CES: Canon Solutions for New Reality of Virtual Work and Life

During CES, Canon introduced two new software-based collaborative tools it has in development: AMLOS, a video meeting platform based on gestures, and the VR platform Kokomo, a social VR platform for immersive video calls. Under the theme “Together Next,” Canon enlisted actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and his online collaborative media platform HitRecord to demonstrate using the new hybrid collaboration technology in a virtual, real-time writers’ room. In addition to operation through gesture control and connectivity with Microsoft Teams and other collaboration apps, AMLOS will allow a single camera to capture multiple angles when it debuts later this year. Continue reading CES: Canon Solutions for New Reality of Virtual Work and Life

Amazon Glow Gives Kids Connectivity for Activities & Games

This holiday season, families may be basking in the warmth of the new Amazon Glow, which debuted in limited release September 28. The crackling 14-inch vertical tower is a combination tablet, camera and projector and features an 8-inch LCD HD touchscreen and can project up to 19.2-inches. While the $250 introductory price tag may be considered steep for a device aimed at toddlers (it is marketed for ages 3 and up), the Amazon Glow lets kids play remotely with family and friends, and can anyone really put a price to quality time across the miles?  Continue reading Amazon Glow Gives Kids Connectivity for Activities & Games

New Amazon Devices Include Home Robot, Smart Thermostat

During its streamed media event this week, Amazon introduced new devices including a wheeled robot named Astro and a sale-by-invitation-only Ring autonomous security drone for the home. While the unusual products added sizzle, the focus was largely on basics like its first smart thermostat, updates to the Echo speaker line and Ring security products. Several of the new products appear to target market share of products already on offer, including through Amazon, and many emphasize synergy among Amazon’s hardware brands. The company’s fee-based premium services were also emphasized. Continue reading New Amazon Devices Include Home Robot, Smart Thermostat

Facebook Unveils New Video Devices and Portal for Business

With COVID-19 continuing to drive the popularity of video chatting, Facebook is doubling down with new iterations of its Portal devices that includes the battery-powered Portal Go and a new Portal+ along with the announcement of Portal for Business, a service that will make it possible for small and mid-size businesses to purchase, deploy and remotely manage Portal devices for employees. Facebook’s Portal devices, which debuted in 2018, compete with Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub products for the home. The recommitment indicates Facebook believes video calling is here to stay. Continue reading Facebook Unveils New Video Devices and Portal for Business

Big Tech Responds to Coronavirus, Improving Its Public Image

With the advent of the coronavirus, companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Google quickly responded, featuring links to “high-quality information” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). Big Tech has now donated thousands of N95 masks to healthcare providers and continues to highlight accurate news. Facebook committed $100 million in small business grants and Amazon put out the call for 100,000 new employees. Overall, Big Tech isn’t just doing good but doing well, with business holding steady. Continue reading Big Tech Responds to Coronavirus, Improving Its Public Image

Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Facebook’s Workplace is a social networking tool designed for the enterprise, enabling an efficient chat and collaboration platform for employees. It is similar to the Facebook used by friends and family members, but instead is meant to foster interaction between co-workers. Now, Facebook is introducing a free version intended for smaller businesses that are not as interested in the administrative and analytical features offered to subscribers. (It is still being tested, so the release is limited.) The new version will be named “Workplace Standard,” and the paid version will go by “Workplace Premium.” Continue reading Workplace: Facebook Tests Free Version of Slack Competitor

Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

The Signal app from non-profit Open Whisper Systems provides end-to-end encrypted messaging, voice calling, and now video chatting. The new feature, along with improved voice calling functionality, comes as part of a beta update for the app’s Android and iOS versions. Signal is a popular choice for activists and journalists who need a private communications platform, but it is still struggling to find a foothold in the mainstream because it sacrifices some popular features for security.  Continue reading Signal App Update Adds Ability to Make Encrypted Video Calls

Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Out of Messenger’s one billion users, 300 million people are now using its audio and video calling features every month. This represents tremendous growth from Facebook’s first trials with VoIP audio for Messenger in 2013, and video calling in mid-2015. More recently, Facebook launched Instant Video for live connections in Messenger and group audio calling, with hints on plans to introduce group video calling. The idea is that multimedia options will always be part of the ongoing conversation. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Apple Shifts UHD TV Plans to a Focus on Apple TV Upgrade

Apple spent several years researching new ways to innovate the television set, and now the company has decided that transparent UHD displays, sensor-equipped cameras and FaceTime capabilities are not worth launching in a new Apple product. Instead, the company plans to continue developing its online television service as an alternative to cable and will redesign the Apple set-top box. This way, the company will be able to uphold its reputation for innovation and high profit margins. Continue reading Apple Shifts UHD TV Plans to a Focus on Apple TV Upgrade