Apple Watch Launch: Limited Availability, but Wide App Variety

Apple launched its new wearable last week, and a wide variety of related apps are currently available, but customers are still trying to figure out where to buy the smartwatch and companies are still trying to figure out how to use it. The Watch was not available in Apple Stores, but it was in stock at select fashion boutiques around the world. Companies like Yelp and WebMD, meanwhile, are still trying to figure out how Apple Watch users will use their Watch apps differently from their iPhone apps. Continue reading Apple Watch Launch: Limited Availability, but Wide App Variety

Torrenting Just Got Easier with Mobile Site and New PC App

The Pirate Bay and TorrenTV have released new platforms to make it easier for people to download media content for free. The Pirate Bay has launched a mobile site known as Mobile Bay, which includes separate TV, music and movie sites. Later, the site hopes to add support for personalized RSS feeds so that users can launch torrents from anywhere. TorrenTV has introduced a new app for Mac, Windows and Linux that streams torrents directly to Apple TV. Continue reading Torrenting Just Got Easier with Mobile Site and New PC App

Instagram Quietly Unveils One-Tap Messaging App Called Bolt

Introduced by Facebook’s Instagram, Bolt is a one-tap messaging app for iOS and Android that is similar to the popular Taptalk app. Bolt is currently available in New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa, with plans to launch in additional regions soon. The app allows users to send an image or video that disappears once it is viewed. Unlike Snapchat and Facebook’s Slingshot, Bolt only allows users to send messages to one person at a time, rejecting mass messages. Continue reading Instagram Quietly Unveils One-Tap Messaging App Called Bolt

Facebook Pursues Video Advertising with LiveRail Acquisition

Facebook announced Wednesday that it will acquire ad technology firm LiveRail, furthering its efforts with effective video advertising. LiveRail, sometimes referred to as a “supply side” platform, helps media companies sell video ads programmatically. The company currently works with clients such as A&E, Univision, MLB and BET. Facebook believes that the LiveRail acquisition will eventually lead to better video ads that are more relevant to its community. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Video Advertising with LiveRail Acquisition

Amazon Unveils New 3D Fire Phone with Dynamic Perspective

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the company’s new Fire Phone yesterday in Seattle. The 4.7-inch smartphone, which features a 3D display that detects where eyes are looking on the screen with “Dynamic Perspective,” will be available July 25 starting at $200. The device includes a scanning feature with its Firefly app, which allows users to scan products, signs, UPC or QR codes (ideal for shopping on Amazon), and Shazam-like features to identify songs and pinpoint scenes in movies or TV shows. Continue reading Amazon Unveils New 3D Fire Phone with Dynamic Perspective

Yahoo’s New Video Platform Plans to Compete with YouTube

After a few months of delays, Yahoo plans to launch its new video service this summer. Like YouTube, the service will allow users to post videos, create their own channels, and embed the Yahoo video player into other sites. Yahoo’s video service is different in its more generous revenue-sharing deals with video creators. Content producers with a Yahoo contract will also have the ability to publish their videos on Yahoo properties including the homepage and Tumblr. Continue reading Yahoo’s New Video Platform Plans to Compete with YouTube

Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

On Tuesday, Microsoft exec Panos Panay unveiled the Surface Pro 3, calling it a potential successor for laptop PCs. The device is not only lighter and thinner than previous versions of Surface tablet computers, but it is also larger. While previous versions measure at 10.6-inches diagonally, the Pro 3 screen measures 12-inches. Along with other Surface tablets, the Pro 3 is powered by Intel chips. Rather than comparing the tablet to others on the market, Panay discussed Apple’s MacBook Air as a competitor.

Continue reading Microsoft Combines Laptop and Tablet with New Surface Pro 3

Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

Mortar Data, a New York-based company known for building and hosting custom big data applications, recently announced the launch of a recommendation engine platform that allows anyone to build their own system, and use it with their own data, for free. Recommendation systems are becoming increasingly popular, and have become a gold mine for big companies such as Pandora and Netflix, which use the services to make recommendations based on customer history. Continue reading Mortar Data Makes it Easier to Build Recommendation Engines

YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

Google-owned YouTube is reportedly in active discussions to purchase live video-game streaming service Twitch. While Variety indicates a deal has already been reached for more than $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal more conservatively reports that the two companies are in talks, but in the early stages of a potential deal. Twitch was launched in 2011 by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear, the co-founders of Justin.tv, which was one of the first sites to live-stream user-generated video. Continue reading YouTube in Talks to Acquire Video Game Streaming Site Twitch

GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Take-Two Interactive Software announced that it has sold more than 33 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” since the game’s launch in September, generating an estimated $1.98 billion in retail sales. The New York-based company claims “GTA V” was the best-selling console game last year in North America, Latin America and Europe — and the fastest title in video game history to reach $1 billion in sales. For additional perspective, it’s worth noting that Take-Two generated $2.4 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year. Continue reading GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

Last week, Yahoo announced the launch of its News Digest app for Android devices. The company has also made the iOS version available for all users worldwide by adding Canadian and International editions (it was originally only available to iOS device users based in the United States or United Kingdom). Using algorithmic and human curation, Yahoo News Digest provides news round-ups twice a day, each story presented with a collection of articles, maps, Wikipedia entries, videos and photos. Continue reading Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

AOL Launching Ad-Supported Streaming Video with Miramax

AOL announced it will launch a free streaming movie service through a new agreement with Miramax that will make Miramax’s library of films available to stream online and on mobile devices. Film selections will be refreshed each month. AOL’s new homepage video portal features clips from Moviefone, Huffpost Live, ESPN, Conde Nast and others. Through the new deal, AOL users will also have the ability to add Miramax titles to their rotation of news and entertainment video. Continue reading AOL Launching Ad-Supported Streaming Video with Miramax

Samsung Opens Five-Story Innovation Museum in South Korea

Samsung opened its Samsung Innovation Museum at the company’s headquarters in South Korea this month. The museum features some of the most iconic inventions of the modern era, including Samsung TVs, smartphones and semiconductors. The creation of the museum is an effort by Samsung to escape its image as a “fast follower,” and showcase itself as an innovator. The five-story museum occupies about 118,000 square feet. It comes as Samsung goes up against Apple again in patent court.  Continue reading Samsung Opens Five-Story Innovation Museum in South Korea

Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Facebook is expected to launch its mobile advertising network during the F8 developer conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. Facebook plans to leverage its massive user information database for better ad targeting, and will pitch the ads to publishers and developers. The social giant will also benefit from expanding its ad reach, and will allow the company to profit from its over 1 billion users even when they are not on the site itself. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

Sony and Microsoft have shipped more than 12 million new game consoles since the products launched last fall. One day after Sony announced it has sold more than seven million PlayStation 4 consoles (up one million since March), Microsoft said it has sold more than five million Xbox One units to retail shops. According to NPD Group’s U.S. retail data for March, hardware sales rose 78 percent from the previous year to $395 million, while sales of new console and PC video games in retail stores dropped 28 percent to $432 million. Continue reading Microsoft and Sony Announce Game Console Sales Figures

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