligence

IEEE Ethically Aligned Design outreach committee co-chair Maya Zuckerman presided over an NAB 2019 panel examining the thorny issues surrounding ethics and artificial intelligence. With Augmented Leadership Institute chief executive Sari Stenfors and Corto chief executive Yves Bergquist, who is lead of AI and neuroscience at USC’s Entertainment Technology Center, the consensus was there is too much focus on AI creating dystopian outcomes. In fact, Stenfors strongly believes AI can contribute to a utopian society. Continue reading Experts Examine Ethical Implications of Artificial Intelligence

New YouTube Premium and Music Services Go International

On Monday, YouTube increased international distribution of YouTube Premium, with its streaming hit “Cobra Kai” and other original content — and YouTube Music, with the Beatles’ album catalog. Both services have been available in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea, and the move represents a major push into international territories. YouTube Music, which is offered as an ad-supported free service or as the subscription-based Music Premium, is now available in both forms in the U.K. Continue reading New YouTube Premium and Music Services Go International

Qualcomm Reveals 5G Test Results, First Networks to Debut

Qualcomm just revealed the results of tests it ran in Frankfurt and San Francisco to determine real-world speeds of 5G networks. The tests took geography, user demands, and various devices with different levels of LTE/5G connectivity to simulate real-world conditions. The tests were also focused on 5G NR (New Radio) networks, built in tandem with existing 4G LTE networks, that could launch as early as next year. Presented at the Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm results show that just how fast the new networks will be. Continue reading Qualcomm Reveals 5G Test Results, First Networks to Debut

Nokia Phone Features Zeiss Optics, 360 Video, Spatial Audio

The once-popular Finnish smartphone manufacturer Nokia, now under the aegis of HMD Global, is introducing a new mobile device. With its Android-based Nokia 8, the company hopes to compete with the iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8. HMD Global, led by former Nokia employees and funded by private equity, bought Nokia’s phone tech from Microsoft, which purchased it in 2013. The flagship phone, encased in polished aluminum, is 7.9-mm thick and features a high-resolution 5.3-inch screen, 4K video recording, Carl Zeiss optics and spatial audio emanating from its 360-degree camera. Continue reading Nokia Phone Features Zeiss Optics, 360 Video, Spatial Audio

Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Finland-based Rovio Entertainment Oy, maker of the “Angry Birds” mobile games and movie, is said to be planning an IPO valued at $2 billion as early as September. “A listing would test investors’ appetite for entertainment software, a group whose shares have declined an average of 18 percent from their offer prices following IPOs this year,” reports Bloomberg, citing social gamer King Digital Entertainment (creator of “Candy Crush”) and South Korean publisher Netmarble Games (maker of “Lineage” and “Stone Age”) as examples. A successful IPO for Rovio could help finance “The Angry Birds Movie 2,” slated for a 2019 release. Continue reading Rovio Said to Be Planning a $2B IPO as Early as Next Month

Finnish Startup Varjo to Debut VR Headset With Better Vision

Finnish startup Varjo aims to improve the resolution of images seen through VR and AR headsets. Ordinarily, the viewer with a VR headset sees the most detail looking straight ahead, in a rectangle comprising about 5 percent of his field of view. Varjo’s founders want to change that, especially for designers, architects and other professionals who work with 3D models. Resolution with VR and AR headsets from Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Microsoft HoloLens has improved, but nowhere near the level we see in real life. Continue reading Finnish Startup Varjo to Debut VR Headset With Better Vision

Apple, Nokia Sign Agreement to Settle Ongoing Patent Battle

Apple and Nokia have signed a multi-year patent license and new business cooperation agreement that settles all litigation related to the ongoing IP dispute between the two companies. As part of the deal, Nokia will provide Apple with network infrastructure products and services, while Apple has agreed to pay Nokia an upfront cash fee and resume selling Nokia’s digital health products, formerly under the Withings brand (which Apple had stopped selling last year). According to the press release, “Regular summits between top Nokia and Apple executives will ensure that the relationship works effectively and to the benefit of both parties and their customers.” Continue reading Apple, Nokia Sign Agreement to Settle Ongoing Patent Battle

VB Insight Study Says Video Is Key to App Store Optimization

VB Insight, VentureBeat’s research arm, published a report on “App store optimization — a practitioner’s guide to ASO,” revealing that video plays a significant role throughout the app marketing process. Author of the report, mobile analyst Peggy Anne Salz interviewed 35 ASO professionals, integrated data from a survey of over 500 ASO users, and examined techniques of successful app developers. The report details best practices for app marketing and looks at what’s coming down the pike for ASO. Continue reading VB Insight Study Says Video Is Key to App Store Optimization