Amazon’s Alexa Moves Artificial Intelligence Into Mainstream

Amazon spent years to bring Echo from an idea to an intelligent, voice-controlled product that could play music, order groceries and read the news out loud. Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos demanded perfection, bringing latency levels to below 1.5 seconds, and the result is that Echo and its virtual assistant Alexa are a hit. In less than two weeks, Echo hit a million pre-orders, which took the iPhone 70 days to achieve. Amazon is now letting third-party hardware manufacturers integrate Alexa into their products. Continue reading Amazon’s Alexa Moves Artificial Intelligence Into Mainstream

Apple Debuts Minor Changes, But Has Big Plans for iPad Pro

Apple’s growth by the end of Q4 2015 was a pallid 2 percent, and the unveiling of its new products at this week’s event from Cupertino showed only incremental changes: an updated 4-inch screen iPhone, a new smaller iPad Pro and a free update to Apple TV. But Apple has big growth potential in its future plans. Although iPad sales have been declining, the company sees the new iPad Pro as a replacement for the huge number of aging PCs, and brought the newly converted Citigroup and Pixar to the event to make its point. Continue reading Apple Debuts Minor Changes, But Has Big Plans for iPad Pro

New Voice-Powered App Takes On Leading Digital Assistants

Santa Clara-based startup SoundHound has developed a voice-powered digital assistant that could take on early players in the field, including Siri, Google Now and Cortana. Like the others, the Hound app (for iOS and Android) allows users to interact via voice so that it can perform requested tasks. However, Hound claims to be faster and smarter than its competitors. The app has been in beta with 150,000 testers since last summer, and is now publicly available along with new Yelp and Uber partnerships for restaurant info and ride hailing from within the app. Continue reading New Voice-Powered App Takes On Leading Digital Assistants

SoftBank to Launch App Store for its Pepper Robots This Month

SoftBank’s Pepper humanoid robots are already interacting with customers at shops and banks in Japan. Later this month, the robots will be introduced to more advanced functions after SoftBank opens a planned app store offering software that will help track customer’s behavior and improve communication with customers. The Pepper robots, which are designed to feature human-like body language and work in retail, have reportedly been selling out regularly since last year’s launch. Continue reading SoftBank to Launch App Store for its Pepper Robots This Month

IEEE Picks Most Interesting Emerging Technologies at CES

The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), with more than 430,000 members in over 160 countries, has a pedigree in publishing technical literature and developing international standards. At CES 2016, its members are actively involved in the development and advancement of some of the hottest trends on the show floor. At an end-of-conference session, a group of IEEE members revealed what they found to be the most interesting technologies on display and how they’re working to improve them. Continue reading IEEE Picks Most Interesting Emerging Technologies at CES

Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors Power Connected Devices

At Qualcomm’s CES press conference, CEO Steve Mollenkopf noted that the company has dedicated more than $38 billion to R&D with emphasis on areas such as automotive, smart cities, wearables, networking, smart homes, data centers, healthcare and smartphones. The company announced partnerships with German automaker Audi and pharmaceutical company Novartis. The chipmaker also launched an entire smart home reference platform to make it easy to integrate their Snapdragon chips into smart home devices. Continue reading Qualcomm Snapdragon Processors Power Connected Devices

Microsoft Project Oxford Updates Could Bring AI to More Apps

Following announcements that Google is releasing its TensorFlow machine learning platform so developers can create their own artificial intelligence programs, and Nvidia has made a significant update to its Jetson TX1 supercomputer-on-a-chip, Microsoft is the latest with major AI news. The company has updated its Project Oxford suite of AI tools with powerful new features and programs designed to identify human emotions and voices, for example, that could make their way into the apps we use on a daily basis. Continue reading Microsoft Project Oxford Updates Could Bring AI to More Apps

New Intel, Micron Chips Said to Offer Big Performance Gains

Intel and Micron Technology announced that they have developed a new memory chip technology that will increase performance up to 1,000 times faster than today’s technology. If proven true, the new chip technology, named 3D XPoint, could offer tremendous new capabilities for computers, smartphones and other electronics. 3D XPoint is not as fast as DRAM (dynamic random access memory), but stores 10 times more data and also, similar to current NAND flash memory, retains data even after devices are powered off. Continue reading New Intel, Micron Chips Said to Offer Big Performance Gains

New Hound App Could Prove Rival to Siri, Cortana, Google Now

As the battle heats up with tech companies over artificial intelligence and digital assistants, SoundHound released an app this week called “Hound” that promises to enhance voice search with its ability to quickly and efficiently handle complex questions. According to Keyvan Mohajer, SoundHound founder and chief exec, Hound has a leg up on the competition since it performs voice recognition and natural-language processing in a single step, as opposed to translating speech to text and then performing a search using that text. Continue reading New Hound App Could Prove Rival to Siri, Cortana, Google Now

Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

Mattel plans to release Hello Barbie, a Wi-Fi connected doll with voice recognition software that allows users to engage in basic conversations with the doll. The tech enabled Barbie, which will be available later this fall for $74.99, is connected to the cloud so that once it records a user’s dialogue, it transmits the information to a server, which then aggregates appropriate responses for the doll. Hello Barbie’s voice recognition software comes from San Francisco startup ToyTalk. Continue reading Hello Barbie: Mattel’s Web-Connected Doll Interacts with Kids

J.D. Power: Drivers Want More Car Tech, Frustrated by Problems

A recent study by market research firm J.D. Power revealed that automobile owners are seemingly unsatisfied with the communication systems in their vehicles. Technologies that have been included in cars to assist drivers, such as Bluetooth and voice recognition systems, have become the cause of many car owners’ greatest frustrations. With communication systems becoming more prevalent, J.D. Power is paying close attention to the types of problems drivers are experiencing with technology in their cars. Continue reading J.D. Power: Drivers Want More Car Tech, Frustrated by Problems

Google and Apple Dashboard Systems May Arrive in Cars Soon

Google and Apple have been developing dashboard systems that would allow drivers to power the center screen of their automobile with the use of a smartphone. The systems have been designed to make driving safer for cellphone users. While neither company has confirmed when these dashboards would be available, there is speculation that they will arrive soon. More than two dozen car makers have reportedly agreed to support Google’s Android Auto, Apple’s CarPlay, or both systems. Continue reading Google and Apple Dashboard Systems May Arrive in Cars Soon

Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

Consumers criticized Samsung for recording users through its smart TVs and sending the data to a third party, but other companies reportedly take a similar approach. Many of the audio recordings come from devices with voice recognition, like LG’s smart TVs or Amazon Echo. Such recording of unknowing users is not limited to the living room. Automobiles from companies such as GM and Chevrolet can record and send information about a driver’s speed, location, and their route to work. Continue reading Numerous Smart Devices May Now Be Secretly Recording Users

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

Visa and MasterCard Unveil Features to Combat Cyberattacks

As concerns continue to rise regarding credit card theft and data breaches, Visa and MasterCard have separately announced new plans to increase the security of their customer data. The world’s two largest payment networks will expand their cybersecurity measures for online transactions through new tokenization and biometrics verification technologies. The announcements coincide with increased efforts by the federal government and numerous industries to combat future cyberattacks. Continue reading Visa and MasterCard Unveil Features to Combat Cyberattacks

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