Apple Preps for Release of New iPhones, HomePod Speaker

Apple is readying the fall release of its new iPhone line-up, including the redesign and the addition of 5G to two high-end phones and two less expensive models to replace the iPhone 11. Sources report that among the redesign of the top-tier phones are flat stainless-steel edges and flat screens. Yesterday, the company delivered a virtual unveiling of its new iPhone SE, featuring a design similar to its older iPhone 8. Apple also plans to release a new version of its HomePod speaker that is smaller and cheaper than the original, in addition to Apple Tags for tracking keys, wallets and other objects. Continue reading Apple Preps for Release of New iPhones, HomePod Speaker

CES 2020: Holiday Smart Lights Have Multiple Applications

The Internet of Things is about to offer middle America a new creative outlet. Italian startup LEDWORKS produces strings of individually addressable LED Christmas tree lights. Twinkly’s phone app maps the location of each individual light: one camera scan to map lights arrayed on a flat surface and two or three camera scans to map the lights arrayed around a 3D object like a Christmas tree or a wall outside. The app can then wirelessly load a program into the lights’ plug to display preset patterns and images or, if you are clever, patterns of your design. The current app can control up to 10,000 lights. By the end of 2020, Twinkly should be able to control 20,000 lights. Continue reading CES 2020: Holiday Smart Lights Have Multiple Applications

All About You: CES Products Highlight Personal Experiences

The display of Sony’s 360 Reality Audio at CES 2020 just might summarize the entire show: a personalized experience in a 360-degree spherical sound field, exactly as intended by artists and creators. Listeners optimize Sony’s object-based spatial audio technology with an app that captures an image and then analyzes their ears. With the app connected to one of the select new Sony headphones and a premium music service such as Deezer, nugs.net, and TIDAL they will hear individual instruments, vocals, and even the audience placed in the sound field. Continue reading All About You: CES Products Highlight Personal Experiences

CES: Fragrance Diffusion System Has Multiple Possibilities

One of the more interesting exhibitors at CES Unveiled was Artiris Parfum, which showcased its Compoz natural fragrance diffusion system. There are a number of vendors offering necklaces and masks that emit synthetic odors for individual scent-enhanced VR and AR experiences. Paris-based Artiris Parfum offers a system that lightly diffuses customized, programmable blends of up to five all-natural fragrances into a room to create a group programmable olfactory experience. Continue reading CES: Fragrance Diffusion System Has Multiple Possibilities

CES 2020: The Next Decade Brings the Intelligence of Things

At Sunday’s opening CES event, CTA’s VP of research Steve Koenig and director of research Lesley Rohrbaugh revealed trends for CES 2020, as we move “into the data age.” “In the previous decade, we could describe the dynamic in hardware, software, apps and even content as IoT, the Internet of Things,” said Koenig. “In the new decade, we’ll be increasingly confronted with a new IoT: the Intelligence of Things. This new IoT bears testimony to the fact that AI is permeating commerce and culture.” Continue reading CES 2020: The Next Decade Brings the Intelligence of Things

CES 2020: Conference Sessions Cover Big Ideas and Details

More than 300 conference sessions and 1,100 speakers across 22 different tracks offer first-person insight into the universe of topics to be featured at CES 2020 this week in Las Vegas. As the world’s largest showcase of tech innovation, CES gathers leaders and experts to share the latest developments in products and policies. This year’s lineup of SuperSessions captures the zeitgeist of the market as it advances from an imagined future to real issues, opportunities and challenges. ETC will report on many of the sessions most relevant to media and entertainment. Continue reading CES 2020: Conference Sessions Cover Big Ideas and Details

Deloitte Predicts 5G Will Spark Boom of Smart Home Devices

A new Deloitte study, “Connectivity and Mobile Trends Survey,” found that current U.S. households own “an average of 11 connected devices, including seven with screens to view content.” Deloitte vice-chair/U.S. telecom and media and entertainment leader Kevin Westcott declared that, after AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon roll out 5G, we’ll see “a significant increase in connected devices.” The study further found that 67 percent of consumers plan to upgrade to 5G-compatible smartphones when they become available. Continue reading Deloitte Predicts 5G Will Spark Boom of Smart Home Devices

$3 Billion TiVo-Xperi Merger Is All About the Patent Portfolio

Rather than splitting itself into separate product and IP businesses as it explored earlier this year, Rovi-owned TiVo is merging with Xperi Corporation in a deal valued at $3 billion. San Jose-based TiVo, a pioneer in the DVR industry, licenses its IP for areas involving digital rights management, electronic program guides and metadata. Xperi, also with headquarters in San Jose, is a tech licensor in areas including mobile computing, data and memory storage and 3D integrated circuits. The deal will integrate TiVo and Xperi’s IP licensing and product businesses, which will then operate as separate units so that one could be sold in the future. Continue reading $3 Billion TiVo-Xperi Merger Is All About the Patent Portfolio

Big Tech Companies Collaborate on Smart Home Standard

The ordinary home is increasingly connected to the Internet, via cameras, doggy doors, lights, locks, sensors, switches and thermostats. But lack of an industry-wide connectivity standard can make these devices frustrating to use and manage. For that reason, Google joined with Amazon, Apple and other big tech companies to create Connected Home over IP. The independent working group, managed by Zigbee Alliance, aims to create a new, open smart home connectivity standard based on Internet Protocol (IP). Continue reading Big Tech Companies Collaborate on Smart Home Standard

Cable Provider Altice Plans Fall Launch For Smart Speaker

New York-based cable provider Altice USA, parent company to Optimum and Suddenlink, plans to launch a high-fidelity smart speaker this fall that features audio tech from French company Devialet. The $400 Altice Amplify will come with Alexa built-in for hands-free control of TV functions. The speaker, to be available through Altice’s cable stores and Amazon.com, will feature access to streaming apps on the Altice One cable system such as Netflix, Pandora and YouTube. Altice Amplify will work with additional TV systems and streaming devices and support apps including Amazon Music, Apple Music, Audible, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Tidal and TuneIn. Continue reading Cable Provider Altice Plans Fall Launch For Smart Speaker

Coalition Alleges Amazon Illegally Collects Children’s Data

A coalition of 19 consumer and privacy groups plans to file a complaint against Amazon alleging that the e-commerce company’s Echo Dot Kids Edition illegally collects voice recordings and other information from users under age 13, which is a violation of the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, known as COPPA. The Echo Dot Kids Edition is much like the Echo Dot smart speaker device, but targeted to kids using a design featuring bright colors. Via the device, kids can ask questions, play music, and more using voice commands.

Continue reading Coalition Alleges Amazon Illegally Collects Children’s Data

Spotify Tests Voice-Enabled Ads on Mobile Devices in U.S.

If you — like millions of others — log into Spotify via a free mobile account (and if you’re in the U.S. and have enabled voice controls), you might start noticing something new: voice-enabled ads. As part of increased investment in voice technology, the streaming service started a test period of these new ads, which encourage listeners to say verbal commands to take action based on the ad’s content. For now, Spotify is focused on promoted in-app content like branded playlists and podcasts, instead of directing listeners outside the app.

Continue reading Spotify Tests Voice-Enabled Ads on Mobile Devices in U.S.

Amazon, Eero Stress Privacy Policies Will Remain the Same

After announcing its purchase of Eero last month, Amazon said the deal with the company, which makes easy-to-use Internet routers, just closed. According to Amazon senior vice president of devices and services David Limp, Eero will continue to be its own entity within Amazon, similar to Ring and Blink. Eero sells a package of one second-generation hub and two beacons for $400, which was discounted by $100 on the first day of the announcement. The package is enough to connect hardware in an apartment or small home. Continue reading Amazon, Eero Stress Privacy Policies Will Remain the Same

Developers Are Struggling to Create Alexa-Centric Killer App

Four years after launching its program to allow outside developers to write apps for Alexa, Amazon’s voice system has some 80,000 “skills” — but no huge hit. In fact, most people with Alexa-enabled smart speakers still use them only to listen to music or make simple requests. That compares to Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, each of which are home to over 550,000 apps, many of which have been huge successes for developers. But voice-centric apps are challenging to build and don’t appear to attract consumers. Continue reading Developers Are Struggling to Create Alexa-Centric Killer App

Amazon Says It Will Support But Stop Selling Dash Buttons

Amazon announced that it would stop selling its Dash buttons, small devices for the connected home that were designed to help consumers easily update orders of needed household items. Usefulness and interest in the Dash buttons has slowed, so the company has decided to halt global sales. However, Amazon explained that it plans to continue support for new orders through existing Dash buttons as long as consumers use them. The company claims that more options in the connected home helped to cause the device’s demise. Continue reading Amazon Says It Will Support But Stop Selling Dash Buttons

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