More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

According to Adobe’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping data, 29 percent of online sales on Thanksgiving Day and 27 percent on Black Friday took place via smartphones or tablets (led by iOS shoppers). New online sales records were set for both days, while Singles’ Day also set a new record and could surpass Cyber Monday this time around. Meanwhile, the CEA reports that consumers are purchasing more TVs, thanks in part to more affordable UHD offerings. Continue reading More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

Roku announced that its channel selections now include Google Play Movies & TV, which allows users to watch films and shows rented or purchased via Google Play. Unlike the Google Play Movies & TV app for iOS, users will be able to access content directly through the Roku channel. This may seem like odd news since Google recently announced its own Android TV streaming box, the $100 Nexus Player, which will launch this month. In related news, Vudu is now available on select TiVo models. Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

Google Plans to Unveil Phablet and New Version of Android

Google’s new smartphone, expected to launch later this month, will be larger than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note. The high-resolution display is 5.9 inches diagonally, making it large enough to be categorized as a phablet. The handset, code-named Shamu, intends to compete in an emerging market of increasingly popular hybrid devices across the U.S. and abroad. Google also reportedly plans to debut a new version of its Android mobile OS at the same time. Continue reading Google Plans to Unveil Phablet and New Version of Android

Microsoft to Introduce Redesigned Start Menu for Windows 10

Microsoft is skipping from Windows 8 to a Windows 10 operating system, expected to launch in the middle of next year. The new version, which was unveiled earlier this week, is intended to work across many different devices, from those connected via the “Internet of Things” to touchscreen phones, tablets and laptops. Windows 10 also features a newly redesigned Start Menu, which combines the tile design of Windows 8 with the traditional list design in older versions of Windows. Continue reading Microsoft to Introduce Redesigned Start Menu for Windows 10

Google For Work: Software, Cloud Services Target Enterprise

Google is competing with fellow tech giants Microsoft and Amazon to offer businesses the best options for their employees, from laptops to software to cloud services. The company’s Google Drive for Work is designed to help co-workers share files, even if they were created in a Microsoft or Lotus program. Also, the company’s new pitch to workplaces has featured its cloud services, which provides computing power, storage, application storage, and mobile support for businesses’ online presence. Continue reading Google For Work: Software, Cloud Services Target Enterprise

Tech Giants Tighten Security on Emails with Encryption Option

Last week, Yahoo joined Google and Microsoft in the effort to bring more privacy to users of their popular email services. The 110 million unique Yahoo email users will have the option to turn on an encrypted messaging feature. The feature relies on PGP encryption, which stores each user’s encryption key on their personal laptops and devices. Google also announced that encrypted websites will fare better in their search results due to a new feature in its ranking algorithm. Continue reading Tech Giants Tighten Security on Emails with Encryption Option

The Future of Tablets May Be Uncertain: iPad Sales Fall Again

Unit sales of the best-selling tablet, Apple’s iPad, fell again for the second straight quarter, leaving some industry analysts wondering whether the tablet can survive in a world of bigger smartphones and smaller laptops. Microsoft and Samsung are also both losing money on their tablet devices, but cheaper Android tablets produced by smaller companies may be taking away some of the tech giants’ business. Still, many consumers do not see tablets as a must-have gadget. Continue reading The Future of Tablets May Be Uncertain: iPad Sales Fall Again

DirecTV Introduces NFL Sunday Ticket Free of TV Subscription

DirecTV announced that it will offer its NFL Sunday Ticket to certain consumers who do not have a satellite subscription. Sports fans can register via NFLSundayTicket.TV to access streaming of live games on laptops, smartphones, tablets or game consoles. To qualify, viewers must live in an apartment building where DirecTV is not available, attend one of the universities included in DirecTV’s list, or live in metropolitan New York, San Francisco or Philadelphia.  Continue reading DirecTV Introduces NFL Sunday Ticket Free of TV Subscription

Nielsen Teams Up with Facebook to Measure Mobile TV Viewing

Facebook and Nielsen are joining forces as part of an ambitious campaign to better measure how consumers are using their mobile devices for accessing entertainment media. As part of the mobile ratings Nielsen plans to introduce this fall, Facebook will scan its databases for the age and gender of its users who watch a TV show on their phone or tablet. The data will be shared with Nielsen and ultimately help networks and advertisers learn more about the viewing habits of consumers. Continue reading Nielsen Teams Up with Facebook to Measure Mobile TV Viewing

New 3D System Could Help Mobile Devices Create Holograms

HP Labs has developed a new kind of three-dimensional display that can play hologram-like videos without requiring moving parts or glasses. Videos hover above the screen as viewers walk around them and experience an image or video from up to 200 viewpoints, essentially simulating the experience of moving around an actual physical object. The LCD-based approach could be used by phones and tablets to produce holograms. Continue reading New 3D System Could Help Mobile Devices Create Holograms

Texas Instruments Video: Explaining How Immersive Spatial Audio Works

  • This 3 1/2 minute video by Texas Instruments clearly and concisely explains the three components of their 3D audio technology: beam steering, crosstalk cancellation, and head related transfer function (HRTF or the psychoacoustic effect).
  • “Laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other multimedia devices offer an impressive visual experience,” suggests the video. “However, the overall experience is hindered by space constrained audio systems that lack clarity and depth — until now.”
  • Texas Instruments explains in the video how its audio technologies convert the “small sound stage” into an enhanced, immersive experience via techniques that manipulate sounds in desired directions in a 3D space.
  • This is a must-view for anyone interested in spatial audio applications for consumer electronics.

UltraViolet Announces Global Roll-Out: Studios Get Ready for the Cloud

  • UltraViolet (UV), the digital locker system that allows viewing of content across multiple devices, will roll out on October 11th in the U.S. with an expanded global rollout expected in the months to follow.
  • “All of the major studios are supporting the new cloud-based product, although Disney is not one of the more than 70 official members of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, which oversees UV,” reports Variety.
  • Warner Bros. exec Justin Herz said this week that his studio will provide half of its movie and TV catalog available on UltraViolet by the end of 2012. The first UV release, Warners’ “Horrible Bosses,” will reportedly be released Tuesday, to be followed by the availability of “Green Lantern.”
  • Fox suggested that “a significant” amount of its content would soon be UV-enabled, while Sony plans to launch with “The Smurfs” and “Friends With Benefits.”
  • “Studios that have signed up for UV hope the new technology will re-ignite the home entertainment market and boost revenues following the collapse of DVD sales and the failure of Blu-ray to generate excitement among consumers,” adds Variety. “UV-enabled discs allow buyers to watch the same content on 12 different devices with an Internet connection, including connected TVs, laptops, tablets or mobiles, once they open a streaming account.”

Will Future Intel Chips Provide MacBooks with Infinite Battery Life?

  • Intel introduced its new Haswell architecture this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The Haswell technology is a few generations away, but is already impressing analysts.
  • John Brownlee, writing for Cult of Mac, explains that Haswell was created using a 22 nanometer 3D transistor process, which makes possible ARM-like power consumption on an x86 chip. “That means all day battery life, as well as ten days of connected standby,” writes Brownlee.
  • The architecture reportedly uses up to 20 times less power than current Intel chips, and can actually run on a solar cell, suggesting that future MacBooks would theoretically have no constraints on battery life.
  • According to Brownlee, the Haswell architecture has some serious potential: “You think those new Sandy Bridge MacBook Pros are beasts? Just wait a couple years. That’s when Apple will be able of releasing bleeding edge MacBooks capable of not only running for 24 hours on a single charge, but of recharging their cells as they run by sucking up the ambient light in the room around them. Wow.”

Increasing Number of TV Viewers are Busy with Multiple Screens

  • Due to the growing popularity of tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices, TV audiences are becoming increasingly busy interacting with other screens while watching their shows.
  • According to a Harris Interactive survey, more than half of Americans surf the Internet while watching TV, forty percent visit social networking sites and 37 percent are busy texting.
  • Marketers can take the distraction and convert it to an opportunity by embracing “distraction media” as a tool for supplemental or enhanced consumer engagement.
  • Examples of current transmedia successes include the TV series “Eat St.” that has its own iPhone app featuring location-based vendors on the show — and Old Navy, that has commercial spots allowing smartphone users to buy the clothes being featured or download the song being played.

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