Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Wants to Go International

Xiaomi is the most popular smartphone maker in China and the third largest phone maker in the world. During the next year, the company hopes to expand its presence outside of China to developing markets in India, Brazil, and Indonesia. The company specializes in manufacturing low-cost, well-designed phones that they sell primarily online. Xiaomi is also hoping to increase profits by selling apps and entertainment for the phones, along with other electronic devices like a tablet and smart TV. Continue reading Chinese Smartphone Maker Xiaomi Wants to Go International

Apple Releases its WatchKit SDK for Apple Watch Developers

Developers can now start creating apps for Apple’s new wearable, the Apple Watch, with the company’s newly released development platform. WatchKit includes the Xcode 6.2 beta and the iOS 8.2 software development kit. Apple also provided design and user interface guidelines, so that developers can craft seamless apps for the Apple Watch. The iPhone itself will actually do most of the processing in the apps, but the watch will receive the user’s input and display output. Continue reading Apple Releases its WatchKit SDK for Apple Watch Developers

Rovi Acquires Fan TV to Take Video Discovery to the Cloud

Rovi, a company that powers video guides and recommendation systems, has announced the acquisition of Fanhattan, a startup specializing in video discovery through its Fan TV products. The acquisition is expected to bolster Rovi’s portfolio of cloud-based TV guides. Fanhattan could benefit from Rovi’s sales force, which may be able to distribute the Fan TV streaming set-top box to Charter and Dish customers. Fan TV integrates video from different sources into a single user-friendly interface. Continue reading Rovi Acquires Fan TV to Take Video Discovery to the Cloud

Avegant Glyph Audio Headset Also Impressive Retinal Display

While the Avegant Glyph will primarily be sold as an audio headset, it can also display content from any game console, television, smartphone, or tablet. The display uses two million mirrors to project video onto a user’s retina. The device also contains sensors to detect pulse, oxygen, pupil dilation, and temperature, so that games could become even more interactive. The $500 Avegant Glyph is expected to ship by March 2015; pre-orders are being accepted now. Continue reading Avegant Glyph Audio Headset Also Impressive Retinal Display

Microsoft Plans to Debut New Smartwatch in Next Few Weeks

Microsoft is joining Apple, Fitbit, musician will.i.am and others gearing up to offer new smartwatches. Microsoft’s wearable — a smartwatch that will track your heart rate, work across different mobile platforms, and run for more than two days of regular use before needing a charge — is expected to launch in the next few weeks. A name for the device or its retail cost is not yet known. Microsoft joins a growing field as the wearable tech market is forecasted to be worth $7.1 billion as early as next year. Continue reading Microsoft Plans to Debut New Smartwatch in Next Few Weeks

Google Plans to Unveil Phablet and New Version of Android

Google’s new smartphone, expected to launch later this month, will be larger than Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy Note. The high-resolution display is 5.9 inches diagonally, making it large enough to be categorized as a phablet. The handset, code-named Shamu, intends to compete in an emerging market of increasingly popular hybrid devices across the U.S. and abroad. Google also reportedly plans to debut a new version of its Android mobile OS at the same time. Continue reading Google Plans to Unveil Phablet and New Version of Android

More Social Interaction Surrounding This Year’s Emmy Awards

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will air tonight on NBC, this year with a few social media twists. Actor Aaron Paul, nominated again for his role in “Breaking Bad,” is thanking his fans with another Hollywood scavenger hunt. He recently posted a photo on Instagram promising signed scripts, posters and more. Facebook is providing an oversized tablet designed to let celebs answer questions from fans during the festivities. And Google has posted TV filming locations that you can check out on Street View. Continue reading More Social Interaction Surrounding This Year’s Emmy Awards

Mobile Payments: Amazon Debuts New Credit Card Reader

Amazon Local Register, the company’s new card reader, is a black rectangular device that plugs into a merchant’s smartphone or tablet. For $10, it works with an app that tracks business transactions for merchants. Amazon offers lower processing fees with the device if a merchant signs up before the end of October, while the standard deal will remain a 2.5 percent charge, which is less than other card reader offers. The lower charge means that Amazon is likely making little profit. Continue reading Mobile Payments: Amazon Debuts New Credit Card Reader

Amazon Debuts its Digital Wallet App in Time for Fire Release

Amazon’s first smartphone, the Amazon Fire, hit stores on Friday preloaded with a digital wallet app that can store users’ loyalty cards and gift cards. About 70 retailers, including stores such as Whole Foods, GameStop, and AMC Entertainment are participating in the service. Customers can redeem their gift cards and rewards at stores by using the app-generated scanable barcode. The Amazon Wallet app is also available for download through the Google Play app store. Continue reading Amazon Debuts its Digital Wallet App in Time for Fire Release

Apple: Strong iPhone and Declining iPad Sales, iWatch Rumors

As Apple gears up for the launch of its iPhone 6, with an anticipated initial run of 80 million units, the company has reported a 12.7 percent profit growth for its current model. However, the company also noted that iPad sales fell for the second straight quarter, with unit sales falling 9.2 percent after a 16 percent drop the previous quarter. With a significant jump in iPhone sales internationally, and a move toward bigger-screen models, some are questioning the future of Apple’s tablet. Continue reading Apple: Strong iPhone and Declining iPad Sales, iWatch Rumors

Verizon Offers Perks to Those Willing to Share Personal Data

Verizon announced its new Smart Rewards program this week that provides consumers with the opportunity to accrue points in a credit card-style program that offers discounts for dining, shopping and travel. Signing on to the Verizon site, paying bills online and participating in the trade-in program lead to earning points. However, participants also have to sign up for Verizon Selects, which collects location, Web browsing and mobile app usage data for marketing purposes. Continue reading Verizon Offers Perks to Those Willing to Share Personal Data

Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books

Amazon announced its new Kindle Unlimited, a $9.99 per month unlimited reading and listening service that provides access to more than 600,000 Kindle books and thousands of audiobooks from Audible. It will be available for the Kindle as well as iOS and Android mobile devices through the Amazon Kindle app. Analysts suggest that the service, which will compete with existing ebook subscription services Scribd and Oyster, could spark as much as $1 billion in growth for Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Announces its Kindle Unlimited, the Netflix for Books

Twitter and Facebook Are Expanding Into Online Purchasing

Twitter and Facebook users will soon be able to do their online shopping directly from the social networks. The two companies are investing in e-commerce in an effort to keep users on their apps and sites. Twitter acquired CardSpring, a mobile payments infrastructure company, which will allow users to load coupons and discounts to a credit card. Facebook is also testing a new buy button that will open a dialog box to make purchases from Facebook posts. Continue reading Twitter and Facebook Are Expanding Into Online Purchasing

Slingbox Introduces Two New Updates for Television Streaming

Slingbox is ready to debut new options to facilitate watching TV over the Internet. The $150 Slingbox M1 allows customers to use a live TV signal via the Internet on any computer, tablet or mobile device. The $300 SlingTV includes the features of Slingbox M1, but also has an on-screen interface that allows users to choose shows and control the television. Both allow users to stream the shows they watch on their cable TV to their Wi-Fi-connected devices. Continue reading Slingbox Introduces Two New Updates for Television Streaming

LeapFrog to Launch Educator-Approved Game Console for Kids

LeapFrog Enterprises plans to launch its $150 kid-friendly LeapTV game console this fall. The twist? LeapTV will debut with 100 games and videos approved by professional educators, those who ideally know what is best for children. The console will include personalization features and motion-sensing controls similar to those introduced with Nintendo’s Wii. Games will target children ages 3 to 8. At launch there will be nine cartridge titles offered, with additional titles available digitally. Continue reading LeapFrog to Launch Educator-Approved Game Console for Kids

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