CES 2013: Phones to Tout Quad Cores, 1080p and Flexible Screens

The smartphone continues to grow in popularity and power as the always-on processing unit of choice. Quad-core units, phones with screen displays of 1080p and outsized “phablets” are expected to take center stage at the 2013 International CES. There’ll be a wow-factor, like the 5.5-inch flexible screen Samsung prototype, and a now-factor, like wireless pocket chargers from Energizer and Lilliputian that provide up to 20x life. Continue reading CES 2013: Phones to Tout Quad Cores, 1080p and Flexible Screens

Apple and Samsung Tighten Control of U.S. Smartphone Market

Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the U.S. smartphone market, according to a new report from Tavis McCourt, technology analyst for financial services firm Raymond James. While iPhone retention remains roughly 86 percent, Samsung is consolidating the Android space domestically as it has already successfully achieved in much of the European market. Continue reading Apple and Samsung Tighten Control of U.S. Smartphone Market

CES 2013: Entertainment Trends Drive New Technologies

With entertainment spending growing to $18.7 billion according to IHS Screen Digest, the entertainment industry is reaping the rewards of offering consumers more choice and options in how they consume content. TV Everywhere’s multi-channel, multi-device approach is finally complementing rather than cannibalizing. The year saw strong growth in Blu-ray discs. UltraViolet’s 7 million households and 8,500 titles now position the format to grow significantly in 2013. Video streaming or SVOD tripled in the first three quarters of the year to an estimated $1.7 billion. And studios continue to experiment with their windowing strategies for electronic sell-through. In this environment, the CE industry continues to respond and innovate. Continue reading CES 2013: Entertainment Trends Drive New Technologies

CES 2013: Are Consumers Ready for the Cost of Ultra HD TVs?

Ultra HD television sets will be featured at next week’s 2013 International CES. And while the technology promises four times the resolution of current TVs, pricing for these higher-resolution models are expected to range from $8,700 to $25,000. Additionally, there is little available in terms of UHD content, other than upscaled versions of existing content. Will consumers be excited about the prospect of Ultra HD? Continue reading CES 2013: Are Consumers Ready for the Cost of Ultra HD TVs?

CES 2013: Trends Flying Somewhat Under the Radar

In addition to the highly anticipated array of UHD TVs, new smartphones, Android devices, cloud developments and Internet-connected everything, next week’s CES promises interesting new products and services related to a number of sectors not yet drawing the same amount of press attention. Watch for news involving small flexible displays, green technology, home automation, home projections systems, 3D printing and more. Continue reading CES 2013: Trends Flying Somewhat Under the Radar

CES 2013: Ultra High Definition TVs Coming to Las Vegas

CEA predicts that Ultra High Definition (UHD) will be “prominently displayed” at the International CES. The surge in interest followed an International Telecommunication Union-led agreement on two UHDTV standards (effectively 4K and 8K). That occurred in August and since then the focus in the U.S. and the majority of countries looking at UHDTV has been on the 4K flavor (the main exception being NHK, which is developing its 8K Super Hi-Vision system). Continue reading CES 2013: Ultra High Definition TVs Coming to Las Vegas

Year in Review: Top Tech Policy Stories of 2012

From Kim Dotcom and the rise of patent troll lawsuits to Apple v. Samsung and the public outcry against SOPA/PIPA, 2012 was a dramatic year in terms of copyright law, tech-related legislation and Internet policy. Response to the SOPA/PIPA bills in January helped set the tone as the debate in Washington raged, and consumers and companies took to the Internet in protest. At one point, politicians were flooded with a record eight million e-mails from regular Internet users in just a few days. So what were the top tech policy stories for 2012 — and how will they impact us moving forward? Continue reading Year in Review: Top Tech Policy Stories of 2012

CES 2013: Samsung and LG to Debut Flexible Smartphone Screens?

Will the flexible smartphone screen change the face of mobile phone design in 2013 and mark the biggest change since the introduction of the touchscreen? Rumors suggest manufacturing rivals Samsung and LG are working on it. Speculation regarding flexible display development dates back to 2002, and in the last six years we’ve seen some interesting prototypes and low volume products at CES featuring E-ink and Electronic Paper Display technologies. To address slow response times (especially with video) and challenges with handling color, flexible OLED displays emerged. Continue reading CES 2013: Samsung and LG to Debut Flexible Smartphone Screens?

Amazon Announces Cloud Player Now on Roku, Samsung Smart TVs

Amazon’s cloud-based music storage and streaming service is now available on Roku and Samsung’s Smart TVs, allowing users to play digital music on a single device. The app “finally gives Roku a good response to Apple TV’s iTunes Match,” notes CNET. Months ago Roku announced that the Amazon Cloud Player was “coming soon.”

Like its competitor iTunes Match, Amazon Cloud Player charges $25 per year to store up to 250,000 songs. It also includes a feature that automatically identifies music files and upgrades the quality using a 256 Kbps file from the Amazon catalog. “That’s a ton of digital music, although the competing Google Play Music allows you to store up to 20,000 tracks for free and is available on Google TV devices,” explains the post.

The release was announced the same day that Amazon added its Amazon Instant Video app for the iPhone and iPod touch.

According to a related post from CNET, the Instant Video streaming app “allows for access to over 140,000 movies and television shows that can be downloaded for purchase or rental.”

Amazon offers access to its streaming library across devices including the iPad, Kindle Fire HD, PlayStation 3, PCs and Macs. The app is only available to customers who pay for the company’s $79-a-year Prime membership.

TIME Lists Top 10 Gadgets of the Year: iPhone 5 Takes Top Spot

  • Although Apple may have to cede the top spot on smartphone sales, its iPhone 5 still sits at No. 1 in terms of overall device and operation system quality, earning the coveted TIME Magazine ‘gadget of the year’ award.
  • TIME’s Harry McCracken calls the iPhone 5 ‘one of the most artfully polished gadgets anyone’s ever built,’ adding that ‘when it comes to melding hardware, software and services so tightly that the seams fade away, Apple still has no peer,'” VentureBeat reports.
  • “Despite 5 million units sold in its opening weekend, and stellar sales results that catapulted iOS back into the mobile operating system lead in November, the iPhone 5 probably can’t catch the Samsung Galaxy S III, which launched in the summer and reached 18 million units by early November,” the article continues.
  • Apple did not, however, gain recognition from TIME for its iPads, even though the new iPad mini earned a warm welcome by many in October.
  • TIME‘s top 10 gadgets are as follows: 1) iPhone 5, 2) Nintendo Wii U, 3) Sony Cyber-shot RX100, 4) Raspberry Pi Model B, 5) Lytro, 6) Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display, 7) Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, 8) Samsung Galaxy Note II, 9) Nest, and 10) Simple.TV.

Tech Industry Calls on Congress to Allocate More Mobile Spectrum

  • A team of tech companies including Apple, Samsung, and Nokia has submitted a letter to Congress requesting that it allocate more spectrum for mobile data, reports The Verge.
  • The letter argues the spectrum addition “is timely and relevant” to discuss alongside fiscal cliff debates.
  • “Now is the time to ensure the incentive auctions are as robust and successful as possible at liberating spectrum,” reads the letter. “We should also turn our collective attention on ways to reap the economic benefits of underutilized federal spectrum assets.”
  • “Other signatories include Intel, RIM, Qualcomm, Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, and Ericsson, all of which are members of the High Tech Spectrum Coalition,” notes the post. “The group believes that upcoming spectrum auctions won’t meet the demand for wireless broadband, nor will it be possible to ‘engineer our way out of this problem’ with more efficient technology.”
  • The letter asks Congress to urge spectrum holders to “become more efficient, to share with one another, to vacate, or to lease their spectrum.”
  • An earlier report this year also recommended the government consider sharing spectrum with commercial partners, since it’s “increasingly difficult to find desirable spectrum that can be vacated by federal users.”

CES 2013: Samsung to Possibly Unveil 4.99-inch 1080p Touchscreen

Samsung may unveil its own smartphone-sized 1080p display during January’s CES in Las Vegas, on the heels of HTC’s Droid DNA. “Full high definition displays are all set to be next year’s must-have new smartphone feature, although their size will see them used on hardware that tips over into smartphone/tablet hybrid territory,” reports Digital Trends. Continue reading CES 2013: Samsung to Possibly Unveil 4.99-inch 1080p Touchscreen

CES 2013: Samsung Plans to Demo 85-inch UHD TV in Las Vegas

Samsung has announced that it will showcase an 85-inch Ultra High Definition TV at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The set will be unveiled during a CES press conference on January 7 and then displayed at the Samsung booth (LVCC, Central Hall – 12004, 12527). The news comes after the TV was awarded a CES 2013 Best of Innovation award.

“Samsung’s 85-inch UHD TV, the world’s largest commercialized UHD LED TV, boasts lifelike picture quality in ultra HD resolution with over 8 million pixels, four times the resolution of Full HD displays,” according to the company.

“Samsung’s UHD TV uses an innovative enhanced dimming technology and a very high contrast ratio to deliver deep, real blacks and pure whites for greater detail and unmatched picture clarity. This new, cutting-edge TV also offers a powerful and dynamic range of sounds.”

The company has also been honored with a Best of Innovation award for its Smart TV Camera. “It adds Smart Interaction services, such as facial recognition and gesture control, to the company’s Smart TV sets that don’t come with a built-in camera,” reports Pocket-lint.

Stay tuned: The ETCentric reporting team will provide additional details on Samsung’s products live from CES.

Is Carrier IQ, Samsung and HTC Violating the Federal Wiretap Act?

  • After an Android security researcher discovered that CarrierIQ was capable of collecting personal information from SMS, emails, photos, keystrokes and URLs, the company has been the target of severe criticism.
  • Now, CarrierIQ faces a class action lawsuit — as do Samsung and HTC — for violating the Federal Wiretap Act.
  • Plaintiffs are demanding millions of dollars in penalties paid to users with the logging software on their devices.
  • The company vehemently denies the charges, restating that the software is used solely to help wireless operators provide optimal service by logging information concerning dropped calls and failed messages.
  • TechCrunch notes that no carriers face charges as of yet, but are likely to in the near future.

Safe Internet Coalition Established in Europe Aimed at Protecting Children

  • Apple, Google, LG, Nintendo, Nokia, Samsung and Facebook are among 28 tech and media companies that are joining forces to “deliver a better Internet for our children,” reports TheNextWeb.
  • “The group was put together by the European Commission (EC) and the priority actions set out include making it easier to report harmful content, ensuring privacy settings are age-appropriate, and offering wider options for parental control,” according to TNW.
  • “This new coalition should provide both children and parents with transparent and consistent protection tools to make the most of the online world”, says Neelie Kroes, vice president of the EC. “The founding coalition members are already leaders in children’s safety online. Working together we will be setting the pace for the whole industry and have a great basis for fully empowering children online.”
  • The coalition has created a statement of purpose covering five key areas: create effective reporting with simple, robust tools; enable age-appropriate privacy settings; develop age-rating through widespread content classification; extend parental control; and effectively remove child abuse material through improved cooperation with law enforcement.

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