Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access

Led by Greg Wyler, founder of O3b Networks, Google’s plans to increase Internet access through satellites surge forward. In order to reach unwired regions, Google plans to spend an estimated $1 billion to $3 billion on a fleet of satellites. The project is expected to begin with 180 small, high-capacity satellites orbiting the earth at lower altitudes than traditional satellites. Both Google and Facebook are looking to increase revenue and earnings, and have pinpointed users in these remote regions to do so. Continue reading Google, Facebook Look to Expand Reach of Internet Access

NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

Japanese mobile giant NTT Docomo is currently planning new wireless trials that could increase the capacity of future mobile networks to 10 Gbps (1,000 times today’s LTE networks). The new radio technologies could become an important part of a future 5G standard. NTT Docomo is working with Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Fujitsu, NEC, Nokia and Samsung to perform lab trials at Docomo’s research & development facility in Yokosuka, which is expected to be followed by outdoor trials in 2015. Continue reading NTT Docomo Plans Trials of New High-Bandwidth Network Tech

FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

While FedEx has traditionally charged to ship packages based solely on weight, the company has changed its policy to also price packages according to size. The move is expected to increase the price of over a third of FedEx’s U.S. ground shipments, and dramatically impact e-commerce companies. The next question is whether or not UPS will follow FedEx’s lead and consider a new pricing strategy as well. In the past, UPS and FedEx have kept similar pricing, rather than use pricing as a competitive advantage. Continue reading FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

Netflix Raises Monthly Subscription Rate for New Customers

Netflix has raised its monthly price for new subscribers by $1 to $8.99, marking its first price increase in three years. CEO Reed Hastings recently announced that a price increase would likely be necessary to meet the rising costs of movies and TV shows. The video streaming service introduced a new $7.99 plan for subscribers not concerned with high-definition or the ability to stream programs on multiple devices, while a $11.99 premium plan lets users stream shows to four devices at once. Continue reading Netflix Raises Monthly Subscription Rate for New Customers

Walmart Beefing Up its E-Commerce Efforts to Catch Amazon

Walmart has surpassed online retail giant Amazon in sales growth for the first time in a decade. Global online sales for Walmart rose by 30 percent in 2013 to $10 billion, while Amazon experienced 20 percent sales growth. However, Amazon’s $67.8 billion in online sales are more than six times Walmart’s sales, and Amazon sold more last year than its next 10 largest competitors. To better compete with Amazon, Walmart is investing significantly in e-commerce. Continue reading Walmart Beefing Up its E-Commerce Efforts to Catch Amazon

Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

While most people may assume that the success of electronic gaming has negatively impacted the traditional board game industry, the result has actually been the opposite. Technology has brought new tools that can create tabletop games with 3D figures and other tangible advances. In the past few years, sales of tabletop games have dramatically increased. Dan Shapiro, who has worked at Microsoft and sold a company to Google, recently created a board game for children and found crowdfunding to be beneficial. Continue reading Board Game Sales Increase Despite Electronic Game Success

Cox Announces Plans to Increase Broadband Service Speeds

As online entertainment grows in popularity, leading to demand for faster access, Cox Communications is planning to make its broadband service for residential customers much faster this year. Cox is planning on offering Internet speeds of 1 gigabit-per-second, which is 100 times faster than the average Web access. This service will closely compete with AT&T and Google who are also trying to introduce fiber-optic broadband services, and offer customers 1 gigabit-per-second speeds. Continue reading Cox Announces Plans to Increase Broadband Service Speeds

Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Netflix announced on Monday that it plans to raise the price of its streaming video service for new members by a dollar or two per month. The service, which now has more than 34 million paid U.S. subscribers, is justifying the rate increase based on its continued investment in original programs, including series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” In addition to its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, Netflix announced opposition to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Continue reading Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Universal Studios Hollywood to Receive a $1.6 Billion Makeover

Comcast plans to renovate 70 percent of the California theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood, with thousands of parking spaces, improved transit, two 500-room hotels, and most importantly, new attractions designed to broaden their fan base. Several “Despicable Me” inspired attractions will open for young riders on Saturday. Other updates, including the highly anticipated “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” attraction, will be completed by 2016. Continue reading Universal Studios Hollywood to Receive a $1.6 Billion Makeover

Despite Piracy, Global Cinema Experiences Revenue Growth

A new report released by the Motion Picture Association of America during CinemaCon this week in Las Vegas points to good news as movie industry revenues around the globe increased four percent from 2012 to 2013. While revenue from U.S. and Canada box offices were only up one percent, the global increases suggest that the movie industry has been able to survive during the ongoing threat of online piracy. Revenue in China also increased, the country that sits on top of the piracy list. Continue reading Despite Piracy, Global Cinema Experiences Revenue Growth

Microsoft Working on Free Version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Microsoft is said to be experimenting with a free version of its Windows 8.1 operating system in hopes of increasing the number of users. Sources familiar with the plans say “Windows 8.1 with Bing” will bundle key Microsoft apps and services. The company aims to introduce Windows 8.1 with Bing as a free or low-cost upgrade for Windows 7 users. The new Bing-powered software may also be offered to computer manufacturers as part of recent license cuts for sub-$250 devices.

Continue reading Microsoft Working on Free Version of Windows 8.1 with Bing

Report Points to Increase in Internet-Connected TVs in U.S.

Connected TV penetration has exceeded the 60 percent mark for broadband households in the U.S., according to new data from The Diffusion Group, indicating that an increasing number of consumers are interested in receiving entertainment services such as Netflix and Pandora. TDG’s January 2014 study found that 63 percent of broadband households have at least one Internet-connected TV, up from 53 percent the same time last year. The numbers reflect smart TVs in addition to devices like game consoles and Internet sticks. Continue reading Report Points to Increase in Internet-Connected TVs in U.S.

Worldwide Growth for Android and Windows Phone Shipments

IDC reports that the first time, Android has reached more than 80 percent market share for global smartphone shipments. Third-quarter numbers indicate that 261.1 million smartphones were shipped worldwide, of which 81 percent run Google’s operating system. A Strategy Analytics study released last month revealed similar findings. Samsung currently holds the lead for phones running Android. Additionally, Windows Phone shipments jumped 156 percent year-over-year. Continue reading Worldwide Growth for Android and Windows Phone Shipments

Media Consumption to Average 15.5 Hours Per Day in 2015

Media consumption continues as an integral part of the American lifestyle. According to a USC report released last week, Americans are voraciously consuming media via TV, radio, phone and computer, which led to an average consumption of 63 gigabytes per person per day last year. In 2012, total U.S. media consumption averaged 1.46 trillion hours, an average of 13.6 hours per person per day. By 2015, average media consumption is expected to reach 15.5 hours a day per person. Continue reading Media Consumption to Average 15.5 Hours Per Day in 2015

Apple Releases iOS 7, Pew Says More Americans Going Mobile

Apple’s newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, was released on Wednesday, and is a significant design upgrade since the iPhone was first introduced in 2007. Its release comes as Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reports that more Americans are using their mobile phones to go online. Mobile devices are rapidly becoming an integral part of American’s lives as an increasing number go online to access information and services more frequently. Continue reading Apple Releases iOS 7, Pew Says More Americans Going Mobile