Google and Amazon Remain Leaders in Smart Speaker Market

Smart speakers continue their popularity, with nine million units shipped in Q1 2018, representing a 210 percent jump over Q1 2017, according to Canalys. In a first, global shipments of Google Home speakers surpassed those of Amazon’s popular Echo speakers. “Google shipped 3.2 million Home and Home Mini devices, versus 2.5 million Echo devices shipped by Amazon,” reports VentureBeat. “Google held an estimated 36.2 percent share for the quarter over Amazon’s 27.7 percent — a profound reversal from a year earlier, when Amazon had 79.6 percent of shipments to Google’s 19.3 percent.” Continue reading Google and Amazon Remain Leaders in Smart Speaker Market

Reviews: Apple HomePod Offers Great Sound But Not Smarts

Apple’s HomePod smart speaker has debuted to mixed reviews. HomePod can stream music directly from Apple Music but no other popular music streaming service such as Spotify or Pandora. It’s equally partisan in that, despite its Bluetooth, users must use Apple’s own AirPlay to stream the music, and Android phones aren’t able to pair with it. The Home app lets users set up and control a variety of HomeKit-compatible smart home devices. The system currently lacks the ability to link HomePods together for a multi-room setup. Continue reading Reviews: Apple HomePod Offers Great Sound But Not Smarts

Andy Rubin’s Essential Raises $300M from Amazon, Tencent

Essential Products, the smartphone company founded by Andy Rubin, the creator of Google’s Android mobile software, has amassed $300 million from several investors, including China’s Tencent Holdings and Amazon’s Alexa Fund. The company, which plans to compete with Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market, also stated that Best Buy and Amazon will be its first partners for distributing the new $699 titanium-encased Essential phone. What Essential did not reveal was the date the phone will launch. Continue reading Andy Rubin’s Essential Raises $300M from Amazon, Tencent

Apple Updates How Home App Controls Smart Home Devices

Apple has launched a new website for its HomeKit software and Home App, which are used to control connected appliances and other devices in a user’s house. The site displays the compatible devices from 50 different brands and allows users to group them so that multiple actions can be triggered with a single tap or voice command. Apple has recently faced more competition in the smart home space because of Amazon’s Echo, which can also operate home devices via voice commands. Continue reading Apple Updates How Home App Controls Smart Home Devices

Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Facebook just launched Notify, an iOS mobile app for push notifications of customizable news, information and entertainment. Posted directly on the lock screen, Notify lets the user choose which cities, sports teams, music genres he wants to follow, from among 70 publishers. The feed features a link to the associated site for a 24-hour period. The user can save the content to read later or share through Facebook or other social media platforms. Notify does not, however, offer real-time discussion or feature ads. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Internet of Things Moves From Hype to Huge Potential Value

With over 10 billion interconnected smart devices, the Internet of Things is rapidly moving from hype to reality. Over the next ten years, the number of interconnected smart devices is expected to explode to tens of billions, and continue an upward trajectory for decades to come. What does this mean in terms of economic value of the IoT? With the seemingly limitless potential of monetizing interconnected devices, McKinsey & Co. tackled that topic, made more complex since the Internet of Things is still in its nascent stages. Continue reading Internet of Things Moves From Hype to Huge Potential Value

New Universal Remote Controls All Your Smart Home Devices

While universal remotes are primarily used to control cable boxes and TVs, Cupertino-based startup NEEO is taking the idea a step further. The company claims its universal remote can control a home theater system and almost every smart device that a homeowner could imagine. The NEEO touchscreen remote works with over 30,000 Internet-connected gadgets such as the Nest, Philips Hue and others. It also uses hand recognition software to create profiles for each user. Continue reading New Universal Remote Controls All Your Smart Home Devices

Amazon 3D Printing Store Offers iPhone Cases, Bobble Heads

Amazon launched its 3D Printing Store yesterday, which allows users to customize pre-made designs and order 3D printed products. Printing labs such as 3DLT, Mixee and Sculpteo have partnered with Amazon to include their popular designs. Amazon’s store presently features more than 200 designs for games, home decor, jewelry, tech accessories, toys and more that can be altered by color, size and thickness. Users can also add text, their name and other small touches. Continue reading Amazon 3D Printing Store Offers iPhone Cases, Bobble Heads

Wink App Controls Smart Devices from Different Companies

For homeowners with a variety of smart devices and appliances, operating within the Internet of Things can be complicated because many hardware makers manufacture products that do not work with devices from other companies. Wink, however, is a smartphone app that connects all of those products, from Samsung smart TVs to Philips Hue smart light bulbs. Earlier this week, Wink also launched a series of Wink-enabled devices from 15 manufacturers. Continue reading Wink App Controls Smart Devices from Different Companies

Apple Developing Hardware in Conjunction with New HomeKit

Last week, Apple introduced the new HomeKit platform that will give iOS 8 users the ability to control their house locks, lights, thermostats and more via their mobile devices. Now, the company is reportedly also building Smart Home hardware that will work with HomeKit. The newly assembled team at Apple may be looking to develop advanced speaker systems or control panels. Apple tried to sell a stereo system before, but the product was not very successful on the market. Continue reading Apple Developing Hardware in Conjunction with New HomeKit

Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

New data from analyst IDC finds that shipments of 4K televisions have reached over one million per month and are projected to reach upward of 15.2 million for 2014. Consumer adoption is on the rise as the average selling price has dropped 85 percent worldwide in the last two years, from $7,851 in 2012 to $1,120 in 2014. A new report from BI Intelligence predicts a faster adoption curve than HDTV, with 4K TVs to be found in more than half of North American homes within 10 years. Continue reading Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

NPD Reports Consumer Satisfaction with UltraViolet Service

According to a new study from NPD Group based on a survey conducted in February, 82 percent of consumers who currently have an UltraViolet account plan to continue using the digital locker service in the future. The NPD study also found that UltraViolet users were about 11 times more likely to make an electronic sell-through movie purchase than other consumers in the last year. UltraViolet launched in 2011, and there are now more than 16 million accounts. Continue reading NPD Reports Consumer Satisfaction with UltraViolet Service

Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

In order to accommodate consumers’ increasing desire to shop on mobile devices, home shopping pioneer QVC plans to launch a new tablet app that will feature content related to its television broadcasts. According to Nielsen’s 2014 Digital Consumer Report, 84 percent of smartphone and tablet owners use their devices as second screens while watching television. Leveraging this trend, QVC’s app will accompany its TV programming in order to help drive sales.  Continue reading Second Screen: QVC Hopes Tablet App Will Help Drive Sales

Study Measures Influence of New Technology on In-Store Sales

Deloitte’s recent study, “The New Digital Divide: Retailers, Shoppers, and the Digital Influence Factor” shows that digital technologies are an integral part of the entire shopping experience since they influence $1.1 trillion of in-store retail sales. By the end of 2014, the percentage of in-store sales that digital technologies influence will increase from the current 36 percent to 50 percent. The retail categories most influenced by digital include electronics, furniture and sporting goods. Continue reading Study Measures Influence of New Technology on In-Store Sales

Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

According to first quarter reports, revenue from digital movies has grown 43 percent since last year, bringing in $330.25 million for the home entertainment industry. However, that number is still dwarfed by the revenue from disc sales. Even though disc sales dropped 13.7 percent, they still account for $1.82 billion in consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Revenue from subscription streaming is up 26.5 percent to $928.6 million. Continue reading Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

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