Tech Expands its NYC Foothold, Investors Build Film Studio

Although Amazon bypassed New York City for its second headquarters four months ago, the Big Apple has attracted numerous other high-tech companies that are renting office space and creating jobs. Google inked a deal to lease 1.3 million square feet in lower Manhattan, with plans to add 7,000 jobs over 10 years. Facebook is also in talks to lease one million square feet of office space on the far West Side. Now, actor Robert De Niro and his son are part of an investment team building a film and TV production studio in Queens. Continue reading Tech Expands its NYC Foothold, Investors Build Film Studio

Toshiba Fire TV Model Lowers Price Barrier for Dolby Vision

Amazon and Toshiba are launching a line of Fire TV Edition sets that include support for Dolby Vision. The 4K televisions, which will be sold exclusively through Amazon and Best Buy, come in a 55-inch model ($499.99) that is available today, followed by 43-inch ($329.99) and 50-inch ($379.99) models to be released on June 30. Dolby Vision’s HDR format is regarded as superior to HDR10 because it allows scene-by-scene adjustments to picture quality. The Amazon-Toshiba sets mark the first time that Dolby Vision will be available in more affordable Fire TV Edition models. Continue reading Toshiba Fire TV Model Lowers Price Barrier for Dolby Vision

Google Commits $1 Billion to New York City Expansion Plans

In the wake of tech giants Amazon and Apple detailing their latest expansion plans, Google unveiled specifics regarding its planned facilities in New York City. The company, which currently employs more than 7,000 people in New York, announced it plans to spend $1 billion on its new Google Hudson Square campus, which will provide more than 1.7 million square feet of space in lower Manhattan. “We will have the capacity to more than double the number of Googlers in New York over the next 10 years,” explained Ruth Porat, SVP and CFO of Google and Alphabet.  Continue reading Google Commits $1 Billion to New York City Expansion Plans

Amazon Is Reportedly Splitting HQ2 Between Two Locations

Amazon has finally made a decision regarding its second headquarters, according to individuals familiar with the process. Following a yearlong search that involved numerous cities in North America vying for Amazon’s business, the company is reportedly planning to split the headquarters between two East Coast locations — the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens in New York and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia. While it already has more employees in the two regions than anywhere else outside of its Seattle home base and the Bay Area, Amazon is expected to have a total of 50,000 employees between the two locations once the headquarters are completed. Continue reading Amazon Is Reportedly Splitting HQ2 Between Two Locations

With New Federal Law, Supreme Court Drops Digital Data Case

Following arguments in February, the case of United States v. Microsoft, No. 17-2, ended in a draw, or, as the court said, “no live dispute remains between the parties.” Federal prosecutors wanted to force Microsoft to turn over digital data stored outside the U.S., but a new federal law, agreed both sides, made the case — based on whether a 1986 law applied to digital data — moot. During arguments, some justices had suggested that Congress, and not the court, should define privacy in a new digital world. Continue reading With New Federal Law, Supreme Court Drops Digital Data Case

Google Maps Helps Develop Real-World Gaming Experiences

Google is enabling game developers to create “Pokémon Go”-like experiences in which game elements are embedded into real-world maps using the new Google Maps API and the Unity game engine. Over 200 games are already in development. Next Games is developing a game based on the popular TV series “The Walking Dead,” and NBCUniversal and Ludia will release a “Jurassic World Alive” location-based game for mobile. Because Google Maps updates in real time, developers can create gaming experiences with a sharp eye on reality.

Continue reading Google Maps Helps Develop Real-World Gaming Experiences

GM Close to Commercial Version of Autonomous Chevy Bolt

GM is showing off its latest autonomous vehicles, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts, to investment analysts in San Francisco. Up until now, the car manufacturer has been reluctant to subject the cars it’s developed through its Cruise Automation subsidiary to scrutiny, but now wants to signal that it’s getting closer to a real product. In fact, GM president Daniel Ammann revealed that the driverless cars will be ready for consumers in “quarters, not years.” GM also aims to launch a driverless taxi fleet by 2019. Continue reading GM Close to Commercial Version of Autonomous Chevy Bolt

VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

Kent Bye covers location-based VR operations, pricing structures, crowd management and throughput, and reaching the mass audience in this 30-minute Voices of VR podcast interview with the founders of VR World NYC. The new midtown Manhattan portal, which opened June 24th, features over 50 VR experiences spread over three floors in a 20,000 square foot space near the Empire State Building. Visitors pay $39 in the afternoon and $49 in the evening for unlimited stay and play. Continue reading VR World NYC Offers an Open Buffet of 50+ VR Experiences

Amazon Opens Bookstore in NYC, Plans Six More This Year

Amazon just opened its seventh bookstore, a 4,000 square foot space, in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle in midtown Manhattan at the heart of the publishing industry. Nearby is the site of a bygone Borders bookstore in addition to publishers such as Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group. Amazon has committed to opening a chain of brick-and-mortar bookstores around the country, an irony given that the company’s online sale of books is often cited as a major factor in the demise of many bookstores nationwide. Continue reading Amazon Opens Bookstore in NYC, Plans Six More This Year

Vimeo Refreshes Creator Pages and Launches New TV Store

In partnership with Lionsgate and Starz, Vimeo has opened a TV storefront in the model of iTunes, meaning viewers can purchase shows rather than stream them. Available series include “Orange Is the New Black,” “Casual,” “The Royals,” “Mad Men,” and “Weeds” as well as the entire Lionsgate catalog, which adds “Nurse Jackie,” “Boss,” “Blue Mountain State,” and “Manhattan.” Vimeo has been focused on improving its video-on-demand business, including buying VHX, a video distribution platform, and making its own original content. Continue reading Vimeo Refreshes Creator Pages and Launches New TV Store

Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

Netflix had been fighting to stream two movies produced by Relativity Media ahead of their planned theatrical releases, but a judge on Friday issued an order preventing Netflix from doing so. According to Judge Michael Wiles of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, an early release of the comedy “Masterminds” and horror film “The Disappointments Room” could be “devastating” for Relativity, the studio he recently released from chapter 11. Ruling in favor of Netflix “would threaten the bankruptcy process… with devastating consequences to the plan and distributions” to creditors, the judge said. Continue reading Judge Rules Against Netflix Bid to Offer Relativity Films Early

‘AOL BUILD’ Expands with Live VR Studio in Downtown NYC

This fall, AOL plans to open up a new 13,412-square-foot studio on Broadway in downtown Manhattan, which will serve as the locale for “AOL BUILD,” its live interview and event series. The street-facing main stage, with seating for a live audience, will be equipped with 360-degree cameras to create live VR experiences. “BUILD” has an active live production unit, creating at least four hours of content per day with around 75 live events per month, for a total of 800 episodes since its inception. Continue reading ‘AOL BUILD’ Expands with Live VR Studio in Downtown NYC

Apple and U.S. Government Battle Over Privacy vs. Terrorism

The battle between terrorism and privacy has been brewing for quite some time, and the tipping point was the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who, with his wife, opened fire at an office party in December 2015, killing 14 people and injuring 22. The FBI has been trying to decrypt Farook’s phone, unsuccessfully, and asked Apple to create a “backdoor” code into the phone. Apple refused, and now a court order gives the Silicon Valley company five days to comply. Chief executive Tim Cook is holding firm. Continue reading Apple and U.S. Government Battle Over Privacy vs. Terrorism

Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

E-commerce giant Amazon launched a new delivery system this week called Amazon Flex. The Uber-like model offers individuals with their own vehicles and an Android smartphone the opportunity to deliver packages for $18-25 per hour. Drivers have the option of two-, four- or eight-hour shifts. In addition to a car and an Android phone for managing deliveries with the Flex app, drivers must be over 21 and pass a background check. The new system, initially rumored back in June, works with Amazon’s Prime Now service, which offers members one- and two-hour delivery on items. Continue reading Amazon Enters the Gig Economy with “Flex” Delivery Service

Facebook Unveils Metrics to Lure Traditional TV Advertisers

On the first day of Advertising Week in Manhattan, Facebook and Google both introduced new tools that will allow advertisers to plan and buy ad campaigns on their digital platforms. Facebook unveiled its offering that gives advertisers a more familiar method of buying ads, with metrics and other tools to understand their purchases. Both digital behemoths are aiming to offer advertisers an easier and more powerful path to their platforms, while they benefit by capturing more digital advertising dollars. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Metrics to Lure Traditional TV Advertisers

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