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

Project Morpheus Gets Bigger Screen and Impressive New Specs

At this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Sony announced that its PlayStation-powered Project Morpheus VR headset has some new specs. The screen resolution has been improved to 1,920 x RGB x 1,080 and its refresh rate has been doubled to 120Hz. Project Morpheus now features a new 5.7-inch screen with nearly 100-degree field of view, and touts lower latency, at under 18 milliseconds. While no price has been revealed, the company says it plans to launch the device by the first half of next year. Continue reading Project Morpheus Gets Bigger Screen and Impressive New Specs

San Francisco to Get Fast Mobile Wireless Network This Year

San Francisco will be the first city to use a new wireless technology that is reportedly 35 times faster than current 4G LTE networks. Artemis Networks is leasing the wireless spectrum for two years from Dish Network. Artemis still needs regulatory approval before it can begin operating, but the company hopes to start serving customers by the fall of this year. The company’s pCell technology is super fast because the network is designed to utilize wireless interferences that usually slow most networks. Continue reading San Francisco to Get Fast Mobile Wireless Network This Year

New Report Points to Major Marketing Potential of Pinterest

According to a new report from eMarketer, digital-image bookmarking site Pinterest is poised to become the newest social favorite with advertisers since its users typically “pin” and “repin” items that paint a compelling picture of consumer interests. These interests often focus on specific products, services, travel ideas and other areas that could lead to purchases. The researcher suggests that 2015 will be a critical year to determine whether or not Pinterest can generate a serious advertising business. Continue reading New Report Points to Major Marketing Potential of Pinterest

Startup Demos New Eye Tracking Virtual Reality HMD at CES

Japanese startup FOVE has developed a virtual reality head-mounted display with built-in eye tracking. The eye tracking enables the software to render the areas where the viewer is not looking with less precision than the area where the viewer is staring, allowing for more efficient CPU/GPU resource utilization. The rendered image was very clear, and the eye tracking worked well. When the headset goes to market, a FOVE rep expects the HMD with headtracking to sell for $400-$450. Continue reading Startup Demos New Eye Tracking Virtual Reality HMD at CES

Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Google is becoming a major player in same-day package deliveries, taking on the likes of Amazon and eBay this holiday shopping season. The Google Express service — currently available in cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — handled 50 percent more toys during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, while book sales jumped more than 30 percent. Analysts estimate that up to 40 percent of Google’s core search business is tied to e-commerce. Continue reading Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

App Creates 3D Photospheres, New Potential for Mobile VR

San Francisco-based startup Fyusion released a new version of its Fyuse app this week that allows users to record 3D “surround view” photospheres. Users press record and move their phone for a few seconds. Fyuse then renders the images on the device and offers the result for sharing on its platform. The app, available for iOS and Android, is designed to augment everything from selfies to fashion shows, but may also prove successful as a compelling way to bring user-generated content to mobile VR. Continue reading App Creates 3D Photospheres, New Potential for Mobile VR

NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

NBC launched a free 24-hour live broadcast feed over the Internet, which viewers can access if they have a pay TV subscription with certain providers and they live in one of 10 markets across the U.S. Currently, the live feeds can only be viewed on desktop PCs, but NBC plans to add mobile support in early 2015. Other networks, such as ABC and CBS, have launched similar live TV streaming services. NBCUniversal also launched a new campaign to drive viewers to its apps. Continue reading NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

EBay Partners with Fashion Brand to Create Future of Retail

EBay has teamed up with fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff to create the retail store of the future complete with technology designed to enhance a shopper’s in-store experience. With locations in San Francisco and New York, the two companies hope to bring the best of the online world into the physical retail space. In each store, customers have access to touchscreen displays on the store’s mirrors and in the fitting rooms that offer an interactive shopping experience. Continue reading EBay Partners with Fashion Brand to Create Future of Retail

Amazon Wheels Out Robots to Meet Holiday Shipping Demands

Two years ago, Amazon acquired robot manufacturer Kiva Systems for $775 million. The orange, wheeled robots have been used by a number of retailers in warehouses across the country. In an effort to improve efficiency, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced plans to deploy thousands of these robots across Amazon warehouses. The robot army is designed to bring stocked shelves to employees, reducing the time workers would have spent looking for items on their own.  Continue reading Amazon Wheels Out Robots to Meet Holiday Shipping Demands

Comcast Updates X1, Critics Concerned About Net Neutrality

Comcast introduced a new version of its television operating system, X1, at a media event in San Francisco on Wednesday. The system runs apps, records content to the cloud, and personalizes recommendations for users. The remote control features voice command, and the software also allows users to summon a technician to fix a problem if needed. These advanced technologies bring criticism that Comcast could become a gatekeeper of TV content, thereby violating net neutrality in the process. Continue reading Comcast Updates X1, Critics Concerned About Net Neutrality

Scribd Offers Unlimited Access to Audiobooks via Subscription

Scribd recently announced that in addition to its collection of e-books, subscribers now have access to a compilation of over 30,000 audiobooks. The company is one of the first e-book companies to have implemented a monthly subscription fee in exchange for unlimited access to its content. Joining the likes of models offered by Netflix and Spotify, Scribd subscribers can pay a monthly fee of $8.99 to access all available e-books and audiobooks belonging to the service’s catalog.  Continue reading Scribd Offers Unlimited Access to Audiobooks via Subscription

‘Banshee Chapter’ Becomes First Feature Film for Oculus Rift

The 2013 horror indie “Banshee Chapter,” produced by Zachary Quinto and directed by Blair Erickson, is the first feature film to be released on Oculus Rift headsets. San Francisco-based Jamwix is making the movie available for free via its website. Jamwix’s Chimera software was used to convert “Banshee Chapter,” which was already shot in 3D, into a virtual reality feature. The digital studio is using the project to promote how Chimera can transition films into an immersive VR experience. Continue reading ‘Banshee Chapter’ Becomes First Feature Film for Oculus Rift

Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

Pixar vets Oren Jacob and Martin Reddy launched San Francisco-based ToyTalk, a startup that develops mobile games that enable children to have extended conversations with animated characters. The concept was inspired by a Skype call when Jacob’s then 7-year-old daughter asked if she could speak with one of her dolls. While kids can hear characters speak through movies, games and toys, Jacob began thinking about how to help children better engage with the characters. Continue reading Speech Recognition Tech: Kids Speak with Animated Characters

New Shyp Service Reimagines How We Package and Ship Items

San Francisco-based startup Shyp — “the easiest way to ship anything” — is aiming to simplify the shipping process. Rather than packaging an item and finding the cheapest company to ship with, the user simply takes a picture of the item to be shipped and adds the address. Within 20 minutes, a Shyp courier arrives to pick up the item and hands it off for another person to do the work. The app is meant to be a cheap and efficient way to ship items without doing any work. Continue reading New Shyp Service Reimagines How We Package and Ship Items

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