Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitiello drew a fresh picture of the XR industry in his keynote address at the Vision VR/AR Summit 2017 in Hollywood this week (extended reality — or XR — is an umbrella term that includes VR, AR and MR). Riccitiello admonished analysts for their overly exuberant prognostications and reactionary pessimism about the VR market. He projected that XR adoption and value calculations will exceed expectations in 2023 if three conditions are met: a price point below $1,000 for all the necessary hardware; truly mobile technology; and content that can be monetized across 100,000,000 devices, at minimum. Continue reading Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

Apple iPhone Sales Dip While Apple Pay, Apple Watch Soar

In the latest quarter, Apple’s profit and revenue have ticked upward, but the company is experiencing problems with its iPhone, whose sales dropped 1 percent from the previous year to 50.8 million phones. The dip in sales is attributed to customers waiting for the 10-year anniversary phone, due in the fall, and weakness in China. Despite the slump, sales of the iPhone 7 were somewhat strong, pushing total revenue up 4.6 percent to $52.90 billion. In contrast to the iPhone, Apple Pay transactions and Apple Watch sales soared. Continue reading Apple iPhone Sales Dip While Apple Pay, Apple Watch Soar

Apple Stops Licensing Payments to Chip Provider Qualcomm

After a period of growing tension over their contract, Apple finally told Qualcomm, which provides the iPhone’s main components, that it will no longer pay licensing revenue to iPhone contract manufacturers. Apple is Qualcomm’s main source of profit, and a permanent end to this technology licensing revenue would be damaging to the chip manufacturer. This contract has been in force since Apple debuted the iPhone in 2007. As a result of Apple’s move, Qualcomm has downgraded its recently released forecasts. Continue reading Apple Stops Licensing Payments to Chip Provider Qualcomm

NAB 2017: Next Gen TV Will Bring Innovation, New Revenues

An NAB panel on upcoming changes in Digital TV, moderated by NAB vice president of spectrum policy Alison Neplokh, focused on the challenges and promises of deploying ATSC 3.0., or as an increasing number of industry experts are dubbing it, Next Gen TV. Neplokh noted that FCC chair Ajit Pai stated the rules will be in place by the end of 2017, enabling broadcasters to adopt it quickly. South Korea is also going online with ATSC 3.0 next month, allowing U.S. broadcasters to learn from its experiences. Continue reading NAB 2017: Next Gen TV Will Bring Innovation, New Revenues

NAB 2017: A Look at VR Short ‘Pearl’ and Its Ambisonic Audio

Oscar-nominated “Pearl,” the short VR film directed by Passion Pictures’ Patrick Osborne, was the focus of a discussion about ambisonic audio during this week’s ETC conference on VR/AR in Las Vegas. Google Spotlight Stories creative director, audio and music Scot Stafford and Dramatic Audio Post sound designer/mixer Jamey Scott described their work on the film as well as their path to working on 360-degree and VR movies. Stafford pointed to his work at a story incubator at Motorola, run by Google, to make content for the mobile platform. Continue reading NAB 2017: A Look at VR Short ‘Pearl’ and Its Ambisonic Audio

NAB 2017: Parks Associates Study Finds That TV Is Still King

Parks Associates debuted a report looking at trends in OTT, focusing on 2010 through 2016. Senior research analyst Glenn Hower stated that TV remains the top viewing platform by hours of video watched in U.S. households. “Yes, people do watch video on lots of devices,” said Hower. “But it hasn’t cannibalized TV.” Among those devices, viewing on computers has leveled out, whereas mobile phones and tablets have seen modest increases, but low overall viewership, which means people are watching a lot of short form content.” Continue reading NAB 2017: Parks Associates Study Finds That TV Is Still King

Facebook Develops Interface to Type Words via Brain Waves

At Facebook research unit Building 8, former Alphabet’s Regina Dugan is overseeing a project that will allow people to type using brain signals, the ultimate in hands-free smartphone communication. Dugan reports that, within a few years time, the system will be able to type 100 words per minute by monitoring the brain and without any implants. The technology may not require the person to think in letters. The same lab is also working on a way for people to hear through their skin.

Continue reading Facebook Develops Interface to Type Words via Brain Waves

Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

In a first for Yahoo-owned Tumblr, the blogging platform is launching a group video chat app it has named Cabana. The new app — available now on iOS and coming to Android next month — enables video chat for up to six users who can also stream YouTube video content while chatting. Blogging remains the company’s primary focus, but Cabana represents the first communication app it has developed. Tumblr is “not pivoting, but definitely exploring a new direction here,” said founder/CEO David Karp. “The idea is similar to Houseparty, the app from the company behind former live-streaming darling Meerkat,” notes Recode, and “similar to Airtime, Sean Parker’s chat startup that was revived a year ago.” Continue reading Tumblr Explores a New Direction with Video Chat App Cabana

Snap Widens Snap to Store, Serving User Data to Advertisers

Snap is opening up Snap to Store, letting advertisers make the best use of Snapchat’s database to determine how well their ads are working. Snap has been testing Snap to Store since 2016, with Paramount Pictures and 7-Eleven among a handful of others who would like to know if their campaigns are actually driving viewers to movie theaters, stores and other venues. Now, Snap is rolling out Snap to Store to more brands, in retail, fast food, movie and automotive, as well as providing more data and a proprietary digital dashboard. Continue reading Snap Widens Snap to Store, Serving User Data to Advertisers

T-Mobile Is Biggest Spender in Government Spectrum Auction

The results of the government’s wireless airwaves auction are in, and T-Mobile ended up as the biggest spender at $8 billion, followed by Dish at $6.2 billion and Comcast at $1.7 billion. The FCC auction, which began last year, generated $19.8 billion in bids. While the companies have yet to announce their plans for the spectrum, Comcast recently indicated that it would offer cell service to its Internet subscribers. Conclusion of the auction also means that companies will be able to resume deal discussions by April 27, now that bidding collusion is no longer a concern. Continue reading T-Mobile Is Biggest Spender in Government Spectrum Auction

AMD Pitches Latency-Free Virtual Reality via Super-Fast Wi-Fi

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has acquired Nitero, a startup responsible for a 60-gigahertz wireless chip that transmits high-res video without latency. AMD, which bought the company for an undisclosed price, believes that Nitero’s chip will enable it to push sales of more wireless virtual reality headsets. Sales of VR headsets, according to AMD executive Roy Taylor, have been limited due to their need to be tethered to a computer. Nitero was originally a spinoff from a research center sponsored by the Australian government. Continue reading AMD Pitches Latency-Free Virtual Reality via Super-Fast Wi-Fi

Roku Signs Licensing Deal with TiVo, Gains Access to Patents

Roku and TiVo have signed a multiyear IP agreement that will provide Roku with access to thousands of patents. According to Variety, the license “agreement covers the TiVo and Rovi patent portfolios as well as the over-the-top patents in the Intellectual Ventures portfolio under the TiVo-IV licensing partnership. TiVo in its current instantiation was formed out of Rovi’s $1.1 billion acquisition of the DVR maker last year.” There are currently about 6,000 issued and pending patents in the combined company’s portfolio covering tech “including interactive program guides, DVR functions and mobile device media processes.” Continue reading Roku Signs Licensing Deal with TiVo, Gains Access to Patents

Facebook’s 5 Million Advertisers Get New, More Robust Tools

Facebook now counts more than 5 million active advertisers, of which 1 million — 75 percent outside the U.S. — signed on in the last seven months. E-commerce, media and entertainment, and retail are the most popular verticals. To make it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to advertise, Facebook introduced a new suite of tools. Within Ad Manager, one-click will reinstate high-performing ads. A new “studio” allows businesses to build ads via a mobile device, and Facebook also expanded its small business council. Continue reading Facebook’s 5 Million Advertisers Get New, More Robust Tools

Apple Clips Launches: Cool Features, But Not Always Intuitive

Apple is debuting a standalone video app called Apple Clips that allows users to shoot, edit and share video clips for mobile phones. Apple Clips, for iOS 10.3 or higher, features real-time captioning and facial recognition as well as giant emoji, cartoon filters and lively title screens — and the end results can be distributed to iMessage contacts. Automatic captioning, dubbed Live Titles, allows the user to choose a font and style; after hitting record, the app transcribes speech to text. But less ideal features mar the app, say critics. Continue reading Apple Clips Launches: Cool Features, But Not Always Intuitive

YouTube TV Aims to Convert Cord-Nevers to New Subscribers

YouTube TV has premiered in several cities with 40+ channels of entertainment, news and sports at $35/month. The aim is to entice so-called cord-nevers — millennials who have never paid for cable — to subscribe, to watch on-demand on any device. YouTube has already reached one billion viewers, so if even a tiny fraction signs up, it could be a win for advertisers and YouTube owner Google. Among its competition in the Internet TV market are Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Sony PlayStation Vue. Continue reading YouTube TV Aims to Convert Cord-Nevers to New Subscribers

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