4K TV Shipments Up 700 Percent, to Top 100 Million in 2018

Research from Futuresource Consulting points to a 3 percent increase for the worldwide television market in 2014 over the previous year. However, 2014 is also expected to experience a decline in average retail prices from $652 to $608. The report suggests that 4K TVs will reach 100+ million units in 2018, with 11.6 million units shipping this year (a 700 percent jump). China accounts for more than 70 percent of demand for 4K, while Western Europe and North America represent 10 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Continue reading 4K TV Shipments Up 700 Percent, to Top 100 Million in 2018

Retailers Turn to Smart Mannequins to Lure In-Store Shoppers

For nearly three decades, Universal Display has provided mannequins to fashion retail stores such as Lord & Taylor, Saks and Uniqlo. In an effort to improve the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, Universal Display has developed an innovative way to use modern tech with mannequins to push information to nearby shoppers. Mannequins are tagged with beacons that push messages to customers’ mobile phones complete with photos, sizes and prices of ready to buy clothing inside the store. Continue reading Retailers Turn to Smart Mannequins to Lure In-Store Shoppers

Google Developing a Standalone Android System for Vehicles

With its Android Auto software arriving in 2015, Google is already focusing on its next project, one that would allow drivers to make use of Android in their cars without a smartphone. As of now, the use of smartphone auto tech, including Android Auto, requires the presence of a smartphone inside the vehicle. For Google, part of the challenge moving forward will be in convincing automakers to adopt software that would potentially be an integral part of a car’s brand identity. Continue reading Google Developing a Standalone Android System for Vehicles

Amazon Tests Delivery Options via Bike Messengers, Drones

Amazon’s latest experiment with its delivery service promises one-hour deliveries. The Amazon Prime Now service is being tested across New York City using a fleet of bike messengers. The program has plans to implement drop-off drones in the future. Amazon’s drone carriers, which could cut the one-hour delivery time in half, has yet to receive approval from the FAA for domestic use. Amazon joins companies such as Postmates, WunWun and Uber in the market for expedited delivery services. Continue reading Amazon Tests Delivery Options via Bike Messengers, Drones

Starbucks Order & Pay Service Links Mobile to In-Store Retail

Starbucks is introducing a new app for iPhones that allows customers to order and pay without having to visit the checkout counter. The beta service launched this week in Portland, Oregon. Starbucks plans to follow up by launching “Mobile Order & Pay” city-by-city throughout 2015, and introducing an Android version. The massive reach of a company like Starbucks places it in a position to successfully link mobile devices to in-store retail, an issue Silicon Valley has been trying to address for years. Continue reading Starbucks Order & Pay Service Links Mobile to In-Store Retail

European Union Expresses Privacy Concerns Regarding Google

The European Parliament recently voted in favor of breaking up Google in European territories. While the nonbinding vote holds no legal power, the decision to vote in favor of such a break-up shows the resistance that Google has encountered from the European Union. The vote comes in the wake of a recent appeal by privacy advocates and the EU to extend the “right to be forgotten” policy for European citizens beyond the European Google search engine. Continue reading European Union Expresses Privacy Concerns Regarding Google

Tumblr Takes Lead as World’s Fastest Growing Social Platform

While Facebook is by far the world’s leading social platform (with 1.35 billion active monthly users), new research from the Global Web Index points to Tumblr as the fastest growing platform. Tumblr’s active user base grew 120 percent over the last six months, while Facebook only experienced a 2 percent bump. And in terms of overall member growth, Pinterest had 57 percent growth, compared to Facebook’s base growth of 6 percent. In mobile apps, Snapchat saw the most growth, up 56 percent this year. Continue reading Tumblr Takes Lead as World’s Fastest Growing Social Platform

Songkick Service Now Sells Concert Tickets to Fans Directly

Concert discovery service Songkick will now sell concert tickets directly to music fans. The London-based startup — which, over the course of seven years has gained 10 million active users — will now potentially earn 20 times as much revenue. While the service previously referred users to other sellers, clicking away to another service to purchase was a nuisance and could be impacted by conversion rates. Now, by adding payment information, users can purchase tickets without leaving the site.  Continue reading Songkick Service Now Sells Concert Tickets to Fans Directly

Chinese Startup OnePlus Unveils $299 High-End Smartphone

Many of today’s top-tier smartphones can cost upwards of $650 (a price often hidden in a carrier plan), which hasn’t changed since Apple launched its first iPhone in 2007. Chinese startup OnePlus is aiming to change that. This month, the company will begin taking pre-orders for the One, a low-cost, high-end smartphone that runs a flexible version of Google’s Android called CyanogenMod. The $299 price tag is not part of a carrier plan, but the total cost, making the One about half the price of competing phones. Continue reading Chinese Startup OnePlus Unveils $299 High-End Smartphone

U.S. Spends More on Digital Video Than the Rest of the World

The U.S. video entertainment market — including pay TV, box office, Blu-ray, DVD, video-on-demand, and paid-for online video — is getting ready to reach an all-time high. According to a new report from researcher Futuresource Consulting, the market is expected to make $123 billion in retail value in 2015. Futuresource notes that the video market reached $120 billion in 2013, a 2 percent increase over the previous year. Per household spending on video in the U.S. is the highest in the world. Continue reading U.S. Spends More on Digital Video Than the Rest of the World

Nokia Experiments with Broadcasting TV Through LTE Network

Nokia is testing a new service in Munich that would allow viewers to get TV broadcasts from the Bayerischer Rundfunk company through airwaves on the LTE network. Nokia has already tried LTE-Broadcast technology in the U.S., but this trial is more like a traditional broadcast network because it sends out the same video signals to everyone. LTE-Broadcast is an industry standard, and if it’s successful, broadcasters will be able to reach millions of people through their mobile devices. Continue reading Nokia Experiments with Broadcasting TV Through LTE Network

YouTube Takes Cue from Netflix, Blames ISPs for Slow Video

YouTube recently started pointing at Internet service providers when it comes to problems with video playback. When a YouTube video experiences buffer or playback issues, a message that reads “Experiencing interruptions?” now appears under the video. Clicking “Find out why” takes users to a new Google page that lists video playback quality for ISPs of different countries. Last month, Netflix posted alerts blaming a crowded Verizon network when customers experienced grainy video. Continue reading YouTube Takes Cue from Netflix, Blames ISPs for Slow Video

Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

Last week, Yahoo announced the launch of its News Digest app for Android devices. The company has also made the iOS version available for all users worldwide by adding Canadian and International editions (it was originally only available to iOS device users based in the United States or United Kingdom). Using algorithmic and human curation, Yahoo News Digest provides news round-ups twice a day, each story presented with a collection of articles, maps, Wikipedia entries, videos and photos. Continue reading Yahoo News Digest Now Available Globally on iOS and Android

Social TV: Twitter Purchases Two Analytics Firms in Europe

Twitter has acquired two TV analytics companies as part of its effort to become a stronger social complement to television viewing. French company Mesagraph and U.K.-based SecondSync will become part of Twitter’s London office. Twitter also announced it will be expanding its partnership with Kantar Media, and is hoping to extend its Twitter TV ratings system into Europe. To compete in the social TV space, Facebook has teamed with TV networks to initiate live updates during broadcasts, a practice popular with Twitter. Continue reading Social TV: Twitter Purchases Two Analytics Firms in Europe

The Amazon Effect: RadioShack and Staples to Close Stores

RadioShack’s shares fell by 24 percent after holiday sales came in dramatically under expectations. The company has now announced that it will shutter 1,100 stores, leaving 4,000 brick-and-mortar locations in the U.S. Meanwhile, Staples announced that it would close 225 stores by next year, as the office supply superstore continues to move its business online, which already accounts for half of its total sales. Can physical retail stores survive in an Amazon-dominated world? Continue reading The Amazon Effect: RadioShack and Staples to Close Stores

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