Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Both Amazon and Google are thinking about turning their respective home speakers — Echo and Google Home — into home telephones. Knowledgeable sources say the tech giants could introduce the feature this year, with the goal of gaining yet more control over consumers’ home lives. But the companies are also finding that it’s not so simple, facing issues related to privacy, telecom regulations and emergency services — as well as the potential that consumers will be wary that their conversations are being recorded. Continue reading Amazon and Google Look to Turn Home Speakers into Phones

Digital Hollywood: Reality Lab Demonstrates Live VR Broadcast

Reality Lab gave a technology demonstration of Quantum Leap, the code name for a VR recording device with 16 cameras and proprietary technology that enables it to render real-time video instantly, without post production, on a Samsung Gear VR running Oculus Connect software. Company founder Halsey Minor calls Quantum Leap, which was featured at a Digital Hollywood luncheon, capable of “the first live VR broadcast.” Minor reports that his company plans a music concert VR shoot in the next six months. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: Reality Lab Demonstrates Live VR Broadcast

Will New Hybrid VoIP Service Help Cut Your Phone Bill In Half?

  • Republic Wireless is a new hybrid cellular voice and VoIP service launching November 8. It will offer unlimited voice, SMS and data service over Wi-Fi, and will switch back automatically to regular cellular connections depending on location.
  • The new service will be offered through, a North Carolina-based company that has been involved with Skype, Google Voice, Twilio and others.
  • “The company’s extensive VoIP infrastructure handles much of the heavy lifting for these services, and it also offers some of its own products, like Phonebooth, a premium VoIP service for businesses,” reports TechCrunch.
  • Other carriers are reportedly in talks, but Sprint is the first on board to serve as the “fallback” cellular network.
  • According to GigaOM, the $19 per month service will require a special Android handset and “includes unlimited voice and text messaging. It also includes unlimited data without any bandwidth caps.”