AT&T, Verizon Lead Charge to Establish 5G Networks in U.S.

Even as standards bodies are at work to define the parameters of 5G, companies and countries are preparing to make the switch. 5G networks, which offer speeds at 10 to 100 times faster than today’s 4G LTE networks, will first appear in home broadband, then data-only devices like tablets, and finally smartphones by 2019 or 2020. So far, Korea is at the forefront of the 5G transition, in order to be ready for the 2018 Winter Olympics. China and Europe, which took longer to adopt 4G, are also hoping to take a lead. Continue reading AT&T, Verizon Lead Charge to Establish 5G Networks in U.S.

Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

Google is doubling down on its virtual reality investment with a new $20 version of Cardboard, which uses the smartphone as a screen and a standalone, all-in-one headset that doesn’t need to be tethered to a smartphone, computer or game console. Up until now, Google, which has sold five million Cardboard VR viewers since late 2014, has been seen as experimenting with VR. With the new VR headset — and appointment of Clay Bavor as its first VR chief, Google is entering the VR arena in earnest. Continue reading Google Updates Cardboard, Develops Standalone VR Headset

Google Clarifies its Ad-Blocking Ban for Apps in Android Store

After a confusing period of inconsistent application of its ad blocker ban, Google just re-approved and republished Rocketship’s Adblock Fast to Google Play. The move appears to indicate that Google has reversed its earlier decision to ban ad blockers from the Google Play store. After that earlier decision was announced, Google pulled apps such as Adblock Fast, but then permitted but simply stalled updates for Crystal’s ad blocker. Google has not commented publicly on how its ad-blocker policy is evolving. Continue reading Google Clarifies its Ad-Blocking Ban for Apps in Android Store

Unity Warns VR Forecasters “Wrong,” Sets Course Correction

John Riccitiello, CEO of game engine company Unity, set a course correction for virtual reality adoption in his keynote address at the Vision VR/AR Summit conference in Hollywood this week. Riccitiello warned, without equivocation, that analyst prognostications suggesting VR will become a $100 billion industry by 2020 “are wrong.” He assured the audience of 1,500 plus developers that VR is a transformative platform that will reap financial rewards in the long run and give birth to great “century companies” like Netflix and Disney. Continue reading Unity Warns VR Forecasters “Wrong,” Sets Course Correction

Samsung Rolls Out Ad Blocking, Google Boots Ad Blocker Apps

After Samsung launched ad-blocking support for the Samsung Internet Browser on its mobile devices, third-party ad blocking apps shot up to the top of the Google Play app store. Google pulled them from the store soon after because the tech giant does not want to distribute apps that conflict with its own advertising business. Although Google is removing ad blocking apps, it has not taken any action to remove mobile browser apps that feature ad blocking already built-in. Continue reading Samsung Rolls Out Ad Blocking, Google Boots Ad Blocker Apps

Few Publishers Trying to Recover Revenue Lost to Ad Blockers

More than a third of Americans reportedly use an ad blocker on their Internet browsers, and many of them probably have no idea that they are costing publishers billions in lost advertising revenue. Randall Rothenberg, president of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, urged publishers to develop their own technology and methods to stop ad blocking software. Meanwhile, Samsung is following Apple in enabling an ad blocking plugin for the Internet browser on its mobile phones. Continue reading Few Publishers Trying to Recover Revenue Lost to Ad Blockers

Tablet Sales Declined in 2015, Detachable Devices Offer Hope

The overall tablet market shrank last year, but promising sales of detachable devices offer an opportunity for future tablet market growth. According to a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), total shipments of tablets in 2015 were 206.8 million, 10 percent less than the 230.1 million shipments in 2014. Apple still maintains the lead in market share, but competitors such as Samsung, Amazon and Lenovo are catching up as more consumers opt for more affordable tablets. Continue reading Tablet Sales Declined in 2015, Detachable Devices Offer Hope

Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

At the recent Sundance Film Festival, virtual reality was a big hit for the second year running. But the changes in just a year were also evident: rather than the conversation focusing on the technology enabling the VR experiences, the focus was on storytelling. Virtual reality, in other words, has become a medium, as demonstrated in projects such as “Grease” director Randal Kleiser’s sci-fi VR drama “Defrost,” which tells the story of a woman just awaking from a coma. The series is a full season with another in development. Continue reading Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

Digital Domain Moves into VR with Hong Kong Post Acquisition

Visual effects facility Digital Domain, known for its digital work on the “Transformers” series, the “X-Men” series, “Iron Man 3” and “Her,” acquired an 85 percent stake in Hong Kong’s Post Production Company Limited and its parent company for about $17.3 million, with the goal of making a big move into virtual reality. Post Production — which Digital Domain chief executive Daniel Seah calls “the Digital Domain of China” — has worked on many major Chinese movies, TV ads, and music videos. Continue reading Digital Domain Moves into VR with Hong Kong Post Acquisition

Oculus Rift the Most Popular VR Platform Among Developers

Today’s game developers are most interested in creating virtual reality projects for the Oculus Rift headset, according to a new survey from the Game Developers Conference. Nineteen percent of the 2,000 respondents said they were currently working on a new game for the device and 20 percent said their next VR project would be for the Oculus Rift. Only 8 percent of respondents said they were working on VR projects for Samsung’s Gear VR, the second most popular VR headset. Continue reading Oculus Rift the Most Popular VR Platform Among Developers

Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Market research firm Gartner is forecasting a decline for CE device spending in 2016. While end-user sales are expected to inch up less than 2 percent this year, overall spending on devices like PCs, tablets and mobile devices will decline, according to the researcher. This decrease, the first since Gartner started tracking the market in 2010, is largely due to the falling price of phones. In markets like China, consumers are opting for basic models of smartphones rather than upgrading to higher-end devices. Continue reading Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Apple Claims Early Lead in the Emerging Smartwatch Market

The Apple Watch is leading the pack in smartwatch sales. Last year, it captured 52 percent of market share in the 8 months since its April debut. Android Wear, the smartwatch platform behind wearables from Huawei, Motorola, Fossil, Asus and Sony, followed with less than 10 percent of market share. Apple’s domination is making investors reluctant to believe that other companies like Fitbit can compete. While Juniper Research data places Apple on top, the market is still relatively new and a lot could change in the next couple of years. Continue reading Apple Claims Early Lead in the Emerging Smartwatch Market

CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

According to CES producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), this year’s confab drew more than 170,000 industry professionals to Las Vegas. The show featured 3,800+ exhibitors covering 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space. Attendees represented over 150 nations and 100 delegations, including the first Cuban delegation. More than 6,000 media members attended this time around. The #CES2016 hashtag generated nearly 1.28 million mentions and CTA claims there were 15.2 billion potential social media impressions during CES week. Continue reading CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

Snapshots of CES 2016 Reveal Leading Trends and Stories

CES 2016 had its share of attention-getting products, but some of the most interesting aspects of the show were under the horizon. Companies are beginning to recognize, understand, and explore new opportunities, implications and alliances. Among emerging trends: in VR, there will be real competition. Content on televisions — more than television hardware — drives the market, but demand for UHD is also growing. Big data is a big discussion about use, privacy and security. As ETC prepares its complete report on CES, we’ve compiled a slide show with some highlights. Continue reading Snapshots of CES 2016 Reveal Leading Trends and Stories

Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

During the Sony keynote at CES, CEO Kazuo Hirai announced that the PlayStation 4 console system — which he suggests, “sets the benchmark in collaboration, artistry, imagery and design” — sold more than 5.7 million units over the holidays for a total of 35.9 million units since the console’s launch. PlayStation VR goggles will ship the first half of 2016, reportedly in the $300 range. Sony Electronics president and COO Mike Fasulo took the stage to announce “Ultra,” the company’s new video app that enables users to purchase and stream 4K movies on Sony’s Android TVs. Sony also unveiled a range of new cameras, 4K TVs, audio products and more. Continue reading Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

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