Motorola Introduces Early Concepts of Moto Z Phone Gadgets

Motorola is doing something that few electronics companies dare to do — show the world concepts of gadgets that they may or may not make. Consumers can finally get a glimpse of innovation, instead of the another product release of devices that often look the same. Motorola, for example, imagines that people could attach gadgets like a VR headset, a photo printer, an interactive LED panel, or Lego-like building blocks to their modular Moto Z smartphone. The company calls the accessories Moto Mods. Motorola’s phone primarily competes with Samsung Galaxy S and LG G series phones.  Continue reading Motorola Introduces Early Concepts of Moto Z Phone Gadgets

EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

Deutsche Telekom and Spain’s Telefónica have long lobbied the European Union to either repeal some of the onerous regulations governing carriers or to extend them to Internet-based text-message and voice-call services, including Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s WhatsApp. Now, carriers might get their wish as the EU’s executive body is on the verge of suggesting more rules for Skype, WhatsApp and their ilk: tighter privacy and security, and an easier way for consumers to move information when switching services. Continue reading EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

Google, Asian Telecoms Build High-Speed Trans-Pacific Cable

Faster, the 5,600-mile undersea fiber-optic cable that was funded by Google and Asian telecoms, and installed by NEC, is now online. The new cable runs from Oregon to two points in Japan. According to Wired, “It’s the fastest, highest capacity trans-Pacific undersea cable ever built. It can theoretically deliver as much as 60 terabits per second of bandwidth — more than half the total bandwidth available between the U.S West Coast and Asia at the end of 2015.” Google plans to speed communications between its own data centers and offer cloud services from Tokyo. Facebook and Microsoft recently announced plans to construct a 160 terabit trans-Atlantic undersea cable from Virginia to Spain. Continue reading Google, Asian Telecoms Build High-Speed Trans-Pacific Cable

Android Users Are Spending Less Time with Social Media Apps

SimilarWeb examined the amount of time Android users in nine countries spent on social apps Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat during the first three months of 2016 and found that there has been a year-over-year decline. Facebook-owned Instagram saw the most significant drop of 23.7 percent (36.2 percent in the U.S.), followed by Twitter and Snapchat. Facebook was down 8 percent overall, 6.7 percent in the U.S. However, Facebook users in the U.S. spend a daily average of more than 45 minutes with the app. “Meanwhile, Facebook’s messaging apps — WhatsApp and Messenger — increased installs, up 15 percent and two percent respectively,” notes CNBC. Continue reading Android Users Are Spending Less Time with Social Media Apps

Delays in International DVD Releases Lead to Increased Piracy

Carnegie Mellon University’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics released a report that establishes a link between delays in international DVD releases and piracy. Delays hurt aftermarket sales, which often account for the lion’s share of a movie’s revenue, mainly because it opens the door for piracy. Although artificial delays may help movie theaters maximize their revenues, minimizing or eliminating “unneeded delays” is an important consideration, says the report. Continue reading Delays in International DVD Releases Lead to Increased Piracy

Samsung May Intro New Phones with Bendable OLED Screens

Samsung is considering the 2017 launch of two new smartphones with bendable screens, giving the company a leg up on competitors such as Apple, say people familiar with the plans. One phone would reportedly fold in half similar to a cosmetic compact, while the other would feature a 5-inch screen with the ability to unfurl into an 8-inch display. “Codenamed ‘Project Valley,’ Samsung could unveil one or both of the devices as soon as February, when Mobile World Congress takes place in Barcelona,” reports Bloomberg. “That timing would give Samsung a head-start on Apple’s iPhone using OLED screens that may be released later in 2017.” Continue reading Samsung May Intro New Phones with Bendable OLED Screens

Facebook, Microsoft, Telefónica Partner on Trans-Atlantic Link

Facebook and Microsoft have partnered on Marea, a project to build a new fiber optic cable that will run for 4,000 miles under the Atlantic Ocean between Virginia and Spain. Telefónica SA, a Spanish Internet service provider, joins them in the project. The fiber link, composed of eight pairs of strands, will be the highest capacity link across the Atlantic. Marea, the Spanish word for tide, is just the latest such project that Microsoft, Facebook, Alphabet, and Amazon have invested in to lower costs of moving massive amounts of data. Continue reading Facebook, Microsoft, Telefónica Partner on Trans-Atlantic Link

Netflix Reveals Content, Tech Plans at Mobile World Congress

In several meetings at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Netflix discussed plans for content and technology plays over the coming months, including the release of a large slate of original programs. The company revealed that it’s keeping an eye on virtual reality as a storytelling tool and is also about to launch a second screen experience, which has been in development for a number of years. The company has also been more forthcoming about its plans to acquire and distribute content in high dynamic range. Continue reading Netflix Reveals Content, Tech Plans at Mobile World Congress

At Mobile World Congress, Phone Makers Pitch Virtual Reality

Virtual reality now trumps megapixels in phone manufacturers’ pitches to consumers. Over the years, the biggest phone makers have boasted of bigger screens and better photos. But, at this year’s Mobile World Congress, many manufacturers are highlighting the use of their smartphones as an inexpensive mobile device for VR viewing. That’s particularly the case with new offerings from Samsung and its archrival LG, both of which are offering virtual reality capabilities. Even smaller manufacturers are getting in on the game. Continue reading At Mobile World Congress, Phone Makers Pitch Virtual Reality

Facebook Opens Toy Box and Looks to Make VR More Social

Just before the Mobile World Congress opened in Barcelona, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced a new in-house team, led by designers Daniel James and Michael Booth, tasked with building “social apps” for the Oculus. The announcement comes weeks before the release of the long-awaited VR headset Oculus Rift, priced at $600 as a standalone headset and, paired with a PC, starting at $1,500. Facebook also launched a demo of “Toy Box,” with virtual shared games, all part of a move towards making VR more social. Continue reading Facebook Opens Toy Box and Looks to Make VR More Social

HTC Vive Ships in April, Pricier Than Facebook’s Oculus Rift

HTC announced shipping and price details of its highly anticipated Vive virtual reality headset during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday. In conjunction with Valve, HTC will begin shipping the VR headset in early April. At $799, Vive will be $200 more than its rival Oculus Rift. Pre-orders for the goggle-like headset, two wireless controllers, and two room scale movement sensors will begin on February 29 on HTC’s website. The pre-order bundle also comes with two games: “Fantastic Contraption” and “Job Simulator.” Continue reading HTC Vive Ships in April, Pricier Than Facebook’s Oculus Rift

Wanda Cinemas Plans to Launch 100 Dolby Cinemas in China

Wanda Cinema Line Corporation partnered with Dolby Laboratories to open 100 Dolby Cinema locations in China in the next five years. The first location — as of now unnamed — will open this spring. Dolby Labs combined its Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to create what it calls a “premium cinema offering for exhibitors and moviegoers that combines spectacular image and sound technologies with inspired design.” Wanda will be the first cinema chain in China to install Dolby Cinema theaters. Continue reading Wanda Cinemas Plans to Launch 100 Dolby Cinemas in China

Netflix Amps Up Original Content, Pushes for Global Presence

At the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said the company is facing pushback from television networks and Hollywood studios balking at selling global rights. Netflix has set the goal of offering service in every country in the world by the end of 2016, in part to offset a slow-down in domestic subscription growth. To do so, the company is committing to 31 original scripted shows slated for 2016, more than double the 15 that aired in 2015. Continue reading Netflix Amps Up Original Content, Pushes for Global Presence

Facebook Testing New Emoji in Ireland, Spain for Wide Release

Facebook just announced something fans have been wanting for a long time: in addition to the ubiquitous “like” button, fans will have other icons to express emotions. The new emoji, designed after months of research to find expressions that would work globally, include surprise, anger, love, laughter, sadness and a supportive cheer. Although many users have lobbied for a “dislike” button, Facebook declined to add one. The tests in Spain and Ireland are just the first of a round before the emoji are widely released. Continue reading Facebook Testing New Emoji in Ireland, Spain for Wide Release

Europe’s TV/Film Groups Rebuff Netflix, Digital Single Market

The European film and TV industries are expressing concern over two forces they believe threaten their well-being: Netflix and the Digital Single Market, a proposal by the European Commission to create a single European market, ending movie and TV territorial copyright barriers. International TV and film business groups coalesced against the latter proposal, arguing that the Digital Single Market would only benefit a handful of big global Internet platforms. Chief among those platforms, they believe, is Netflix. Continue reading Europe’s TV/Film Groups Rebuff Netflix, Digital Single Market

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