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Changes Finally Coming To Cable’s Required Set-top Boxes?

June 20, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Changes Finally Coming To Cable’s Required Set-top Boxes?

The U.S. pay-TV industry put forth a plan to allow more than 50 million subscribers to get rid of costly set-top boxes required to view television and video programs to try and convince federal regulators to abandon more far-reaching reforms. Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, proposed in January opening the $20 billion cable and satellite TV set-top box market to new competitors and allow consumers to access multiple content providers from a single app or device. Under... 

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Apple Adds Panic App To Apple Watch

June 16, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics

Apple took the idea of a quick wireless call for help one step further with the announcement of the SOS feature for Apple Watches, coming this fall in the new watchOS 3. SOS will quickly let a user call for help by pressing and holding the side button on an Apple Watch running watchOS 3 “no matter where they are in the world,”according to Apple publicity. The call is made via cellular wireless through an iPhone connected by Bluetooth to the watch or through Wi-Fi if the watch is connected... 

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Amazon To Get Join The Already Crowded Music Streaming Business

June 13, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Amazon To Get Join The Already Crowded Music Streaming Business

Amazon.com Inc is gearing up to launch a standalone music streaming subscription service, placing it squarely in competition with rival offerings from Apple Inc and Spotify, according to sources familiar with the matter. The service will be offered at $9.99 per month, in line with major rivals, and it will offer a competitive catalog of songs, the sources said. Amazon is finalizing licenses with labels for the service, which likely will be launched in late summer or early fall, the sources said. Amazon,... 

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Slate Tablet Market Continues Downward Spiral

June 6, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Slate Tablet Market Continues Downward Spiral

Demand for slate-shaped tablets is losing steam even faster than expected. For all of 2016, global tablet shipments will drop by 9.6% over 2015, market research firm IDC forecast this week, marking the second straight year of decline. In March, IDC had forecast a decline of 6% for this year. The decline will occur even when newer detachable tablets, often called 2-in-1s, are included with slate tablets, IDC said. “The impact of the decline of slates is having a bigger impact, faster than we... 

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Google Unveils A.I. Challenger To Amazon’s Alexa

May 20, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Google Unveils A.I. Challenger To Amazon’s Alexa

Alphabet’s Google Inc  introduced us to its answer to Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant along with new messaging and virtual reality products at its annual I/O developer conference on Wednesday, doubling down on artificial intelligence and machine learning as the keys to its future. Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai introduced Google Assistant, a virtual personal assistant, along with the tabletop speaker appliance Google Home. He also unveiled Allo, a new messaging service that will... 

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Is There A ‘For Sale’ Sign In Pandora Music’s Future?

May 18, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Is There A ‘For Sale’ Sign In Pandora Music’s Future?

Corvex Management LP disclosed that it owns 9.9 percent of Pandora Media Inc and urged the internet music streaming company to consider being sold instead of pursuing a “costly and uncertain business plan.” Corvex, a hedge fund run by Keith Meister, a protégé of billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, said it had met with the company’s management and had withdrawn a plan to replace some of its board members. However, it now believes Pandora should hire an investment bank to... 

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Nissan Competes With Tesla, Offers Home Battery System

May 12, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Nissan Competes With Tesla, Offers Home Battery System

Japanese auto maker Nissan and power management company Eaton have announced a joint venture to provide wall-mountable lithium-ion batteries to power homes. The new home battery system, called xStorage, will be in direct competition with Tesla’s Powerwall lithium-ion wall-mounted battery, which the company announced last year. Tesla’s Powerwall will come in 6.4 kilowatt hour (kWh) and 10kWh capacities. The 6.4kWh battery retails for $3,000. Recently, Tesla removed the 10kWh Powerwall... 

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Amazon Launches Video Service Similar To YouTube

May 11, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Amazon Launches Video Service Similar To YouTube

Amazon.com Inc debuted a service on Tuesday that allows users to post videos and earn royalties from them, setting up the world’s biggest online retailer to compete directly with Alphabet Inc’s YouTube. The service, called Amazon Video Direct, will make the uploaded videos available to rent or own, to view free with ads, or be packaged together and offered as an add-on subscription. Amazon will pay content creators 50 percent of the revenue earned from rental receipts or sale of the... 

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Google And Honeywell Resolve Nest Patent Dispute

May 9, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Google And Honeywell Resolve Nest Patent Dispute

Google and Honeywell have signed a patent cross-license agreement that takes care of a long-standing patent dispute over thermostats made by Nest Labs, the home automation startup the Internet giant acquired. The proceedings in the case have been pending in court for about four years, awaiting the results of a reexamination of the patents by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to court records. The companies said Thursday they believe that the patent accord “promotes product innovation... 

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YouTube Working On An Online TV service

May 6, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
YouTube Working On An Online TV service

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube is developing a paid subscription service called Unplugged that would offer customers a bundle of cable TV channels streamed over the Internet, Bloomberg reported. The project is slated to debut as soon as 2017, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the plan. YouTube has discussed these plans with most media companies, including Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, Viacom Inc, Twenty-First Century Fox Inc and CBS Corp, but has yet to secure any rights,... 

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Will Samsung Truly Support OLED TVs Next Year?

May 6, 2016 by Michael   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Will Samsung Truly Support OLED TVs Next Year?

Samsung has rejected a claim from the OLED Association predicting that it would reintroduce an OLED TV lineup in 2017. President and TV Chief of Samsung Electronics, Kim Hyun-Seok, has reaffirmed that the company has no intentions to manufacture OLED TVs. But it would appear that the rumour will not die that easily. The Korea Herald said Kim’s “tone and manner was stronger than ever,” which indicates that Samsung might have something else planned for the upcoming lineup of televisions it’s... 

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Amazon To Beef Up Alexa With Investment In TrackR

May 4, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Amazon To Beef Up Alexa With Investment In TrackR

Amazon.com Inc is investing between $250,000 and $500,000 in Bluetooth technology firm TrackR to expand the reach of its Alexa virtual assistant, according to a source familiar with the matter Alexa is the cloud-based system that controls the Amazon Echo, a speaker system launched by Amazon in 2014 that has emerged as a surprise hit. “Alexa” is the name the device responds to when users make requests, such as “turn on radio.” Amazon and TrackR declined to comment on the size... 

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TiVo To Be Acquired By Rovi

May 2, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
TiVo To Be Acquired By Rovi

Online entertainment company Rovi plans to purchase digital video recording firm TiVo for $1.1 billion in a stock and cash deal, the companies announced on Friday. TiVo has cloud-based technology for integrating live, recorded, on-demand and Internet television into one user interface, with search, discovery, viewing and recording options from a variety of devices. Its technology has been deployed by operators including Virgin Media and Vodafone Spain. Rovi announced in March that Sharp’s new... 

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Intel’s Updated USB Type-C Designed To Replace Headphone Jacks

April 29, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Intel’s Updated USB Type-C Designed To Replace Headphone Jacks

Intel this week unveiled plans to make an upgraded USB Type-C connector that would enable audio input and output, potentially replacing the long-standard 3.5 millimeter headphone jack used in today’s electronic devices. Intel, which revealed its plans during a lecture at its Intel Developers Forum (IDF) in Shenzhen, China, also believes USB Type-C would simplify connections of multi-channel audio equipment to various devices. Unlike the traditional 3.5mm analogue audio jack, a USB Type-C interface... 

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Samsung’s Gear 360 VR Camera Goes On Sale

April 29, 2016 by mphillips   | Category: Consumer Electronics
Samsung’s Gear 360 VR Camera Goes On Sale

Samsung’s Gear 360 camera for creating virtual reality content went on sale online today, the company announced. The Gear 360 will initially be available only in South Korea and Singapore, a company representative said. A U.S. shipping date hasn’t been announced. In Korea, it will cost 399,000 won (US$347). The camera, a bit larger than a golf ball, is Samsung’s bid to get consumers involved in creating virtual-reality content instead of just consuming it. “We think 2016 is shaping up... 

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