BBC Partners with Microsoft to Release Beeb Voice Assistant

The BBC partnered with Microsoft to release an early version of Beeb, its digital voice assistant. Its U.K. debut will be part of Microsoft’s Windows Insider Program to encourage users to help improve Beeb prior to a wider rollout. The BBC first announced Beeb last year, noting that the aim was to integrate voice services into all its products. The public broadcaster will collect data by requiring users to log in to Beeb with their BBC accounts but such data will not be used for targeted ads. Continue reading BBC Partners with Microsoft to Release Beeb Voice Assistant

Microsoft: Remote Work Needs Outpace Supply Chain Issues

Microsoft expected the original $10.75-$11.15 billion Q1 forecast for its personal-computing business to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 disruptions, yet the company reported that its PC group generated $11 billion in sales as consumers continue to stay at home. The PC group benefited from an increased demand for remote work and education solutions, as well as a 2 percent rise in Xbox sales, a solid increase from a drop in the previous quarter. Microsoft’s PC business includes licensing revenue from PC sales, its Xbox video-game platform and popular Surface laptops. Continue reading Microsoft: Remote Work Needs Outpace Supply Chain Issues

Microsoft Unveils New 365 Personal/Family Plans This Month

Microsoft rolled out its new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions, to be available April 21. The plans, which will replace and enhance current Office 365 plans, are priced at $6.99 per month for Personal (one person) plans and $9.99 per month for Family (up to six people) plans. Both of the new plans include Office and access to a Microsoft Family Safety app and new features in Microsoft Teams for consumers, both of which will debut later this year. Other new features will continue to be unveiled over time. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils New 365 Personal/Family Plans This Month

Epic Games Becomes Game Publisher, Acquires Cubic Motion

Last week, Epic Games revealed its plans to fund, introduce and market new multi-platform video games, under the new Epic Games Publishing division. Epic Games stated that it will fund “up to 100 percent of all game development costs … studios will retain 100 percent control of their intellectual property … [and] once costs are recouped developers will earn at least 50 percent of profits.” Epic games also acquired Cubic Motion, which offers automated performance-driven facial animation technology. Continue reading Epic Games Becomes Game Publisher, Acquires Cubic Motion

Nvidia Launches Its GeForce NOW Cloud Gaming Service

Nvidia debuted its GeForce NOW gaming service, putting it in competition with rivals Apple, Google, Microsoft and Sony. It will connect to PCs, Android phones and Apple Macs, but there is no version for iPads or iPhones. After a free promotional period, GeForce NOW will be priced at $4.99 per month. The games will stream from Nvidia’s data centers, powered by its highest-end graphics cards, providing high definition gaming to all compatible devices. The service will also allow consumers to access titles they’ve bought elsewhere. Continue reading Nvidia Launches Its GeForce NOW Cloud Gaming Service

Intel Earnings Rise with Increased Data Center, PC Demand

Starting in Q4 2019, chipmakers — including Intel and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing — began enjoying an upswing in demand that led to better sales and earnings. Data centers and personal computers appear to be fueling the increased demand. Intel, for example, reported that “adjusted earnings per share in [that] quarter rose to $1.52 from $1.28 in the year-prior period.” FactSet analysts predicted only $1.25 per share on an adjusted basis and $19.23 billion in sales. In fact, sales rose 8 percent to $20.21 billion. Continue reading Intel Earnings Rise with Increased Data Center, PC Demand

CTA Reveals Compelling New Stats for Gaming and eSports

According to a study on “2019 Future of Gaming” from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), 70 percent of Americans aged 13 to 64, an estimated 192 million people, currently play electronic games. This significant demographic shift over the last ten years has largely been sparked by the introduction of live game streaming services, which have added a social and connected experience. The study defined gamers as those who played video games at least one hour over the past three months. CTA published a second report on the growth of eSports. Continue reading CTA Reveals Compelling New Stats for Gaming and eSports

Apple to Pay $1B For Intel’s Smartphone Modem Business

Earlier this week, we reported that Apple was close to a deal to pick up Intel’s 5G mobile chip business. Now it’s official. Apple revealed yesterday that it would spend $1 billion to purchase the majority of the chip giant’s smartphone modem business in a deal expected to close during the fourth quarter. The acquisition, which will provide Apple with new intellectual property, equipment, leases and about 2,200 Intel employees, should help the company gain more control over the development of wireless tech for its iPhones and reduce its reliance on Intel-rival Qualcomm. Continue reading Apple to Pay $1B For Intel’s Smartphone Modem Business

Intel Combines Ambient Computing, AI, Modular Computing

At Computex in Taipei this week, Intel held a Technology Open House and debuted its 10th generation Intel Core processors and prototype devices that combine ambient computing, artificial intelligence and modular computing. Project Athena to bring AI to the PC was also on display, and the company unveiled its Intel NUC Compute Element, available for several processors. Intel corporate vice president of client engineering Jim Johnson stressed that the company is putting “a new class of compute performance and intelligence in people’s hands.” Continue reading Intel Combines Ambient Computing, AI, Modular Computing

Study: High-End VR Activity Increased Significantly in 2018

According to a new report from research firm IDC, consumer interest has waned recently for smartphone-dependent VR devices, while tethered and standalone models are growing more popular. IDC surveyed 1,643 VR users across France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and learned that the number of “high-performance” VR headsets increased 60 percent from 2017 to 3.9 million devices in 2018. The study identified different categories of users, based on their amount of time spent with VR devices, including a “hardcore” group (12 percent) that spent 16 or more hours monthly with VR. Continue reading Study: High-End VR Activity Increased Significantly in 2018

Apple and Qualcomm Call Truce and Drop Patent Litigation

Apple and Qualcomm agreed to a new license agreement and announced they would dismiss all litigation worldwide between the two companies. The truce brings a close to an extended legal battle over royalties involving smartphone tech. Apple has agreed to pay Qualcomm an undisclosed amount and Qualcomm will supply modem chips to Apple as part of a new multiyear deal. Hours after the settlement between Apple and Qualcomm was announced, chip rival Intel revealed it would cancel its plans to manufacture modem chips for 5G smartphones. Continue reading Apple and Qualcomm Call Truce and Drop Patent Litigation

Microsoft Extends Defender ATP Software to Mac Platform

Microsoft will extend its Windows Defender software to include computers running macOS. In the process, the company renamed the software Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection (ATP); the original name was the Windows Defender ATP. The dedicated Mac-based Defender ATP will perform speedy or full scans and offer complete virus and threat protection. Businesses with a mix of PCs and Macs will have the opportunity to test out the software; currently, the new software is only available to business clients. Continue reading Microsoft Extends Defender ATP Software to Mac Platform

LG to Unveil the Market’s Lightest 17-Inch Laptop PC at CES

LG Electronics will introduce the world’s lightest 17-inch laptop during CES in January. The new LG gram 17 weighs a mere 1,340 grams (as compared to the 2,000+ grams of comparable laptops), while offering a 17-inch WQXGA 16:10 display featuring 2560 x 1600 resolution, making it ideal for streaming video, playing games and editing multiple documents simultaneously. The company will also unveil the 14-inch LG gram 2-in-1 convertible with digital pen support that features a 360-degree hinge, enabling it to function as a laptop or a tablet. Both devices have been named 2019 CES Innovation Award winners. Continue reading LG to Unveil the Market’s Lightest 17-Inch Laptop PC at CES

Ericsson Forecast: 5G Rollout Will Set New Record for Speed

According to an Ericsson Mobility report, 5G will have the fastest rollout in mobile history, achieving mass market status in 2020 and available in 40 percent of the world by 2024. As a provider of 5G infrastructure hardware, Ericsson is well positioned to make this prediction, although it tempered its own enthusiasm by warning that, “many challenges lie ahead.” Ericsson based its forecast on the fact that manufacturers are building 5G chips and devices and consumer anticipation for 5G is higher than previous generations. Continue reading Ericsson Forecast: 5G Rollout Will Set New Record for Speed

Digital Viewing Steadily Increases Across Multiple Age Groups

Digital viewing is growing across age groups as traditional TV viewing declines, according to eMarketer. The researcher estimates that 64.8 million millennials will watch digital video this year at least once a month, a projection expected to reach 66.8 million by 2022. Meanwhile, 59 million millennials are expected to watch traditional TV in 2018, a figure projected to decline in coming years. The trend is growing with Gen X in the U.S. as well; eMarketer projects that 51.8 million (representing more than three-quarters of the Gen X population) will watch digital video at least once a month. And kids 11 and younger? Not surprisingly, 24.2 million with turn to digital viewing this year. Continue reading Digital Viewing Steadily Increases Across Multiple Age Groups

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