Comcast Planning New Gigabit Pro, Competitor to Google Fiber

Comcast is aiming to deliver fiber Internet connectivity that is twice as fast as Google’s offering. However, providing speeds up to 2 gigabits per second is estimated to run more than four times the $70 monthly cost of Google Fiber in Kansas City, according to a page on the Xfinity website. The page notes that service would be made available within one-third of a mile of the company’s existing fiber network, with plans to expand to a list of cities. Comcast earlier announced that the new service would be available in Atlanta by May, but it has been delayed.

Continue reading Comcast Planning New Gigabit Pro, Competitor to Google Fiber

New Reddit CEO Faces Angry Site Users and Low Staff Morale

In the wake of Ellen Pao’s resignation as Reddit’s interim chief executive, co-founder Steve Huffman was brought in by the company’s board to take her place. Pao left after eight months in the wake of a mishandled firing of a popular employee, which triggered protests by hundreds of thousands of the site’s 160 million monthly visitors. Since Huffman left the day-to-day operations of Reddit in 2009, three years after its sale to Advance Publications, he founded online travel site Hipmunk where he will remain as CTO. Continue reading New Reddit CEO Faces Angry Site Users and Low Staff Morale

Target Display Educates Shoppers About the Connected Home

Target recently joined forces with Local Projects, the New York design studio that worked on the interactive installations of the 9/11 Museum, to build a new retail space and test lab in San Francisco that leverages interactive storytelling to help illustrate how smart products work. Open House is arranged as a 3,500-square-foot model home filled with the latest Internet-connected gadgets, from Drop’s smart thermometers and scales in the kitchen to Withings’ wireless blood pressure monitors and Sonos speakers in the bedroom. Continue reading Target Display Educates Shoppers About the Connected Home

VideoStitch Raises $2.25 Million for Live 360-Degree VR Feed

French startup VideoStitch has the ability to output a live 360-degree feed, using multiple action cameras, making it ideal for virtual reality. The video-stitching solution attracted the attention, and $2.25 million, from Alven Capital. VideoStitch’s software can also be used to output 3D videos as well as a simple stitching solution for video feeds. The software supports any 360-degree camera configuration, is scalable and allows processing across multiple GPUs for real-time results. Continue reading VideoStitch Raises $2.25 Million for Live 360-Degree VR Feed

Reddit Chief Promises Better Communication with Community

In the wake of the abrupt dismissal of Reddit employee Victoria Taylor, CEO Ellen Pao apologized to the site’s disgruntled users, acknowledging a history that goes back several years of broken promises and poor communication. But apologies by Pao and co-founder/executive chairman Alexis Ohanian haven’t yet mollified users, who are circulating an online petition demanding Pao’s termination. The 10-year old San Francisco-based company has 70 to 80 employees but relies on its power users to govern the site. Continue reading Reddit Chief Promises Better Communication with Community

Sony Announces New Markets for Cloud-Based Vue TV Service

After this week’s launch in Los Angeles and San Francisco, Sony’s cloud-based TV service PlayStation Vue is now available in four of the five largest U.S. cities (Vue is also offered in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia). The service starts at $49.99 per month, and features more than 50 channels of live TV from three major networks and a collection of popular cable channels. Addressed during the company’s E3 press conference, Vue is part of a larger effort to make the company’s PlayStation console a multi-purpose entertainment hub. Continue reading Sony Announces New Markets for Cloud-Based Vue TV Service

Apple Announces New Products, Updates from San Francisco

While the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference did not include any major surprises, the company unveiled interesting details about its much anticipated music service launching this month, new versions of its OS X and iOS operating systems, and software updates to its car, home and smartwatch products. Apple is replacing its Newsstand app with “News,” and Passbook has become “Wallet.” The company announced new partners for Apple Pay, including Trader Joe’s and JC Penney, and an upcoming compatible reader from Square. Continue reading Apple Announces New Products, Updates from San Francisco

Apple Blends Streaming, Social, Radio for New Music Service

The new Apple Music service, unveiled during yesterday’s WWDC in San Francisco, will be released for iOS the end of this month and will be coming to Android devices this fall. The service will allow subscribers to stream their favorite music, access curated playlists, and watch music videos and exclusive clips in HD for $9.99 per month. The company is also offering a $14.99 family plan for sharing Apple Music with up to five other people. Apple is adding a global radio station called Beats 1 that will be run by DJ and music producer Zane Lowe. Continue reading Apple Blends Streaming, Social, Radio for New Music Service

Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Apple charges app publishers 30 percent of subscription amounts initiated through apps, the same percentage it collects for in-app revenue. Some companies have been working around the charge by not enabling subscriptions through their mobile iOS app or charging consumers more. However, the company is reportedly considering a change to the agreement, but only for subscriptions that are delivered via Apple devices rather than the App Store. Such a revision suggests that only services offered through Apple TV would likely be exempt from the 30 percent fee. Continue reading Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Pinterest Adds E-Commerce to Discovery with New Buy Button

San Francisco-based social bookmarking site Pinterest announced yesterday that it plans to introduce e-commerce to its platform with “Buyable Pins,” which could go a long way to justify the company’s $11 billion valuation. Pinterest, popular with users for discovering and sharing real world things through a digital scrapbook approach featuring “pinned” items, will allow interested sellers to add “buy” buttons to items they post. The product’s early retail partners include Cole Haan, Ethan Allen, Macy’s, Kate Spade and others. Continue reading Pinterest Adds E-Commerce to Discovery with New Buy Button

Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

At last week’s Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco, Google announced a new initiative to mix online video services with popular television content. Via Android TV Channels, Internet video app publishers have the ability to add linear channels of programming to Google’s Android TV platform on the same program grid used for broadcast TV networks. According to Google, the initial launch partners include AOL, Bloomberg, the Huffington Post, Pluto, TED, Vevo, the Weather Network, and European live streamer Zattoo. Continue reading Android TV Blends Online Video and Broadcast Programming

Google to Partner with Levi’s on Interactive Clothing Project

Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group unveiled its Project Jacquard initiative at Google I/O last week. The goal of the project is to invisibly integrate computers into wearables and other materials, objects, furniture, and more. The idea is that everyday items could be converted to interactive surfaces with the introduction of touch-sensitive fabric. The objects would then transmit info to a smartphone or other device via Wi-Fi. The company’s first partner is Levi Strauss, which is interested in creating jeans that fit into our digital lives. Continue reading Google to Partner with Levi’s on Interactive Clothing Project

Qualcomm Tech to Power Next-Gen Project Tango Smartphone

Qualcomm announced that its Snapdragon 810 CPU and Adreno 430 GPU will power Google’s next generation Project Tango smartphone, coming out in the third quarter of 2015. The new phone promises to offer the same capabilities of the Nvidia-powered Project Tango tablet, but in a smaller form factor. “We’re excited to work together with Google and Android developers to help deliver new, innovative visual experiences using depth-sensing technology on mobile devices,” said Raj Talluri, SVP of product management, Qualcomm. Continue reading Qualcomm Tech to Power Next-Gen Project Tango Smartphone

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

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