Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

Augmented reality systems with technology that overlays digital interfaces onto the physical world may eventually edge out virtual reality and significantly impact human perception. While VR products such as Oculus Rift, Gear VR and HTC’s Vive get closer to launch, timelines for augmented reality devices such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and Google-backed Magic Leap remain vague. However, some believe AR is more likely to become integrated into our everyday activities and subsequently affect the way we interact, work and communicate. Continue reading Augmented Reality on Track to Transform Our Everyday Lives

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’s Project Fi Phone Service Promises Fast Connectivity

Google has unveiled its experimental Project Fi, a new mobile phone service that seamlessly switches between Wi-Fi and 4G LTE networks to ensure that people will have the fastest connections. Users will also be able to switch between devices, so text messages and phone calls can be answered from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Google partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile for the data networks, and it plans on offering its Project Fi for as low as $30 per month. Continue reading Google’s Project Fi Phone Service Promises Fast Connectivity

New Projector Tech from Google Turns Any Walls into Screens

Google’s new projector technology is not the traditional blinding display that merely projects movies. It is designed to be more subtle to serve as a changing background to everyday life. The technology interacts with walls that are coated with photo-reactive paint. The projection system works similarly to e-ink technology, and an image would remain on the wall until a new image replaces it. The transparent photo-reactive paint can be used to turn any surface in a house or business into a screen. Continue reading New Projector Tech from Google Turns Any Walls into Screens

Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

Google has updated the Android Wear operating system to include wrist controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, and other functionality features. For the first time, smartwatch users won’t have to be tethered to their smartphone because the Wi-Fi connection will allow them to receive text messages and check email on their watches without needing their smartphones nearby. The first Android Wear smartwatches with this technology built-in are expected to begin shipping next month. Continue reading Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

Oculus Rift VR Headset Expected to Hit the Market This Year

After acquiring virtual reality startup Oculus for $2 billion last year, Facebook will finally release the much anticipated Oculus Rift VR headset. Mike Schroepfer, vice president of engineering for Facebook announced that the company would start shipping the device this year. The consumer release of the Gear VR, also by Oculus, is also scheduled for this fall. Facebook’s next challenge is to make VR more social. It recently introduced 360-degree spherical videos for its social network’s News Feeds. Continue reading Oculus Rift VR Headset Expected to Hit the Market This Year

Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

Despite the failure of several live streaming apps in recent years, Twitter and other investors are betting that consumers are now ready to live stream their experiences. Twitter recently acquired live streaming app Periscope for $100 million and now Twitter users can broadcast live from the social network. Meerkat, Camio, YouNow, Justin.tv, and Livestream offer similar services. With more access to streaming, people may be more inclined to share video of themselves through this model. Continue reading Twitter Believes the Time is Now Right for Live Streaming Apps

No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Facebook has introduced a new technology that will someday allow Facebook users to explore immersive, 360-degree videos from their News Feeds. The company unveiled the technology at its annual F8 developer conference in San Francisco this week. The content is created with a 24-camera rig, and it can be viewed in a browser or a smartphone screen without a headset. Facebook envisions users will also use an Oculus Rift headset to view the 360-degree video in the future. Continue reading No Headset Needed to Watch 360-Degree Video via Facebook

Nintendo Will Make Mobile Games Through New Partnership

Nintendo has teamed up with Japanese mobile game company DeNA to bring Nintendo’s popular characters to smartphones and tablets. DeNA and Nintendo plan to build an online gaming service that will be introduced this fall. However, Nintendo has not completely abandoned its strategy to build games for its own hardware. The company is also working on its next game console, codenamed the NX, which may be unveiled next year. It may possibly incorporate VR or media services offerings. Continue reading Nintendo Will Make Mobile Games Through New Partnership

Original Series ‘Powers’ Launches on Sony PlayStation Network

Crime drama “Powers” — adapted from the popular comic of the same name by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming, and starring Sharlto Copley, Eddie Izzard and Michelle Forbes — is a new PlayStation original series. The show is available exclusively on Sony’s PlayStation Network, and can be viewed only via the PlayStation game console and select Xperia phones and Bravia TVs. The series will be an interesting test subject in brand convergence between Sony Pictures and the company’s PlayStation division. Continue reading Original Series ‘Powers’ Launches on Sony PlayStation Network

SXSW Will Use Beacon Technology to Push Festival Information

The 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) Music, Film and Interactive Festival — which runs March 13-22 in Austin, Texas — plans to employ the latest beacon technology to help attendees navigate the sprawling event this time around. SXSW has partnered with Eventbase to install 1,000 Apple iBeacons that will deliver location-based information about who else is nearby and what acts are performing nearby. These Bluetooth-enabled devices send the information to the 2015 SXSW Go app. Continue reading SXSW Will Use Beacon Technology to Push Festival Information

Popcorn Time Accounts for One-Ninth of U.S. Torrent Traffic

In less than a year, Popcorn Time has become one of the most popular services to torrent pirated media content online. The slick grid interface looks similar to that of Netflix or Hulu, making the service look more legitimate and easier to navigate to find a TV show or movie. The program is actually an index of other BitTorrent sites. Popcorn Time’s popularity has been growing in the U.S. and abroad, especially in countries where streaming services are less established. Continue reading Popcorn Time Accounts for One-Ninth of U.S. Torrent Traffic

Smart Projector Displays Content from Your Phone or Tablet

The Beam is part LED lightbulb and part projector. Users can screw it into a light socket or place it on a flat surface and project content anywhere. The small-scale device has an onboard computer to access content on the Web. It can also project games or movies from a smartphone or tablet. The smart projector has a corresponding iOS and Android app for operation and programming commands. Beam Labs Inc. is offering the $399 Beam device as part of its Kickstarter campaign that ends March 24. Continue reading Smart Projector Displays Content from Your Phone or Tablet

Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Mattel has announced a partnership with Google to revive the toymaker’s iconic View-Master device. In place of cardboard discs with stereoscopic images, the updated toy will incorporate the View-Master app on a user’s mobile phone and deliver a true virtual reality experience. The technology used for the View-Master is identical to that which powers Google Cardboard, and like Cardboard, the View-Master was designed to make VR affordable. The View-Master will retail for $30 and be available later this year. Continue reading Mattel Teams with Google to Resurrect the Iconic View-Master

Matchstick Delays Shipping; Opts for Hardware, DRM Updates

Matchstick, the first HDMI streaming media stick based on the Firefox OS, announced that its originally planned February shipment date has now been pushed to August. The company says it has “decided to release the product when it is ready.” The decision to delay is the result of updating the hardware to a faster quad core chipset, improving the antenna to avoid the Wi-Fi connectivity issues experienced by similar products, and developing DRM support in order to attract more premium video apps such as Netflix. Continue reading Matchstick Delays Shipping; Opts for Hardware, DRM Updates

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