Dolby Wants to Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Mobile Devices

Dolby plans to introduce a surround sound experience for tablets and smartphones. During last month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the company detailed how algorithms running on an audio processor chip or ARM processor core could simulate Atmos-like surround sound by essentially tricking the user’s brain into thinking the audio is 3D. While it is not clear when the tech might become available to consumers, Dolby says the first iteration will be ready for hardware partners by the end of this year. Continue reading Dolby Wants to Bring Atmos Surround Sound to Mobile Devices

Music Companies Make Money from Fan-Made YouTube Videos

According to the annual Digital Music Report released this week by IFPI, which represents some 1,300 record companies worldwide, Google-owned YouTube is now the most popular music service in the world. Moreover, the recording industry is generating more revenue via advertising and royalties from fan-made mashups, lip-syncs and tributes on the popular video site than from officially-released music videos. YouTube currently has more than one billion global users. Continue reading Music Companies Make Money from Fan-Made YouTube Videos

Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

Insiders say that Amazon is hoping to introduce an on-demand music-streaming service for its growing number of Amazon Prime customers. While the company has negotiated with record companies and music publishers in regards to licensing, financial terms are said to remain an obstacle. The music service is expected to be one of several new possible features the company may bundle with Prime as it raises the annual membership fee from $79 to as much as $119. Amazon already announced a $20 increase to take effect in April. Continue reading Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

SXSW: Snowden Talks Digital Privacy, Pushes Better Encryption

Former NSA contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden addressed the crowd at SXSW in Austin, Texas yesterday via videoconference from Moscow. Speaking on NSA leaks and data security, Snowden urged tech firms to adopt better encryption methods to help protect users from government surveillance. He also shared privacy tips for citizens, such as encrypting your hard drive, implementing browser plug-ins that prevent online tracking, and using online network Tor, that promises anonymity. Continue reading SXSW: Snowden Talks Digital Privacy, Pushes Better Encryption

Project Tango: Google Aims to Bring 3D Sensor Tech to Phones

Google recently announced a new initiative dubbed “Project Tango” that plans to integrate 3D sensor technology in a series of prototype Android smartphones. The venture involves a 5-inch phone built by Google that features sensors for tracking the device’s movement while modeling the surrounding space and landscape. “This could impact future game design, virtual set construction and location scouting,” notes ETC staffer Phil Lelyveld. “It could enable crowd-sourced 3D stitching of location modeling data.” Continue reading Project Tango: Google Aims to Bring 3D Sensor Tech to Phones

Apple iOS 8 Rumored to Feature Health and Fitness Monitoring

Apple plans to release its newest version of iOS this year, and its biggest feature is expected to include integrated health and fitness tracking. This latest development indicates Apple will likely introduce the iWatch, sources say, and iOS 8 will also feature a new app currently codenamed “Healthbook.” The app and wearable combination is said to be able to monitor fitness statistics, track weight loss, and keep an eye on users’ vital signs like blood pressure and hydration levels, among other indicators. Continue reading Apple iOS 8 Rumored to Feature Health and Fitness Monitoring

White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

As more people now browse the Internet on multiple devices, Web cookies are becoming less reliable and are on their way to being phased out. The question of what will replace the technology points to companies like Google and Apple, which will likely have greater control over the technologies behind online tracking. A white paper by the Interactive Advertising Bureau puts forward possible solutions, such as device manufacturers providing data about their customers’ habits to marketers. Continue reading White Paper Suggests Alternatives to the Fading Web Cookie

Music: Prince Sues Facebook Users for Copyright Infringement

Known for filing copyright infringement lawsuits, musician Prince has targeted 22 individuals for posting links of his live concerts and posting them on Facebook and blogs, and filed a lawsuit for $22 million in damages. The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in the Northern District of California. Only two of the defendants are referenced by their real names in the lawsuit, and the others are referenced by their online usernames.  Continue reading Music: Prince Sues Facebook Users for Copyright Infringement

More Companies Turning to Video Analysis to Measure Big Data

When it comes to big data, video is being regarded as the next big thing to help collect — and help make sense of — information from consumers. At the Structure Data 2014 conference in March, techies and business people will come together to talk about how video can be used for things other than content creation and passive surveillance. Video analysis, for example, is becoming more widely used by retailers and companies to figure out consumers’ shopping habits. Continue reading More Companies Turning to Video Analysis to Measure Big Data

Free Music Streaming from Spotify and Rdio is Now Unlimited

Spotify has removed streaming time limits for all users. The company announced last week that it would offer unlimited free music streaming via the platform’s desktop app and on the Web. The move follow’s last month’s announcement that Spotify would offer free shuffled music streaming to its phone and tablet apps. Less than 24 hours after Spotify announced lifting its time restriction, competitor Rdio revealed that it would do the same in the United States. Continue reading Free Music Streaming from Spotify and Rdio is Now Unlimited

Google Play Movies & TV App for iOS Has Chromecast Support

Google released a new app this week in Apple’s App Store that allows users to watch their Google media content directly from an iPhone or iPad. The app, called Google Play Movies & TV, is a significant step in the company’s content strategy, since iOS users can now watch movies and television shows purchased or rented on Google Play. However, similar to the Kindle app, users will not be able to buy or rent content directly from the app itself, but will need to access the browser. Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV App for iOS Has Chromecast Support

Wearables Waiting For a Killer App to Take Them Mainstream

Considering a mere five percent of U.S. consumers wear activity trackers, will wearables ever cross-over to the mainstream? Even the experts in this field have trouble agreeing. Steven Pierce, of IBM’s global business development, said we’ll have ten devices on our bodies very soon. “Wearables will be the key source of information in five years,” he said, listing implantables and injectables as future wearables. But Sonny Vu, founder of Misfit Wearables, disagreed. “Five years isn’t that far away,” he said. “I don’t think science will advance that fast.” Continue reading Wearables Waiting For a Killer App to Take Them Mainstream

Nabu: Razer’s First Wearable Wins CES People’s Choice Award

How would you like to exchange LinkedIn, Facebook and/or Twitter connections with a simple handshake? You can do that now with Razer’s Nabu, the company’s first wearable device. CES attendees responded enthusiastically, giving it the People’s Choice Award. The win was among finalists in 13 categories, including Best Startup, Best Automotive Electronic Device, Best Video and Best Software, and accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total 54,511 Engadget reader votes. Continue reading Nabu: Razer’s First Wearable Wins CES People’s Choice Award

CES Panel: Sixth Sense is Digital, Say Wearables Innovators

At a panel provocatively titled “The Sixth Sense is Digital,” several wearables pioneers gathered to discuss the evolving changes and direction of the burgeoning industry. NeuroSky CEO Stanley Yang started it off with a series of important questions: “First, you have to ask — do I need to wear anything? If I do, what’s helpful? After motion tracking, what do you do with it? Who can design the next wearable technology for the masses with the functions we need?” Continue reading CES Panel: Sixth Sense is Digital, Say Wearables Innovators

Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?

Even a cursory look at the news coming out of CES makes it clear that wearables have garnered a lot of the buzz. Smartwatches, augmented reality headsets, digital health solutions and fitness tracking monitors are all the rage here. What’s not clear is if wearables will ever intersect with the entertainment industry. Although the question itself may seem risible, it’s worth remembering that most people dismissed the mobile phone as an entertainment device only a few years ago. Continue reading Will Wearable Tech Have a Future in Entertainment Media?