Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

Gaming is available across multiple devices (such as consoles, phones, tablets, PCs) and numerous services, including Google Stadia and Microsoft Project xCloud, and subscription mobile gaming from Apple and Google. Most of the latest offerings have involved software and services, with new hardware releases expected for next year. For the holidays, a Microsoft Xbox One or Sony PlayStation 4 are good choices; the latest models, with better graphics and more storage than the 2013 versions, will go as low as $150 and $200, respectively, on Black Friday. Meanwhile, streaming services are improving and may replace the need for consoles among some gamers. Continue reading Google Stadia, Microsoft xCloud Advance Game Streaming

Motorola to Launch New Razr Phone With Foldable Display

Lenovo-owned Motorola is bringing back the iconic Razr flip phone as a 6.2-inch smartphone with a foldable display. The phone, which is priced at $1,499 and will be available in December for pre-order in the U.S. as a Verizon exclusive and in Europe, looks like a modern version of the phone originally launched in late 2004. The first Razr sold 130 million units and was a cultural touchstone before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. Currently, Lenovo only owns a small fraction of the global smartphone market. Continue reading Motorola to Launch New Razr Phone With Foldable Display

Big Tech Companies Make Progress on AR Smart Glasses

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Magic Leap, Microsoft and Snap are among the Big Tech companies working on creating smart glasses that we can wear everywhere — and that may even replace our smartphones. Currently, glasses are too big (and expensive), but in time are expected to achieve a sleeker form factor and come down in price. Smart glasses promise to dramatically shift how we engage with the world, and some advocates believe we will eventually be able to replace every screen we use with a single pair of glasses. Continue reading Big Tech Companies Make Progress on AR Smart Glasses

Apple Is Developing AR/VR Headset, Glasses, 3D Sensors

As reported in The Information, Apple is planning to launch a hybrid augmented reality/virtual reality headset in 2022 and a pair of AR glasses the following year. This recently released report stated that Apple chief executive Tim Cook spoke about the AR project in a 1,000-employee meeting, an unusually large gathering for the company. The report contained detailed information about Apple’s ideas about wearable AR devices. Apple has also developed a new 3D sensor system that will be integrated with the AR and VR devices. Continue reading Apple Is Developing AR/VR Headset, Glasses, 3D Sensors

T-Mobile Will Launch its 5G Networks in the U.S. This Year

T-Mobile plans to debut its U.S. 5G service on December 6, with a low-frequency 600MHz radio signal and 5G-capable devices to provide high-speed service to 200 million customers. The carrier has been building out its 5G capabilities for over a year and expects to be able to cover 5,000 cities and towns by the end of 2019. Samsung Galaxy Note10+ 5G and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren are the two devices customized for T-Mobile’s 5G network. China, meanwhile, rolled out the world’s largest 5G network, via three state-owned carriers. Continue reading T-Mobile Will Launch its 5G Networks in the U.S. This Year

Adobe Reveals AI-Enabled One-Click Audio Enhancement

At the Adobe MAX conference in Los Angeles this week, the company gave a sneak peek of its Project Awesome Audio, which will clean up problematic audio recordings in Adobe Audition with the click of a button. The project is the brainchild of Adobe research scientist Zeyu Jin who, back in 2016, demonstrated a tool that allows the user to easily insert speech into an existing clip. For Project Awesome Audio, Jin, with Princeton University computer science PhD student Jiaqi Su, leveraged Adobe’s Sensei AI for “end-to-end audio enhancement.” Adobe also showcased a mobile Photoshop app, a new AR authoring app, and more. Continue reading Adobe Reveals AI-Enabled One-Click Audio Enhancement

Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Netflix is testing variable playback speeds with a small group of Android users, much to the dismay of many Hollywood creatives. Judd Apatow, Brad Bird and Aaron Paul were among those who spoke against the feature, with Apatow noting that “distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.” There is evidence that some users prefer to consume media at faster speeds, to improve concentration and cover more material. Netflix vice president Keela Robison said subscribers had “frequently” requested the feature. Continue reading Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Nielsen Includes Amazon Prime Video in Its SVOD Ratings

Nielsen began tracking a second subscription streaming service — Amazon Prime Video — in its SVOD Content Ratings, which debuted in October 2017 with Netflix. For both services, Nielsen tracks only connected-TV viewing, excluding desktop and mobile devices, and only measures viewing in the United States. Nielsen released data points for Amazon Prime’s eight-episode “The Boys” produced by Sony Pictures Television, stating it reached nearly eight million viewers in the first 10 days of its premiere. Continue reading Nielsen Includes Amazon Prime Video in Its SVOD Ratings

Quibi, T-Mobile Partner to Offer Short-Form Mobile Content

Quibi, the Hollywood startup aimed at delivering “quick bite” mobile entertainment to millennials, has partnered with T-Mobile to deliver the streaming service when it launches in April. T-Mobile, the country’s third largest mobile network with 83.1 million customers, has been searching for entertainment partners to better compete with AT&T, which acquired Time Warner last year and plans to launch streaming service HBO Max next year. What the Quibi partnership means for T-Mobile subscribers has yet to be revealed. Continue reading Quibi, T-Mobile Partner to Offer Short-Form Mobile Content

FCC Formally Approves the Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

The Federal Communications Commission approved the merger between T-Mobile and Sprint yesterday, months after the Justice Department gave its approval. FCC chair Ajit Pai and Republican commissioners Brendan Carr and Michael O’Rielly indicated their support of the deal in May, believing that it would lead to a faster deployment of 5G. Democrats voted against the merger, and commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel argued that it would lead to higher prices and less innovation, ultimately impacting consumers. A coalition of state attorneys general are still attempting to prevent the merger with a multistate lawsuit. Continue reading FCC Formally Approves the Merger of T-Mobile and Sprint

AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

AMC Theatres is launching an iTunes-style digital video store today in the U.S. that will allow AMC Stubs members to rent or purchase movies for home viewing. Similar to the model introduced by Amazon, Apple and other VOD retailers, AMC Theatres On Demand will offer about 2,000 movies following their theatrical runs, despite the fact that chains have generally been at odds with online video. A major theater chain joining the expanding collection of studios, networks, tech companies and popular platforms already embracing this technology illustrates the impact of streaming video on entertainment media. Continue reading AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

Google Set to Announce 5G Phone Next Week, Say Sources

According to sources, Google may unveil the test version of a 5G smartphone as early as October 15, when it is also expected to also reveal two new 4G Pixel smartphones with OLED screens and possibly a smart watch and notebook. If Google does indeed introduce the 5G phone, it would get a significant jump on Apple, whose plans are to unveil a 5G phone in 2020. Google is making a bigger play in branded hardware to have a greater hold over consumers using its search engine and other software products. Continue reading Google Set to Announce 5G Phone Next Week, Say Sources

Google May Be Creating Android Game Certification Program

Mobile games are gaining in popularity, and AAA game publishers, Apple, Google, and smartphone OEMs are responding. The space will only grow as chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek enable mid-range smartphones to offer gaming. Asus, Black Shark, Nubia, Razer and others have already launched gaming-centric phones. In this environment, Google — concerned that smartphones will be powerful and predictable enough for Android game developers — may be developing a Game Device Certification program. Continue reading Google May Be Creating Android Game Certification Program

iPhone 11’s Deep Fusion Creates Composited HDR Images

With the beta of iOS 13.2 arriving with the new iPhone 11, Apple is previewing Deep Fusion, the company’s name for machine learning-aided computational photography to enhance details. The trick of snapping multiple exposures that are then composited into an ideal photo might not sit well with professional photographers, but the A13 Bionic-enabled iPhone 11 will do just that, beginning to shoot before the shutter button is pressed and then picking the best bits of the photos to create the best one possible. Continue reading iPhone 11’s Deep Fusion Creates Composited HDR Images

CTA Predicts SVOD, Smart TVs, 5G Will Drive CE Revenue

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), producers of January’s CES tech confab in Las Vegas, recently projected CE trends for 2020 and beyond after updating its semi-annual U.S. Consumer Sales and Forecasts report. According to Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP), a new division of Variety, key takeaways from the report most relevant to the entertainment industry include subscription video streaming services, smart TVs, 4K tech, gaming and 5G Internet (in addition to related networking options and VR/AR products). CTA anticipates consumer tech retail revenue will reach $415 billion in the U.S. next year, up 5.7 percent from 2018.  Continue reading CTA Predicts SVOD, Smart TVs, 5G Will Drive CE Revenue

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