CTA Forecast: Holiday Tech Spending to Reach $142.5 Billion

Tech sales during the 2021 October through December holiday season will reach $142.5 billion, according to the Consumer Technology Association, which says the projection represents “a very slight 0.5 percent increase from 2020.” A record 191.3 million U.S. adults plan to purchase technology as a holiday gift, the CTA says, adding that its 28th Annual Consumer Technology Holiday Purchase Patterns report “could have important implications” for fourth quarter TV advertising. The study found that 83 percent of U.S. adults “are unaffected by or more likely to purchase tech due to the pandemic.” Continue reading CTA Forecast: Holiday Tech Spending to Reach $142.5 Billion

Next Generation Smartwatches: From Fitness to Full-Service

In less than 10 years, the smartwatch has reached a tipping point, able to oversee many meaningful aspects of life. From home security to keeping tabs on your biometrics, wearability and design distinguish smartwatches from other devices — the closest approximation to cybernetics within reach of the average person with $300 to spend. Prices range from about $800 to $1,170 for Montblanc’s Summit 2+, a collaboration between Verizon, Qualcomm and the German luxury goods firm. An array of brands, including Samsung, Apple and Garmin have made it their business to redefine the smartwatch. Continue reading Next Generation Smartwatches: From Fitness to Full-Service

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

Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

In the midst of troubling press attention as the company faces antitrust claims and ongoing criticism of its App Store business model, Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 during a streaming event yesterday. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared live on a virtual set rather than the traditional in-person stage as a precaution during COVID-19. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro features a new camera system that promises a new cinematic mode, improved low-light capabilities and an updated ultra-wide lens. The Apple Watch 7, touting a revamped look, includes new features such as a larger screen, softer corners, more support for e-bikes and fall detection for cycling. Continue reading Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

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

CES: Masks, Sensors, Robotics and Fitness in the COVID Era

As we continue to contend with a global pandemic that has led to numerous changes involving remote work and learning, telemedicine, home fitness, social distancing, online shopping, and more, it should come as no surprise that devices and services showcased at this year’s all-digital CES focused on a range of COVID-related issues. From high-tech masks designed to comfortably combat spread of the coronavirus and sensors that alert wearers of flu-like symptoms, to robots that disinfect work spaces with UVC light and televisions that take personal training to a new level, many companies touted wares for the COVID era consumer. Continue reading CES: Masks, Sensors, Robotics and Fitness in the COVID Era

Samsung Reveals More Details About Concept Robot Ballie

At its CES 2020 keynote address, Samsung introduced Ballie, an autonomous small sphere with built-in camera, microphone and speaker that moves by rolling. Samsung Think Tank Team co-founder/head Sajid Sadi, who is also Samsung vice president of research, described the Team’s vision for Ballie. Sadi noted that the first two issues regarding Ballie were “mobility and personality.” The small robot needed to be able to travel over many different floor types and couldn’t intimidate children or pets. Continue reading Samsung Reveals More Details About Concept Robot Ballie

Google $2.1B Acquisition of Fitbit to Face Antitrust Scrutiny

Google is buying wearable fitness-tracking company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. But the deal already faces antitrust scrutiny as well as concern about the massive amount of personal private health data that Google will gain with the purchase. Google stated — and Fitbit chief executive James Park reiterated — that health data would not be used for Google’s advertising business, but that might not be enough for regulators. The 12-year old Fitbit pioneered wearables before the advent of smartwatches. Continue reading Google $2.1B Acquisition of Fitbit to Face Antitrust Scrutiny

Google Debuts Game Sub Service Similar to Apple Arcade

This week, Google began rolling out a video game and app subscription service, Play Pass, with 350 games and apps, priced at $4.99 per month. The service first debuted on Android devices in the U.S. and will be unveiled in additional countries over the next few months. Google is also readying Stadia, a streaming video game service for big-budget titles. Play Pass arrives just a few days after Apple unveiled Apple Arcade, with over 100 games — most of them exclusives — at the same monthly price. Continue reading Google Debuts Game Sub Service Similar to Apple Arcade

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

WWDC: Apple to Unveil Apps, Software, Development Tools

When Apple’s 5-day Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off June 3 in San Jose, the company is reportedly planning to introduce an array of new apps, software features and development tools. According to those familiar with the plans, Apple is expected to introduce operating system updates for its Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone and Mac computers. The new iOS 13, codenamed “Yukon,” will offer new and updated features — while iOS14, codenamed “Azul,” will launch next year to support 5G wireless and new AR functions. Continue reading WWDC: Apple to Unveil Apps, Software, Development Tools

Apple Unveils Three New iPhones and Series 4 Watch Lineup

Apple CEO Tim Cook and other company execs unveiled three new iPhones and a redesigned Apple Watch Series 4 in Cupertino yesterday. Bigger and faster was the underlying theme for the new devices. The iPhone XS Max starts at $1,099 and features a 6.5-inch screen (Apple’s largest to date). As expected, the entry-level iPhone XR has a 6.1-inch LCD screen and the premium iPhone XS includes a 5.8-inch display. Both XS models feature a Super Retina OLED screen and stainless steel casing (the XR is made of aluminum). Meanwhile, Apple Watch is evolving into a health-related wearable. The new smartwatch touts an ECG heart sensor approved by the FDA. Continue reading Apple Unveils Three New iPhones and Series 4 Watch Lineup

CES 2018: Overview of the Show Floor, Key Themes and Areas

Broad but logical thematic lines distribute exhibits across three main event areas at CES 2018 in Las Vegas: the entire Las Vegas Convention Center (Tech East), the Sands Convention Center (Tech West), and the Aria (Tech South). Tech East will focus on sectors such as e-commerce, security, manufacturing, gaming, VR, AR, AI, automotive, cameras, computing, displays and CE devices. For those interested in health, fitness, wearables, sports tech and the smart home, you’ll want to visit Tech West. And Tech South will feature C Space, which will address disruptive trends and how they are going to change the future of brand marketing and entertainment. Continue reading CES 2018: Overview of the Show Floor, Key Themes and Areas

Amazon Acquires 3D Body-Scanning Tech Startup Body Labs

Amazon has acquired 3D body-model startup Body Labs for a reported $50-$70 million, although some sources say the figure could exceed $100 million. New York-based Body Labs specializes in true-to-life 3D models that are ideal for B2B software applications, including the creation of photorealistic avatars for gaming and virtual approaches for consumers to try on clothing. The latter should be of particular interest to e-commerce giant Amazon. The online retailer could use the scanning and modeling tech to help shoppers select fashion purchases ideal for their body types. Continue reading Amazon Acquires 3D Body-Scanning Tech Startup Body Labs

Research Teams Make Advances in Wearable Sensor Tech

Researchers at two different universities have created wearable sensors that are ultra-thin, lightweight and breathable. Although they are based on different technologies, both of the new sensors can monitor vital signs, including electrical muscle activity and body temperature and can be worn over a long period without creating skin irritations or inflammation. That is in contrast to many existing wearable sensors, which because they are made of polyester or rubber, are not breathable and may irritate the skin. Continue reading Research Teams Make Advances in Wearable Sensor Tech