Qualcomm and Goertek Develop High-Resolution VR Headset

Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon VR820, a reference platform for a standalone virtual reality headset, developed with Chinese electronics company Goertek and built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 mobile processor and SDK. VR820, expected to be available by the end of 2016, offers higher resolution than the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, although a lower refresh rate. The Snapdragon 820 was also used for the Pico Neo, a $500 Android-based VR device with handheld controller co-developed by the same two companies. Continue reading Qualcomm and Goertek Develop High-Resolution VR Headset

Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

Samsung will roll out the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note7, a new version of its larger sized Galaxy Note, on August 19. The new phone features an iris scanner that identifies users based on their eye patterns, a “secret folder” that hides owner data from people who might use the device, and a stylus with a finer point that feels more like pen on paper. Samsung also added water resistance, expandable memory, a curved screen in a metallic housing, a next-gen USB Type-C port, and a camera flush with the rest of the housing. The AMOLED display is capable of playing HDR video. Continue reading Samsung Readies Launch of its New Galaxy Note Smartphone

Amazon Debuts Budget Phones Loaded with Apps and Widgets

Amazon unveiled two new Android smartphones for its Prime members, the BLU Products R1 HD and 4th generation Lenovo Moto G. Both phones, dubbed Prime Exclusives, are subsidized by Amazon ads: the R1 HD starts at $50 unlocked, $100 and up without the discount; the Moto G starts at $150 unlocked, $200 and up without the discount. With the discount, the Prime Exclusive phones include Amazon apps, services and ads, the latter appearing on the lock screen. The user has to forego the discount to get rid of the ads. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Budget Phones Loaded with Apps and Widgets

Patents, Investments Point to Significant Future for VR and AR

Sony dominates U.S. patent filings related to virtual reality, followed by IBM, Samsung, Microsoft and Canon. Magic Leap and Reveo are the leading startups when it comes to published patents related to VR. Microsoft, Sony and Qualcomm have the most published patents related to augmented reality, although they do not necessarily lead in the number of AR inventions. Osterout Group and Magic Leap are the clear leaders in published AR patents. All the companies on these lists have far fewer inventions than patents because multiple patents may be included in a single invention. Continue reading Patents, Investments Point to Significant Future for VR and AR

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Microsoft is positioning itself as providing, with Windows 10, the only platform for “mixed reality,” which the company describes as “providing devices with the ability to perceive the world, breaking down the barriers between virtual and physical reality.” In a three-minute video, Microsoft shows how it believes various types of augmented reality will be able to interact, using HoloLens headsets, VR helmets and other devices. Microsoft invites its partners to build on the Windows Holographic platform. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

At the Computex trade show in Taiwan, San Diego-based Qualcomm introduced new chips for connected landlines, wireless Wi-Fi networks and wearables. To expand broadband communications network capacity, the company’s Atheros business unveiled GigaDSL chips that let broadband operators transition away from VDSL technology to Gigabit access. The company is also debuting a three-way radio chip to be used for Wi-Fi wireless data networking as well as a new set of Snapdragon Wear chips for wearable devices. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

Starry to Roll Out Fast, Affordable, Wireless Internet Service

Following the shutdown of Aereo, Chet Kanojia is back with a new venture that intends to revolutionize broadband delivery. New York- and Boston-based startup Starry is looking to introduce a test version of its super-fast, wireless Internet service this summer. With its planned July beta release, Starry will join companies such as AT&T, Ericsson, Facebook, Google, Huawei, Qualcomm and Verizon that are working on millimeter wave fixed wireless systems to approach gigabit-per-second service in homes and businesses. Continue reading Starry to Roll Out Fast, Affordable, Wireless Internet Service

As 5G Tests Begin, Providers Gear Up for Internet of Things

This summer, Verizon and AT&T will start testing 5G, the fifth-generation mobile network likely to speed up adoption of the Internet of Things, from autonomous vehicles to smart homes and more. Unleashing the Internet of Things — projected to double to 50 billion connected ‘things’ globally by 2020 and 500 billion by 2030 — will also enrich the companies that create these new IoT networks, potentially including Cisco Systems, Nokia, Oyj, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Intel. Bottom line: 5G is the most profound expansion of the Internet ever. Continue reading As 5G Tests Begin, Providers Gear Up for Internet of Things

Apple’s Growth Stalls, China Shutdown Could Signal Trouble

Apple’s 13-year run of quarterly revenue growth has come to an end; the company reported that revenue for its second fiscal quarter, ending March, declined 13 percent to $50.6 billion. The reasons are many: its huge size makes sustained momentum difficult; it has suffered setbacks in China, its second largest market; it lacks a hot new product; and, with iPhones accounting for half the smartphones in the U.S., phones have likely reached a saturation point. Sales of iPhones fell 16 percent in Q1 2016 compared to the same quarter last year. Continue reading Apple’s Growth Stalls, China Shutdown Could Signal Trouble

Snapchat Working on AR, Gamer Developers Turn to VR Titles

Snapchat has been making hires and acquisitions in augmented reality that may signal development of smart glasses. The company has brought in key people from Microsoft HoloLens, PTC’s (formerly Qualcomm’s) Vuforia and Eyefluence, an eye-tracking technology company. Snapchat’s interest in AR dates back to March 2014, when it quietly acquired Vergence Labs, maker of glasses with an embedded camera, for $15 million. At the time, the acquisition seemed out-of-place but now appears to be part of a larger AR strategy. Continue reading Snapchat Working on AR, Gamer Developers Turn to VR Titles

Intel to Leverage RealSense for Augmented Reality Headset

Intel is leveraging RealSense, its 3D camera technology, to develop a wearable headset for augmented reality, say sources knowledgeable about the chip maker’s plans. Those same sources report that Intel is more likely to license its headset design to other manufacturers rather than produce its own branded model. Intel’s RealSense could potentially help distinguish its technology offering in a field that already includes many major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google and dozens of startups. Continue reading Intel to Leverage RealSense for Augmented Reality Headset

Tech Firms Launch New Foundation to Create IoT Standards

Tech companies including Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Samsung have formed a new group with plans to develop standards for the burgeoning Internet of Things industry. The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is charged with creating “IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together.” (OCF will replace the Open Interconnect Consortium that was formed in 2014.) “We believe that fragmentation is the enemy of IoT,” said Qualcomm exec Michael Wallace. Other founding members include ARRIS, CableLabs, Electrolux and GE Digital. Continue reading Tech Firms Launch New Foundation to Create IoT Standards

CES 2016: Google and Lenovo to Bring 3D Mapping to Mobile

On Thursday during CES, Google and Lenovo announced their plans to bring 3D mapping to smartphones. Lenovo will manufacture and sell the first phone designed to implement the ambitious goals of Google’s Project Tango, which aims “to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.” Qualcomm will provide the Snapdragon processor chips. Google and its partners have been busy developing cameras, sensors and software specifically designed for real-time 3D mapping. The currently unnamed handset is slated to launch this summer for under $500. Continue reading CES 2016: Google and Lenovo to Bring 3D Mapping to Mobile

Augmented Reality Glasses: Vendors Talk Now, Release Later

The main message from many of the AR glasses vendors on the CES show floor was that their current technology meets market needs, but they already plan to release major improvements on the current product line within the next year. Some of them demonstrated working prototypes of those next-generation glasses. Others had non-working mock-ups with descriptions of technical specifications that they said were close enough to the planned deliverable to be discussed publicly. We saw solutions from companies such as Osterhout Design Group, NuEyes, QD Laser, Lumus and Vuzix. Continue reading Augmented Reality Glasses: Vendors Talk Now, Release Later

Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors Power Connected Devices

At Qualcomm’s CES press conference, CEO Steve Mollenkopf noted that the company has dedicated more than $38 billion to R&D with emphasis on areas such as automotive, smart cities, wearables, networking, smart homes, data centers, healthcare and smartphones. The company announced partnerships with German automaker Audi and pharmaceutical company Novartis. The chipmaker also launched an entire smart home reference platform to make it easy to integrate their Snapdragon chips into smart home devices. Continue reading Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors Power Connected Devices

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