Samsung Unveils New Devices with Tizen Operating System

At Samsung’s Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco last week, the world’s largest phone maker introduced two of the first products, a smartphone and a TV, to run on the company’s own Tizen operating system. Samsung is hoping that using the open-source Tizen, instead of Google’s Android system, will differentiate them from other electronics companies. The major challenge for the company is getting developers to create apps for the fledgling operating system. Continue reading Samsung Unveils New Devices with Tizen Operating System

Amazon Readies Launch of First Smartphone with Prime Data

Amazon’s first smartphone, to be released this summer, is expected to offer a unique wireless data plan called “Prime Data.” The phone will feature hardware-assisted 3D effects, four low-power infrared cameras to track the user’s head in relation to the display, and new no-touch gesture controls. It is possible that Amazon’s phone could be made exclusive to AT&T in the U.S., which would result in the first deal based on the “Sponsored Data” program. Continue reading Amazon Readies Launch of First Smartphone with Prime Data

NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

According to top-secret 2011 documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA is collecting online images of people for its facial recognition programs. As estimated in the documents, the agency intercepts about 55,000 images that have facial-recognition quality. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that these technologies could result in an invasion of privacy. However, neither privacy nor surveillance laws protect against the government’s use of facial images. Continue reading NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

Internet Trends Report: Overall Growth Slows, Mobile on Rise

It’s that time of year again. Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, presented her annual report on Internet trends at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California on Wednesday. Meeker noted that growth in Internet usage was slowing, but overall mobile data consumption (pushed by video) is up 81 percent, due to the growing popularity of tablets and smartphones. While mobile accounted for 14 percent of Web usage last year, it is up to 25 percent today. Continue reading Internet Trends Report: Overall Growth Slows, Mobile on Rise

Forrester Sees Growth in Use of Big Data Despite Confusion

In a survey of 259 marketing and business development execs in finance, retail and consumer products, Forrester Research found that one-third of the respondents were confused about big data, and only 9 percent plan to implement related technologies in the next year. Forrester also found in a parallel survey that 452 technology execs at the same companies claimed they were more familiar with big data. Despite the confusion, the report encourages companies to take advantage of data supplied by Internet users and connected devices.

Continue reading Forrester Sees Growth in Use of Big Data Despite Confusion

Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

Later this year, Samsung is reportedly planning to announce a virtual reality headset that will work with Galaxy phones and tablets. The headset with OLED screen is designed to provide gamers with a more immersive experience for Android-based video games. Facebook and Sony have been developing their own VR headsets with the much-hyped Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, but Samsung hopes to offer its product before the competition and at a lower price. Continue reading Samsung Developing Virtual Reality Headset for Video Games

New Samsung Smartwatch Runs Tizen, Bypasses Smartphone

Samsung is expanding its smartwatch offering to include a smart watch-phone that can send and receive calls without the need for a separate smartphone. The new Tizen device, which the company hopes to unveil this summer, will also feature a camera, GPS, email management, Bluetooth and heart rate monitor. Samsung also filed a patent last week that details another smartphone project, which includes a camera that can be operated by touchless gestures. Continue reading New Samsung Smartwatch Runs Tizen, Bypasses Smartphone

Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Energous and Witricity have developed new ways to charge smartphones, tablets and other small devices without needing wires to plug them into an outlet. Energous’ WattUp technology allows users to recharge phones in special cases or receivers that can pick up signals from a transmitter that is plugged in more than 10 feet away. Toyota and TDK are already planning to utilize Witricity’s wireless charging technology in upcoming hybrid and electric cars, and car batteries. Continue reading Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Sony, Panasonic May Team Up for Mobile Panel Tech Venture

Sony and Panasonic are reportedly in early discussions to create a joint venture in next-gen panel tech for mobile devices with key Apple supplier Japan Display Inc. While OLED tech for TVs has been a pursuit of numerous companies, LG and Samsung have led the charge for smaller screens in mobile devices. According to people familiar with the matter, Japanese manufacturers hope they can compete with their Korean rivals in smaller panels through the new joint venture. Continue reading Sony, Panasonic May Team Up for Mobile Panel Tech Venture

Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

The Fox Now video app allows users to watch recent episodes of Fox series the day after they air. In a new update to its version for Apple devices, Fox has added a feature that suggests shows to the user based on preferences and viewing history. The upgraded user interface, which is based on the iOS 7 design, intends to keep fans watching more video by providing useful recommendations. Fox Now also features expanded TV Everywhere access with more current and past programming. Continue reading Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

Apple Requests Order to Block Sale of Some Samsung Phones

In the wake of a recent jury verdict that Samsung had infringed upon three of its patents, Apple is now seeking a sales ban in the U.S. on some older models of Samsung’s smartphones. The move also follows an agreement between Apple and Google’s Motorola Mobility unit to dismiss patent litigation against each other. However, according to papers filed in a California court, Apple is not looking for such a resolution with Samsung, but has requested a retrial to increase the amount awarded earlier this month and impose a sales ban. Continue reading Apple Requests Order to Block Sale of Some Samsung Phones

House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

Late last week the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that is intended to bring an end to the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program. The USA Freedom Act is designed to restrict the federal government’s ability to collect records about citizens in bulk, a program that had sparked debate regarding privacy and civil liberties. The House voted 303-to-121 in support of the USA Freedom Act, which could signal a change in how both political parties view the power of the NSA. Continue reading House Passes USA Freedom Act to Curb NSA Surveillance

ESPN Studio Integrates Video Displays and Online Features

“SportsCenter,” ESPN’s flagship news and highlights show, will start broadcasting from a new 10,000 square-foot studio in Bristol, Connecticut called Digital Center 2 next month. Digital Center 2 features a whopping 114 video displays, which anchors can manipulate on-air using tablets. Viewers can also interact with the new studio by submitting tweets that will appear in real time and using online features seen in the show, such as the “hot and cold zone” baseball player display. Continue reading ESPN Studio Integrates Video Displays and Online Features

Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Under pressure that its users may start sharing less, or make a move to more anonymous services, Facebook announced yesterday that it would provide a privacy checkup to every one of its global users. In an effort to help its 1.28 billion users better manage “private” information, the company is also recommending a privacy checkup be conducted on a regular basis, perhaps annually like a physical exam. And for new users, Facebook is initially setting content to be seen only by friends. Continue reading Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

Facebook and Google have benefited from the social login button, which allows consumers to log in to other websites and apps using their social media accounts. While app makers have found the tactic useful as users are spared the hassle of signing up, Facebook and Google+ use the information to track what their users do on the Internet. In reaction to users’ decreasing interest in social logins, both companies are shifting tactics to allow for more anonymity.  Continue reading Users Lose Interest in Facebook and Google Login Services

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