Lego Fusion Sets Combine Physical Blocks and Virtual Worlds

Lego is launching a new line of building block kits this summer that enable 7-to-12-year-old children to build a physical building and then see that building become a part of a virtual world in the corresponding smartphone app. The budding builder would construct a facade out of the 200-piece Lego Fusion set, and then use the app’s camera function to capture the creation and turn it into a building within the app’s game, such as a tycoon game or a racing game. Continue reading Lego Fusion Sets Combine Physical Blocks and Virtual Worlds

Congress: Should the First Sale Rule Include Digital Goods?

This week, publishing executives, technology leaders, and public interest groups gave testimony regarding ownership of purchased digital goods. The “first sale” rule currently allows people to resell or lend out physical goods like music and books, while this law does not cover digital goods, such as those sold by Amazon and Apple. Post-testimony, the House Judiciary Committee remained skeptical that property rights of physical goods should extend to the digital world. Continue reading Congress: Should the First Sale Rule Include Digital Goods?

Microsoft Has Developed 3D Audio to Augment Virtual Reality

Video games are about to get very realistic, and it’s not just because of virtual reality headsets. Microsoft researchers have developed the technology to make sounds seem as if they are coming from a specific point in space. The 3D audio technology is made possible by the software that builds a 3D model of a player’s head and shoulders and calculates a personal filter to trick the player into perceiving sound as coming from a specific location. Continue reading Microsoft Has Developed 3D Audio to Augment Virtual Reality

Major Retailers Continue to Downsize Due To Poor Earnings

Major retailers continue to downsize as a result of poor earnings, which could lead to the elimination of thousands of store locations. Most experts agree that much of the problems experienced by retailers can be attributed to Amazon’s success, with annual sales approaching $100 billion. Best Buy, Office Depot, RadioShack, Sears and Staples are among the major companies that have already announced the planned closing of multiple locations.  Continue reading Major Retailers Continue to Downsize Due To Poor Earnings

SMPTE Tech Summit at NAB: The Trials of Global Distribution

The first day of SMPTE’s Technology Summit On Cinema at NAB featured a session called “From Camera to Consumer — the New Post Production.” Digital Studio GM for Walt Disney Studios, Leon Silverman, gave a funny and animated presentation during the session about the many versions of a movie that Disney must produce for international audiences. In the case of the animated feature “Planes,” not only did Disney create dozens of native language dubs and subtitled versions, but it also changed details in the animation to please the local audience. Continue reading SMPTE Tech Summit at NAB: The Trials of Global Distribution

Future Internet Games: Disney Teams with Abertay University

Disney has launched the Future Internet Games Contest with Scotland’s Abertay University in an attempt to find games that blend physical and digital worlds. The contest revolves around three key areas. The first involves consumer products, which includes games based on fashion, toys, etc. The second area is location-based installations that intend to engage visitors with real world objects. The third is citywide games that encourage a large quantity of players to engage with the game in an urban environment. Continue reading Future Internet Games: Disney Teams with Abertay University

The Amazon Effect: RadioShack and Staples to Close Stores

RadioShack’s shares fell by 24 percent after holiday sales came in dramatically under expectations. The company has now announced that it will shutter 1,100 stores, leaving 4,000 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S. Meanwhile, Staples announced that it would close 225 stores by next year, as the office supply superstore continues to move its business online, which already accounts for half of its total sales. Can physical retail stores survive in an Amazon-dominated world? Continue reading The Amazon Effect: RadioShack and Staples to Close Stores

Digital Video Content Not a Replacement for TV Programming

According to a new Consumer Electronics Association study, 79 percent of online U.S. adults obtain the video content they watch from traditional TV providers, although a significant number of viewers are turning to other sources. Online video streaming is most common with consumers ages 18-34. However, traditional TV viewing remains consistent for most age groups, suggesting that online services are being used as a supplement rather than a replacement of traditional programming. Continue reading Digital Video Content Not a Replacement for TV Programming

Digital Payment Company Square Signs Deal with Whole Foods

Square has announced a new partnership with Whole Foods, that will bring its payment technology to the upscale grocery store. Whole Foods will use iPads mounted in the Square Stand holder at the specialty food and beverage counters that line the stores’ walls. Customers will have the option to pay for their orders by card, or with payment credentials saved in the Square Wallet app on their smartphones. This is Square’s biggest deal since its partnership with Starbucks in 2012. Continue reading Digital Payment Company Square Signs Deal with Whole Foods

Study: Mobile Retail Sales Soar in 2013, Especially Via Tablets

According to a new report from Javelin Strategy & Research, most mobile commerce took place via tablets in 2013, due primarily to the doubling of tablet ownership year-over-year. Javelin reports that $59.7 billion in sales were made from mobile devices last year, up from $20.7 billion the year prior. The study shows that $56.6 billion was made through a mobile site or app while $3.1 billion was made via a mobile POS. Tablets were responsible for $28.7 billion in mobile commerce. Continue reading Study: Mobile Retail Sales Soar in 2013, Especially Via Tablets

Amazon’s Flow Plans to Enhance Shopping by Scanning Objects

Amazon’s newest app feature will make it even easier to never have to leave your home to purchase media, gifts and common household goods. The new feature, “Flow,” will soon be available in Amazon’s shopping app for iOS, and it will allow users to simply scan any object with their iPhone camera and place an order for that specific product. The app does not require barcodes to work — just a clear image — and it takes less than 30 seconds to place an order. Continue reading Amazon’s Flow Plans to Enhance Shopping by Scanning Objects

Amazon to Introduce Kindle Checkout System for Retail Stores

Amazon plans to offer brick-and-mortar retailers a new checkout system using its Kindle tablets, expected to be available as early as this summer. The development stems from Amazon’s acquisition last year of certain tech and engineers from GoPago, a startup known for its cloud-based mobile payment platform. The move could provide Amazon with a significant growth opportunity. However, it also faces numerous competitors in the checkout system space.  Continue reading Amazon to Introduce Kindle Checkout System for Retail Stores

ComiXology: Sales of Digital Comics Pages Soar to 6 Billion

ComiXology, a digital comics platform that launched in 2009, sold 4 billion pages of comics through its iPad app last year, earning it the title of most profitable non-game app for the iPod for the third year in a row. That figure shows a drastic increase in sales since the launch of ComiXology, which has sold more than 6 billion pages of comics total. CEO David Steinberger says the considerable growth is due not only to long-time comics lovers moving over to digital versions, but new, first-time comics fans. Continue reading ComiXology: Sales of Digital Comics Pages Soar to 6 Billion

2013 a Big Year for Digital HD: Expected to Continue in 2014

Digital HD had a big year in 2013, and 2014 will likely have more in store for digital home and on-the-go entertainment. Though the model of renting or buying physical movies still exists, a shift in the standard model was palpable as streaming and electronic sell-through methods became increasingly popular. This was intensified by the commonplace offers from studios to consumers for early online releases of movies before physical copies hit the shelves. Continue reading 2013 a Big Year for Digital HD: Expected to Continue in 2014

Will iBeacon Revolutionize Interactions in the Physical World?

Apple’s iBeacon and its Bluetooth Low Energy technology may soon revolutionize the way we interact in the physical world — and it’s already built into most iPhones. The technology is growing as more retail stores install sensors to track shoppers. It is also relatively inexpensive and easy to install. And instead of people having to launch an app or whip out a credit card when they’re out and about, their phones will do it for them — automatically. Continue reading Will iBeacon Revolutionize Interactions in the Physical World?

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