California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

Weeks after the California Senate voted down legislation that would require anti-theft tech in all new smartphones, it has now passed a revised version of the bill after Apple and Microsoft withdrew their opposition. While the legislation is applauded by law enforcement groups, it is still opposed by some wireless carriers, and could face an uphill battle in the state Assembly. If passed, kill-switch technology would be required for phones sold in California that are manufactured after July 1, 2015. Continue reading California Senate Passes Amended Smartphone Kill-Switch Bill

Pinterest Touts 30 Billion Pins, Sees Big Hit in Related Pins

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann announced during an event in San Francisco last week that users of the social visual discovery tool have created more than 750 million boards and contributed more than 30 billion Pins since Pinterest was founded in 2010. Acording to Silbermann, the number of Pins has grown by nearly 50 percent during the past six months, due in part to the introduction of Related Pins about a year ago. More than 90 percent of current Pins are connected to Related Pins. Continue reading Pinterest Touts 30 Billion Pins, Sees Big Hit in Related Pins

Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Facebook is expected to launch its mobile advertising network during the F8 developer conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. Facebook plans to leverage its massive user information database for better ad targeting, and will pitch the ads to publishers and developers. The social giant will also benefit from expanding its ad reach, and will allow the company to profit from its over 1 billion users even when they are not on the site itself. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Google and AT&T Race to Expand U.S. Fiber Optic Networks

AT&T announced plans to bring its high-speed fiber optic network, AT&T U-verse with GigaPower, to as many as 100 cities, including some that are already part of Google Fiber’s planned expansion in the next few years. AT&T and Google have fiber optic development planned in several of the same cities, such as San Antonio, Texas; San Jose, California; Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; and the Raleigh-Durham region of North Carolina. Continue reading Google and AT&T Race to Expand U.S. Fiber Optic Networks

Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace

While some consumers have been skeptical of Google Glass since it was first announced, it looks like the wearable tech is finding initial interest in the workplace, including areas such as law enforcement, medicine, manufacturing and athletics. In contrast, bars in San Francisco have already banned patrons from wearing Google Glass. Google is making the product available to the public later this year, but critics are skeptical of how it will be received by general consumers. Continue reading Wearable Tech: Google Glass Finds Customers in the Workplace

Apple to Integrate Sound Recognition App Shazam into iOS 8

Apple is planning to include a song discovery feature in the newest update of iOS, which will allow users to identify songs and artists with their iPad or iPhone. Apple is working with Shazam, an app that can quickly recognize a song by collecting sound from the device’s microphone and matching it with an extensive song database. Apple hopes the feature will help encourage download sales. Although iTunes is the world’s largest music seller, sales have decreased dramatically in recent years.  Continue reading Apple to Integrate Sound Recognition App Shazam into iOS 8

Junction: Crowdfunder Allows Fans to Invest in Film Projects

The new San Francisco-based Junction provides wealthy movie fans with an opportunity for investing in films online. It is not another Kickstarter that helps projects get made, but instead allows potential investors to contribute to projects that already have enough finances secured for production. Junction is only open to individuals with annual income of more than $200,000 a year or net worth of $1 million. The incentive for producers is that outside investors will help minimize risk. Continue reading Junction: Crowdfunder Allows Fans to Invest in Film Projects

Intel Confirms Purchase of Wearables Startup Basis Science

Intel confirmed yesterday that it has acquired Basis Science, a San Francisco-based startup that makes a $199 health-tracking wristband known as the Basis Band. The device — which tracks sleep, heart rate, calories and steps — syncs with iOS and some Android devices via Bluetooth. Up to this point, the Basis Band device has used Texas Instruments chips. Intel has bigger plans than merely supplying processors, and the acquisition could be the first step toward entering the wearables market more directly. Continue reading Intel Confirms Purchase of Wearables Startup Basis Science

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, a collection of tech companies and organizations announced the formation of the non-profit Immersive Technology Alliance (formerly S3DGA), which plans to develop games involving augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D and gesture controls. Members include Avegant, Big Blue Bubble, Electronic Arts, Epson, GameFace Labs, Technical Illusions and others. Earlier reports that Oculus VR is involved in the consortium turned out to be inaccurate. Continue reading Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

Online Book Subscriptions Aim to Save the Publishing Industry

As the book industry struggles with plunging prices and a decrease in demand, some publishers are turning to magazines to save their businesses. At SXSW in Austin this week, San Francisco-based literary startup Plympton launched Rooster, a subscription-only online fiction service. The service is an example of the new alternative in packaging books like magazines. A similar service is Plympton’s Daily Lit, which emails customers five-minute installments of classic literature. Continue reading Online Book Subscriptions Aim to Save the Publishing Industry

DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

Following this week’s news of a first-of-its kind licensing agreement between Disney and the Dish Network, DirecTV said it is in similar talks to license the rights to offer Disney channels as part of an Internet-based product. The rights are part of a larger programming deal that would replace a current agreement slated to expire in December. In related news, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he expects to reach a streaming deal with Netflix and hopes to partner with content providers for a broadband-only video service. Continue reading DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

HBO Chief Exec on a Standalone Version of HBO GO Service

During a Q&A session at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco yesterday, HBO CEO Richard Plepler indicated that the company has considered offering a standalone version of its HBO GO service. However, the prospect of offering broadband-only distribution will depend largely on demand, and only a small percentage of subscribers currently use HBO GO. The traditional model is still working for the premium channel, which reported subscriber gains of 2 million in 2013. Continue reading HBO Chief Exec on a Standalone Version of HBO GO Service

HPA Retreat: Stadium of the Future? There’s an App for That

Attendees at the Hollywood Post Alliance Tech Retreat in Indian Wells were treated on Wednesday to an in-depth technical description of the most connected sports stadium in the world. James Stellpflug, VP of sports products at media company EVS Broadcast Equipment explained the inner workings of the latest systems currently running at Sporting Park, the home of Major League Soccer team Sporting Kansas City. Last summer we reported that Sporting Park is becoming a model for stadium technology and fan engagement. Continue reading HPA Retreat: Stadium of the Future? There’s an App for That

Google Exploring 10 Gigabit Internet Connection, Says CFO

Google is continuing to push for change in commercial Internet services, looking beyond the super-fast gigabit connections available in locations such as Kansas City, Kansas and Chattanooga, Tennessee. At a conference in San Francisco last week, Google CFO Patrick Pichette discussed the company’s 10 gigabit experiment, which is exploring connections that are more than 1,000 times faster than today’s average speeds. The news could encourage other providers to also increase their speeds. Continue reading Google Exploring 10 Gigabit Internet Connection, Says CFO

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