Amazon Lures Tablet Buyers with Price and Alexa Integration

Five years after Amazon first launched a tablet, it now has a new model, the Fire HD 8, that focuses on one compelling factor: price. The Fire HD 8 is an 8-inch touchscreen tablet with 50 percent more RAM, longer battery life and 16 gigabytes of storage, double Amazon’s previous model (and the same as Apple’s 8-inch iPad). Even as the Amazon tablet’s specs have improved, the price has dropped, from $149.99 to $89.99. That combination is allowing the company to beat the market trend of softening tablet sales. Continue reading Amazon Lures Tablet Buyers with Price and Alexa Integration

GoPro Hero5 Features Cloud-Connectivity and Voice Control

GoPro has revealed some of the details of its upcoming Hero5 camera, including a short instructional video that shows the camera in greater detail. Design-wise, Hero5 looks similar to the Hero4 and GoPro’s previous cameras, with its rectangular shape and the lens and front-facing screen in the same corners. New for Hero5 is the fact that this is GoPro’s first camera to be connected to the cloud; a fully charged camera will automatically upload all the footage to the user’s GoPro account. Also new is voice control.

Continue reading GoPro Hero5 Features Cloud-Connectivity and Voice Control

Amazon Promotes Integration of Alexa in Multiple IoT Devices

With the successful release of the Echo, Amazon now has more extensive plans for the intelligent assistant that powers the smart speaker. Via Alexa Voice Service-enabled voice commands, Echo plays music, turns the lights on or off and sets thermostats. Now, Amazon plans to use Alexa to power an array of devices in the home. Being a player in the Internet of Things is a goal of many other large technology companies including Apple, Google and Microsoft, as well as numerous startups. Continue reading Amazon Promotes Integration of Alexa in Multiple IoT Devices

Consumers Can Talk with Alexa to Order Products on Amazon

Amazon announced that its voice-controlled digital assistant Alexa will have the ability to order “tens of millions” of products. “Alexa — which is built into Amazon’s Wi-Fi-connected Echo and Tap speakers and its Fire TV set-top box — won’t be able to place an order for everything in Amazon’s online store and shopping apps,” reports The Wall Street Journal, but “will have access to all of the products in Amazon’s Prime shipping program.” The company is “adding more products every day into that Prime product wheelhouse,” said an Amazon spokeswoman. “We really want to see how customers are using it and get their feedback on how it can be improved. We’ll continue to figure out expansion as time goes on.” Continue reading Consumers Can Talk with Alexa to Order Products on Amazon

OpenCar Poised to Take On Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

INRIX, a Seattle-based company that offers connected car solutions, just purchased OpenCar, which describes itself as an “updateable application platform and developer ecosystem” for the auto industry. With both solutions on board, INRIX can compete head-on with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both aimed at auto manufacturers interested in integrating smartphone functionality in their vehicles. Ford, Volvo and BMW have confirmed they will integrate Apple and Google’s solutions into new models of their vehicles. Continue reading OpenCar Poised to Take On Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Amazon Announces Alexa Voice-Controlled Household Devices

Internet retailer Amazon introduced two new Echo-related products yesterday: the $130 Amazon Tap — a smaller, portable version of the Echo; and the $90 Echo Dot — a hockey puck-size version of Echo, minus the powerful speaker. As is the case with the newly popular Echo, users interact with both devices via the Alexa voice service. Amazon Tap features a rechargeable battery and uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect with mobile devices and the Internet. The Dot, which connects via wire or Bluetooth, is designed to provide Alexa for existing speaker systems. Continue reading Amazon Announces Alexa Voice-Controlled Household Devices

Layer3 TV Launches Texas Beta of Its Umio Pay TV Service

Three years after its founding, Layer3 TV, a new player in the pay TV space, rolled out a beta test in two Texas markets. Launched by Broadbus Technologies founder Jeff Binder, and former Comcast/AT&T CTO Dave Fellows, the company’s new Umio service is based on a “state-of-the-art” set-top box with an integrated cable modem for Internet and TV services. The content bundle, however, appears to be fairly traditional, including local broadcasters and most cable networks, although Umio also offers some add-on channels. Continue reading Layer3 TV Launches Texas Beta of Its Umio Pay TV Service

Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

Since Amazon had a surprise hit with its tabletop, voice-controlled Echo speaker, released in November 2014, competitors have stepped into the space. Amazon is fighting back with another, smaller, portable and lower-cost version, code-named Fox, expected to debut in a few weeks. Echo, which costs $180, must be plugged into an outlet; its Alexa software answers questions, creates shopping lists, plays music and can control connected lights. Originally a voice activation experiment, Echo has become a popular personal assistant. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

NAGRA Unveils intuiTV All-In-One Immersive TV Experience

NAGRA presented its new all-in-one TV experience called intuiTV at CES this week. The new television interface provides an intuitive, immersive and elegantly simple viewing experience in 4K Ultra HD and HD centered around making television more enjoyable for the consumer. NAGRA offers intuiTV to pay-TV operators as a managed cloud-based platform they can configure with a full line-up of premium content and advanced TV services including live TV, VOD, SVOD, PVR, social TV and more via an innovative streaming device and touchscreen remote control. Continue reading NAGRA Unveils intuiTV All-In-One Immersive TV Experience

China’s LeTV Brings VR Headset, Smart TV, More to the U.S.

Though LeTV is little known in the U.S., that’s about to change. The Chinese online video and consumer electronics behemoth, which posted an estimated $1.6 billion in revenue last year, is about to introduce U.S. consumers to its Android-based smartphone, a bike with an integrated GPS device, smart TVs with voice control, a 4K video streaming box and a VR headset. The company plans to initially focus on the 3 million Chinese speakers in the U.S. but has also inked a two-picture deal with “Lion King” director Rob Minkoff. Continue reading China’s LeTV Brings VR Headset, Smart TV, More to the U.S.

Apple Introduces New iPhones, Apple TV, iPad Pro and More

In addition to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and next-gen Apple TV set-top box with an emphasis on apps, gaming and shopping, Apple unveiled several compelling new products and updates at its San Francisco event, including a $100 stylus called Apple Pencil, a new iPad Pro with optional keyboard that will likely play to business users, improvements to the Apple Watch (including apps such as Facebook Messenger and AirStrip), and more. For the new iPhones, Apple has notably packed the back-facing iSight cameras with 12 megapixels, a larger sensor designed to reduce image artifacts, and the ability to shoot 4K video. Continue reading Apple Introduces New iPhones, Apple TV, iPad Pro and More

Xbox One Support for OTA TV Should Appeal to Cord Cutters

With its newly added capabilities to support over-the-air TV broadcasts, including HD content, the Xbox One is gearing up to become the ultimate cord-cutting device. Microsoft had always intended for the Xbox One to become a console with extensive media capabilities extending beyond gaming. Its support for over-the-air TV now complements services such as Netflix and Plex, in addition to OneGuide integration and compelling features including voice control and the ability to pause live TV. Continue reading Xbox One Support for OTA TV Should Appeal to Cord Cutters

Apple Patents Graphic Interface Controlled by a User’s Gaze

Apple has patented an advanced gaze-tracking graphical user interface that could eventually allow users to control their CE devices without having to lift a finger. Gaze-tracking controls are usually inhibited by the Troxler Effect, a visual phenomenon that sometimes makes the computer cursor disappear. However, the new tech utilizes hardware and software solutions to solve the problem caused by the effect. Apple could potentially use this new interface in Mac laptops, iPhones, iPads, and even the next generation Apple TV. Continue reading Apple Patents Graphic Interface Controlled by a User’s Gaze

CEA Economist Outlines ‘Post-Smartphone Era’ at ETC Event

Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association, set the stage for the upcoming 2015 CES with a special briefing on December 4 for ETC members. DuBravac placed his remarks within the context of more than a century of innovation beginning with the inventions of recording, radio and telephone transmission. “Five key pillars drive innovation today,” he said. “Ubiquitous computing, an explosion of devices, universal connectivity, access to storage, and embedded sensors.” Continue reading CEA Economist Outlines ‘Post-Smartphone Era’ at ETC Event

Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

Roku announced that its channel selections now include Google Play Movies & TV, which allows users to watch films and shows rented or purchased via Google Play. Unlike the Google Play Movies & TV app for iOS, users will be able to access content directly through the Roku channel. This may seem like odd news since Google recently announced its own Android TV streaming box, the $100 Nexus Player, which will launch this month. In related news, Vudu is now available on select TiVo models. Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

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