SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

During his SXSW keynote in Austin, Texas yesterday, Google SVP of Android, Apps and Chrome, Sundar Pichai said that the company has sold “millions” of its $35 HDMI Chromecast devices since the product’s launch last summer. Pichai’s comments mark the first time anyone from Google has publicly addressed Chromecast sales. Pichai also told the crowd that Chromecast will be available for “many more countries” in the coming weeks, and Google will release an Android SDK for wearable devices. Continue reading SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

Amazon continues to expand into the entertainment realm with its delivery of movies and TV via Amazon Prime, the launch of Amazon Studios, its recent acquisition of video game developer Double Helix, and now, the possibility of a streaming music service that would likely be bundled into its Prime delivery option. Amazon has been hiring executives with digital music experience in recent years, and has reportedly been in talks with major music labels for the past few months. Continue reading Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

Study: Mobile Retail Sales Soar in 2013, Especially Via Tablets

According to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research, most mobile commerce took place via tablets in 2013, due primarily to the doubling of tablet ownership year-over-year. Javelin reports that $59.7 billion in sales were made from mobile devices last year, up from $20.7 billion the year prior. The study shows that $56.6 billion was made through a mobile site or app while $3.1 billion was made via a mobile POS. Tablets were responsible for $28.7 billion in mobile commerce. Continue reading Study: Mobile Retail Sales Soar in 2013, Especially Via Tablets

Apple to Launch Updated TV Box, in Talks with Content Partners

Apple is currently in talks with Time Warner Cable and other potential partners to add video content to a new Apple TV set-top box, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple is reportedly hoping to reveal the new device in April, and start selling it for the December holidays, but this may change since the company has still not secured agreements with distribution and programming partners. The device will be an update of the current Apple TV, with an upgraded interface, faster processor and easier navigation. Continue reading Apple to Launch Updated TV Box, in Talks with Content Partners

Amazon to Introduce Kindle Checkout System for Retail Stores

Amazon plans to offer brick-and-mortar retailers a new checkout system using its Kindle tablets, expected to be available as early as this summer. The development stems from Amazon’s acquisition last year of certain tech and engineers from GoPago, a startup known for its cloud-based mobile payment platform. The move could provide Amazon with a significant growth opportunity. However, it also faces numerous competitors in the checkout system space.  Continue reading Amazon to Introduce Kindle Checkout System for Retail Stores

Amazon to Launch Android Device for Games and Entertainment

Amazon is expected to launch a new sub-$300 games and entertainment device this year that runs Android. To compete with the likes of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, the product — the name of which has yet to be announced — is said to stream and download games, music, movies and television content. Key to the device’s success is its price point, on par with Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle Fire HD, which are priced comparatively lower than Apple’s iPad. Continue reading Amazon to Launch Android Device for Games and Entertainment

Amazon Dedicates Resources to Draw Mobile Game Developers

While it is unclear if Amazon will release an Android-based gaming device besides the Kindle tablet, the company has been creating tools aimed at making game developers successful across Amazon’s various app platforms. The company launched its updated portal for app and game developers, and has been investing in tools for developers to create more Android games. Amazon now features more than 100,000 apps in its Android Appstore, a significant increase from one year ago. Continue reading Amazon Dedicates Resources to Draw Mobile Game Developers

Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

The concept of “literary Netflixes” has been gaining momentum in the past few months. Oyster, a book subscription service that launched four months ago, recently raised $14 million to expand. Many members of the publishing industry are cautious about adopting a subscription model for e-books because they believe it could cannibalize sales and devalue books. However, Oyster notes that despite the apprehension, it has been signing publishers and already has a library of more than 100,000 titles. Continue reading Will Books Follow Music and Video with Subscription Model?

Google Play Movies & TV App for iOS Has Chromecast Support

Google released a new app this week in Apple’s App Store that allows users to watch their Google media content directly from an iPhone or iPad. The app, called Google Play Movies & TV, is a significant step in the company’s content strategy, since iOS users can now watch movies and television shows purchased or rented on Google Play. However, similar to the Kindle app, users will not be able to buy or rent content directly from the app itself, but will need to access the browser. Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV App for iOS Has Chromecast Support

CES: Qualcomm Outlines Plans for Tablets and Connected Cars

Qualcomm’s CEO-elect Steve Mollenkopf shared his vision for 2014 during a CES press event, a vision that includes more robust and feature-rich operating systems enhancing the tablet market (providing opportunities for Qualcomm’s mobile Snapdragon chips), a growing trend in smart wearables (including Qualcomm’s Toq), and a new era of connected cars (aided by the new Snapdragon 602A). The AEC-Q100 compliant 602A is designed to meet auto industry standards for temperature, quality and longevity. Continue reading CES: Qualcomm Outlines Plans for Tablets and Connected Cars

Virtual Joey: DISH Debuts New App That Functions Like DVR

Satellite provider DISH Network announced that it has developed a new streaming app, dubbed the “Virtual Joey,” that provides the same functionality as its Hopper DVR for LG Smart TVs. The app, expected to launch in the first quarter, offers control of the whole-home HD DVR, including live TV, recorded content and navigation via the program guide. The smart TV app essentially takes the place of a physical Joey multi-room extender, but still requires a Hopper DVR as the anchor. Continue reading Virtual Joey: DISH Debuts New App That Functions Like DVR

Google’s Chromecast SDK Headed for International Markets

Google is planning to bring Chromecast to international markets and make casting available on multiple devices with thousands of apps. The popular device’s SDK, which is still being finalized, will be opened up to help make apps compatible with the $35 dongle, and Google is partnering with several companies to bring its functionality to a number of other devices. Hundreds of developers have already signed up to add Chromecast capabilities to their apps. Continue reading Google’s Chromecast SDK Headed for International Markets

NYT Launches HTML5-Based Web App with Print-Like Design

The New York Times has launched a responsive Web app for its daily print edition, designed for tablets and computers. “Today’s Paper,” built with HTML5, offers the content of the daily edition in a layout that is similar to the paper’s iPad app in Newsstand. It is delivered on a regular daily schedule and structured similarly to the print version, for those frustrated by segmented apps and digital offerings. Interaction on a tablet offers swiping and gestures rather than clicking and scrolling. Continue reading NYT Launches HTML5-Based Web App with Print-Like Design

Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

Forbes reports that Apple was a big winner on Black Friday. The article notes that InfoScout reviewed more than 90,000 shopping receipts in the U.S. and learned that Apple products accounted for 22 percent of Target’s sales on Black Friday. The iPad Air 16GB, iPad mini 16GB and iPad Air 32GB models were the number one, two and three sellers, respectively. Additionally, the iPad mini 16GB model was the number one seller at Walmart. Continue reading Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

Amazon Opens Pop-Up Stores to Market Tablets and E-Readers

Seattle-based Amazon is promoting Kindle tablets and e-readers in a pop-up shop in a San Francisco mall, providing a glimpse at what the online retailer could look like in a physical space. Amazon is also offering devices, branded covers and power adapters via vending machines. While Amazon has been expected by some to follow Apple and Microsoft in opening brick-and-mortar storefronts, the company said it has no immediate plans to do so. Continue reading Amazon Opens Pop-Up Stores to Market Tablets and E-Readers

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