Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Justin Lin, who directed four films from the “Fast and Furious” franchise, has been collaborating with Google on a mobile movie project. “Help,” Lin’s five-minute short intended for mobile phones, is being released at the Google I/O developer conference this week. The film tells the story of an alien attack on Los Angeles. It is distributed via a mobile app that enables viewers to explore multiple angles by moving the phone around. Google also recently teamed with animation legend Glen Keane on three animated shorts. Continue reading Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

New Apple Music Service to Feature Ping-Like Social Features

Latest reports suggest that Apple’s anticipated Beats-based streaming music service will be called “Apple Music” and will feature social networking integration for artists. According to those briefed on feature plans, Apple Music will enable musicians to maintain pages within the service to post content such as photos, videos, sample tracks and concert info. Performers will also be able to cross-promote by sharing content from other artists. Additionally, users will be able to like and comment on the artists’ posts. Continue reading New Apple Music Service to Feature Ping-Like Social Features

Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

Apple is refuting a recent report that suggested HomeKit — its home automation software platform — was experiencing problems and could expect delays. This week the company announced that the first HomeKit-enabled devices will ship next month. The company first unveiled HomeKit at last June’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The platform enables Apple devices to control connected appliances in the home, essentially turning iPhones and iPads into a command system for smart thermostats, lights, garage doors, locks, security systems and more. Continue reading Apple Refutes Delays, Says HomeKit Devices Shipping in June

GoEnjoy.com: Startup Brings a Personal Touch to Online Retail

Ron Johnson, a former retail exec with Apple and J.C. Penney, has launched a Web-only startup to offer a new twist on online retail. Menlo Park-based Enjoy Technology will begin offering high-end consumer electronics in select locations today via its website, GoEnjoy.com. The site will sell smartphones, laptops, tablets, drones, and more — in addition to offering free delivery and in-home setup service. Johnson expects that the in-home service will give Enjoy an advantage over established rivals such as Amazon and eBay. Continue reading GoEnjoy.com: Startup Brings a Personal Touch to Online Retail

NAB 2015: VideoStitch Demos Solutions for Live VR Production

San Francisco-based VideoStitch is at the NAB Show in Las Vegas this week demonstrating its post-production and live streaming software for virtual reality and 360-degree video. The company has algorithms for live streaming and batch multi-camera VR rig stitching. Its software runs on Nvidia cards that work on both Macs and PCs. VideoStitch’s solution is being used by more than 1,000 production teams creating VR experiences for clients including Red Bull, Facebook, BAE Systems, ESPN, and Legendary Pictures. Continue reading NAB 2015: VideoStitch Demos Solutions for Live VR Production

Array of Self-Driving Features Impress at New York Auto Show

During last week’s New York International Auto Show, visitors witnessed the promising early developments of self-driving vehicles demonstrated by a number of car companies. While a fully capable self-driving car may be years away from mainstream deployment, self-driving features that exist today impressed the crowds. Companies including Volvo, Cadillac and Audi unveiled an array of autopilot features that can control a car’s speed, brakes and steering while traveling up to 40 mph.  Continue reading Array of Self-Driving Features Impress at New York Auto Show

Nasdaq Launches an Entrepreneurial Center to Foster Startups

Nasdaq OMX, which owns the NASDAQ stock market, is trying to bolster its tech offerings by nurturing startups through its new Entrepreneurial Center. This 13,000-square-foot space in San Francisco is designed to help young companies grow and find a community. In the future, Nasdaq may be able to profit from some of these startups when they go public. Currently, Nasdaq faces stiff competition from the New York Stock Exchange in attracting tech companies to the stock market. Continue reading Nasdaq Launches an Entrepreneurial Center to Foster Startups

No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Facebook has introduced a new technology that will someday allow Facebook users to explore immersive, 360-degree videos from their News Feeds. The company unveiled the technology at its annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco this week. The content is created with a 24-camera rig, and it can be viewed in a browser or a smartphone screen without a headset. Facebook envisions users will also use an Oculus Rift headset to view the 360-degree video in the future. Continue reading No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Facebook Extending LiveRail to Display and Mobile Advertising

Last year, Facebook acquired LiveRail, a video ad technology that essentially serves as a platform for the automated sales of video ads for publishers. In a move to better contend with Google, Facebook is now looking to use LiveRail as a way to help publishers manage their ad inventory more effectively and make smarter sales across various platforms, including websites and mobile apps. The company has reportedly already partnered with Dailymotion, Univision and A+E Networks. Continue reading Facebook Extending LiveRail to Display and Mobile Advertising

Study Finds That Virtual Nose May Reduce Simulator Sickness

One ongoing study is testing a potential solution for nausea-inducing VR content, and so far, a virtual reality nose has proven effective. Simulator sickness is believed to be caused by an asynchrony of the body’s movement and the visuals. Researchers suggest that a fixed visual reference, like a nose, can help reduce vertigo and nausea. The study participants who had a virtual nose didn’t even notice the added facial feature and could play more than a minute longer than the control group. Continue reading Study Finds That Virtual Nose May Reduce Simulator Sickness

Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

At this week’s F8 developer conference in San Francisco, Facebook announced that it is opening up its Messenger app with a platform for creating apps. This will allow developers to build apps that can integrate with the social network’s instant-messaging service, which presently touts 600 million users. Nearly 50 integrated apps have been created under the program, including those from Bad Robot, ESPN and The Weather Channel. The service also supports 360-degree video with Facebook’s Oculus VR format. Continue reading Facebook Wants Developers to Integrate Apps with Messenger

Vive VR Headset Unveiled at Game Developers Conference

We recently reported that HTC partnered with Seattle-based gaming company Valve to develop Vive, a new VR headset with plans to compete with the Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus. Valve is the developer behind Steam, the social platform for distributing and managing games. The Vive headset was unveiled at last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and is already generating positive reviews for its tech advances, including low latency and a fast refresh rate that reduces the incidence of “Sim Sickness.” Continue reading Vive VR Headset Unveiled at Game Developers Conference

Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

Mattel plans to release Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi connected doll with voice recognition software that allows users to engage in basic conversations with the doll. The tech enabled Barbie, which will be available later this fall for $74.99, is connected to the cloud so that once it records a user’s dialogue, it transmits the information to a server, which then aggregates appropriate responses for the doll. Hello Barbie’s voice recognition software comes from San Francisco startup ToyTalk. Continue reading Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

Apple Unveils New Line of Watches, 12-Inch MacBook and More

Details about the Apple Watch were unveiled during Monday’s product event in San Francisco. Preorders for the Apple device will begin on April 10; its availability is scheduled for two weeks later. Offered in 20 models, pricing ranges from $349-$499 for the Sport Edition, $549-$1099 for the Apple Watch, and $10,000+ for the Apple Watch Edition. The company also announced a price reduction for Apple TV; an exclsuive deal with the upcoming HBO Now streaming service; and a redesigned 12-inch, ultrathin, Retina display MacBook. Continue reading Apple Unveils New Line of Watches, 12-Inch MacBook and More

HBO to Launch Streaming Service Next Month on Apple Devices

During yesterday’s Apple product event in San Francisco, HBO announced it plans to launch its much-anticipated “HBO Now” Internet streaming service in April, initially on Apple devices (the exclusivity is scheduled for three months). The new service, which does not require a traditional TV subscription, will run $14.99 per month. Its debut will coincide with the new season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” HBO Now subscribers will have access to all of the cable network’s original programming in addition to its movie offerings. Continue reading HBO to Launch Streaming Service Next Month on Apple Devices

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