LG’s Major Stake in Alphonso Boosts Its Streaming Ad Goals

Just prior to CES 2021, LG Electronics stated it spent $80 million to take a 60 percent stake in Alphonso, an advertising technology, data and measurement company, to advance its aim of building a streaming-TV advertising business. LG is buying out Manifest Investment Partners and other existing Alphonso investors. Founders, current and former employees and “various advisers” will hold onto the remaining shares. The company, which had a pre-money valuation of about $125 million, has raised $6.3 million thus far. Continue reading LG’s Major Stake in Alphonso Boosts Its Streaming Ad Goals

Huawei, Apple Drop in Rankings of Top Global Phone Makers

After attaining a position as No. 1 in global smartphone shipments in Q2, Huawei Technologies ceded that position to Samsung Electronics in Q3, according to International Data Corporation. IDC added that Huawei’s global shipments fell by 22 percent, a sign that U.S. efforts to disrupt its supply chain are having an impact. All vendors without a license from the U.S. Commerce Department have been banned from selling chips and other components to Huawei since September 15. Huawei’s domestic sales also fell 15+ percent in Q3. Continue reading Huawei, Apple Drop in Rankings of Top Global Phone Makers

Ford, VW Collaborate on Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG are extending their seven-month-old alliance to include collaborating on self-driving and electric car technology. In a joint statement today, the companies announced that Volkswagen would invest $2.6 billion in Ford’s autonomous-vehicle partner Argo AI by providing $1 billion in funding and contributing its Audi $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, based in Munich. In 2017, Ford invested $1 billion in Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle startup Argo. Once the Ford-VW deal is finalized, Argo’s value is expected to reach $7 billion. Continue reading Ford, VW Collaborate on Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

Hisense’s ULED XD TV Aims to Compete With OLED Tech

Chinese TV manufacturer Hisense just unveiled its ULED XD television, with plans to offer high-end technology at a lower-than-typical price. According to the company’s director of product management Chris Porter, the company puts 5 percent of profits every year into R&D, which has allowed it to develop the set’s proprietary technology — some of which has never been released in the U.S. market. At CES 2019, Hisense showed off the ULED XD, which is essentially comprised of two connected 4K LCD panels, and a proprietary chipset that reportedly offers exceptional deep blacks. Continue reading Hisense’s ULED XD TV Aims to Compete With OLED Tech

Alphabet Revenue Robust, But Costs of Diversification Grow

Alphabet’s revenue is booming, but its costs are also increasing, the result of its efforts to diversify beyond online advertising. Thus, although Internet search showed very strong returns, Alphabet shares fell in after-hours trading due to its shrinking margins and slower revenue growth. In addition to its Google search engine, Alphabet comprises YouTube and Waymo self-driving car divisions. The parent company’s increased spending on those two divisions in Q4 pushed margins down to 21 percent from 24 percent a year earlier. Continue reading Alphabet Revenue Robust, But Costs of Diversification Grow

Israeli Firm Debuts One-Camera Vehicle Surveillance System

At CES 2019, Tel Aviv-based Guardian Optical Technologies debuted Optical Cabin Control (OCC) for the car’s interior. The single camera, a bit bigger than one featured in a mobile phone, is installed in the car’s ceiling and uses machine learning to keep an eye on the driver — and the kids in the backseat. More specifically, the camera watches to see if the driver takes his hands off the wheel, his eyes off the road or closes his eyes. To train the system, the company hired a diverse group of people, wearing different clothes and holding various accessories and pets. Continue reading Israeli Firm Debuts One-Camera Vehicle Surveillance System

Facebook Fails to Police Device Makers’ Use of Personal Data

Last month, Facebook admitted that it failed to properly oversee the seven device manufacturers that the company allowed to access personal data of hundreds of million of people in order to build a so-called Facebook Experience. The Silicon Valley company detailed its errors, which was detected by its own government-approved privacy monitor in 2013, in a letter to Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), a privacy advocate and frequent Facebook critic. Meanwhile, Facebook users whose data was compromised have not been alerted. Continue reading Facebook Fails to Police Device Makers’ Use of Personal Data

California Passes Security Bill to Regulate Connected Devices

The California State Legislature recently passed a bill called “Information Privacy: Connected Devices” that creates regulations for IoT devices sold in the United States. SB-327, which applies to all devices that connect to the Internet and include an Internet Protocol or Bluetooth address, would require that security audits be conducted on components purchased overseas. The bill is the first of its kind in the U.S. and has been forwarded to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. While some have criticized the bill for not being specific or thorough enough, it could place pressure on manufacturers to offer better device-level protection against cyberattacks. Continue reading California Passes Security Bill to Regulate Connected Devices

Amazon to Tutor Chinese Firms on How to Sell to U.S., Europe

Amazon is scheduled to hold an event in Hangzhou, the city where its rival Alibaba has its headquarters, to get 400 Chinese manufacturers up to speed on buying trends among American and European consumers and be ready for the 2018 holiday season. The event, dubbed “Coming Together for U” and sponsored by Amazon Global Selling, is evidence of Amazon’s effort to dominate e-commerce globally. The company would earn revenue from helping Chinese manufacturers source goods from factories and ship them quickly to other countries. Continue reading Amazon to Tutor Chinese Firms on How to Sell to U.S., Europe

LG Unveils OLED TV That Rolls Out Like a Projector Screen

Four years after LG Display demonstrated an 18-inch, rollable OLED screen with the promise of larger future versions, the company has delivered with a 65-inch 4K version. Most reviewers are reporting eye-popping colors and perfect blacks; The Verge awarded the display Best Prototype at CES and described it as “absolutely stunning,” noting that it “goes from its native 16:9 to a wider 21:9 cinema mode at the press of a button.” In fact, the TV has three modes: the first mode unrolls the screen up from the base about a third of the way to offer content such as news, photos, weather and sports; the second rises to a 21:9 aspect ratio ideal for movie viewing; and the third mode presents the full 16:9 screen for watching television content. Continue reading LG Unveils OLED TV That Rolls Out Like a Projector Screen

Cynora’s New OLED Tech Garners Samsung, LG Investment

Samsung Ventures, the South Korean company’s investment unit, and LG’s Display division has invested €25 million ($30 million) in Bruchsal, Germany-based OLED display firm Cynora, founded in 2008. Cynora calls itself a leader in TADF (thermally activated delayed fluorescence) technology and is also developing a new type of organic high-efficiency blue OLED emitting material. With the rising popularity of OLED displays, several companies are working on new OLED emitter materials that will last longer and not use heavy metals. Continue reading Cynora’s New OLED Tech Garners Samsung, LG Investment

Amazon Now Spends More on R&D Than Other Companies

Despite an overall slowdown in U.S. productivity, tech companies currently lead the charge in overall spending on research and development, a key factor in measuring productivity of an economy. According to data about companies in the S&P 500 collected by analytic software firm FactSet, Amazon spends more on R&D than any other company in the U.S., followed by Alphabet, Intel, Microsoft and Apple. Other tech companies on the Top 20 list include Oracle, Cisco, Facebook, IBM and Qualcomm. Continue reading Amazon Now Spends More on R&D Than Other Companies

TCL Announces 4K Roku Smart TVs With Dolby Vision HDR

In 2014, TCL’s first Roku-driven smart TVs were aimed at consumers on a budget. Now, TCL is debuting two lines of higher-ticket TVs. The P and C series are the first 4K Roku TVs with Dolby Vision HDR. They also have Roku’s latest operating system, which allows the user to pause live TV for up to 90 minutes if he adds a USB flash drive to the TV. Another option enables recommendations of content based on viewing patterns. The P Series offers Dolby Vision HDR with local dimming; the C Series features a more contemporary design. Continue reading TCL Announces 4K Roku Smart TVs With Dolby Vision HDR

China’s Phone Makers Dominate Fast-Growing Market in India

In the last few months, Chinese smartphone brands have begun to dominate sales in India, the world’s fastest growing phone market. Led by Vivo, Chinese phones represented four of the top five phones there in Q4 2016, according to a report by Counterpoint Research, which noted that the move demoted former top-of-the-list Indian phones Micromax and Intex. Samsung is the smartphone manufacturer with the most to lose. Although its phones are still No. 1 in India, its share of sales nationwide lost 5 percent in the last year, now at 24 percent. Continue reading China’s Phone Makers Dominate Fast-Growing Market in India

Japan Display Plans to Introduce Flexible LCD Screens in 2018

Apple supplier Japan Display Inc. announced it plans to provide flexible LCD panels next year as part of an effort to take on its South Korean competitors. Samsung introduced the angled display for its Galaxy Edge series in 2014 using OLED tech. Rival LCDs were limited due to their glass layer, “which is why the LCD screens on Apple’s iPhone series — some made by Japan Display — are flat,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Japan Display’s new LCD uses plastic instead of glass. While not as flexible as OLED screens, Japan Display’s chief operating officer, Shuji Aruga, said it is flexible enough to be used in Galaxy Edge-type designs.” Continue reading Japan Display Plans to Introduce Flexible LCD Screens in 2018

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