Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Aereo case that could cause legal implications for cloud computing businesses such as Dropbox and Google, especially if remote storage and data transmission are classified as “public performance.” Broadcasters accuse the Internet startup Aereo of violating copyright laws by using antennas to stream over-the-air broadcasts to paid subscribers. Justices will determine if Aereo’s service is “public performance” that requires permission. Continue reading Aereo Supreme Court Case Could Upend Cloud Computing

Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

Last week, the five largest U.S. cellular carriers and leading smartphone makers announced a voluntary commitment to add new anti-theft tech to devices being released next year. Supporting companies include Apple, Google, HTC, Huawei, Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia and Samsung. The commitment means that devices sold after July 2015 will have the ability to allow users to wipe data remotely, and prevent the device from being reactivated without permission from the owner. Continue reading Carriers and Smartphone Makers Commit to Anti-Theft Tech

Google Releases Developer Kit for Project Ara Modular Phone

Google is working towards creating a build-it-yourself modular smartphone, one that will allow users to build the perfect smartphone based on their individual needs. The device is being developed through Project Ara, part of the Advanced Technology and Projects group at Google. The group is developing a smartphone that features an open-source hardware platform. Customers would start with a base hardware piece called Endo, and then add features through plug-and-play modules. Continue reading Google Releases Developer Kit for Project Ara Modular Phone

DARPA Converts Army Surveillance Drones into Mobile Hotspots

DARPA’s Mobile Hotspots program is converting retired RQ-7 Army drones into wireless hotspots to provide Wi-Fi to soldiers in remote areas. The drones will be able to transfer data at one gigabyte per second — about the same connectivity of a 4G smartphone — to give troops the same communication capabilities, including access to tactical operation centers and mission data, that others in more central conflict zones have. DARPA is retrofitting the drones with small Wi-Fi antennas. Continue reading DARPA Converts Army Surveillance Drones into Mobile Hotspots

Sprint and Spotify Partner to Promote Streaming Music Service

Wireless carrier Sprint and streaming music service Spotify are reportedly joining forces to push the music service out to Sprint’s customers, similar to a plan already underway between AT&T and Beats Music. The new partnership will include free Spotify trials for Sprint customers and the option to pay for the music service using Sprint’s billing system. Spotify’s premium service costs $9.99 per month, although some Sprint customers will likely qualify for discounts. Continue reading Sprint and Spotify Partner to Promote Streaming Music Service

Sonos Search Engine Can Play Any Song in Multiple Rooms

Wireless audio company Sonos has launched a redesign that will provide users with a universal search, essentially enabling them to play any song in the world. The innovation can pull songs from a user’s MP3 collection and from over two dozen streaming music services including Pandora, Spotify, and Beats Music, and play the music throughout multiple rooms. For the past decade Sonos has been making wireless multiroom audio systems, but previously they only functioned with Sonos software. Continue reading Sonos Search Engine Can Play Any Song in Multiple Rooms

New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

Performance tracking wireless earphones, The Dash, have become one of the most funded Kickstarter projects in history. The company had a target of $260,000, but has so far raised over $3.1 million. The wireless stereo earphones play music via an embedded music player or Bluetooth and offer fitness monitoring. It will track users’ vital signs including heart rate, oxygen saturation and energy spent, as well as movement such as number of steps, speed and distance. Continue reading New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

Scientists and engineers are working towards making wireless power possible by harvesting and transforming existing energy from the world around us. Models they have looked at include nanoscale pillars that turn waste heat into electricity and a spongey smartphone case that generates electricity from sitting on a vibrating surface. One source of energy is thermoelectricity, which works by creating electricity from the current created by electrons moving from hot to cold, an approach that may be ideal for humans. Continue reading Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

Google’s Chromecast continues to add new services. When it launched nearly a year ago, the $35 streaming media dongle was limited to a handful of apps such as HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube. In December, it added 10 new apps, including the ability to stream cloud-based content from personal catalogs. The popular Plex Media Server was one of those additions. Last week, Plex added free casting of users’ content to Chromecast, and the ability for iOS users to share music and photos. Continue reading Chromecast Adds Plex Features for Casting Music and Photos

NHK to Demo 8K Transmission Over Single TV Channel at NAB

During April’s NAB Show in Las Vegas, Japanese broadcaster NHK plans to demonstrate the latest version of its Super Hi-Vision 8K system, including the wireless transmission of 8K content over a single 6 MHz television channel. The broadcaster will also present the results of recent single-channel, over-the-air 8K test broadcasts performed in Japan. NHK has been promoting the move to 8K Ultra HD, which offers 16 times more resolution than current HD. Continue reading NHK to Demo 8K Transmission Over Single TV Channel at NAB

Comcast Uses Chicago Cable Service to Launch Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Comcast has started to use hundreds of thousands of homes in the Chicago area to create more hotspots for its publicly accessible wireless network. The company will continue to roll out this service to more areas in the next few months. The service will use Comcast-issued home equipment, and separate the Wi-Fi signal to allow anyone within range to get Internet reception. Comcast claims that since the two services are separated, the Comcast users’ signals will not be disturbed. Continue reading Comcast Uses Chicago Cable Service to Launch Wi-Fi Hot Spots

DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

Following this week’s news of a first-of-its kind licensing agreement between Disney and the Dish Network, DirecTV said it is in similar talks to license the rights to offer Disney channels as part of an Internet-based product. The rights are part of a larger programming deal that would replace a current agreement slated to expire in December. In related news, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he expects to reach a streaming deal with Netflix and hopes to partner with content providers for a broadband-only video service. Continue reading DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

LTE Advanced: Qualcomm Demos Blazing Download Speeds

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Qualcomm demonstrated the next generation of 4G LTE, called LTE Advanced Category 6, which produces download speeds of 300Mpbs. This technology will be integrated into Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 805 processor, which will be used in next-gen Android tablets. The technology is already being used for networks in South Korea, mainly due to interest from broadcasters who want to use it for delivering 4K TV. Continue reading LTE Advanced: Qualcomm Demos Blazing Download Speeds

Samsung Struggles to Jumpstart its Tizen Operating System

Samsung’s attempts at competing with the likes of Apple and Google using its own mobile operating system have proven challenging to get off the ground. The company’s Linux-based, open source operating system, Tizen, shows promise and most certainly has potential, but with initial investors and partners backing out, Samsung is having a difficult time getting to the point where it can add its software to the devices it already manufactures. Continue reading Samsung Struggles to Jumpstart its Tizen Operating System

Google Sells Motorola Handset Biz to Lenovo for $2.9 Billion

After purchasing Motorola Mobility 22 months ago for $12.5 billion, Google has decided to sell the handset business to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.91 billion. Although this is a loss for Google, the company did retain numerous Motorola patents. Google had been struggling to compete in the smartphone hardware business. The deal also signifies Lenovo’s attempt to break into the smartphone market, and create a bigger presence in the technology market worldwide. Continue reading Google Sells Motorola Handset Biz to Lenovo for $2.9 Billion

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