Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Google has increased its efforts to get cellphone manufacturers and carriers to update to the latest version of Android. That includes speeding up security updates, offering technology workarounds and limiting phone testing requirements. To back up these enticements, Google is also publicly naming the laggards in a ranking intended to shame manufacturers into catching up. At stake are not simply Google’s latest operating system but new offerings such as its Daydream virtual reality system. Continue reading Google Pushes Phone Makers and Carriers to Update Android

Jawbone is Selling Speaker Biz, Puts Fitness Trackers on Hold

After failing to gain traction in the wearables market currently dominated by Fitbit and Apple, Jawbone has ceased production of its UP line of fitness trackers and reportedly sold its remaining inventory to a third party reseller at a discount. It is not clear whether Jawbone plans to manufacture the fitness trackers again in the future. The company has also discontinued its Bluetooth speaker business and is currently looking to unload remaining inventory. According to multiple sources, Jawbone has been looking to sell its Jambox wireless speaker business. Continue reading Jawbone is Selling Speaker Biz, Puts Fitness Trackers on Hold

Samsung, SK Telecom to Build First Nationwide Network for IoT

Samsung announced it is partnering with SK Telecom to build a LoRaWAN network to cover all of South Korea, claiming it would be the world’s first nationwide network for the Internet of Things. The IoT network rolls out in Daegu next month and will be available throughout the country by the middle of this year. LoRaWAN (which means “long-range wide-area network”) was already used to build a citywide IoT network in Amsterdam. “LoRaWAN represents an attempt to standardize LPWAN (low-power wide-area networks),” explains TechCrunch, “which are meant to offer a cheaper and more power-efficient alternative to Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks for the Internet of Things.” Continue reading Samsung, SK Telecom to Build First Nationwide Network for IoT

Google Introduces VR System Daydream, VR-Capable Phones

During its I/O conference this week, Google announced it is releasing a new virtual reality system, dubbed Daydream, which includes a range of VR-capable Android smartphones, a headset design, a controller and applications, all of which will be released this fall. Daydream will be compatible with Google’s current and future Android mobile operating system, including the upcoming version, code-named Android N. Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent, Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG and Xiaomi are among those already building Daydream-compatible phones. Continue reading Google Introduces VR System Daydream, VR-Capable Phones

AT&T is Acquiring Quickplay Media to Power TV Everywhere

AT&T plans to purchase Quickplay Media from Madison Dearborn Partners. Quickplay specializes in powering over-the-top video and TV Everywhere services. The acquisition will build upon the existing relationship between the two companies and enhance future AT&T video delivery initiatives. Quickplay currently supports AT&T’s U-verse TV Everywhere offering and will support upcoming streaming offers: DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. “Our strategy is to deliver video content however, whenever and wherever,” said John Stankey, CEO, AT&T Entertainment Group. Continue reading AT&T is Acquiring Quickplay Media to Power TV Everywhere

VRidge Streams VR from PC to Google Cardboard, Gear VR

For those looking for an affordable VR alternative, RiftCat has been busy developing an app called VRidge that streams virtual reality games from a PC to a smartphone over Wi-Fi. The beta is currently available for Android, but the company is also working on an iOS version. The most recent update added support for SteamVR and Razer’s open source OSVR project. The implications could be significant, especially when considering the cost of investing in a high-end VR headset, such as the $600 Oculus Rift or $800 HTC Vive, both of which still require a powerful PC starting in the $1,500 range. Continue reading VRidge Streams VR from PC to Google Cardboard, Gear VR

FBI iPhone Hack Could Impact the Future of Law Enforcement

Although the FBI was finally able to decrypt the iPhone belonging to San Bernardino terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook by paying for a third party private hack, the issues around accessing content on a personal smartphone are not resolved. The FBI is figuring out how and if it can re-use the hack, but it’s not simply interested in what’s called “data at rest,” says FBI director James Comey. The FBI is also interested in “data in motion,” the emails, texts and other information in transit over the Internet as “hugely significant” for national security. Continue reading FBI iPhone Hack Could Impact the Future of Law Enforcement

Cannes Film Market to Feature 35 ‘Indie’ Virtual Reality Films

At this year’s Cannes film market, the digital program NEXT will include a slate of 35 virtual reality films from several countries as well as roundtable discussions and workshops, all to be presented on two VR Days, May 15 and 16. Michel Reilhac, former head of film at Arte, the Franco-German network, helped to curate the films and also directed the VR short, “Viens!” (“Come!”). Other French VR films to be shown are “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness,” and Pierre Zandrowicz’s “I, Philip,” about Philip K. Dick. Continue reading Cannes Film Market to Feature 35 ‘Indie’ Virtual Reality Films

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

Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

The security research community has warned that the Internet of Things, including home security systems, is hackable. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Microsoft have published an in-depth security analysis of Samsung’s SmartThings platform that allows control of home appliances via PC or smartphone. They were able to hack the system, setting off a smoke alarm and opening a digital lock with a “backdoor” PIN. Their findings will be presented at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy later this month. Continue reading Researchers Warn That Smart Home Technology is Hackable

TV Globo Brazil Debuts OTT Simulcast, VOD, 4K in the Cloud

At NAB 2016, Globo Play TV program manager Marcos Rayol described that the Brazilian broadcaster’s OTT effort, Globo Play, offers simulcast, VOD and 4K in the cloud. Developing the concept was the most difficult part. “We spent a lot of time developing interfaces,” he said. “Once we began coding it, it was very straightforward.” Brazil has 115 million people with Internet access, 38 percent of whom have broadband connections. Of the 80 million with smartphones, only 34 percent accessed video in 2015. Continue reading TV Globo Brazil Debuts OTT Simulcast, VOD, 4K in the Cloud

ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit Details the Current State of VR

During ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit at NAB 2016, ETC VR/AR program lead Phil Lelyveld explained the continuum from augmented reality to virtual reality, adding that most of what we’ll be seeing is a mixed or blended reality. VR is predicted to be worth a tremendous amount of money: Goldman Sachs estimates $18.09 billion in entertainment by 2025, and DigiData puts that number at $30 billion. Among the top things that consumers would like to do with VR now, according to Ericsson ConsumerLab, is examine items when online shopping. Continue reading ETC’s Virtual Reality Summit Details the Current State of VR

European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

European officials have charged Google with violating competition rules by favoring Android over rival mobile software. Europe’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager accused the tech giant of unfairly promoting its own mobile search and Chrome browser with phone makers. “We believe that Google’s behavior denies consumers a wider choice of mobile apps and services and stands in the way of innovation by other players,” said Vestager. From Brussels, the European Commission issued a release stating that Google has “abused its dominant position by imposing restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators.” Continue reading European Officials Accuse Google of Breaking Antitrust Rules

ILM and Disney Unveil Compelling VR Experiences for Movies

Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB), the Lucasfilm R&D division that prototypes interactive, immersive cinema for VR, augmented reality and theme park attractions, debuted a VR experience of “Jurassic World” at Sundance. Now, it’s rolling out “Trials on Tatooine,” a VR demo using the same CG models created for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Lucasfilm’s parent company Disney also just released a new 360-degree video, “Cold Lairs,” to tease its upcoming “Jungle Book” remake. Continue reading ILM and Disney Unveil Compelling VR Experiences for Movies

Rental Kiosk Leader Redbox Readies Video Streaming Service

Redbox plans to launch a video streaming service called Redbox Digital. The DVD rental company previously launched Redbox Instant, a streaming service joint venture with Verizon, which lasted 18 months. The new effort will be a video-on-demand store similar to iTunes, Vudu or Google Play, letting consumers stream or buy digital copies of movies or TV show episodes. Redbox Digital will be part of the service’s existing loyalty program, integrate into its mobile apps and support TV-connected platforms like Chromecast and Roku. Continue reading Rental Kiosk Leader Redbox Readies Video Streaming Service

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