U.S., South Korea Carriers Claim Title of First to Roll Out 5G

Verizon Communications debuted its first 5G wireless service in parts of Chicago and Minneapolis, the same day that South Korean carriers rolled out their services in parts of Seoul. Both groups sped up their 5G launch to lay claim to being the world’s first to offer 5G services. South Korea’s two largest carriers, SK Telecom and KT Corporation (formerly Korea Telecom), claim to be first to sign up 5G subscribers. Being first in 5G is a way to advertise technology strengths, but it’s not very important to consumers choosing their wireless providers. Continue reading U.S., South Korea Carriers Claim Title of First to Roll Out 5G

Consumers Are Adopting Smartwatches and Fitness Bands

Consumers around the world are warming to wearables, including activity trackers, fitness bands and smartwatches. IDC reports that the global wearables market increased more than 31 percent during Q4 2018, representing a new record of 59.3 million units. Total shipments of 172.2 million units for 2018 mark a 27.5 percent jump over the previous year (although IDC now includes ‘hearables’ such as headphones and earbuds in its calculations). Apple led the charge with 16.2 million devices shipped in Q4 2018, 10.4 million of which were Apple Watches. Continue reading Consumers Are Adopting Smartwatches and Fitness Bands

Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

Netflix is strategizing ways to court the hundreds of thousands of people in places like India that are glued to watching YouTube on their mobile phones. Only a few months, ago, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said sleep was Netflix’s biggest competitor. But since his company is also eyeing India for its next 100 million Netflix subscribers, that country’s focus on YouTube is concerning. Netflix and Amazon, both of which have spent billions to produce original content, still find it difficult to crack emerging markets. Continue reading Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

Amazon Maintains its Lead in Growing Smart Speaker Market

The Amazon Echo lineup continues to dominate the smart speaker market with a 63 percent share in the U.S., according to an online consumer survey conducted during July and August by Strategy Analytics. While Amazon models represent the majority of smart speakers currently in use, Google follows at 17 percent and Apple trails at 4 percent. The survey found that 88 percent of U.S. homes with smart speakers currently have at least one Amazon speaker, and 31 percent indicate they have at least one Google speaker. Additionally, 58 percent of households with smart speakers are already using two or more devices. Continue reading Amazon Maintains its Lead in Growing Smart Speaker Market

Forecast: Smart Speakers Will Outsell Wearables This Season

Strategy Analytics predicts the smart speaker market will nearly quadruple in unit volume this year, bringing the total to 24 million. According to eMarketer, smart speakers will likely outsell wearables in the U.S. this holiday season. “We expect smart speakers to be the gift of choice for many tech enthusiasts, because of their lower price points,” said eMarketer analyst Cindy Liu. The research firm anticipates continued growth for devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers in the U.S., but slowed growth in terms of usage. Continue reading Forecast: Smart Speakers Will Outsell Wearables This Season

Andy Rubin’s Essential Raises $300M from Amazon, Tencent

Essential Products, the smartphone company founded by Andy Rubin, the creator of Google’s Android mobile software, has amassed $300 million from several investors, including China’s Tencent Holdings and Amazon’s Alexa Fund. The company, which plans to compete with Apple and Samsung in the smartphone market, also stated that Best Buy and Amazon will be its first partners for distributing the new $699 titanium-encased Essential phone. What Essential did not reveal was the date the phone will launch. Continue reading Andy Rubin’s Essential Raises $300M from Amazon, Tencent

Apple to Release Standalone, Upgraded Watch in September

Apple’s current Watch requires wireless connection to an iPhone to function, but the tech giant is on track to release a new version that connects directly to mobile networks, according to sources. This new smartwatch, at least a few of which will be released by the end of 2017, is made possible by LTE modems supplied by Intel, which has waged a persistent effort to get its technology into more Apple mobile devices. Up until now, Qualcomm has been Apple’s primary modem supplier for its mobile devices. Continue reading Apple to Release Standalone, Upgraded Watch in September

Google Unveils Next-Gen Android O, Featuring Battery Savings

Google unveiled the first developer preview of its next-generation mobile operating system, Android O, a year after its first preview of Android Nougat. Unlike the Android N version, which was available to all comers, Google is not making the O preview available in the Android Beta channel. For Android O, only developers who own a Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel, Pixel XL or Pixel C device (or want to use the emulator) will be able to manually download and flash their devices. Among the new features, background limits are expected to conserve battery life. Continue reading Google Unveils Next-Gen Android O, Featuring Battery Savings

At 1 Billion Video Hours Daily, YouTube May Topple TV Views

Worldwide, people are watching more than 1 billion hours a day of YouTube videos, a number that threatens to topple the primacy of U.S. television viewing. That represents a 10-fold increase in YouTube viewership since 2012, said to be pegged, in part, to Google’s use of artificial intelligence to recommend videos. These personalized video line-ups keep people watching, and YouTube’s exponential growth of content — 400 hours of video uploaded each minute — means there’s always something new to watch. Continue reading At 1 Billion Video Hours Daily, YouTube May Topple TV Views

Apple, Google, Samsung Battle to Dominate Mobile Payments

Apple, Google and Samsung are all vying to dominate the nascent mobile payments market sector. Samsung, a newcomer to the competition, has already signed up five million U.S. users, who have racked up $500 million in transactions since launching in September. Apple Pay is estimated to have 12 million monthly users and Android Pay has five million. Still, adoption of mobile payments hasn’t caught fire yet. Not all retailers accept mobile payments, which also require later-generation phones. Continue reading Apple, Google, Samsung Battle to Dominate Mobile Payments

Tablet Sales Declined in 2015, Detachable Devices Offer Hope

The overall tablet market shrank last year, but promising sales of detachable devices offer an opportunity for future tablet market growth. According to a report from the International Data Corporation (IDC), total shipments of tablets in 2015 were 206.8 million, 10 percent less than the 230.1 million shipments in 2014. Apple still maintains the lead in market share, but competitors such as Samsung, Amazon and Lenovo are catching up as more consumers opt for more affordable tablets. Continue reading Tablet Sales Declined in 2015, Detachable Devices Offer Hope

Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Cord cutting continues to impact the pay TV industry. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, the top 20 cable and satellite TV providers lost 479,000 subscribers in the U.S. between April and June, while operators in Canada lost 53,000 customers, marking the highest rate of decline experienced thus far in North America. The report comes after the first net drop of pay TV subscribers for the first three months of a year, following a disappointing Q1. Additionally, digital IPTV subscriptions fell by 62,000 in the U.S. and 9,000 in Canada. Continue reading Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

British comedy “Catastrophe” made its streaming debut in the U.S. this week exclusively on Amazon’s Facebook page. The move is a new approach to promoting Netflix competitor Amazon Prime Instant Video. Two days after Monday night’s premiere, the show will be made available for streaming only to Amazon Instant Video subscribers (the entire season will be available Friday). This is not the first time social media has been leveraged this way. Hulu has been posting select videos on Facebook, while studios have been offering movie rentals and purchases via social platforms. Continue reading Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

Global Tablet Shipments Drop 12 Percent Year-Over-Year in Q4

Facing the growing popularity of phablets, the tablet market experienced its first worldwide decline after multiple quarters of slowing demand. According to Canalys, global tablet shipments fell 12 percent from Q4 2013 to 67 million units in Q4 2014. The end of 2014 also marked the fourth consecutive quarterly loss for Apple’s tablet shipments. In Q4, iPad shipments plunged 18 percent, while Samsung’s tablet shipments fell by 24 percent. Although Amazon and Lenovo had promising seasonal sales, the industry experienced an overall drop in demand. Continue reading Global Tablet Shipments Drop 12 Percent Year-Over-Year in Q4

Cyanogen: Microsoft Plans to Invest in New Version of Android

Microsoft is planning to invest in Cyanogen, a startup that is building another version of the Android mobile operating system independent of Google. While Google requires smartphone manufacturers to feature Google apps and Google search, Cyanogen’s new operating system does not plan to have any similar requirements. For Microsoft, that means its Bing search engine and other software has a better chance of succeeding on smartphones with the alternative Cyanogen-built operating system. Continue reading Cyanogen: Microsoft Plans to Invest in New Version of Android

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