Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

At the Computex trade show in Taiwan, San Diego-based Qualcomm introduced new chips for connected landlines, wireless Wi-Fi networks and wearables. To expand broadband communications network capacity, the company’s Atheros business unveiled GigaDSL chips that let broadband operators transition away from VDSL technology to Gigabit access. The company is also debuting a three-way radio chip to be used for Wi-Fi wireless data networking as well as a new set of Snapdragon Wear chips for wearable devices. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

Bots are text or language-based user interfaces to a service rather than ones that are graphical, and they’re getting a boost from several big technology companies, especially those that missed out on smartphones and their apps. Microsoft has described a vision of bots that can do everything from book a hotel room to order pizza, and has debuted tools to make it easier for a developer or small business owner to build one. Now, Facebook has plans to roll out a bot store that connects with its Messenger service. Continue reading Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Foxconn, the Taiwan-based factory operator best known for assembling Apple’s iPhones, is acquiring two-thirds of Japanese electronics manufacturer Sharp, which supplies phone screens to Apple. The $3.5 billion deal, which follows a slew of public negotiations, rumors and setbacks, could provide Foxconn with leverage to make it a more attractive Apple partner. However, some analysts suggest that the acquisition will hand Foxconn an ailing and costly business. Foxconn is facing rising labor costs in China and a global slowdown in smartphones, while Apple diversifies its supply chain. Continue reading After Months of Setbacks, Foxconn Strikes Deal to Buy Sharp

Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Troubled Japanese LCD manufacturer Sharp is in talks to sell to Taiwanese company Foxconn. According to Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, the two companies have cleared 90 percent of the obstacles to sealing a final deal. If the deal does go through, it will mark significantly new openness of Japanese companies to foreign suitors. Also wooing Sharp is Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a Japanese government-supported consortium that has already acquired the display businesses of Toshiba, Hitachi and Sony. Continue reading Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

LucidCam Developing $299 VR Camera, Partners with Sephora

LucidCam successfully raised $100,000 on Indiegogo from 264 backers, and now is well on its way to creating the camera that sounds too good to be true: a $299 device that’s small enough to fit in a pocket and yet can shoot immersive virtual reality content. The company, headed by chief executive Han Jin, says the LucidCam team is now busy creating partnerships with content creators and brands — its first is with make-up brand Sephora — and reveals that the company will release its first 360-degree 3D video in December. Continue reading LucidCam Developing $299 VR Camera, Partners with Sephora

Apple’s Electric-Car Project, Titan, Gets Greenlight for 2019

Apple greenlit its early stage work on an electric car, changing its status internally to a committed project dubbed Titan, say insiders, with a target release date for 2019. The company has decided that its expertise in batteries, sensors and hardware-software integration — honed by developing the iPhone — can serve as a sufficient foundation for developing a car. During the year Apple researched the feasibility of its own electric car, company executives met with two groups of government officials in California. Continue reading Apple’s Electric-Car Project, Titan, Gets Greenlight for 2019

Thunderbolt Adopts USB-C, Universal Port of the Near Future

From desktops, laptops and tablets to game consoles and other CE devices, the Universal Serial Bus has been the industry standard for cable and connection interfaces for about 20 years. It has been speculated that USB-C, developed by the USB Implementers Forum, would soon become the successor to the USB standard. Intel announced during Computex in Taiwan last week that Thunderbolt 3 will embrace USB-C functionality, and initially offer data transfer rates twice as fast as Thunderbolt 2 and four times that of USB 3.1. Teaming the two could be a game-changer. Continue reading Thunderbolt Adopts USB-C, Universal Port of the Near Future

Facebook, HP Introduce New Server Technology at OCP Event

Facebook unveiled a new server yesterday — code-named Yosemite — that is based on its collaboration with Intel. While the server is designed to run the social network’s software, Facebook envisions the system also being used by other companies. The announcement was made during an Open Compute Project gathering, which also included news from Hewlett-Packard regarding its new stripped-down servers for cloud-based operations. HP execs said the company’s new Cloudline machines would be less expensive than its popular Proliant line. Continue reading Facebook, HP Introduce New Server Technology at OCP Event

PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Late last week, Google added new payment options to the Google Play Store, including the ability to use PayPal for the purchase of apps, music and movies. Paypal can now be used as a payment method for Google’s virtual storefront in 12 countries including the U.S. While this is the first time Google has offered the PayPal option (Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store has featured the option since its inception), the payment method can only be used for digital content, which excludes devices or accessories. Continue reading PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

Seoul-based CJ Group, which operates Asia’s largest theater chain, wants to transform the multiplex experience with its new 4DX theater technology. The conglomerate has signed a deal with AEG to introduce “4-D” cinema to U.S. consumers this summer at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 in downtown Los Angeles. The 4DX tech combines moving and vibrating theater seats with effects such as wind, strobes, fog, rain and scents — all synchronized to the film action taking place on screen. Continue reading CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

Samsung Expands Retail Presence in Europe and North America

Samsung has become the largest smartphone maker worldwide without having many of its own retail stores. Since its growth has slowed while faced with a variety of cheaper models from rivals, Samsung is looking to expand its retail presence in North America and Europe. In the next few months Samsung is planning to open around 60 stores in Europe, and 90 kiosks in Canada. The company has no independent retail stores in the U.S., but teamed up with Best Buy last year to create 1,400 “store-in-store” kiosks. Continue reading Samsung Expands Retail Presence in Europe and North America

Research Suggests Strikes Systems Not Curbing Online Piracy

Several countries have launched “graduated response” initiatives in an effort to reduce online piracy, but new findings from U.S. and French researchers suggest the measures do not have the intended effect. Last year, the U.S. implemented its six-strikes system to warn infringing file-sharers, and then penalize them after multiple warnings. Although the penalties range from a fine to a prolonged Internet disconnection, the study suggests this does not prevent piracy.  Continue reading Research Suggests Strikes Systems Not Curbing Online Piracy

Mobile Forecast: Will Phablets Outsell Small Tablets in 2014?

According to Bob O’Donnell, founder of TECHnalysis Research, demand for phablets (larger smartphones approaching tablet dimensions) is growing so quickly in parts of Asia, Europe and Brazil that the odd-sized devices are expected to outsell traditional smaller tablets in 2014. O’Donnell forecasts that 175 million phablets will be sold worldwide next year, as compared to an estimated 165 million smaller-sized tablets (featuring screens that are 8 inches or less). Continue reading Mobile Forecast: Will Phablets Outsell Small Tablets in 2014?

SoftKinetic and Intel Pursue Era of Perceptual Computing

Belgium-based SoftKinetic built what it says is the world’s smallest 3D camera that recognizes gestures. The company has teamed with Intel to take the next step toward “perceptual computing,” which entails using more senses to interact with computers. The small 3D gesture-recognition camera, which is based on “time-of-flight” technology, will be used by Intel in its collection of perceptual computing technologies next year. Continue reading SoftKinetic and Intel Pursue Era of Perceptual Computing

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