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tech in the spotlight

CES 2013 Watch: It's a Web, Web, Web, Web TV World

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 8, 2013 11:16 AM

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that's now underway in Las Vegas is not only the world's biggest trade show, but a snapshot of how the fast-moving world of technology innovation is impacting sectors. Witness automotive, such as Ford's just-announced mobile partnerships to enhance the brand's in-car connectivity platform as part of a bigger CES push by car manufacturers this year.

CES is also a soapbox for competitors to one-up one another as they spit out product announcements and flaunt new alliances. This year, the rivalry is particularly fierce in the web TV/digital streaming arena.

"As new Internet TV players look to invade the living room, some cable and satellite operators are stepping up their embrace of Web technology to jazz up aging interfaces and head off subscriber defections, the Wall Street Journal reports from the show.

CES attendees include DirecTV and Dish Network on the satellite side, Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-verse) touting Telco TV, and U.S. multi-system operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications are at CES to recast themselves as web TV purveyors and shake off the dreaded "cable operator" moniker. No wonder the U.S. National Cable & Telecommunications Association is reportedly considering dropping "cable" and rebranding to the U.S. Internet and Television Association (but, oddly, keeping the NCTA acronym).

AT&T's U-verse platform is introducing "Screen Pack," a $5 per month addition to existing subscriptions which enables customers to stream some 1,500 on-demand movies. AT&T plans to add more content in the future in an effort to thwart the flood of video streaming competitors in the space.Continue reading...

tech innovation

CES 2013 Watch: Fab Phablets, Self-Driving Cars, and Smarter Smart Devices

Posted by Shirley Brady on January 7, 2013 08:55 AM

Brands and marketers are heading to Las Vegas for the International CES show this week, which is expected to be an "evolutionary" showcase for "phablets," smart cars, mobile entertainment, celebrity-gawking and trend-watching. So what's in store for this year's edition of "the mother of all trade shows"?

A lot of noise from the many brands looking to make some noise in Vegas, including:

brand revival

CES 2013 Watch: Polaroid Unveils Fotobar Stores and Kids Tablet

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 4, 2013 11:05 AM

Remember when Polaroid brought Lady Gaga to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as the brand's new creative director? This upcoming CES, Polaroid will unveil branded retail stores that will enable “liberating” photos from the “confines of their digital devices.”

The grandfather of photography is opening 10 Polaroid Fotobars, experiential retail stores that promise to help consumers manage the photography deluge triggered by digital devices, so images can be printed and edited and the whole process assisted in-store by expert “Phototenders.”

“It’s painful to hear an old photography company that is attempting to revitalize itself call photo printing stores 'cool and hip,' but the premise actually sounds both cool and hip,” notes Venturebeat.

The first Fotobar will open in a 2,000 SF store in Delray Beach, Florida in February, with subsequent openings including New York, Las Vegas and Boston. The Delray Beach location includes “The Studio,” a multi-purpose room hosting photo classes, private parties and a space for portrait photos.Continue reading...

digital moves

Heifer International Launches iPad App

Posted by Andrew Chan on November 29, 2012 11:14 AM

Heifer International is entering the digital age. Just in time for the holidays, the nonprofit organization that lets you give the gift of a goat, chickens or other livestock to help provide a source of income and related agricultural training for those in poverty and hunger, has released its first ever table app.

The free app, for iPads and Android-powered tablets, will allow users to engage with the stories, images and videos from around the world as featured in its World Ark magazine — making it the first NGO to create a digital publication.

"World Ark serves as a window into our work here at Heifer International and this interactive tablet edition will bring our supporters along with us to the field to see how their support changes lives every day," stated Heifer International President and CEO Pierre Ferrari.

ad watch

Google Ads Tout Voice-Activated Search App as a Mom's (and Umpire's) Best Friend

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 21, 2012 10:43 AM

Google is touting its voice-activated search app in a new TV campaign. Above, a mom scrambles to pull together a costume based on the eighth president of the United States — Martin Van Buren, with an assist from her Nexus tablet — and below, a replacement baseball umpire gets a little help from the app on his Android phone to refresh his memory on the rules:Continue reading...

tech in the spotlight

Google Defies Hurricane Sandy, Hosts Virtual Nexus Launch

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 29, 2012 03:01 PM

Hurricane Sandy may have blown out Google’s planned NYC press reveal of its Nexus family of devices Monday, so new details on the Nexus 4 smartphone, Nexus 7 tablet and Nexus 10 slate released by the search giant online.

The search giant's flagship smartphone is 4.7-inches, runs the newest version of Android, and was made by LG Electronics with input from Google, which claims its quad-core processor makes it the fastest smartphone on the market.

The Nexus 4 will not support LTE as it’s being sold as an unlocked, off-contract phone for $300 globally and LTE is not a uniform standard. The price is a dramatic departure from the norm, represented by the unlocked iPhone 5 which retails at $700.Continue reading...

tech champs

Apple's Quarterly Tally: 26.9M iPhones, 14M iPads, $8.2B Net Profit

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 25, 2012 04:49 PM

Apple is roaring into the holiday season, reporting earnings for the company's fiscal fourth quarter ending Sept. 30th that show how last month's iPhone 5 launch boosted business, while iPad demand is still high.

The company posted quarterly revenue of $36.0 billion and quarterly net profit of $8.2 billion, or $8.67 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $28.3 billion and net profit of $6.6 billion, or $7.05 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 40.0 percent compared to 40.3 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 60 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple sold 26.9 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 58 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter. Apple sold 14.0 million iPads during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. On the more tepid side of its product offering, it sold 4.9 million Macs during the quarter, a 1 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter; and 5.3 million iPods, a 19 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

“We’re very proud to end a fantastic fiscal year with record September quarter results,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We’re entering this holiday season with the best iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod products ever, and we remain very confident in our new product pipeline.” Analysts will be very curious, no doubt, how many iPad mini sales Apple projects for the upcoming holiday season, given that 14 million units of the full-size iPad were just sold.Continue reading...

brand launch

Apple Thinks Small With iPad Mini Launch

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 23, 2012 07:17 PM

Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the one-hand-ready iPad mini today, prompting fans of the brand to ponder whether they need one, while investors seemed to make up their minds, as the company's stock dropped after the reveal.

Bigger than an iPhone and smaller than an iPad, at 7.9 inches and starting at $329, it's lighter but costlier than its 7-inch, $199 rivals, the Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 tablets. It's being marketed as "the full iPad experience — there's less of it, but no less to it," and may appeal to, for instance, the education market. It also marks a reversal of Steve Jobs's (initial) opposition to the 7-inch tablet size.

Why is smaller now better for Apple? Design head Jony Ive commented in the launch video, "Our goal was to take all the amazing things you could do with a full-size iPad, but pack them into a product that was so much smaller."

“iPad mini is every inch an iPad. With its gorgeous 7.9-inch display, iPad mini features the same number of pixels as the original iPad and iPad 2, so you can run more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, in a press release.

“iPad mini is as thin as a pencil and as light as a pad of paper" he added, "yet packs a fast A5 chip, FaceTime HD and 5 megapixel iSight cameras and ultrafast wireless―all while delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.”Continue reading...

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