The Wolfe Aims to Turn MacBooks into Virtual Reality Players

Apple’s laptops may not have the power to run many virtual reality experiences, but an upcoming Kickstarter campaign aims to change that. The Wolfe offers an external Thunderbolt-connected GPU as a simple solution for supercharging laptops. According to its creators, The Wolfe increases the MacBook Pro’s GPU processing capabilities up to ten times. The form factor is a tidy, largish box housing an Nvidia GPU that is currently the baseline for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Early Kickstarter backers will get one for $399. Continue reading The Wolfe Aims to Turn MacBooks into Virtual Reality Players

Nvidia’s New GTX Series Super-Powers Laptops, Enables VR

After first debuting the Maxwell-based GTX 980 graphics chip in a notebook last year, Nvidia has now upped its game, with notebooks and laptops powered by its GTX 1000 series chips, more specifically the GTX 1060, GTX 1070 and GTX 1080. These new GPU chips, which Nvidia declares “VR-ready,” use the company’s more efficient Pascal architecture to provide nearly identical operation to their desktop chips; only the GTX 1060 provides a slightly slower base clock speed in a notebook. Continue reading Nvidia’s New GTX Series Super-Powers Laptops, Enables VR

Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

By the end of the year Google plans to release its own smartphone, which will compete directly with the Apple iPhone and extend the company’s reach into hardware. Google is presently in talks with carriers about the branded phone. Its Android operating system already powers 80 percent of smartphones sold around the world in phones made by, among others, Samsung, LG and Huawei’s Google Nexus brand. With its new smartphone, Google will take charge of design and manufacturing as well as software. Continue reading Google to Offer its Own Smartphone, Secure Future Services

Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

Researchers from the University of California at Irvine have found a new battery material that could possibly hold a charge for decades. While studying fragile nanowires, a PhD candidate on the research team decided on a whim “to switch the liquid electrolyte surrounding the nanowire assembly with a gel version,” reports Smithsonian. To the team’s surprise, the gel capacitor initially ran for 30,000 cycles and kept going for a month. Although still experimenting, the team believes the thick gel reduces the nanowire’s fragility, a solution that could prove revolutionary for commercial batteries. Continue reading Battery Material Could Hold Charge for Years, Even Decades

Wells Fargo Bets on Biometric Security to Replace Passwords

If Wells Fargo is right, the traditional password will be gone in five years. To prepare, the company has been mentoring startup EyeVerify in an accelerator program since 2014. This July, Wells Fargo will debut EyeVerify’s software to corporate clients. Those executives authorized to use commercial bank accounts will be able to use their iPhone camera to take a selfie, and the Eyeprint ID software built into the bank’s mobile app will read their eyes’ veins and other markers to match with a stored template. Continue reading Wells Fargo Bets on Biometric Security to Replace Passwords

SpecOut Lists 99 VR, AR Headsets for Comparison Shopping

Product comparison site SpecOut.com provides “detailed information and specs on thousands of gadgets” for those researching smartphones, streaming media players, motherboards and more. Now the site has added a section on virtual and augmented reality headsets that features currently available and soon-to-be-released devices such as the Sony PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Avegant Glyph, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens and 94 others. This is a great resource for those interesting in HMD product descriptions, pricing, and details such as refresh rate, processing source, and field of view. Continue reading SpecOut Lists 99 VR, AR Headsets for Comparison Shopping

Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Market research firm Gartner is forecasting a decline for CE device spending in 2016. While end-user sales are expected to inch up less than 2 percent this year, overall spending on devices like PCs, tablets and mobile devices will decline, according to the researcher. This decrease, the first since Gartner started tracking the market in 2010, is largely due to the falling price of phones. In markets like China, consumers are opting for basic models of smartphones rather than upgrading to higher-end devices. Continue reading Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

CTA Research on Displays with Focus on OLED, 4K and HDR

In a CTA Research Summit data-centric presentation at CES, the organization’s senior director of market research Steve Koenig summed up the recent trends in TV displays and predicted future directions. Although the TV display is besieged by competition from smartphones and tablets, interest in purchasing a TV is still strong. A recent CTA poll showed that, in the next 12 months, 33 percent plan to buy a smartphone and 29 percent want a TV, followed by smaller percentages for laptops, tablets and video game consoles. Continue reading CTA Research on Displays with Focus on OLED, 4K and HDR

CES to Break Records, Showcase Key Tech Trends for 2016

CES 2016 will be the largest in the organization’s 49-year history, says chief economist Shawn DuBravac. With 2.4 million square feet of exhibit space — equal to 50 football fields — the show is expected to welcome 150,000 attendees, including 45,000 international visitors from 150 countries. DuBravac reported that the name of CES producer the Consumer Electronics Association has changed to the Consumer Technology Association, to better reflect its current mix of members including Uber, Lyft, Snapchat and Airbnb. Continue reading CES to Break Records, Showcase Key Tech Trends for 2016

Global CE Industry Impacted by Strong Dollar, China Slowdown

The global economy is getting back on track, says CTA senior director of market research Steve Koenig, but tech spending is down, with growth moderate or negative in key sectors including TV, smartphones, laptops and tablets. The strongest U.S. dollar in 13 years makes it “unfavorable to conversion of global currencies.” “GDP growth is moderate and uneven,” he said. “We see disparate fortunes between advanced markets and developing economies. And everyone is dealing with the slowdown in China. It’s a very, very mixed bag.” Continue reading Global CE Industry Impacted by Strong Dollar, China Slowdown

CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

During last week’s CES Unveiled event in New York, the newly named Consumer Technology Association (former Consumer Electronics Association) released its annual holiday purchase pattern study. According to Shawn DuBravac, CTA’s chief economist and senior research director, consumer electronics will have a strong showing this holiday season, but spending is expected to shift from high-end TVs to less expensive audio devices, mobile electronics and emerging technologies. The shift is expected to result in a drag on industry sales growth. Continue reading CTA Predicts Decline in CE Sales Growth This Holiday Season

Apple Goes After Enterprise With High-End, Pricier iPad Pro

Apple’s new iPad Pro is the company’s biggest, priciest tablet and the first aimed squarely at enterprise users. The company says it’s pitting the iPad Pro against laptops, not other tablets, but it almost immediately draws comparisons with Microsoft’s Surface, that company’s business-focused tablet. Apple has not typically targeted the enterprise market, but this new focus is driven by the need to bolster revenues in light of declining iPhone revenues. Sales of the iPad have also declined since the 2013 peak of 71 million units. Continue reading Apple Goes After Enterprise With High-End, Pricier iPad Pro

Microsoft Strategy Sees Chaotic Future of Countless Devices

Everyone agrees that the mobile phone is the dominant digital computing device, and likely to remain so for some time to come. But consensus breaks down when it comes to a vision of the device that will take second place in the future. Apple and Google have both created that secondary device — Apple with its iPad and Mac, Google with its Android tablets and Chromebook laptops. Now Microsoft has unveiled its vision of the future… and it’s chaos. The company is planning for a future in which no single device dominates. Continue reading Microsoft Strategy Sees Chaotic Future of Countless Devices

Streaming Services Send Hotel Room VOD to Chopping Block

As hotels in the U.S. continue to offer faster Internet connections, an increasing number of guests are more inclined to stream video content via popular services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu than opt for in-house video-on-demand. As a result, hotels are beginning to experience a significant decline in VOD use. Some have recently cut their adult-themed VOD content, and may eventually do the same with other on-demand offerings. However, this may not be the end of video-on-demand in hotels if providers make their services more competitive. Continue reading Streaming Services Send Hotel Room VOD to Chopping Block

Live Sports Are Generating More Opportunities for Online Ads

Brands want a way to connect to viewers who peruse laptops and smartphones while watching major sporting events. Major digital players such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are looking for ways to monetize increased online activity during those same events. It’s a match made in heaven, and it’s going live just as the National Football League season begins. Google plans on offering ads to be placed alongside football-related search results, but the company isn’t alone in making plans to capture advertising dollars. Continue reading Live Sports Are Generating More Opportunities for Online Ads

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