Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Market research firm Gartner is forecasting a decline for CE device spending in 2016. While end-user sales are expected to inch up less than 2 percent this year, overall spending on devices like PCs, tablets and mobile devices will decline, according to the researcher. This decrease, the first since Gartner started tracking the market in 2010, is largely due to the falling price of phones. In markets like China, consumers are opting for basic models of smartphones rather than upgrading to higher-end devices. Continue reading Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

Google is testing an app downloading shortcut that bypasses its Google Play app as part of an experiment to make using Google’s search app more convenient. The company is currently testing the shortcut with a subset of Android users, a typical approach by Google when developing new products. The test is limited to the search app for now and does not include using Google.com via browsers. While a spokesperson explains the company is committed to “finding the content you need as easy as possible,” Google has not announced whether the shortcut would become a permanent feature. Continue reading Experiment Bypasses Google Play with Search App Shortcut

PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

Recent industry reports suggest that 2015 was a challenging year for PCs. Industry analysis companies Gartner and IDC both issued reports showing a drop in the PC market of 8 and 10.4 percent, respectively. That 2.4 percent difference is based on how the two companies defined PCs. Gartner included detachable devices such as Microsoft’s Surface — which are becoming more popular — in its numbers, but IDC did not, now saying that including hybrid devices would have meant a 7.5 percent decline. Continue reading PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Twitter now allows some mobile users to watch live video feeds on its sister app Periscope within the Twitter timeline. Previously, Twitter users linked to Periscope broadcasts via the discrete app. Acquired by Twitter in 2015, Periscope has taken off among users who use it to broadcast their whereabouts from smartphones. Users have posted an estimated 100 million live feeds on Periscope in the 10 months since its purchase. By linking the two apps, Twitter will introduce Periscope to new users and become home to more content. Continue reading Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

Clarion is bringing what it claims to be the first fully digital, in-car audio system to CES this week. The company’s Full Digital Sound (FDS) system also plays high-resolution audio. “This all-digital approach operates on a purely digital audio signal from the source to the speaker voice coils, resulting in pristine sounding audio with zero loss in quality and no added noise from DACs or analog connections,” explained the company. The digital signal travels from the head unit to a processor and then to the speakers; at no point is it converted from digital to analog or passed through an amplifier. Continue reading Clarion to Demo its New Full Digital Car Sound System at CES

CES 2016: Sensors Connect Wearables, the Internet of Things

In China, parents strap “children’s watches” on their offspring to track their movements and sound the alarm if the child leaves the schoolyard. Sensors will soon be able to tell if grandma has fallen down in the living room, and smart fabrics, with embedded sensors, will soon be assisting patients, soldiers and first responders. Just a couple of years ago, wearables were just fitness trackers and smartwatches. At CES 2016, we’ll see the sensors that power wearables expand as engines to the Internet of Things. Continue reading CES 2016: Sensors Connect Wearables, the Internet of Things

Microsoft Strategy Sees Chaotic Future of Countless Devices

Everyone agrees that the mobile phone is the dominant digital computing device, and likely to remain so for some time to come. But consensus breaks down when it comes to a vision of the device that will take second place in the future. Apple and Google have both created that secondary device — Apple with its iPad and Mac, Google with its Android tablets and Chromebook laptops. Now Microsoft has unveiled its vision of the future… and it’s chaos. The company is planning for a future in which no single device dominates. Continue reading Microsoft Strategy Sees Chaotic Future of Countless Devices

Digital Hollywood: Platforms Battle to Dominate TV Viewership

A group of industry experts gathered to determine what platform(s) would be the ultimate TV winner. OTT, over-the-air broadcast, cross-platform, multiscreen experience, set-top boxes, mobile devices and consoles were all fair game for conversation. Among the more interesting pronouncements were that set-top boxes are on their way out (although it may take some time), that the proliferation of apps begs for aggregation, and that the lowly antenna is regarded as a miracle device by millennials. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: Platforms Battle to Dominate TV Viewership

Digital Hollywood: Defining and Engaging the Digital Consumer

The digital consumer is undergoing a redefinition, said a panel of experts at Digital Hollywood focused on “Hollywood and the Digital Consumer: How Technology Content and Services Establish the Next Level of Consumer Entertainment Experience.” “We can agree that we no longer need the adjective,” said moderator Don Levy, president of Smith Brook Farm and consultant with ETC@USC. “It’s now just our customer, the audience.” Mobile platforms and niche markets are among the trends that dominate consumer behavior, said the panelists. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: Defining and Engaging the Digital Consumer

Ad-Blockers Improve Load Times, Battery Life and Phone Bills

While ethical questions can be raised in regards to ad-blocking, the advantages seem obvious. All those ads clutter up the page, slow down load times and eat up battery life, say proponents of ad-blocking software. Over four days, staffers from The New York Times tested ad-blocking apps Crystal, Purify and 1Blocker on their iPhones, and “measured how much the programs cut down on Web page data sizes and improved loading times, and also how much they increased the smartphone’s battery life.” The results favored ad-blockers for mobile devices. Continue reading Ad-Blockers Improve Load Times, Battery Life and Phone Bills

Qualcomm Debuts Small, Light Drone with 4K Camera Support

Qualcomm has introduced Snapdragon Flight, a platform for consumer drones that has been under development for the last six months. Named after Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 processor, the platform supports a 4K video camera, two cameras for depth and a fourth for indoor stabilization. Snapdragon Flight supports Sony IMX camera sensors for video and Omnivision OV7251 sensors for computer vision. Companies that adopt the platform should be able to develop drones for sale within the first half of 2016. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Small, Light Drone with 4K Camera Support

Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Forty-five million small business use Facebook Pages, and the Silicon Valley company is now upgrading the app to make it easier for them to make money with the feature by reaching mobile users. The upgrade includes a tabbed mobile layout, so businesses can display storefront sections and let visitors shop for products or look at a list of services. The new Pages also makes it much easier for a user to contact the small business in question, with Call Now, Send Message and Contact Us graphics bigger, more prominent and colorful. Continue reading Facebook Builds Pages into Digital Mall for Small Businesses

Facebook Personal Assistant Integrates AI with Human Touch

Facebook just launched its new personal assistant, M, to a few hundred San Francisco Bay Area users. Unlike Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, however, M is not just powered by artificial intelligence. M does all the same things that Siri and Cortana do, but it adds a team of experienced customer service reps to accomplish more “human” tasks such as calling the cable company and enduring automated messages and holds. Facebook is disadvantaged on mobile devices, but the company hopes its efficiency will spur usage. Continue reading Facebook Personal Assistant Integrates AI with Human Touch

Apple Focuses on Business Computing as iPad Sales Decline

Sales of the once-popular iPads are tumbling, and Apple is taking a hard look at business computing as a way to offset the loss. To make the iPad a tool more compatible to the workplace, the Silicon Valley company has begun to collaborate with more than 40 technology companies to create the kinds of apps and tools that will make it appealing to businesses, a sector it has never seriously gone after. With an estimated $2 trillion spent every year on technology for the workplace, the stakes are big. Continue reading Apple Focuses on Business Computing as iPad Sales Decline

Ad-Blocking Results in $22B in Lost Ad Revenue, Says Report

Ad-blocking software has grown dramatically in usage; an estimated 200 million people worldwide now use ad-blocking software of which 45 million are in the U.S. That’s one of the findings of a report sponsored by Adobe and PageFair, two companies concerned about the implications of such software on the advertising industry. Ad-blocking is responsible for nearly $22 billion in lost revenue this year. The Dublin-based PageFair focuses on helping advertisers regain some of this lost revenue. Continue reading Ad-Blocking Results in $22B in Lost Ad Revenue, Says Report