Qualcomm Debuts Snapdragon 850 for Windows PCs and IoT

Qualcomm has built numerous specialized chips for the Internet of Things and, at Computex 2018, it unveiled the Snapdragon 850 processor designed for Windows devices. The goal is for the chip to enable Qualcomm’s many partners to build a new generation of Windows-on-Snapdragon devices for the holiday season. Samsung already stated it is working on a Snapdragon 850-enabled 2-in-1 PC. The new chip is intended for devices larger than a smartphone and offers the ability to run at higher clock speeds without overheating. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Snapdragon 850 for Windows PCs and IoT

Huawei VR2 Headset Lauded for Comfort, Res, Sound Quality

At CES 2018, Huawei made the U.S. debut of its Huawei VR2 headset, which had been announced in October in China. The standalone unit resembles the Oculus or Vive rather than the Gear VR; the user attaches a phone, tablet or PC via USB-C and then enjoys the VR experience at a resolution of 1,600 x 1,440 per eye. The unit also features a 90Hz refresh rate, which reduces eyestrain and motion sickness. The controller, made of the same bright white polymer as the headset, offers a clickable touchpad. Continue reading Huawei VR2 Headset Lauded for Comfort, Res, Sound Quality

Samsung S8 Offers Bigger Screen and Bixby Virtual Assistant

Samsung Galaxy S8, arriving in stores April 21, sports a high-tech look, featuring a screen that goes from edge to edge, with just a hint of metal at the top and bottom. The screen measures 5.8-inches, compared to the S7’s 5.1-inch. The smartphone’s virtual assistant Bixby offers voice control, and Samsung is positioning the phone as capable of doubling as a desktop computer. That’s a lot of phone, but it’s got a price to match, at $720 at Verizon and starting at $750 for AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. Continue reading Samsung S8 Offers Bigger Screen and Bixby Virtual Assistant

Oculus and Facebook Aim to Make Virtual Reality More Social

Oculus debuted Parties and Rooms for the Samsung Gear VR mobile headset, a significant move in making virtual reality more social. Parties allows a multi-person conversation to take place on top of whatever else the individuals are doing in VR, and Rooms is a digital lounge where up to four people can gather to watch videos, play simple games or just relax. Facebook also just launched its “Coordinated App Launch API,” which will enable those friends hanging out in Rooms to launch a developer’s multiplayer game. Continue reading Oculus and Facebook Aim to Make Virtual Reality More Social

Augmented Reality Glasses: Vendors Talk Now, Release Later

The main message from many of the AR glasses vendors on the CES show floor was that their current technology meets market needs, but they already plan to release major improvements on the current product line within the next year. Some of them demonstrated working prototypes of those next-generation glasses. Others had non-working mock-ups with descriptions of technical specifications that they said were close enough to the planned deliverable to be discussed publicly. We saw solutions from companies such as Osterhout Design Group, NuEyes, QD Laser, Lumus and Vuzix. Continue reading Augmented Reality Glasses: Vendors Talk Now, Release Later

Valve to Launch New PC-Based Console for the Living Room

Valve plans to release the first of its Steam Machines, a hybrid between PC-based and console gaming, to consumers on November 10th. The Linux-based device will be produced by Alienware, and combines the graphical capabilities of a traditional desktop PC with the usability of a home console. Coupled with the Steam Machine will be a new gamepad featuring two haptic touchpads that Valve claims will offer the precision of a mouse and keyboard control scheme. It will launch in three models ranging from $499 to $749. Continue reading Valve to Launch New PC-Based Console for the Living Room

Apple Redesigns Minimalist Remote Control for New Apple TV

With a new Apple TV expected later this summer, the company has revamped the design for the device’s remote control. While Apple has always pushed for minimalist design, its new remote control will supposedly have more features than the previous model, which has hardly changed since the debut of Apple TV back in 2007. According to sources, the new control, while still user-friendly, features two physical buttons, includes a touchpad and is slightly thicker than the device’s current design. Continue reading Apple Redesigns Minimalist Remote Control for New Apple TV

Dish Has Plans to Offer a $200 Advanced Touchscreen Remote

As more people cut the cord and abandon their pay TV plans, Dish Network believes it can retain customers by offering a new remote control that promises to help people find what they want to watch. Startup Ray Enterprises is already working with Dish to make its advanced remote control compatible with Dish Network’s Hopper DVR. The $200 touchscreen remote includes search and recommendation features and the ability to control other devices connected to the TV. Continue reading Dish Has Plans to Offer a $200 Advanced Touchscreen Remote

Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

Galaxy Note 4 users interested in virtual reality can spend $199 for the newly launched Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, available via the Samsung and AT&T sites (a Verizon version is on its way). A variety of VR games and applications are available from the Oculus VR app store and a 16GB microSD card starter kit. Since Gear VR is designed for mobile, there are limitations to the types of games you can play, but Samsung offers a Bluetooth controller with more standard game controls in a $249 bundle. Continue reading Samsung Launches Gear VR Headset, Powered by Galaxy Note

Gear VR: Samsung Expected to Unveil New HMD at IFA 2014

It has been confirmed that Samsung, in collaboration with Facebook’s Oculus VR, is developing a virtual reality device called the “Gear VR.” The company is expected to announce the device, along with the Galaxy Note 4, at IFA 2014. The Gear VR will feature a modular design, allowing the user to plug in a Galaxy using USB 3.0. The device uses the smartphone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, and processing power for head tracking, which creates the VR effect. Continue reading Gear VR: Samsung Expected to Unveil New HMD at IFA 2014

Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Time Warner Cable has partnered with startup Fanhattan to offer customers the Fan TV cable set-top box, which enables viewers to watch live TV, cable TV, and streaming video via Internet Protocol. The sleek cable box features a unique viewer guide with an integrated offering of online and live content from television shows to movies through a simple touchpad remote. Pre-orders of Fan TV set-tops, which began Tuesday, are $99, and they will be ready to ship in June. Continue reading Time Warner Cable Offers VOD, Streaming, Cable via Fan TV

Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Google has released a Glass software update that includes some substantial new features. Update XE12 provides users with the ability to snap a photo with a discreet wink, adds a lock screen function for improved security, offers options for uploading Glass-shot videos directly to YouTube, and intros Hangouts integration for messaging and chatting with friends. Additionally, the Google Play Music app is available and the long-awaited MyGlass app for iOS is being rolled out. Continue reading Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Google Aims to Attract Programmers with Glass Developer Kit

Google unveiled its Glass Development Kit (GDK) earlier this week at a Glass hackathon in San Francisco, inviting developers to create third party apps for its wearable technology. The company is looking to lure programmers with parts of Glass that were previously unavailable. Developers can now build Glass apps that work offline, in real time, and use the hardware accelerometer and GPS. Until now, developers were only able to work with the Mirror API. Continue reading Google Aims to Attract Programmers with Glass Developer Kit

Is BlackBerry PlayBook Heading Down the Same Road as the TouchPad?

  • It looks like HP’s TouchPad is not the only tablet to face a challenging market.
  • Best Buy has placed RIM’s PlayBook on sale, discounting the 64GB model by $150, while the 16GB and 32GB versions have been marked down by $50.
  • “Research In Motion’s PlayBook has had something of a rough ride since its launch in April this year,” reports Digital Trends. “Reviews have been mixed, while just a month after appearing on shelves, almost 1,000 of the tablets had to be recalled due to unspecified faulty hardware issues.”
  • Additionally, Sprint announced last month that it was dropping its plan to bring the 4G PlayBook to its network, leaving the device without a major U.S. carrier.

What Can (Should) We Learn from the HP $99 TouchPad Fire Sale?

  • ReadWriteWeb journalist Dan Rowinski posted an interesting op-ed piece this week: “HP’s $99 TouchPad Fire Sale Can Teach Everybody A Lesson.”
  • “Tablets priced at $99 flying off the shelves and what had been a significant headline on Tuesday (Best Buy has 250,000 unsold TouchPads) had completely turned around on Sunday (Good Luck Finding a $99 TouchPad),” writes Rowinski. “It got me to thinking. As much as consumers love their Apple products and the iPad is a terrific device, consumers want something that is price efficient, even if it is a touch flawed. With literally hundreds of thousands of TouchPads sold over the weekend, a significant note should be playing in retailers’ and manufacturers’ heads — opportunities await for those willing to make a sacrifice.”
  • Rowinski speculates that an iPad killer is not in our immediate future. He also suggests that major changes are in the making with the browser-based mobile apps enabled by HTML5. He discusses tablets by Motorola, Samsung, HTC and Research In Motion and how price point may become as significant a factor as available apps. He addresses how Amazon learned valuable lessons with its Kindle and could possibly “recreate the Kindle furor by introducing a tablet into the market at $200 or less.”
  • “The great equalizer will be price,” writes Rowinski. “Amazon and to a certain extent Microsoft with Windows 8 have actually benefited from waiting to enter the tablet wars. They now see the battlefield in front of them and what it will take to make an impact. Quality devices with reasonable prices. Then turn and make money through value-added services.”

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