tech in the spotlight

In Line with Apple, Google Debuts TV, Auto and Health Platforms at I/O

Posted by Sheila Shayon on June 25, 2014 05:58 PM

Google and its chief rivals, Apple and Amazon, are vying for control of every aspect of consumers' lives, from health and having fun to driving your car and heating your home. 

Some of those advancements were on display today at Google's annual I/O developer's conference, including the debut of Android Wear, Android Auto, Android TV and a new, non-dessert version of Android itself, simply titled "L." 

Sundar Pichai, SVP of Chrome and apps, told the crowd that more than 1 billion people use an Android-powered device each month with 93 million “selfie” photos snapped each day. Google plans to get Android devices into millions of more hands in developing countries with its Android One program, which will see Google engineers design low-cost devices that local companies will manufacture, such as India's Spice and Karbonn companies. 

By 2022, half of US households with a broadband internet connection will own at least one smart home device, up from about 12 percent in 2014, according to research from Parks Associates—a figure that does not include connected TVs, set-top boxes and gaming consoles.  

Speaking of set-top boxes, Google made a third play for the TV screen with the announcement of Android TV, a platform that combines the functionality of Android apps and Google Play with live TV. While it's not quite a set-top box (yet), Google said it's partnering with Sony and Sharp to develop Android TV-supported TV sets and gaming set-top boxes with Razer and Asus.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Abercrombie & Fitch, Oreo, Bitcoin and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 7, 2014 09:17 AM

In the News

Abercrombie & Fitch plans to remake Hollister brand in light of fast-fashion trend.

Oreo uses vending machine to print 3-D cookies at SXSW.

Bitcoin creator may have been identified by Newsweek... or not

Albertson's and Safeway will combine in $9 billion deal.

BMW considers expanding car-sharing program in US.

Boeing freezes pension plans.

Cargill boasts "game changer" in stevia market.

Chili's aims to become faster.

Corona Light goes after middle-aged beer drinkers with taste pitch.

Culver's looks to what's next as it expands across the US.

Dewey & LeBoeuf leaders indicted.Continue reading...

mobile brands

Mobile World Congress '14: What to Expect from the World's Biggest Mobile Stage

Posted by Barry Silverstein on February 20, 2014 06:44 PM

Mobile World Congress, the largest annual event of its kind showcasing mobile innovations, will once again take place in Barcelona from Feb. 24-27. While Samsung was arguably the dominant player at last year's event and will surely be prominent again, old names like LG and Nokia, and newer ones like Huawei and Lenovo, are likely to steal some of the spotlight at this year's MWC. Wearables are also expected to play a leading role.

Samsung's big splash, via a promotion it has named "Unpacked 5," is expected to be the announcement of the Galaxy S5, which may well include the unveiling of the next iteration of Galaxy Gear, the wearable smartwatch that competitors are now trying to match. In fact, according to Bloomberg, HTC, the Taiwanese smartphone maker that has been battered by declining sales, is rumored to be demonstrating a smartwatch, "the first of three wearable devices," at MWC.

Not to be outdone, the Chinese company Huawei released a teaser video that offers glimpses of a few spiffy tablets and a smartphone with Siri-like intelligence. Rumored but unconfirmed is Huawei's introduction of a smartwatch as well. Smartphone manufacturer ZTE said last November it would launch a smartwatch in 2014 but was not expected to have one available at MWC.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Candy Crush, Kellogg's, Sony and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 18, 2014 09:05 AM

In the News

Candy Crush Saga maker files for IPO.

Kellogg will switch to sustainable palm oil by 2016.

Sony sold more than 5 million PlayStation 4 consoles globally.

Actavis nears acquisition of Forest Labs for up to $25 billion.

Campbell Soup focuses on price promotions in Australia sweet biscuit market.

Coca-Cola sales and earnings slide, yielding cost cuts.

Groupon says President's Day gaffe was intentional

Hong Kong Disneyland says it will add hotel rooms after consistent turn up in attendance. 

HP knew of Autonomy's accounting methods long before sale, report says.

Lamborghini looks to expand two-model lineup.

LG unveils three new L-series smartphones.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

30 Years After Mac, Apple Cranks Up Innovation for Eager Consumer Market

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 24, 2014 05:02 PM

While today marks the 30th anniversary of Apple's iconic and game-changing Macintosh computer, the Best Global Brand isn't spending much time on nostalgia. Instead, it's pressing forward into new product realms and perfecting the ones it currently rules after a period of static development, to the dismay of competitors like Samsung.

With new ventures in wearable technology on the horizon, expansion of its iPhone line to suit bigger tastes, and budding partnerships in TV and autos, Apple has never been better. As for the competition, well, they've seen better days. 

Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker and Apple arch rival saw its growth "slow sharply" in the fourth quarter—the first time the company has recorded a decrease between quarters since 2011. While prospects for the first-half of 2014 are weak for Samsung, Apple can expect a marked boost now that it has officially sealed a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest carrier, as well as one with Japan's largest carrier, according to the New York Times.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Nestle, PepsiCo, Twitter and more

Posted by Dale Buss on January 21, 2014 09:08 AM

In the News

Nestle opens world's first Kit Kat boutique in Tokyo as Cadbury keeps fighting candy bar's trademark shape in UK.

PepsiCo axes stevia-sweetened Gatorade products as Mtn. Dew plans big spending boost behind Kickstart and Diet Dew.

Twitter makes racial diversity an ad-selling point.

AT&T plans to take orders this week for new flexible-screen smartphone from LG.

Build-a-Bear appoints new CMO and "brand bear."

Burger King wins free primetime Super Bowl radio ads in UK.

Facebook sees leveling off of decline in teens.

Ford embarks on quality push in time to improve before important '14 product launches.

Infiniti eyes bolder sub-brand.

Intel sells under-developed online-TV line to Verizon.

Jeep eyes 37 percent sales boost this year as feds end controversial recall investigation of Grand Cherokee and Liberty models.Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Samsung Shows Off an Ecosystem of Appliances at CES 2014

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 9, 2014 06:36 PM

Samsung Electronics aims to be the world’s largest appliance manufacturer by 2015—no easy feat with mega-brands like GE, Kenmore and LG to compete with.

But the South Korean giant is already the fastest-growing appliance brand in the US, with a 10.5 percent jump in market share since 2011. “We’re on track,” said B.K. Yoon, Samsung’s co-chief executive officer, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

The bid is part of a bigger plan by Samsung announced this week at CES in which consumers will use smartphones and tablets to control their air conditioners, refrigerators, washers, LED lighting and more, creating a truly Smart Home. 

The Smart Home platform provides three core services: Device Control, which are customized settings for all of devices via smartphone or Smart TV; Home View, cameras built into Samsung connected appliances to keep an eye on what's going on at home; and Smart Customer Service, which alerts users when it's time to service an appliance.Continue reading...

brand revival

Polaroid, LG Get Nostalgic with Insta-Print Devices at CES 2014

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 8, 2014 02:49 PM

The Polaroid brand may seem like the perfect one to box up and send off to the Smithsonian, but the camera maker isn’t close to dead yet. At CES 2014 this week in Las Vegas, Polaroid is demoing a nifty new camera that allows photographers to either instantly share an image on social media or print out a 2x3 inch version of it on sticker paper, CNET reports.

Of course, the Android-based Socialmatic with a 4.5-inch touchscreen will need special supplies such as heat-activated Zink paper, which will run about $30 for 80 sheets. Still, the “hipster-vintage retro design” may interest younger consumers, CNET predicts. The Socialmatic isn’t expected to actually be on the market till the fall, however, and TechCrunch reports that it will cost $299.

To add to the shareability, the printed image includes a small QR code “so that other Socialmatic users can scan it, get the digital version from Polaroid’s servers, and reprint it,” TechCrunch notes.Continue reading...

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