tech in the spotlight

Samsung Gears Up for Holidays with VR, Pop-Up Stores and Kristen and Dax

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 26, 2014 04:38 PM

Samsung is anticipating a successful holiday season, thanks to buzzed-about new virtual reality products, a pop-up store push, a humorous new campaign starring Kristen Bell and husband Dax Shepard—and a critical show of confidence from management.

The consumer electronics giant started the week off strong by announcing that it's focusing its portfolio, Bloomberg reports, as excitement continues to grow amongst U.S. (and other) consumers who eagerly await the release of Samsung's Gear VR Innovator.

According to CNET, the Innovator brings together Oculus Rift virtual reality technology with the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4 to create "a fully immersive virtual reality experience."

Set to hit stores in December, the gadget will run $199, or be bundled with a Bluetooth controller for $249. CNET notes that this won’t be quite the same experience as the Oculus Rift or Sony’s Project Morpheus—because those have their own screens—but is definitely a step forward for mobile VR.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

3D Print the Holidays: MakerBot Launches in Staples, Amazon and Home Depot

Posted by Sheila Shayon on November 25, 2014 11:05 AM

Stratasys is rushing its red-hot MakerBot 3D printing brand into major U.S. retailers just in time for the holidays.

As of today, MakerBot has fresh distribution deals with Staples, Home Depot, Amazon.com and Fry's Electronics.

At Staples, for example, its printers range from $1490 to $2,800. Holiday shoppers and early adopters can check out MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers, MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanners and MakerBot Filaments in 50 select Staples brick-and-mortar stores across the U.S., as well on Staples.com.

It's a game-changing retail push for MakerBot, the five-year-old startup that now boasts the largest installed base of desktop 3D printers worldwide.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Nokia Seeks Brand Comeback With N1 Tablet

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 18, 2014 01:31 PM

Now that Microsoft has removed the Nokia brand name from Lumia phones, the non-mobile portion of Finland's Nokia that isn't owned by Microsoft is trying to find other ways to get its name out there. It's off to a strong start with Tuesday's launch of a new Android tablet N1 and corresponding Z Launcher software.

While Nokia has the 98th most valuable brand name in the world (worth about $3.2 billion) according to Interbrand's latest Best Global Brands ranking, it still desperately needs a comeback to combat its aging image amongst consumers in the wake of being phased out by Microsoft.

Beyond its own products, Nokia is looking to license its brand name to third-party manufacturers, TheVerge.com reports. “We have a very valuable brand," said Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia technologies. "Yes it is diminishing in value, and that’s why it is important that we reverse that trend very quickly, imminently."Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Apple Reveals World's Thinnest Tablet, Confirms Apple Pay Launch on Monday

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 16, 2014 05:06 PM

Wall Street may have shrugged, but will consumers stampede to the stores yet again following Apple's latest product reveal?

That was the big question following today’s Apple press event, which offered few surprises as details of slimmer tablets and fuller-sized versions were accidentally published along with a new user guide yesterday. 

Just in time for the holidays, here’s a recap of today’s announcements by the world's most valuable brand: Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Microsoft Reveals Windows 10

Posted by Shirley Brady on September 30, 2014 05:07 PM

Microsoft announced the new Windows operating system today: Windows 10. Billed as "The Future of Windows," it boasts a new Start menu, multiple desktops, and improved multi-tasking, in addition to:

Windows 10 represents the first step of a whole new generation of Windows. Windows 10 unlocks new experiences for customers to work, play and connect. Windows 10 embodies what our customers (both consumers and enterprises) demand and what we will deliver.

Windows 10 will run across an incredibly broad set of devices – from the Internet of Things, to servers in enterprise datacenters worldwide. Some of these devices have 4 inch screens – some have 80 inch screens – and some don’t have screens at all. Some of these devices you hold in your hand, others are ten feet away. Some of these devices you primarily use touch/pen, others mouse/keyboard, others controller/gesture – and some devices can switch between input types.

We’re not talking about one UI to rule them all – we’re talking about one product family, with a tailored experience for each device.

For some Windows 8 users eagerly anticipating the new release, there was just one question: What happened to Windows 9?

See Windows VP Joe Belfiores's twitty response to the naming speculation, along with his video explaining more about the new Windows. Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

With NBCUx, Programmatic Ad Buying is in the NBCUniversal House

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 30, 2014 01:18 PM

Programmatic buying is a hot topic at Advertising Week 2014 in New York, where attendees are discussing the convergence of digital video and TV, and ad sellers and buyers are eager to better target and reach viewers. That's why NBCUniversal is upping its stake in programmatic digital ad sales technology with the debut of NBCUx.

“NBCUx offers our clients programmatic access to premium content across our entire portfolio combined with data-enabled targeting," NBCU's press release commented. "The offering combines NBCUniversal's scale and audience of over 100 million unique visitors, premium content from our Entertainment, News, Sports and Hispanic brands, multiple platforms and data in a unique offering in support of our clients' initiatives.”

Programmatic ad buying, where algorithms and machines replace phone calls, wining and dining, is not new to online advertising, but its recent embrace by major television networks signals a seismic shift in the ways those networks are evolving their businesses in a digital world.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Google Helps Indian Government Achieve Digital Dreams

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 23, 2014 04:07 PM

India is undertaking a massive digital infrastructure project, connecting 800 million rural citizens by 2019 in a program called Digital India. And it can't do it alone.

The $17 billion government program, approved by the Indian cabinet last month, will cover 50,000 gram panchayats (village-level governments) this year, another 100,000 next year and the remaining 100,000 by 2016. There are 600,000 such villages in India administered by local governments.

“The entire country will be covered by broadband within three years and the internet will reach the remotest villages,” commented Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's minister of communications and IT. “India is sitting at the cusp of a huge digital revolution.” 

While analysts agree in theory, finding financial resources and keeping to a schedule are major hurdles. Enter Google, which is partnering with the recently launched MyGov, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizen engagement platform, on a nationwide contest to spur mobile app development and innovation.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Space Inc.: The Great Beyond is Now Ripe for Brand Commercialization

Posted by Dale Buss on September 17, 2014 06:41 PM

What is it about space that entrepreneurs want to keep going up there—or at least starting companies that go up there? Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos is the latest king of business buildling who's now gotten a foothold in the great beyond, joining Virgin Galactic's Richard Branson and SpaceX's Elon Musk.

Bezos founded and funded a space startup called Blue Origin that had been a relatively low-profile venture until it turned up as a partner to Boeing for the "space taxi" program for NASA of which Boeing won the biggest share this week, while SpaceX also got a contract. Blue Origin had been focused on developing spacecraft with a vertical takeoff-vertical landing first stage, simlar to technology that SpaceX has been working on with its Grasshopper and Falcon 9 launchers.

Musk, also founder of Tesla, has been involved via SpaceX in a high-profile race with Branson's Virgin Galactic to be the first to take rank-and-file global citizens into space on their separate aircraft, a competition which is supposed to take civilians into space as early as next year.Continue reading...

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