Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Google’s Project Loon, a plan to use balloons to beam broadband Internet to unserved areas, was shut down in 2021 after eight years, but Loon’s core technologies have propelled a spinout, Aalyria, which is developing advanced networking and laser communications that far exceed anything available today, extending connectivity where there is no infrastructure “at an exponentially greater scale and speed,” according to the company. Aalyria’s first commercial client is the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), a division of the U.S. Department of Defense that awarded an $8 million contract to develop high-speed Internet in space. Continue reading Aalyria: Google Spinout Plans to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Cox Communications has finally launched its long-awaited mobile offering. Cox Mobile is officially piloting in three markets where it is available only to Cox broadband customers: Las Vegas, Nevada; Hampton Roads, Virginia; and Omaha, Nebraska. Customers will initially be offered two plans, each featuring unlimited talk and text — Pay As You Gig and Gig Unlimited, with coverage including 4G LTE and 5G, in addition to 4 million Cox Wi-Fi hotspots. The company plans to expand Cox Mobile in new markets through the rest of the year. Continue reading Cox Launches Its New Mobile Service Pilot in Three Markets

Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

Amazon just debuted new Alexa features including one that simplifies coordinating multiple voice assistants on a single device using Agent Transfers (AT) and Amazon’s Universal Device Commands (UDC). Using UDCs, Alexa will be able to act on instructions; for instance, saying “Hey Sonos, turn up the volume” to get results for devices with Sonos Voice Control. ATs enable Alexa to transfer requests it can’t unilaterally fulfill — like “Place an order on Uber Eats” — to other assistants that can. Amazon outlined its AT and UDC plans in a white paper on design recommendations for the Voice Interoperability Initiative (VII). Continue reading Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

YouTube Helps Integrate TVs and Smartphones with New App

YouTube has reimagined the remote control with a new feature that not only controls basic TV functions using an app, but lets users integrate more deeply with YouTube content — sharing videos, browsing and leaving comments, using Super Chat and Super Stickers and signing-up for channel memberships. YouTube on TV head of design Brynn Evans says the feature is the result of “hundreds of hours” researching user experiences with YouTube on televisions. Traditional remotes make it difficult to navigate on most TV sets, which typically don’t have web browsers built in, Evans says. Continue reading YouTube Helps Integrate TVs and Smartphones with New App

Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Broadcom announced it will acquire VMware in a cash-and-stock transaction that values VMware at $61 billion. The deal, which expands semiconductor supplier Broadcom into enterprise software, is among the top technology transactions of all time, right behind Microsoft’s pending $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard and Dell’s 2016 acquisition of EMC for $67 billion. Broadcom will also assume $8 billion of VMware debt. The news sent shares of Broadcom up 2 percent and VMware more than 1 percent early Thursday. VMware enterprise products optimize client-side servers as well as cloud servers. Continue reading Broadcom Targets Software with $61 Billion VMware Purchase

Marriott Teams with Yahoo on First Hospitality Media Network

Marriott International has teamed with Yahoo to launch what is being called the hospitality industry’s first media platform. The Marriott Media Network aims to help advertisers reach consumers by placing ads on hotel websites with plans to eventually harness the power of TV sets in hotel rooms. Using what is considered “first party data” — interaction derived from consumer interaction with brands (in this case, the hotel chain’s guest data) — the  Marriott Media Network is designed to fill a void left by privacy changes at companies like Apple and Google that will block third-party cookies and ad tracking. Continue reading Marriott Teams with Yahoo on First Hospitality Media Network

Amazon Kids+ Skips Ads for First Free Mobile Game Releases

Amazon Kids+ is debuting its first free original mobile games. Ad-free mobile games based on the Amazon Original children shows “Super Spy Ryan” and “Do, Re & Mi” are now available for any smartphone user, even those who don’t subscribe to Amazon Kids+. The company says it “wanted do something special for kids and parents who use smartphones.” The games are the result of a two-year development effort by “the Amazon Kids+ mobile games team,” according to Amazon Kids+ global head of content Natasha Lipovac. Amazon has been very active in the children’s arena. Continue reading Amazon Kids+ Skips Ads for First Free Mobile Game Releases

Nimo Planet Smart Glasses Target Productivity During Travel

Nimo Planet is garnering buzz for its entry in the smart glasses field. Designed for productivity, the $799 Nimo mixed reality eyewear is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 processor that has been described as turning the spectacles into “a mini-computer that sits on your head.” Relatively light at 120 grams, the lenses can display up to six 720p screens, suggesting it as a potential laptop replacement for traveling workers. The frame arms feature touch support and support voice commands. The glasses aren’t designed for intensive apps like Adobe Photoshop, but for basic productivity like word processing and project management. Continue reading Nimo Planet Smart Glasses Target Productivity During Travel

Big and Small Players Support Matter Smart Home Standard

The global smart home device market is pegged at $41.2 billion in 2022, and is expected to hit $73.1 billion by 2026, according to Global Industry Analysts. That’s one reason companies like Apple, Google, Samsung and Amazon have established smart home platforms that enable mobile phones or Alexa to change thermostat settings or turn on the lights using apps that don’t require much fuss. But when it comes to interoperating among various devices and appliances, that’s where an industry standard comes in handy, and Matter, which debuts this year, expects to fill that niche. Continue reading Big and Small Players Support Matter Smart Home Standard

CES: Updated Drone Tech Offers Possibilities for Production

While drone announcements failed to generate the same buzz during CES 2022 as in previous years, several new products should be of interest to consumers and professionals, especially those in photography, video and movie production. In addition to demonstrations of hydrogen fuel cell tech promising increased flying time and new underwater micro-ROVs touting a range of enterprise applications, CES included affordable feature-rich drones such as Autel Robotics’ Dragonfish with built-in 4K video and 50X optical zoom; Skydio’s self-flying drone, geared toward cinematographers; and Sony’s Airpeak S1, the smallest drone to support a full-size mirrorless Alpha camera. Continue reading CES: Updated Drone Tech Offers Possibilities for Production

CES: Highlights from the 2022 CES Unveiled Pre-Show Event

ETC’s George Gerba visited the CES Unveiled show floor in Las Vegas Monday evening looking for companies and products that would be of interest to our members, illustrate emerging trends, or are simply unusual. Gerba discovered a range of compelling technologies across areas such as blockchain, non-fungible tokens, Li-Fi, wearables, large-scale video screens, the metaverse, remote work, cell signal boosters, health, batteries and more. Among the more interesting companies at CES Unveiled this year were Icecap, Oledcomm, Somalytics, VideowindoW, Toraru, SureCall, Biospectal, Prinker, Airxom and Nanotech Energy.  Continue reading CES: Highlights from the 2022 CES Unveiled Pre-Show Event

CES: Intel on AV Overdrive, Touts Fastest Mobile Game Chip

Intel laid claim to the ‘world’s best mobile gaming platform’ with its 12th generation Alder Lake H-series GPUs at CES 2022, then shifted to overdrive to focus on autonomous driving, introducing its Mobileye EyeQ Ultra, AV-on-chip supercomputer offered as a full-stack AV driving solution. Intel in December announced plans to spin off Mobileye in an IPO sometime this year and used its CES press conference stage to demonstrate it is prepared to deliver, announcing a partnership with Zeekr to create all-electric AVs for the Chinese market, due to roll off the assembly line in 2024. Continue reading CES: Intel on AV Overdrive, Touts Fastest Mobile Game Chip

U.S. Court Clears FCC’s Path for Seismic Wi-Fi 6E Upgrade

A U.S. Court of Appeals has paved the way for Wi-Fi 6E, the biggest Wi-Fi upgrade in more than two decades, by upholding a 2020 FCC order to make 1,200MHz of spectrum in the 6GHz band available for unlicensed use. Poised to benefit are router manufacturers and those who make devices for home offices and IoT. FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel called the decision timely in the wake of COVID-19, when “so much of modern life has migrated online.” FCC commissioner Brendan Carr emphasized ancillary benefits, calling the additional spectrum “the oxygen needed to power 5G.” Continue reading U.S. Court Clears FCC’s Path for Seismic Wi-Fi 6E Upgrade

Apple Is Hiring New Team to Develop Wireless Chips in SoCal

Apple plans to set up a new office in Irvine, California to develop wireless chips. Job listings indicate the company is looking for individuals experienced with modem chips and other semiconductors. The new components could eventually replace those provided by third-party suppliers such as Broadcom and Skyworks Solutions. In a move that is part of a larger initiative by Apple to develop more tech in-house, engineers will reportedly work on RF integrated circuits, wireless radios, wireless SoC, and semiconductors for connecting to Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Continue reading Apple Is Hiring New Team to Develop Wireless Chips in SoCal

Biden Reveals FCC Chair and New Commissioner Nominees

President Joe Biden has paved the way for a potential Democratic majority at the Federal Communications Commission, nominating Gigi Sohn to fill the fifth commissioner slot, vacant since Ajit Pai resigned in January. Jessica Rosenworcel, who stepped up as acting chairwoman when Pai left, has been nominated as permanent chair. Sohn, a public interest lawyer with 30 years of experience in communications and technology policy, spent three years as counselor to Obama administration FCC chair Tom Wheeler. In that capacity, she championed net neutrality and Title II common carrier rules that were adopted in 2015, only to be jettisoned in 2017 under Pai. Continue reading Biden Reveals FCC Chair and New Commissioner Nominees