Advertisers Face an Increase in Ad-Blocking, Search for Fixes

The use of ad-blocking software is increasing to the point that some advertisers say it could be perilous to the Internet’s economic model. And it’s about to get worse for them. Whereas, now, ad-blocking software is limited to desktop computers, Apple iOS 9 will extend ad-blocking to mobile phones as well. But there could be a solution, say some experts. Advertisers are going to have to create simpler, less intrusive ads to survive. The other option — begging for customers to disable ad-blocking — hasn’t seen much success. Continue reading Advertisers Face an Increase in Ad-Blocking, Search for Fixes

Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable

The video platform skirmishes just heated up with news that Comcast is about to launch its own, dubbed Watchable. The streaming video platform will feature content from a list of major publishers, including NBC Sports, AwesomenessTV, Refinery29 and The Onion as well as two companies it has already invested in, Vox and Buzzfeed. Deals are non-exclusive, allowing publishers to also post on Facebook, one of Comcast’s chief rivals in online video. Comcast is also up against YouTube and Verizon’s as-of-yet unnamed video platform. Continue reading Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable

Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

Facebook is about to become a bigger competitor to Twitter-owned Periscope as it begins to offer wider access to the VIP-only Facebook app Mentions and Facebook Live. Up until now, Facebook Live — which allows a broadcaster to start a live video stream immediately, which users can watch in real-time and comment on — has only been available to a handful of high-profile individuals. Previously, Facebook has been circumspect when asked about when more people would have access to Live, which launched on August 4. Continue reading Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

Autodesk Stingray, Ideal Program for Mid-Small Sized Studios

Autodesk has launched Stingray, a game engine with design tools targeting for smaller studies that are looking for customization without the need for excessive programming. The engine is equipped with node-based scripting tools, however it also offers Stingray’s C++ source code for companies looking for more customization. Stingray provides quicker feedback, and will be bundled with Maya LT to provide artists with a modeling and animation app. It will arrive for Windows beginning mid-August for $30 a month. Continue reading Autodesk Stingray, Ideal Program for Mid-Small Sized Studios

New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

DNT (Do Not Track) has been an Internet standard that consumers can activate to prevent sites from secretly following and recording their online activities. But, despite DNT, many unprincipled advertisers continue to clandestinely track and record users’ Internet activity. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), privacy company Disconnect and a group of Internet companies decided it was time to combine their resources to develop a stronger DNT setting. Continue reading New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

ToyTalk and Mattel Release Interactive Thomas the Tank App

San Francisco-based kids’ entertainment startup ToyTalk, founded by former Pixar execs, just debuted its first product, an eight-episode app that lets children chat with Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends as they go on different adventures. The app is the result of ToyTalk’s new partnership with Mattel, which owns the Thomas the Tank Engine franchise. The interactive app, which takes advantage of kids’ familiarity in speaking with virtual entities, debuts just as Thomas the Tank Engine celebrates its 70th anniversary. Continue reading ToyTalk and Mattel Release Interactive Thomas the Tank App

Startup Unveils Tiny 4K Camera with Interchangeable Lenses

Z Camera has introduced the E1 — a new 4K, micro four thirds (MFT) interchangeable-lens camera that is small enough to rival the GoPro line of action cams. The Chinese startup launched the E1 with a Kickstarter campaign that has so far generated more than $296,000 in pledges, well over its $42,000 goal. The E1 weighs more than twice the GoPro Hero4, but if equipped with a small enough lens, it can be attached to a drone like the DJI Phantom. The camera, now fully funded, will be produced in cooperation with Panasonic. Continue reading Startup Unveils Tiny 4K Camera with Interchangeable Lenses

JustWatch Goes Mobile with App to Track Movies, TV Shows

JustWatch launched in February as a free search engine to help cord cutters and others find where to legally watch their favorite TV shows and movies online. The app, which recently expanded to mobile and is available on iOS and Android, allows users to filter by streaming subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video in addition to tracking rental and purchase options via services including Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. The app alerts users when new content arrives on their preferred service. Continue reading JustWatch Goes Mobile with App to Track Movies, TV Shows

Periscope Releases Several New Features in iOS App Update

Twitter’s live video streamer Periscope updated its iOS app this week to include a new mute feature that prevents users from being interrupted by new broadcast notifications. Version 1.1.3 also brings a refreshed global feed for discovering streams around the world, the ability to access your broadcast stats from previous streams (not just at the conclusion of a broadcast), the option of language preferences in profile settings, and Handoff support that allows users to initiate viewing on one device and pick up the same stream on another device. Continue reading Periscope Releases Several New Features in iOS App Update

Hulu Releases App That Makes Apple Watch a Remote Control

Hulu’s new app for the Apple Watch turns the wearable device into a remote control for users to play, pause and rewind TV shows by simply tapping on their wrists. The app connects to Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, the PS3 and PS4. Apple TV users will need to launch a Hulu stream on their iPhones, whereas users of other platforms can connect to any existing device already streaming Hulu. The launch is Hulu’s way of testing how a smartwatch app might become part of a consumer’s mobile experience. Continue reading Hulu Releases App That Makes Apple Watch a Remote Control

NFL to Launch Game Pass for Apple TV and Xbox This Month

The NFL announced that a new version of its Game Pass service will be released on July 31 to a variety of different devices, including Apple TV and Xbox game consoles. NFL Game Pass will replace NFL Game Rewind, and will include access to preseason games, all 256 regular season games, and access to archived games. The service will also include new features for accessing a range of content. Game Pass does not include live regular season, playoff, and Super Bowl broadcasts; games will be available to watch once they have aired on television. Continue reading NFL to Launch Game Pass for Apple TV and Xbox This Month

BlackBerry and Google Partner for Business Version of Android

Blackberry and Google have joined forces to develop an enterprise-friendly version of the Android operating system. The companies had already been working together on equipping phones with Android for Work, which helps keep mobile data for business and personal use separate. The new efforts will focus on security and application management features by integrating BlackBerry’s BES12 security software into Android Lollipop. BES12 is compliant with multiple OS platforms and recently added support for corporate-issued iOS devices. Continue reading BlackBerry and Google Partner for Business Version of Android

Google Launches Location Tracking Tool to Compete with Apple

Google is launching Eddystone, a new format that uses electronic beacons to track users’ locations and link their smartphones with nearby objects. Its purpose is to provide useful information to users, such as electronic bus tickets when they’re detected near bus stops, or information on paintings when they are touring museums. Google is competing against Apple’s iBeacon technology, which was released in 2013. Eddystone will be open to multiple platforms and will include features that work on both Android phones and iPhones. Continue reading Google Launches Location Tracking Tool to Compete with Apple

Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

Despite selling less than 20 percent of smartphones in terms of unit sales, Apple recorded 92 percent of the total operating income of smartphone sales for Q1, up from 65 percent last year. Apple and Samsung lead the industry while other phone makers broke even or lost money, according to Canaccord Genuity research. Apple has recorded such a significant lead because of higher prices per unit. This has forced rival brands, that mostly run on the Android operating system, to compete by cutting prices. Continue reading Apple Takes a Dramatic Lead in Smartphone Industry’s Profits

Amazon Releases Fling SDK, New Competition for Chromecast

Amazon’s new Fling SDK helps mobile developers create second screen and Cast-like functionality for iOS and Android apps, essentially simplifying the “network discovery and communication technologies” around Fire TV, according to the company. “Flinging” (Amazon’s version of Chromecast’s “casting”) is a means of sending video, audio or images from an app to a television screen via the Fire TV player. Amazon is targeting developers already using Chromecast by offering the ability to integrate Amazon’s SDK with existing Chromecast apps. Continue reading Amazon Releases Fling SDK, New Competition for Chromecast

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