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

Google Expands Its YouTube TV Service to 10 New Markets

On Thursday, Google launched its YouTube TV service in 10 new markets, including Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Phoenix and Washington D.C. The company says it is now streaming live local programming to more than a third of the U.S. The $35-per-month Internet TV service offers live local feeds from major broadcast networks ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, in addition to cable networks such as AMC, ESPN, IFC and USA. The new service, which initially launched in April, is now available in 15 U.S. markets. Continue reading Google Expands Its YouTube TV Service to 10 New Markets

Google Aims to Deploy Both Wireless and Fiber with Webpass

Google Fiber, an Alphabet company, just asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to expand its current service using the 70/80 Ghz band to connect apartments to high-speed Internet. The technology, which Google Fiber acquired by purchasing San Francisco broadband company Webpass, beams Internet signals to the roofs of apartment buildings, from there connecting individual apartments via cable. Now, Google Fiber wants to roll out this service on a much larger scale. Continue reading Google Aims to Deploy Both Wireless and Fiber with Webpass

Sony PS Vue Offers HBO, Cinemax as Standalones or Bundle

Following Sony’s recent announcement that the company’s PlayStation Vue streaming service would offer HBO and Cinemax, both premium cable channels are now available as standalones for $15 per month or as part of a new bundle. In addition, the HBO Now app launched yesterday on PS3 and PS4 consoles. According to The Verge, “the new Ultra bundle will include all of Vue’s current offerings, including HBO and Showtime, for $64.99 per month in most locations, and $74.99 per month in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, and Miami. PlayStation says Vue is the first streaming service to offer live programming from HBO and Cinemax without a bundle subscription.” Continue reading Sony PS Vue Offers HBO, Cinemax as Standalones or Bundle

Dish Unveils New Sling TV Packages and Adds More Channels

Dish announced it is updating its Sling TV streaming service to include popular channels such as Bravo, BBC America, NBC, Syfy and USA. Sling TV will also offer new price packages intended to attract those without pay TV service. “Dish has named its basic $20 single-screen package Sling Orange, and added Sling Blue, a $25 multiscreen package, which will feature local NBC broadcasts in 10 cities,” reports Bloomberg. “Customers can buy a combination of Blue and Orange for $40 a month.” Sling currently has more than 700,000 subscribers. Continue reading Dish Unveils New Sling TV Packages and Adds More Channels

Walmart Evolving its Supply Chain with Uber, Lyft and Drones

Later this month in Denver and Phoenix, Walmart will launch a pilot project, in partnership with Uber and Lyft, to deliver groceries to homes. Other companies that have competed in this area include Instacart, DoorDash, the U.S. Postal Service, Uber and Amazon, all of which vie to establish accounts with retailers and restaurants. Walmart is also testing a delivery service with its warehouse company Sam’s Club in Miami, using startup Deliv, which also handles same-day deliveries for Kohl’s, Macy’s and others. Continue reading Walmart Evolving its Supply Chain with Uber, Lyft and Drones

AT&T Winning Race to Gigabit Internet, Passing Google Fiber

Google’s super-fast broadband service, Google Fiber, has only debuted in four cities serving fewer than 100,000 people. But its very existence spurred Comcast and AT&T to up their game, offering the same 1-gigabit Internet speed. Now, the leader, AT&T, offers its GigaPower service in 20 urban areas, and Comcast, which tested cable-based gigabit in Atlanta, has plans to roll it out in Nashville, Chicago, Detroit and Miami later this year. That probably suits Google just fine, since its end game is to sell ads requiring that speed. Continue reading AT&T Winning Race to Gigabit Internet, Passing Google Fiber

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

Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery a New Focus for Companies

In shipping news, retailers and tech companies continue to compete for consumers’ attention by offering fast and affordable delivery options. While Amazon, Google and others continue their plans for drone delivery — and companies continue to experiment with one- and two-hour delivery in major cities — recent news has surfaced that Apple is teaming with Postmates to offer same-day delivery of Apple Store items, Walmart is developing a new three-day shipping service, and Amazon is introducing free shipping on thousands of smaller goods. Continue reading Free Shipping and Speedy Delivery a New Focus for Companies

Amazon Receives FAA Approval to Test Drones in Open Spaces

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Amazon’s request to test drones outdoors. The FAA is stipulating that the tests be conducted only during the day and no higher than 400 feet off the ground. Amazon is hoping that unmanned aerial vehicles may be used for a future 30-minute package delivery service, and the open-space testing would help in its development efforts. During testing, Amazon will report to the FAA regarding the number of flights, any software issues and related data. Continue reading Amazon Receives FAA Approval to Test Drones in Open Spaces

Prime Now Delivery Service Expands to Baltimore and Miami

Amazon’s Prime Now one-hour delivery service, which launched last year in Manhattan as a benefit to Prime members and recently expanded to more New York neighborhoods, is now available in select areas of Baltimore and Miami. From 8:00 am to 10:00 pm, seven days a week, the service offers free two-hour delivery, and one-hour delivery in select zip codes for a $7.99 charge. Prime members interested in the ultrafast delivery service can download the Prime Now app, available for iOS and Android. Continue reading Prime Now Delivery Service Expands to Baltimore and Miami

Verizon Wireless Promises Double the Bandwidth with XLTE

Following months of expanding its LTE data pipes, Verizon Wireless is now offering improved 4G speeds under its new “XLTE” banner. The carrier is introducing improved performance in areas where it has added AWS wireless spectrum. Verizon promises that XLTE regions will feature double the bandwidth and faster peak speeds. The company says that more than 35 percent of devices operating on its network can take advantage of the added capacity of AWS. Continue reading Verizon Wireless Promises Double the Bandwidth with XLTE

Google and AT&T Race to Expand U.S. Fiber Optic Networks

AT&T announced plans to bring its high-speed fiber optic network, AT&T U-verse with GigaPower, to as many as 100 cities, including some that are already part of Google Fiber’s planned expansion in the next few years. AT&T and Google have fiber optic development planned in several of the same cities, such as San Antonio, Texas; San Jose, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina. Continue reading Google and AT&T Race to Expand U.S. Fiber Optic Networks

Sprint Delivers Increased Speed with New 4G LTE Networks

Sprint is bulking up with an enhanced LTE, promising “unprecedented speeds” for its mobile subscribers. The company announced the new 4G service Spark this week, as well as two new LTE networks, which offer a vast improvement upon current speeds. In a lab test, Sprint showed off an LTE link with 1Gbps, promising speeds would continue to go up. With multiple antennas and carrier aggregation, it’s using a full spectrum of frequencies that average 50 to 60Mbps. Continue reading Sprint Delivers Increased Speed with New 4G LTE Networks

Verizon to Launch Public Beta of Cloud Platform This Year

Verizon is planning to roll out a public beta of its Verizon Cloud “Infrastructure as a Service” platform and cloud-based object storage in the fourth quarter of this year. Verizon Cloud, which includes two primary components — Verizon Cloud Compute (the IaaS platform) and Verizon Cloud Storage (an object-based service) — will target enterprises, mid-size companies and development shops. The launch will initially involve a few hundred new users per month. Continue reading Verizon to Launch Public Beta of Cloud Platform This Year

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