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Taking Business Communication in Stride
September 7, 2017
Atlassian has announced the development of Stride, a new Slack-like workplace tool designed to streamline the communication process for business users. Stride enables teams to take action via both a smart text-based messaging service and a fully featured video and audio service. The latter functionality is made available thanks to Atlassian's recent acquisition of Jitsi.
LG Unveils V30 Flagship With Super Camera, Sound Features
September 5, 2017
LG Electronics last week unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the LG V30, at IFA 2017 in Berlin. Among the LG V30's innovations: an F1.6 aperture camera lens; a glass Crystal Clear Lens; the first OLED FullVision display; Cine Video mode for producing movie-quality videos; and the Point Zoom feature, which lets users zoom in on any subject anywhere in the frame.
Alexa, Cortana Become New BFFs
September 2, 2017
Microsoft and Amazon this week announced a deal that will let their voice-controlled digital assistants, Cortana and Alexa, engage in cross-platform communications. Microsoft customers will be able to access Alexa voice commands by saying "Cortana, open Alexa" on any device that supports Cortana, which is available on millions of desktops, laptops, tablets and other devices.
SIGGRAPH 2017: Virtual Reality Is Alive and Flourishing
September 1, 2017
The SIGGRAPH conference is a year event that focuses on the latest in computer graphics and other interactive arts. It is a multidiscipline show, mixing computer imaging with other physical creations. It is also a crossroads for the film, video game, commercial, research and education industries. It has a forward-looking vision while celebrating the recent and not-so-recent past.
Alexa Can Make Music Echo All Through the House
August 31, 2017
Alexa has a new musical talent, Amazon announced Tuesday. "Today, we're making Alexa even smarter with an all-new feature that lets you play music synchronized on multiple Echo devices to provide room-filling music throughout your home," said Amazon Alexa Vice President Toni Reid. Setting up the syncing is easy. Using the Alexa app, you give a group of devices a name, such as "first floor."
Walmart, Google Enter Voice-Shopping Fray
August 24, 2017
Walmart and Google, two of Amazon's biggest rivals, on Wednesday announced a partnership that will let customers use Google's Home speaker and a number of voice-assisted mobile devices to shop online at Walmart. Their mutual goal is to eat away at Amazon's dominant share in the e-commerce shopping space and the smart speaker space, in order to curb the growth of its giant ecosystem.
Google May Have Pixel Chromebook Showcase, Tiny Home in the Works
August 23, 2017
Google appears to be planning a Pixel-branded Chromebook and a downsized version of its Home smart speaker, following in the steps of Microsoft and Amazon respectively. Along with two expected new Pixel phones, Google this fall will unveil a Pixel-branded Chromebook and smaller, lower-priced version of its Home smart speaker, according to a report.
Merged VR: Augmented Reality Cubed
August 18, 2017
There is considerable development activity at the high end of hardware and content creation for virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as such AR aliases as mixed reality, extended reality and others. Most industry investment is aimed at leading-edge gaming and industrial application development. However, the low-end of the market is also worth looking at.
How Tech Could Help Creators Look Before They Leap
August 14, 2017
The folks who made The Emoji Movie apparently were worried about its Rotten Tomatoes score -- it had earned a 0 percent rating at one point, based on a scattering of early reviews -- so they stopped critics from publishing further reviews until just before previews began running. The result was a great opening day, but attendance fell off sharply because, well, the movie sucked.
It's a Whole New World With Alexa
August 7, 2017
Voice computing is replacing the graphical user interface, Shawn DuBravac, chief economist of the Consumer Technology Association, said early this year at CES. Digital assistants will be integrated into many household objects, he noted. About 5 million voice-activated digital voice products had been sold as of January, and Bravac estimated 5 million more would be sold this year.
While You Wait: 4 Potentially Higher-Status Alternatives to the iPhone 8
August 7, 2017
At a rumored $1,400 sale price the coming iPhone 8 likely will test just how much people are willing to pay for a new phone -- particularly, how much parents are willing to fork over for their kids. While iPhones once conveyed status and sense of luxury, similar to a brand like Cadillac, pretty much everyone and their brother has iPhones today. The first few customers who get their hands on the latest model will be envied for about a week.
Flash Flames Out - but It Will Smolder for a While
July 27, 2017
Adobe has decided to pull the plug on its much maligned Flash format, citing the growing use of HTML5, WebGL and Web Assembly open standards. Helper apps have evolved over time to become plugins, which then further evolved to become open Web standards, Adobe noted. However, because gaming, education and video have come to depend heavily on Flash over the years, its phaseout will be gradual.
Facebook Adds Hardware, Software Vetting and 4K to 360 Live
July 26, 2017
Facebook has announced several updates to its live-streaming platform, including a new hardware and software vetting program used to create 360-degree video. Through its new Live 360 Ready Program, Facebook will review hardware and software and approve products that work well with its Live 360 offering. Products deemed "ready" for Live 360 will be allowed to display a Facebook Live logo.
Open Source Flaw 'Devil's Ivy' Puts Millions of IoT Devices at Risk
July 21, 2017
Millions of IoT devices are vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks due to a vulnerability initially discovered in remote security cameras. Senrio found the flaw in a security camera developed by Axis Communications, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of the devices. The Model 3004 security camera is used for security at the Los Angeles International Airport, according to Senrio.
Google's Ugly Duckling Glass Becomes Enterprise Swan
July 19, 2017
Google's augmented reality goggles were a flop several years ago -- when intrepid explorers wore the devices in restaurants and bars, sparking reactions ranging from disapproval to outright violence -- but they have become very welcome in the workplace. Their success in a host of business settings led The Team at X on Tuesday to announce an expansion of its Glass Enterprise Edition program.
With Echo Dot at Bat, Amazon Scores Prime Day Home Run
July 14, 2017
Amazon has hailed its third-annual Prime Day promotion as its single biggest global shopping event ever. Held earlier this week, it garnered an estimated $1 billion in sales, surpassing year-ago sales by 60 percent and beating the company's prior Black Friday and Cyber Monday records. More members joined Prime on this year's Prime Day than on any other single day in the company's history.
Gadget Ogling: Show and Tell, Fidget Folly, and Connected Nightlights
July 12, 2017
The Echo Show is the first in Amazon's line of smart speakers to incorporate a screen, and it seems very much more "speaker with a display" than "tablet with better audio and microphones." It has all the functionality of Echo, including access to Alexa, Amazon's voice-operated assistant. The screen can, for example, provide a more detailed weather outlook than what Alexa spouts out.
Google Makes It Easier to Create Virtual Reality Videos
June 28, 2017
Google has introduced a new video format, VR180, developed with input from its Daydream team. The VR180 format, which displays what's in front of the user only, delivers good video quality both on desktop PCs and mobile devices. While VR180 videos appear in 2D on desktops and mobile devices, they appear in 3D VR when viewed with Cardboard, Google's Daydream headset or a PlayStation VR headset.
Gadget Ogling: Apple at Home
June 12, 2017
The battle for your home just got a little more intense as Apple pulled back the curtain on HomePod, its smart speaker that seeks to hold dominion over your home empire and all the gadgets that reside within. HomePod holds a 4-inch woofer and seven tweeters, and it has six microphones to pick up your voice commands for Siri, wherever you happen to be in the room.
Hearing Crickets at Apple's WWDC and a Pin Drop in the Senate
June 12, 2017
The two mammoth events last week were the Apple WWDC keynote and ex-FBI chief James Comey's appearance at a Senate committee hearing. Now I'm sure a lot of folks didn't have the time to watch both events -- and particularly for the Comey event, I'm sure the coverage has the right and the left believing very different realities. Apple is becoming more and more like a typical tech firm.
Apple's Risky Gambit to Redefine the Smart Speaker
June 7, 2017
Before Apple launched its long-awaited HomePod smart speaker earlier this week, the expectation was that it would unveil a sophisticated Echo killer that would redefine the landscape that Amazon has dominated, with Google playing catch-up. "Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod is going to reinvent music in our homes," Apple SVP Phil Schiller told WWDC attendees.
With Audio Focus, Apple Side-Steps Smart Speaker Competition
June 6, 2017
Apple raised the curtain on HomePod, its upcoming smart speaker, during Monday's WWDC keynote presentation. The company also announced some desktop OS features for the iPad, and revealed its plans to become an augmented reality powerhouse. "Just like iPod reinvented music in our pockets, HomePod is going to reinvent music in our homes," said Apple SVP Phil Schiller.
Rumored Apple Plans Hint at Smart Speaker Battle Ahead
June 2, 2017
Apple reportedly has begun production of a high-end speaker with Siri-based digital assistant technology to compete directly with Amazon's Alexa-based Echo speakers and the Google Assistant-powered Home speaker. Production is in the early stages, but the device could be unveiled as early as next week at WWDC. That would position the company to begin shipping in time for the winter holiday season.
Facebook's Original Programming Plans Take Shape
May 31, 2017
Facebook last week signed agreements with several content firms -- among them Vox, Buzzfeed, ATTN and Group Nine Media, according to reports. The deals are widely viewed as part of the company's strategy to attract millennials to its live-streaming Web content. Facebook will offer multi-tiered programming, according to a report that cited sources familiar with the plans.
Microsoft's Mixer Could Shake Up the Streaming Game
May 25, 2017
Microsoft on Thursday announced Mixer, a rebranded version of its game-streaming service previously known as "Beam." In addition to the name change, the service will include a number of new features designed to attract more gamers. The added features will unlock new possibilities for social streaming, while also helping viewers find specific content across the service, according to Microsoft.
Verizon Aims to Help Firms Get Up Close and Personal With Customers
May 22, 2017
Verizon Enterprise Solutions has released Visual Interactive Calling, an SDK and platform designed to enable banks, retailers, airlines, travel and hospitality companies, and other firms to communicate visually with their customers. "The sweet spot for this solution is enterprises that have deep mobile app penetration into their customer base," said Tom Smith, a CX manager at Verizon.
Google Pushes AI, Machine Learning to the Front
May 18, 2017
Addressing thousands of developers at the annual Google I/O conference on Wednesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai outlined the company's new strategy to transition from mobile first to artificial intelligence and machine learning. The goal is to equip the company's line of digital assistant products and services to anticipate the needs of users, and comprehend sights and sounds in new ways.
Gadget Ogling: Amazon Gives Fashion Advice, Snacks Get Musical, and Coffee Tables Get Smart
May 11, 2017
Amazon's Echo system, which brought the company's Alexa assistant to tables and countertops as a hub for your home, now has evolved into something a little more visually minded. I don't mean the brand new Echo Show -- it's the Echo Look that has caught my eye. The Echo Look has a built-in camera that captures both audio and video. Amazon wants you to use it to help you choose your outfits.
Amazon Adds Show to Echo's Tell
May 10, 2017
Echo isn't just for sound anymore. Amazon on Tuesday announced Echo Show, a new version of its popular smart speaker that comes with a 7-inch color touchscreen, 5-inch front-facing camera and dual 2-inch Dolby speakers. With its screen, it can show YouTube videos, access home security cameras, display photos and scroll lyrics as you listen to songs from streaming services.
Raspberry Pi Fans Can Build Their Own AI Voice Assistant
May 9, 2017
Google and AIY Projects have launched an open source DIY artificial intelligence Voice Kit for Raspberry Pi hobbyists. The AIY Voice Kit includes hardware for audio capture and playback, connectors for the dual mike daughterboard and speaker, GPIO pins to connect low-voltage components such as micro servos and sensors, and an optional barrel connector for a dedicated power supply.
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