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Augmented Reality Future: How to Train Your Dragons on Vacation
July 14, 2014
Microsoft just announced the release of the Dragons Adventure World Explorer. It is actually very cool and well-timed, because it should keep little tykes engaged and quiet during a long car trip. It also should get developers excited about creating more games that could turn the family vacation experience into a bloodbath of adventure for boys and a 4H-like experience for girls, but with dragons!
Tim Cook's New Apple World Order
July 10, 2014
Apple is shaking out to become a very different sort of Apple, one suddenly more inclusive than ever before. The question for the rest of this year is if all this inclusion will really lead to innovation. For Tim Cook, this idea seems to have a whole new meaning for Apple -- the notion may be trickling into the very way that Apple is now approaching its entire business.
Reading Rainbow Finds Pot of Gold
July 07, 2014
Reading Rainbow's Kickstarter campaign hit a significant milestone last week: It not only raised the $1 million it originally sought to create a Web version of the popular children's television show within the first 24 hours of the campaign, but also wrapped the 35-day effort with an additional $4.4 million for a grand total of $5,408,916 in donations. The project was organized by LeVar Burton.
The Social Media Fraud
July 07, 2014
I spent much of last week talking about Facebook's infamous study of nearly a million customers and the company's attempts to make half of those customers happier and the other half more depressed. Setting aside how insanely stupid it was for Facebook to do this is the fact that with social media, isn't social the real problem? Could the entire segment be a fraud?
Rumor: Microsoft's Smart Band Will Play Well With Others
July 03, 2014
Microsoft is said to be preparing the launch of a wearable fitness device that will be compatible with the iOS and Android platforms, as well as Windows Phone. While the device likely will display the time, along with notifications from the user's smartphone, the form factor is expected to be a wristband rather than a smartwatch. The band reportedly will function mainly as a fitness tracker.
Despite Apple's Aperture Fumble, the Photos for OS X End Goal Could Win It All
July 03, 2014
There's a lot riding on Apple's new Photos for Mac OS X app. At WWDC, Apple briefly showed off an early version of its upcoming Photos app, which will integrate with iCloud and the iOS 8-based Photos app with the iCloud Photo Library service. Naturally, this plan raised some questions, and late last week, Apple revealed that it has stopped developing new features for Aperture and iPhoto.
Microsoft's Threshold: Low Expectations but High Stakes
July 02, 2014
As the anticipated April 2015 launch of Windows Threshold draws closer, Microsoft is tightening up its features. One of the OS Group's main goals in the design and development of Threshold is to make it more palatable to Windows 7 users, it seems. New features aimed at desktop users who may or may not use touch input are expected. The new OS may or may not be called "Windows 9."
The Big Winners at Google I/O 2014
June 30, 2014
At last week's Google I/O, Nvidia was the big winner. It was showcased in TVs, mobile devices and automotive as the supplier of a key technology. Other brands were mentioned in the keynote, but it was Nvidia that was mentioned most consistently -- and its technology apparently was connected to most of the demos. Though it was mentioned only in passing, Lenovo actually was the other big winner.
The Next iPhone Is a Naming Catastrophe Waiting to Happen
June 27, 2014
I can't help but wonder how the heck Apple is going to name its new iPhone lineup when it debuts this fall. Make no mistake, the naming scheme is due for a change. Last year, the shakeup was two form factors that introduced the plastic body of the iPhone 5c with the clear flagship iPhone 5s model. With the next iPhone, the top-of-line iPhone model won't be clear to consumers at all.
Verizon Flips Off Chromebook Pixel Customers
June 24, 2014
Though early purchasers of the LTE model of Google's Chromebook Pixel were promised two years of limited data, it appears Verizon has reneged on those assurances. The WiFi-only Pixel cost $1,299 while the LTE model set back consumers an extra $150. Those who bought the system through the Google Play Store when it went on sale last April were offered 100 MB of free Verizon data every month.
HTC May Trot Out Nexus 9 Before the Brand Is X'ed Out
June 23, 2014
Specifications for HTC's 8.9-inch Volantis tablet, which may be renamed "Nexus 9," have surfaced. The device reportedly will ship with a 2048 x 1440 display, a Tegra K1 Nvidia Logan 64-bit processor, and 2 GB RAM. It can have either 16 GB or 32 GB of storage, and will come with 8 MP rear-facing and 3 MP front-facing cameras. It may prove both thicker and heavier than Samsung's Galaxy Tab 8.4.
How Amazon's Fire Phone Will Beat the iPhone in 3 Years
June 23, 2014
Amazon launched its rather impressive Fire Phone last week, and it has a number of things that make it interesting -- but just as the iPhone improved massively by the third version, I expect this phone will as well, as a result of users providing feedback on what they want. Ironically, if the iPhone fails against the Fire Phone, it will be because Jeff Bezos is executing Steve Jobs' old strategy.
Apple Gets Ready to Tell Consumers Why They Want a Smartwatch
June 20, 2014
Apple reportedly is preparing to ship multiple versions of a smartwatch this coming fall, as competition increases in the wearable technology space. Its long-rumored smartwatch reportedly will be available in multiple screen sizes and will include more than 10 sensors that will allow it to track the wearer's health and fitness metrics, among other information.
If Amazon Builds It, Will They Come?
June 17, 2014
Amazon is poised to reveal its very first smartphone, and the rumor mill is in full swing. It's expected to include a 3D display, utilizing sensors or retina-tracking technology in four front-facing cameras to detect eye positioning and movement in order to project a 3D image without the need for 3D glasses. It reportedly will be available exclusively from AT&T.
IBM's Empowerment of SAP HANA
June 17, 2014
SAP's recent Sapphire NOW user and partner conference in Orlando was a love fest for the company's HANA in-memory database technology. SAP has made it quite clear that HANA is far more than an innovative solution for Big Data, analytics and business intelligence workloads. In fact, HANA and complementary SAP solutions represent the future for the company and its customers and partners.
Rumor: Amazon's About to Spring a 3D Smartphone
June 16, 2014
Amazon reportedly is adding an important new tributary to its river of products this week: a smartphone line. The company has a media event scheduled for Wednesday and expectations are high that it's about to reveal its first mobile device. "Amazon has already seen some success in the tablet space as well as the home entertainment space," said Frost & Sullivan analyst Todd Day.
How Can a 'Tech President' Be So Tech-Backward?
June 16, 2014
Like a lot of people in tech, I was really excited to see President Obama get elected. It seemed like he got technology, and he used it brilliantly in two campaigns. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to use it well in actually running the government. From the Affordable Health Care Act to the Veterans Administration, the Obama presidency has been a tale of dumb and dumber when it comes to tech.
Next iPad May Be Loaded With iPhone Hand-Me-Downs
June 13, 2014
In large families, it's common to pass on an older child's clothes to a younger one. The same is true in the Apple product family. It's common to pass on features introduced in the big brother iPhone to the little brother iPad. That appears to be the case with the next-generation iPad Air -- if the latest gaggle of rumors are to be believed. That could affect the product's greeting in the market.
Amazon May Set Up Neighborhood Services Market
June 12, 2014
Amazon reportedly is planning to test a local marketplace that could make it a one-stop shop for local services. Those services could include anything from dog walking to a plumbing. Backed by Amazon's already established ratings and recommendations infrastructure, the service could take on sites like Yelp, Angie's List and Craigslist. It might also threaten home improvement chains.
D'oh! Apple's New iCloud and iPhoto Will Cost Me Big Bucks
June 12, 2014
I just had a disappointing palm-to-forehead realization: Apple's iCloud investments will reduce the pressure for Apple to increase the storage space on the iPhone 6. I no longer have hope that the next entry-level iPhone 6 will start at $199 for 32 GB of storage. I'm afraid we'll be stuck yet another year with an entry-model iPhone 6 that will start at the $199 price point with a paltry 16 GB.
Dell vs. Apple: Round 3
June 09, 2014
When Dell and Apple first confronted each other in the 1990s, Dell was a startup and Apple was a mature company attempting to fight Dell's kind of fight. It didn't go well, and Apple almost failed. When they faced off for the second time, Apple had been dramatically transformed by Steve Jobs into a much leaner, more-focused firm. Dell was having its own mid-life crisis, and Apple clearly won.
Google to Spread the Web With $1B Worth of Satellites
June 02, 2014
Google's eye on the sky seems wider than ever. The company reportedly is planning to spend at least $1 billion on a project to bring Internet access to remote areas through satellites. It is not yet clear whether the plan would augment or replace Project Loon -- Google's proposal to connect remote regions to the Internet through high-altitude balloons.
Can Apple Do for Smart Homes What It Did for Smartphones?
June 02, 2014
Apple is rumored to be launching a smart home platform at its developer conference this week. The smart home market is actually in a place that's rather similar to where MP3 players were when Apple launched the iPod, and the iPhone is basically an iPod with phone capability. The smart home effort is in part about music and video distribution, and iPhones are commonly used as remote controls.
Amazon Plans to Stream Music to Prime Members' Ears
May 30, 2014
Amazon reportedly is gearing up to launch a streaming music service this summer, taking on competitors like Pandora and Spotify. The streaming service would be part of Amazon's $99 per year Prime service, which offers subscribers free two-day shipping on many items, video streaming and an e-book lending library. The digital catalog would be limited to titles that are at least six months old.

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