E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

At E3 2016 next week, Sony will come to the show having sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles, outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One, by two-to-one. The company plans to debut a more powerful console, a virtual reality headset, and numerous first-party games. Microsoft, meanwhile, plans to launch a wide range of new Xbox hardware this year, beginning with, rumors have it, a slimmer, smaller version of the current Xbox One. In addition to new consoles, Microsoft will show off HoloLens and debut new games. Continue reading E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Microsoft is positioning itself as providing, with Windows 10, the only platform for “mixed reality,” which the company describes as “providing devices with the ability to perceive the world, breaking down the barriers between virtual and physical reality.” In a three-minute video, Microsoft shows how it believes various types of augmented reality will be able to interact, using HoloLens headsets, VR helmets and other devices. Microsoft invites its partners to build on the Windows Holographic platform. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Microsoft is Scaling Back its Consumer Smartphone Business

Two years ago, Nokia announced that it had sold its mobile phone and smartphone businesses to Microsoft in a $7.2 billion deal. Since then, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella shifted the company’s focus to bringing software and services to Android and iOS mobile systems rather than convincing consumers to use Windows. Last week, Microsoft announced it was selling its low-end feature phone business, and yesterday added it would further scale back consumer phone efforts and cut another 1,850 jobs. The company explained it would also take a $950 million charge as part of the move. Continue reading Microsoft is Scaling Back its Consumer Smartphone Business

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Microsoft is on track to reach the goal it set when it first introduced Windows 10 last July: to reach one billion devices within two or three years. Less than a year later, Windows 10, the latest version of its operating system, is running on 270 million active devices, adopted faster than even Windows 7, its previous high point. Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella is pinning future hopes on artificial intelligence and “bots” to create new ways to interact with computers, and replace apps as the dominant paradigm. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10, Promotes Bots to Replace Apps

Sony Creates Amped-Up PlayStation for Use with VR Headset

Sony is planning to unveil a new version of PlayStation 4 that will be powerful enough to handle high-end game experiences including virtual reality, say sources. Sony’s move signals a radical change to the typical six-to-seven-year cycle of game console releases; the PlayStation 4 debuted in 2013. At the same time, Sony plans to continue production of the existing PlayStation 4, which has sold more than 36 million units globally. Sources say the two versions will likely share the same software catalog. Continue reading Sony Creates Amped-Up PlayStation for Use with VR Headset

Tech Firms Launch New Foundation to Create IoT Standards

Tech companies including Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Samsung have formed a new group with plans to develop standards for the burgeoning Internet of Things industry. The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF) is charged with creating “IoT solutions and devices that work seamlessly together.” (OCF will replace the Open Interconnect Consortium that was formed in 2014.) “We believe that fragmentation is the enemy of IoT,” said Qualcomm exec Michael Wallace. Other founding members include ARRIS, CableLabs, Electrolux and GE Digital. Continue reading Tech Firms Launch New Foundation to Create IoT Standards

Super Bowl 50: Live Streaming Way Up, But Social Media Down

CBS now has the numbers to back up its assertion that live streaming of Super Bowl 50 broke records: 3.96 million unique viewers via computers, tablets, OTT devices and mobile phones, consuming more than 402 million minutes of coverage, for an average of 101 minutes each; an average per minute audience of 1.4 million consumed more than 315 million minutes. Last year, says NBC, Adobe Analytics counted more than 1.3 million people streaming the game, with an average 800,000 viewers per minute and 213 million total minutes. Continue reading Super Bowl 50: Live Streaming Way Up, But Social Media Down

Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Market research firm Gartner is forecasting a decline for CE device spending in 2016. While end-user sales are expected to inch up less than 2 percent this year, overall spending on devices like PCs, tablets and mobile devices will decline, according to the researcher. This decrease, the first since Gartner started tracking the market in 2010, is largely due to the falling price of phones. In markets like China, consumers are opting for basic models of smartphones rather than upgrading to higher-end devices. Continue reading Gartner: Overall Spending on CE Devices Projected to Decline

Intel Technology Debuts Multifactor Security for Business PCs

Intel unveiled Authenticate, a technology that introduces a new, heightened level of security and computing performance. Authenticate makes it easier for multifactor authentication by which users put in place up to four safeguards before they are able to log in to their computer. That could be any combination of a password, fingerprint, set of numbers on a touchscreen or presence of an authorized employee smartphone. Authenticate is already built into new versions of Intel’s Core chips, which are used in business PCs. Continue reading Intel Technology Debuts Multifactor Security for Business PCs

Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook Sweeps Top Awards at CES

Now that the CES dust has settled on Las Vegas — analysts, journalists and tech bloggers can’t seem to say enough about the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook, which is generating an impressive number of awards from “Best PC” and “Best of CES” to “People’s Choice Award.” Engadget, Mashable, TechRadar and SlashGear are just a few of the numerous publications that are praising the $999 Razer Blade Stealth. The gaming laptop runs Windows 10 and touts a 12.5-inch multi-touch display with IGZO 16:9 aspect ratio. The Razer Core, an external graphics docking station, is also on its way. Continue reading Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook Sweeps Top Awards at CES

PC Accessory Turns Your Laptop into a Touchscreen Device

Sweden-based Neonode recently unveiled AirBar, a $49 laptop accessory that attaches its magnetic sensor bar to a Chromebook or Windows laptop PC and connects via an available USB port. It then beams a light over the display to create a sort of touchscreen. AirBar’s use of light rather than a traditional, physical touchscreen allows users to interact with their displays in a variety of new ways, such as while wearing gloves or using small objects like a stylus or even chopsticks. Neonode is expected to debut its new accessory at CES in Las Vegas this week. Continue reading PC Accessory Turns Your Laptop into a Touchscreen Device

Microsoft Unveils New Devices with Emphasis on Windows 10

During a product unveiling in New York last week, Microsoft introduced new devices including a Surface Book laptop, the company’s latest Surface Pro tablet, big-screen Lumia smartphones that plug into displays for PC capabilities, and a $249 wearable fitness band. The press event also showcased Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset. While a focus on CE devices represents a shift for the software giant, hardware serves an integral role in a new corporate strategy that revolves around the Windows 10 operating system, designed to run on a variety of different devices. Continue reading Microsoft Unveils New Devices with Emphasis on Windows 10

Intel Aims to Reinvigorate PC Sales with New Skylake Chips

Intel hopes to reverse the trend of declining PC sales with the release of its new line of computer chips. Based on a design called Skylake, the chips are the sixth generation of the company’s Core processor line and feature more performance and less power consumption, as well as fewer wires and a host of new technologies including facial recognition. Intel hopes that the new chips, together with Microsoft’s just-released Windows 10 operating system, will encourage consumers to replace 500 million PCs older than four years. Continue reading Intel Aims to Reinvigorate PC Sales with New Skylake Chips

Microsoft Aims to Upgrade Your World with Windows 10 Launch

Microsoft plans to release Windows 10 as a free upgrade and with new PCs and tablets starting July 29. To celebrate the launch, the company will host fan celebration parties in 13 cities around the world that will feature hands-on demonstrations, live entertainment and interaction with developers from the Windows team. A related global ad campaign will launch next week. The Windows 10 release is also part of Microsoft’s year-long Upgrade Your World initiative “to celebrate those who inspire and empower others.” Continue reading Microsoft Aims to Upgrade Your World with Windows 10 Launch

Global PC Sales Experience Sharp Q2 Decline, Excluding Apple

Data from two research firms reveal sharp declines in worldwide PC sales in the second quarter of 2015. According to Gartner, PC shipments fell 9.5 percent, year on year, to 68.4 million units. IDC reports an 11.8 percent drop to 66.1 million shipments during the quarter. The reports do not include tablets in their tallies. The world’s top PC vendor is still Lenovo, which enjoys a 20.3 percent share, notes IDC, followed by HP at 18.5 percent and Dell at 14.55 percent. Most hard hit by the decline are smaller PC manufacturers. Continue reading Global PC Sales Experience Sharp Q2 Decline, Excluding Apple

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