Thirdweb Attracts Investors for Its Web3 Development Toolkit

Thirdweb — licensor of a development toolkit that simplifies creation of Web3 products including games, smart contracts, NFTs, marketplaces and more — has raised $24 million in a Series A funding round with buy-in from Shopify, Coinbase, Polygon and Haun Ventures. The new investment translates to a valuation of $160 million for the startup, which provides cost-effective turnkey solutions for non-coders (or coders that want to save time) to try Web3 while waiting for it to hit critical mass. The company currently has operations in London, San Francisco and Brooklyn. Continue reading Thirdweb Attracts Investors for Its Web3 Development Toolkit

Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

Amazon just debuted new Alexa features including one that simplifies coordinating multiple voice assistants on a single device using Agent Transfers (AT) and Amazon’s Universal Device Commands (UDC). Using UDCs, Alexa will be able to act on instructions; for instance, saying “Hey Sonos, turn up the volume” to get results for devices with Sonos Voice Control. ATs enable Alexa to transfer requests it can’t unilaterally fulfill — like “Place an order on Uber Eats” — to other assistants that can. Amazon outlined its AT and UDC plans in a white paper on design recommendations for the Voice Interoperability Initiative (VII). Continue reading Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

Adobe Debuts ‘Content Credentials’ to Battle Misinformation

Adobe is releasing an open source developer toolkit that aims to prevent the spread of visual misinformation by including additional metadata that Adobe calls Content Credentials. The system is also designed to help content creators indelibly tag authorship to their work. Announced in 2019, the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) project has released a whitepaper introducing the system, which is integrated into Adobe software. The CAI has teamed with hardware manufacturers and newsrooms to help ubiquitize its vision. The Associated Press, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have signed aboard. Continue reading Adobe Debuts ‘Content Credentials’ to Battle Misinformation

CES: Support for Matter Helps Drive Smart Home Momentum

Matter was a big player at CES 2022. Built around the premise that smart homes need a single, unifying interface standard that makes devices “secure, reliable and seamless to use,” the Matter alliance now has more than 220 member companies, including Apple, Comcast, LG and Samsung. Amazon announced developers can add Frustration-Free Setup on Matter-certified devices using the Matter SDK, and Google declared its Fast Pair simple setup is supporting Matter. As companies build new smart products, Matter believes that users should merely plug them in to make them operational on the home network. Continue reading CES: Support for Matter Helps Drive Smart Home Momentum

Nvidia Goes Full-Stack, Touts Artificial Intelligence and Cloud

Nvidia is mapping out a customer service future populated with real-time avatars who use natural-language AI with real-world customers. The company, which has seemingly transformed from graphics powerhouse to AI authority (in just under 28 years since being founded by Jensen Huang, company CEO) used this week’s GTC conference to emphasize full-stack computing. The speed and flexibility of the company’s three GPU chips offer general purpose enterprise potential, thanks to Nvidia’s parallel-processing platform, CUDA. Huang backed this assertion with a slide indicating Nvidia has deployed more than 150 SDKs to industries generating $1 trillion. Continue reading Nvidia Goes Full-Stack, Touts Artificial Intelligence and Cloud

Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

Qualcomm unveiled its Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform, with the hopes of speeding up development of commercial, enterprise and industrial drones. The new platform, which is powered by Qualcomm’s QRB5165 processor and builds on the company’s IoT products, enables drones to utilize 5G and artificial intelligence technologies. Low power 5G drones can capture and transmit a lot of data via cameras that it transmits to an operator or over a network. AI enables the drone to determine what data is most valuable. Continue reading Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

Treasury Department May Put an End to Location Data Sales

The U.S. military, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are reportedly among the agencies that have been buying citizens’ location data from commercial services. Now, a Treasury Department inspector general report has indicated that this practice is illegal without first obtaining a warrant. The agencies in question say they are buying commercially available data from those who have consented to having their data collected. Continue reading Treasury Department May Put an End to Location Data Sales

Nvidia Cuts Video-Conferencing Bandwidth by Factor of Ten

Last month Nvidia launched Maxine, a software development kit containing technology the company claims will cut the bandwidth requirements of video-conferencing software by a factor of ten. A neural network creates a compressed version of a person’s face which, when sent across the network, is decompressed by a second neural network. The software can also make helpful corrections to the image, such as rotating a face to look straight forward or replacing it with a digital avatar. Nvidia is now waiting for software developers to productize the technology. Continue reading Nvidia Cuts Video-Conferencing Bandwidth by Factor of Ten

Apple Alters App Guidelines, Okays Opt-In Push Notifications

Apple has revised its App Store review guidelines used to curate iOS/iPadOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS App Stores, most notably, now allowing developers to serve ads via push notifications. In past guidelines, Apple specifically said that push notifications should not be used for “advertising, promotions or direct marketing purposes.” The revised guidelines also expand the definition of a spam app and state that legal entities of services in “highly regulated fields” should submit the app rather than individual developers. Continue reading Apple Alters App Guidelines, Okays Opt-In Push Notifications

Why Adware Is the Most Intrusive Malware on Our Devices

Adware is the flavor of malware that the ordinary person is most likely to encounter on a smartphone or browser. Aimed at generating profits, adware sneaks ads into apps and browsers, with advertisers paying developers based on the number of people who load them. The smartphone is the ideal environment for this version of malware, via apps sold in Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store. Ad malware largely goes unnoticed because its main impact (besides relentlessly serving ads) is to slow down the device. Continue reading Why Adware Is the Most Intrusive Malware on Our Devices

Facebook Pushes Core Principles at Developer Conference

With an emphasis on privacy, Facebook made a series of compelling announcements at its annual F8 developer conference this week. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg detailed six core principles that will be embedded across the company’s services: private interactions, improved data encryption, interoperability, general safety, reducing permanence and secure data storage. The principles arrive following a difficult period for the social giant, as it continues to face criticism regarding privacy-related scandals while contending with increased scrutiny from global regulators. Continue reading Facebook Pushes Core Principles at Developer Conference

Sony, Microsoft Planning Advanced Digital Game Consoles

Sony’s next gaming console, dubbed the PlayStation 5, will not debut in 2019 — although Sony has stepped up deploying software development kits to video game creators. Still, it’s set to become the console that’s “more revolution than evolution,” featuring an eight-core CPU based on the third generation of AMD’s Ryzen line’s new 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture. Sony’s PS5 will also be the first game console to offer ray tracing. Microsoft, meanwhile, will debut a console that completely eschews physical media. Continue reading Sony, Microsoft Planning Advanced Digital Game Consoles

Epic Games Demos Digital Human and Offers SDK, Grants

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Epic Games demonstrated “Troll,” featuring digital humans built with Unreal Engine by studios Goodbye Kansas, Deep Forest Films, and 3Lateral. The scenes created in “Troll” use high-level real-time lighting and animation effects. Epic also announced it is providing its Epic Online Services software development kit (SDK), originally built for “Fortnite,” to game developers for free. Additionally, the company announced $100 million in grants to anyone working to “enhance 3D graphics and inspire creativity.” Continue reading Epic Games Demos Digital Human and Offers SDK, Grants

Microsoft SDK to Bring Xbox Live to iOS and Android Games

Microsoft plans to debut a cross-platform mobile software development kit (SDK) that would allow game developers to bring Xbox Live features to iOS and Android games. With new Xbox Live functionality, developers would be able to pick and choose among features including GamerScore, achievements, hero stats, friend lists, cubs and “even some family settings,” all of which will be activated with a single Microsoft Account sign-in. Microsoft gaming cloud chief Kareem Choudhry described Xbox Live as “the heart of our gaming community.” Continue reading Microsoft SDK to Bring Xbox Live to iOS and Android Games

Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market

New standalone VR headsets continue to ramp up competition in the emerging tech sector. HTC has introduced its Vive Focus (starting at $599) to additional markets beyond China — including Europe and the U.S. — while launching an SDK and encouraging developers to experiment with its 6DoF controller add-on. This week, it also unveiled an enterprise version of the Vive Focus. Meanwhile, the all-in-one $399 Oculus Quest headset is scheduled to launch by spring of next year. And new to the scene is Shadow Creator’s $399 Shadow VR, which recently launched globally and is the latest of 15 partners to leverage HTC’s Vive Wave platform. Continue reading Shadow VR Joins the Competition in Emerging Headset Market