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“ODG unveils two AR smartglasses with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors” plus 29 more VentureBeat

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“ODG unveils two AR smartglasses with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors” plus 29 more VentureBeat


ODG unveils two AR smartglasses with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processors

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 02:06 PM PST

ODG's latest smartglasses use Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chips.

Osterhout Design Group is unveiling two augmented reality smartglasses that will use the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 mobile processors.

ODG makes AR smartglasses that can overlay computer-generated imagery on top of the real world, helping you see the world around you in new ways. Augmented reality is expected to be a $90 billion business worldwide by 2020, and ODG is positioning itself for that bounty. ODG is showing off its R-8 and R-9 Snapdragon-based AR smartglasses at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

The Snapdragon 835 processor helps those smartglasses deliver high-performance, good battery life, and lower prices. The R-8 will sell for under $1,000, while the R-9 will sell for $1,800. By comparison, the R-7 smartglasses from a year ago cost $2,750. By comparison, the company’s R-6 smartglasses debuted in early 2015 for $5,000. That shows that the costs for AR are coming down at a healthy rate. To me, it’s interesting to see Moore’s Law — or doubling the number of transistors on a chip every couple of years — is working its magic and bringing the cost of AR down to more affordable levels.

“We’ve made the R-9 customizable with an adaptor at the top that can plug something in,” said Pete Jameson, executive vice president at ODG, in an interview with GamesBeat. “This module expansion port, just above the brow, we have added a connector that is expandable for vertical applications.

ODG's R-8 and R-9 smartglasses.

Above: ODG’s R-8 and R-9 smartglasses.

Image Credit: ODG

ODG smartglasses aim to transform the mobile experience with a large, beautiful, high-quality screen that offers a more compelling way to connect with and experience content and the world around you. Eventually, ODG believes headworn screens will replace all the other screens in your life.

For enterprise use, it is a productivity tool – improving efficiencies and safety in a range of environments. For the consumer, it enhances the mobile experience, extending the capabilities of traditional mobile applications and enabling new portable, interactive experiences. Running Reticle OS, an Android-based operating system that has been optimized for head-worn computing, the smartglasses are a platform on which you can download, stream and view, browse, game, or have 360-degree interactive experiences.

The R-8 and R-9 share some characteristics in common. They both use the Snapdragon 835 chip. They both play cinematic 360-degree movies. They both have Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, GPS and Glonass, high-speed IMU for detecting gestures, dual microphones, directional speakers, USB-C, and Reticle OS running on Android 7.0 (Nougat).

The R-9 uses a wide angle, 50-degree field of view that feels like you’re in the sweet spot of an IMAX theater, Jameson said. The R-9 weighs about 6.5 ounces. It can display at a 1080p resolution. It has a 13-megapixel front-facing camera that can record 4K video at 60 frames per second or 1080p at 120 frames per second. It also has a module expansion slot for extended sensors or cameras. It has 128 gigabytes of storage.

“This is taking our tech and building light enterprise applications and a strong developer platform,” Jameson said.

Jameson said that the R-8 will get the high-end consumer market — for geeks and enthusiasts who are early adopters of new technology — under way.

ODG's smartglasses are lighter and smarter in 2016.

Above: ODG’s smartglasses are lighter and smarter in 2016.

Image Credit: ODG

The R-8 has a 16:9 resolution, 720p, and a 40-degree field of view. Instead of the extender connector, the company included two 1080p stereo-based cameras. It weighs about 4.5 ounces. It will target applications such as movies, sports, gaming, navigation and educational experiences. It has 1080p dual cameras, and 64 gigabytes of storage.

“We think it is a very well suited for the start of a consumer market,” Jameson said.

Qualcomm is also excited about the growth of AR.

“It’s the first time ever their new flagship chip has been announced on something other than a mobile phone,” said Jameson.

At CES, ODG is partnering with 21st Century Fox’s Fox Innovation Lab.

"The premium Snapdragon 835 processor was designed from the ground-up to support new and innovative products and experiences beyond mobile phones, and it's great to see that the first announced Snapdragon 835 devices will be ODG's smartglasses," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president at Qualcomm Technologies, in a statement. "Thermal dissipation on a heavy compute but small device is very difficult so higher power efficiency is a must. The Snapdragon 835 processor, with our unique SoC design expertise on a 10nm process node, enables ODG to meet their design goals and develop lighter, smaller and sleeker smartglasses that take advantage of the new processor's superior performance and power efficiency."

Ralph Osterhout founded ODG in 1999, and the company raised a $58 million round of funding in December. Investors include 21st Century Fox, Shenzhen O-film Tech Co., Ltd., and Vanfund Urban Investment & Development.

"As consumers look for more and more out of their mobile devices, we are seeing a shift taking place towards a new era of mobile computing," said Ralph Osterhout, founder and CEO of ODG, in a statement. “This is so much bigger than just a device, it's about a whole new computing medium that will transform how we interact and discover information and engage with people and objects in the world around us. The Snapdragon 835 processor's superior performance and power efficiency allows us to accelerate along the path we've been striving towards for so long – in bringing a self-contained, lightweight and powerful headworn computing device with stunning visual experiences to the consumer. It is an honor to work so closely with the brilliant minds at Qualcomm Technologies and to be the first to announce that we are integrating this latest technology into devices."

The Snapdragon 835 is in production now and is expected to ship in commercial devices in the first half of 2017.

CES2017

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 will debut with 3 billion transistors and a 10nm manufacturing process

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 02:01 PM PST

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 chip is smaller than a penny.

Qualcomm has big ambitions for its Snapdragon 835 processor. The company is unveiling more details about the flagship mobile processor today at a press event at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas.

The processor has 3 billion transistors and is built in an advanced 10-nanometer manufacturing process, enabling advances in battery life, computing immersion, video capture, mobile connectivity, and security, said Keith Kressin, senior vice president of product management at Qualcomm Technologies, in an interview with VentureBeat. The chip will serve as the brains of a new generation of mobile devices, from smartphones to cameras. And these devices won’t seem like second-class citizens when compared to more capable desktop or laptop computing devices.

Ken Kressin of Qualcomm shows off the Snapdragon 835 chip in a reference design phone.

Above: Keith Kressin of Qualcomm shows off the Snapdragon 835 chip in a reference design phone.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm revealed that the Snapdragon 835 was in the works back in August, and the company is now ready to share a lot more about the chip’s purpose and timing. In fact, the chip is in production now and will start appearing in Android and Windows 10 devices as early as the first half of 2017.

“You’re going to see it in PCs with Windows 10,” Kressin said.

Qualcomm previously launched its Snapdragon 820 processor on a 14-nanometer process a year ago, and the appearance of the new chip on a new process shows that the company is being aggressive about keeping pace with the fastest-moving behemoths of the chip industry. More specifically, it’s trying to stay ahead of Intel, the world’s biggest chip maker, as well as other big companies in the $330 billion chip industry.

“With our flagship processor, we wanted to meet the demanding requirements of mobile virtual reality and ubiquitous connectivity,” Kressin said. “We wanted to improve battery life, immersion, capture, connectivity, and security. These are our pillars.”

Qualcomm's chip manufacturing schedule is accelerating.

Above: Qualcomm’s chip manufacturing schedule is accelerating.

Image Credit: Qualcomm

Kressin wouldn’t say which contract manufacturer is fabricating the chip for Qualcomm.

“I expect the Snapdragon to be the highest performance chip for all Android applications in 2017,” said Patrick Moorhead, analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “One will be able to touch their wireless integration, either. What I’m very interested in is its performance in Windows 10 and Chrome OS. Windows PCs and Chromebooks would be growth markets for the company.”

The company said the chip is the first mobile chip to use a second-generation FinFET process node, which helps shrink the chip, makes it less expensive, reduces power consumption, and speeds performance. This means the width between the circuits in the chip is miniaturized to just 10 nanometers, compared to 14 nanometers in the previous generation process from a year or two ago. The 10nm process enabled Qualcomm to create the 835 in a package that is 35 percent smaller than the 820 built with the 14nm process.

To take advantage of that process, Qualcomm redesigned the chip, which has a Cryo 280 central processing unit (CPU), to have longer battery life, with 2.5 more hours of usage per day. On top of that, it uses Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4 technology, which gets you an additional five hours talk time with five minutes of charging. Overall, the power consumption is 25 percent lower.

“We didn’t emphasize peak performance,” Kressin said. “We emphasized battery life and sustained performance. If you put it in a VR headset, it should not overheat.”

What this means is that virtual reality and augmented reality apps, 4K capture and streaming, and gaming will have extended hours of use time when running on mobile devices, Kressin said.

The 835 also has a fully integrated X16 Gigabit LTE modem to provide better connectivity. And it has integrated multi-gigabit Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, and integrated 2×2 802.11ac with MU-MIMO, designed to deliver fiber-optic speeds to your phone, wirelessly, where the networks can support it.

The integrated Adreno 540 graphics processing unit has 25 percent faster graphics, compared to the prior generation. The graphics are moving from 8-bit to 10-bit, enabling 60 times more colors, which is good for both VR and ecommerce. It supports q-sync and locking of the GPU rendering engine output, so there’s never a missed frame that could make someone really sick in a VR app. And the 835 will be ready for Google Daydream devices.

“We think it takes off more with mobile VR,” Kressin said. “We think that AR will be bigger than VR, and it follows VR in taking off. There’s a race to shrink the VR helmet as fast as possible. That’s why we emphasized the power and thermals. That’s the key metric for sleek form factors. You still need connectivity and performance. You’ll see sleeker designs with the 835.”

For VR, the 835 supports foveated rendering (which saves on processing power by blurring things that aren’t directly in view) and DSD scene-based audio. VR headsets can use six degrees of freedom, gaze and hand tracking, and reduced latency that shaves a few milliseconds from the response time.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835 is 35 percent smaller than last year's 820.

Above: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 is 35 percent smaller than last year’s 820.

Image Credit: Qualcomm

Qualcomm has also integrated the TensorFlow machine learning framework favored by Google. The built-in digital signal processor will run machine learning code. Or it can run on the GPU or the CPU. Meanwhile, the device is programmable for machine learning, as the code for that is changing fast.

“We’ve put more effort from a software framework to efficiently use the cores in the chip,” Kressin said.

For capture, the camera has 32 megapixels of resolution at 30 frames per second with zero shutter lag. It has improved sharpness in all lighting conditions, especially low light, with Qualcomm Clear Sight. And it focuses accurately in fast-moving situations. It also has better zoom and stabilization for photos and videos. And it uses a Qualcomm Spectra 180 image sensor processor (ISP).

“You can now do extremely fast focus,” Kressin said.

The security will be built into the hardware in the form of SecureMSM and Qualcomm Haven. It will protect mobile payments and online banking, using hardware tokens that identify both the device and the user.

And it can provide hardware-based authentication that protects user data from input to the processor. That allows features such as secure fingerprint identification, eye-based and face-based recognition, and voice prints. Qualcomm Haven protects the camera for secure mobile payments and detection of zero-day malware. The system uses machine learning to detect malicious apps.

“If you have android app, it can’t get to the camera, which is in a protected memory,” Kressin said. “It’s secure for mobile payments. At the hardware level, we can collect data on the phone and determine whether it was booted securely.”

The company isn’t announcing design wins yet, but the first batch will be announced in the first half of 2017, Kressin said.

CES2017

La French Tech Ups the Ante in Vegas, Takes CES 2017 by Storm with Largest International Contingent of Startups

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 01:05 PM PST

BusinessWire_FeaturedImage

Record-setting delegation of French companies caps milestone year for what is now Europe’s top tech investment market

LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 3, 2017–

La French Tech is going “all in” in Las Vegas at CES 2017, with a record number of companies participating at the mega tech show. More than 260 French enterprises, ranging from established market leaders to newly minted unicorns and disruptive startups, will showcase their innovations. The contingent will reach into every corner of industry on display at CES and feature an especially dominating presence at CES’ startup haven, Eureka Park, where the number of French-based firms is the largest of any international delegation.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170103006190/en/

(Graphic: Business Wire)

(Graphic: Business Wire)

Leading the delegation will be France’s Minister of Economy, Michel Sapin, and Secretary of State for Digital and Innovation, Axelle Lemaire. Lemaire will host French and English press conferences on Friday, January 6 (8 a.m.: French press; 10:30 a.m.: English-speaking press; French Tech Showroom, Room 34-307, The Venetian Hotel) to discuss how France has taken bold steps to quickly emerge as a global tech powerhouse and to look ahead to macro challenges in the Trump/Brexit era.

La French Tech is recognized as one of the world’s fastest growing tech ecosystems, fueled by world-class talent and education, record-setting investments, an innovative infrastructure of support for startups and entrepreneur-friendly policies. The past year has been significant for French tech innovation. The country now ranks first in Europe for number of investment deals, up 71 percent from 2015, and achieved a record deal flow of $1.5 billion in just the first three quarters of the year. French companies make up nearly 20 percent of the 2016 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (EMEA), and France has been the fastest growing country on the list over the past six years.

The money is following industry-changing innovation across a number of sectors and technology areas, such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data, autonomous mobility, cyber security, mobile communications and fintech. French companies earned a record 26 CES Innovation Awards in 2017, a tribute to the engineering and entrepreneurial talent that exists across the country.

“At last year’s CES, La French Tech was the big surprise. This year, we’ve taken the lead. The momentum behind our growth in this sector is unprecedented, and we have truly established France as one of the tech giants of the world,” said Axelle Lemaire. “We are proud of the creativity, ambition and work ethic that is woven deep into our technology business fabric. And the tech investment world has certainly taken note, as seen by the surge in deals this past year.”

2016 was indeed a banner year for investment in La French Tech with 368 deals completed in the first nine months of the year. While 62 percent of these deals were with startups, there were also some landmark investments in later-stage companies such as OVH ($250M), Sigfox ($150M), Devialet ($100M) and Deezer ($100M). In addition, the year saw four exits by French companies of more than $100M each.

Bienvenue au Eureka Park

CES visitors can expect to hear a lot of French being spoken in Las Vegas this year, especially at Eureka Park, where 172 French startups will exhibit (an increase of 160 percent since 2015). La French Tech’s corner (Booths 50618 and 50620) will be the anchor spot for the contingent, with regular events and showcases of innovations, as well as helpful information on La French Tech’s ecosystem. Notable French startups exhibiting throughout Eureka Park will be CybelAngel, Xooloo, PK Paris and Plume Labs.

About La French Tech

La French Tech is a thriving community of diverse stakeholders from the French tech world (entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, investors, tech lovers, government agencies like Bpifrance and Business France) in all sectors (digital, biotech, medtech, fintech, etc.). Members of this community include champions such as BlaBlaCar, valued at €1.2 billion, and Sigfox and Devialet, which respectively raised €150 million and €100 million in 2016. Meanwhile, since 2013, €200 million of public funds have been invested in business incubators and accelerator programs throughout France to support our startup community even further.

La French Tech
Maia Thomine Desmazures
maia.thodes@businessfrance.fr
or
The Hoffman Agency
Jacqueline Meyler
lafrenchtech@hoffman.com

Leading Heroes of the Storm esports squad resigns with Team Dignitas

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 12:55 PM PST

Wrecking buildings in Heroes of the Storm.

Esports team Team Dignitas announced today that it has renewed contracts with its Heroes of the Storm players, ensuring that James "Bakery" Baker, Jérôme "JayPL" Trinh, Thomas "Mene" Cailleux and Joshua "Snitch" Bennett will stay on the team.

The group has also signed Kenn "Zaelia" Rasmussen as a new player. Team Dignitas’ owner is the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers, which turned the team into a notable example of how the world of real sports wants to get into the $493 million and growing esports market.

Team Dignitas ranked fourth in Heroes of the Storm’s championships at BlizzCon 2016, and the competitors were the only Western team to qualify for and attend all official circuit events that year.

"Team Dignitas is more than just a team to me, it’s a family," said James "Bakery" Baker, Team Dignitas' Heroes of the Storm captain, in a press release sent to GamesBeat. "I know I can count on my Team Dignitas teammates and staff to support me in every possible way in my training and development needs. I’m extremely excited and proud to be able to say I am Team Captain for 2017."

Team Dignitas also has teams competing in other popular esports games like Overwatch, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Smite.

Overwatch’s new Oasis map is now out

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 12:25 PM PST

The new Oasis map.

Overwatch’s heroes have a new playground.

Blizzard has released a new map, Oasis, for its team-based shooter. It’s available as part of a free update for all versions of the game: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Overwatch has become a huge hit since launching last May, already reaching 20 million players. New content like this can keep them engaged.

Oasis is a Control map, meaning that it has teams fighting for possession of the same point. It differs from other modes in that there isn’t a defending team. Instead, everyone wants to control the same spot. Like other Control maps, Oasis actually has three different arenas set in the same location — in this case, a futuristic Middle Eastern city. In normal play, the first team to win two rounds takes the game. In Competitive, the first to three wins.

This is the second map that Blizzard has added to Overwatch since the game’s release. Eichenwalde was the first, which took place in a castle town in Germany. Each map adds a little more flavor to Overwatch’s story by giving players some new scenery and details to take in.

IoT, AI, and chatbots are boosting revenue across markets — but trust is key

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 12:10 PM PST

Digital transformation

We have all heard the hype surrounding technological advancements in AI, VR, and robotics. These are just a few of the emerging forces that are drastically changing B2C and B2B operations. Digital eminence is a business need. However, these new technologies have also brought an array of challenges. With increasing concern over protecting personal information, trustworthiness is becoming critical with respect to online commerce.

Along with this, the digitization of physical assets is blurring industry lines and barriers, making digital commerce critical for long-term success. Based on Gartner’s 2016 CEO survey, 59 percent of respondents believe digital will have a substantial impact on profitability, being a key factor contributing to revenue growth. However, traditional commerce models are limited. Outperforming companies have taken a broader approach by expanding overseas and venturing into vertical markets.

IoT has brought a surge of structured and unstructured data to light. But with so much sensitive information floating around, companies have to be cognizant of security threats that are arising. Privacy issues can erode consumers’ trust and cause them to turn away.

Trust is a must

According to Gartner’s Penny Gillespie, “By 2020, companies that are digitally trustworthy will generate 20% more online profit than those that are not.” This means business leaders must weave safeguards within their corporate strategy in order to build a sense of trustworthiness with consumers.

Will building trustworthiness pay off? The answer is: absolutely. Companies that can get customers to trust their digital stores will positively influence customer behavior and grow revenue.

Since trustworthiness directly impacts customer behavior, it also directly affects corporate performance. Take a look at the results from the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer study: “68% of the respondents choose to buy products or services from trusted companies, and 48% refused to buy products or services from distrusted companies.” Trust has become the deciding factor when customers are making a purchase decision.

We all know that strong brand awareness can drive shopper traffic, but to maintain a stellar reputation, companies must provide a flawless shopping experience. One bad interaction can result in a formerly loyal customer turning to a competitor.

Transparency is key

Along with maintaining trust, companies must also look out for increased competition in the digital market. With over 1 billion websites, there are now several available buying options in almost any situation. This has caused consumers to spend more time researching, browsing, and evaluating sellers.

With so much information available for consumption, consumers expect to quickly and easily find what they are looking for. In addition to being discoverable, product content must be continuously updated and accurate. Label Insight found that “94% of consumers would be more loyal if their brand practiced transparency, and 39% would be willing to switch to a new brand that offered full transparency.”

In the past, being transparent was not as much of an issue since the majority of commerce took place in physical buildings. Brick-and-mortar stores were the backbone to a company’s success. In those days, companies were evaluated on aesthetics such as store ambiance or the friendliness of associates. However, these physical entities have been replaced by intelligent chatbots and virtual agents. Today, companies are being judged on how easy it is to do business with — both online and via mobile devices. Physical stores have been cannibalized by ecommerce sites. Shoppers now base their opinions on how well companies can provide a seamless shopping experience across all channels and touchpoints.

Companies that demonstrate digital trustworthiness will not only grow revenue, but also spend less acquiring new customers. Companies that fail to do so will miss out on potential selling opportunities and end up paying more to grow their customer base.

Consistency pays off

Consumers look at companies from a holistic view, so there is no longer a distinction between departments. If a company falls short in one area, it will compromise the brand as a whole. On the other hand, maintain a sense of consistency and expect to grow your market share.

Take Uber and Airbnb as an example. These companies have been able to establish brand value and gain trust by being completely transparent and accountable. They have reaped the benefits of positive ratings and reviews. Social media has allowed a universal sharing of experiences that can either help a company build reputation or degrade the brand.

So what can companies do to build trustworthiness? They can start by ensuring that online content is transparent and accurate, digital navigation is responsive and intuitive, and the digital store is always open and available. Take this even further by embedding capabilities such as chat services and machine learning to gain a competitive advantage.

Conversational commerce promotes insights

Along with trustworthiness, companies must also make sure they are easy to do business with. Based on another analysis by Gartner’s Gene Alvarez, “By 2020, 25% of leading online sellers will have enabled first-generation ‘commerce that comes to you’ capabilities.” What does this mean? Companies must weave conversational and visual capabilities into their customer interactions.

Enable virtual personal assistants to make decisions for customers. Bot-driven customer service is no longer just a trend, it will become a part of an immersive customer experience. Agents will become a source of delight, not frustration, providing a type of commerce that “comes to you” (Predicts 2017: Enhance the TSP Customer Experience).

Today, personalization means using customer information to better understand customers on a more individual level. Companies must invest in technologies that will identify and create unique buyer personas so they can anticipate their needs and improve customer service. Other innovations, such as alternative payment and fulfillment models, 3D printing, robots, and drones, are also adding to this transformation.

This will become the foundation of becoming a successful digital business. Some companies have already implemented cloud technologies and developed mobile strategies, and are now leveraging social channels to improve relationships with customers. Add IoT to the equation and you have a conglomerate of disruptive forces that are transforming the digital marketplace.

Cognitive learning is the future

Soon, we will live in a world where consumers have the option to interact with a voice-enabled bot to place an order. Instead of going to a company’s website, they can simply tell Alexa to order their favorite t-shirt. Pair this with cognitive learning capabilities and you can even predict the next purchase.

Imagine having the ability to send a customer an automated text message alerting them when it’s time for a repurchase. This kind of intelligence and personalization will set companies apart from competitors and ultimately provide the personalized experiences customers now expect.

Overall, analysts are recommending that companies focus on a few key practices: Adopt a customer-centric business model where all decisions are based on customer insight, not gut feelings; exploit new channels that support cognitive learning systems to stay ahead; take advantage of digital innovations; and focus on building trust and advocacy. By doing so, companies can go from being a market player to being the market leader.

Force Protection Video Files Patent Application for Specialized Mounting for On the Body Cameras on Riot Shields

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 12:05 PM PST

BusinessWire_FeaturedImage

CARY, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 3, 2017–

Force Protection Video Equipment (OTC Markets: FPVD), which sells HD body camera systems and accessories for law enforcement, announced that it has filed a patent application and awarded an application number to mount any manufacturer’s body cameras to Police and Military riot shields.

This unique design will allow the mounting of any ON THE BODY camera manufacturers’ camera to be securely mounted on Riot and Ballistic shields. Front line video has become an important field of view requirement when dealing with public disturbances and provides undisputable video evidence of any unlawful acts of protestors towards police officers.

The designer of this product is Paul Feldman CEO of Force Protection Video. Mr. Feldman is the named inventor on multiple patents. Paul Feldman said, “I have more product designs in the pipeline which will become part of the company’s intellectual portfolio.”

Force Protection Video will begin offering this product to current customers of the LE10 and LE50 on the body cameras.

The LE50 is a state of the art designed body camera strategically built around Ambarella chip sets (AMBA).

The LE50 key design features are:

Industry leading record time (10 hours @1080,12 hours @720)
50 hours of standby time
32GB of internal tamperproof storage
White LED illumination
Audio announcements
GPS recording
30 second pre and post record
Integration with VeriPic© Evidence Management Software

The LE50 was developed using current guidelines that Law Enforcement nationwide have written into their requirements for purchase of Bodycams for their officers. Our camera and software via VeriPic® meets and exceeds these requirements. We are also the first company to build into a Body Camera an audio announcement feature. When the camera first starts to record an announcement clearly states, “ATTENTION AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDING HAS STARTED” when the camera’s recording mode is stopped it clearly states, “ATTENTION AUDIO AND VIDEO RECORDING HAS STOPPED”. Our studies show when someone is made aware of a recording taking place their attitude and demeanor tend to turn more positive and less aggressive towards police officers.

The LE50 uses white diode lighting in our design because of a safety issue. Cameras that utilize IR lighting can be harmful due to the brightness of the IR light and the fact that the human eye does not react to this source of light, there is a high probability that whomever looks at these lights can possibly damage or injure their sight.

VeriPic® is a leading supplier of enterprise photo and evidence management software to Law Enforcement Agencies, Military, Medical Institutions and Corporate customers. VeriPic© products handle evidence in thousands of criminal cases throughout the country. VeriPic® is the holder of multiple patents for their evidence management solution software.

The Force Protection Video LE10 and LE50 cameras are rugged HD design which incorporates Ambarella (NASDAQ AMBA) made chips that allow cameras and other devices to record high definition video. It is the chip supplier of the popular GoPro® (NASDAQ:GPRO) sports cameras.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Paul Feldman at FORCE PROTECTION VIDEO EQUIPMENT or email at INFO@FORCEPROVIDEO.COM.

Force Protection Video Equipment
Paul Feldman, 919-780-7897
INFO@FORCEPROVIDEO.COM
WWW.FORCEPROVIDEO.COM

Beyond Gaming: Acer Launches Consumer Notebook with Tobii Eye Tracking

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 11:05 AM PST

BusinessWire_FeaturedImage

STOCKHOLM & LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 3, 2017–

Tobii, the global leader in eye tracking, today announced its integration in the latest consumer notebook from Acer – the Aspire V 17 Nitro Black Edition. The Aspire V 17 Nitro will integrate Tobii’s IS4 eye tracking platform, enabling smoother workflows, more intuitive controls in Windows 10, and new levels of game immersion.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170103006118/en/

The Aspire V 17 Nitro is the first laptop to bring together Tobii's eye tracking technology and Micr ...

The Aspire V 17 Nitro is the first laptop to bring together Tobii’s eye tracking technology and Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad (PTP) platform. The combination of eye tracking and a PTP touchpad creates a “virtual touchscreen” experience that delivers new levels of natural interaction and productivity. (Photo: Business Wire)

“Acer is committed to bringing the latest technologies in time to the market, and we are glad to work with Tobii to continue delivering on that promise,” said Jerry Hou, General Manager, Consumer Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. “With eye-tracking, the performance-oriented Aspire V 17 Nitro Black Edition not only allows deeper immersion while gaming, but also more intuitive navigation for everyday productivity.”

“The Acer V 17 Nitro is the world’s first laptop with eye tracking focusing on general consumer computing. It is very exciting to see eye tracking make its way from peripherals to gaming notebooks, gaming monitors, smartphones and now also to premium general computing laptops. This has all happened in the course of the past year. Acer is already a significant integration partner with its Predator gaming line, and we are very happy to see this partnership continue to develop”, said Oscar Werner, President for Tobii Tech.

Unveiled today, the Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro is a premium notebook designed for productivity and entertainment and created for those pursuing an outstanding media experience in a portable form factor. The Aspire V 17 Nitro is the first laptop to bring together Tobii’s eye tracking technology and Microsoft’s Precision Touchpad (PTP) platform. The combination of eye tracking and a PTP touchpad creates a “virtual touchscreen” experience that delivers new levels of natural interaction and productivity. Features include:

  • Touch @ Gaze: place your finger on the touchpad and the mouse pointer appears where you want it.
  • Scroll @ Gaze: swipe two fingers on the touch pad to automatically scroll in the window you are looking at.
  • Zoom @ Gaze: look at an area and pinch inwards on the touchpad to zoom in and pinch outwards to zoom out.
  • App Switcher: Hold the alt + tab keys to display all open programs, glance at the one you want to open and release alt + tab to be taken to that program.

Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro owners can also get more immersive gaming experiences in over 45 eye tracking enhanced games at www.TobiiGaming.com including, WATCH_DOGS 2, Steep, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Tom Clancy’s The Division and Elite: Dangerous. Several new eye tracking enhanced games are added monthly. Tobii expects 100 eye tracking enhanced games to be available by the end of 2017, including several more upcoming AAA titles.

There are no binding volume commitments from Acer for eye-tracking platforms and deliveries will be done in pace with sales of the Aspire V 17 Nitro. V Nitro 17 is planned to be available in February. For more information about the product, see www.acer.com.

About Tobii

Tobii is the global leader in eye tracking. Our vision is a world where all technology works in harmony with natural human behavior. Tobii operates through three business units: Tobii Dynavox makes specially designed computers that are controlled by eye movement or touch screens for use by people with special needs due to spinal cord injuries, CP, ALS or other medical conditions. Tobii Pro develops and sells eye-tracking equipment and services used today by more than 3,000 companies and 2,000 research institutions, including all of the world’s 50 highest ranked universities. Tobii Tech provides Tobii’s technology for new volume markets such as computer games, personal computers, virtual reality and smartphones. Tobii is headquartered in Sweden and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (TOBII). The group has over 700 employees. For more information, please visit www.tobii.com.

Tobii AB
Sara Hyléen, +46 70 916 16 41
Corporate Communications Director
sara.hyleen@tobii.com
Tobii Tech
Stephan Floyd, +1-781-223-2005
Head of Content, PR and Brand
stephan.floyd@tobii.com

Intel confirms 15% stake in Here mapping service

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 10:20 AM PST

Here Maps in Facebook for Android.

Intel today announced that Audi, BMW, and Daimler have agreed to let the chipmaker take a 15 percent ownership stake in Here, a company that provides digital maps to other companies and a mapping app for consumers. A rumor of the deal emerged earlier today.

The deal, whose terms weren’t disclosed, is expected to close later in the first quarter of 2017, Intel said in a statement.

As part of the deal, Intel and Here will work together on research and development for “a highly scalable proof-of-concept architecture that supports real-time updates of high definition (HD) maps for highly and fully automated driving,” Intel said.

Nokia in 2015 sold Here to a consortium of companies including Audi, BMW, and Daimler for $3 billion.

More recently, last month, NavInfo, Tencent, and GIC together bought a 10 percent stake in Here.

EyeSight Technologies uses finger and hand gestures to control your home electronics

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 10:01 AM PST

EyeSight lets you control your home electronics with finger and hand gestures.

Computer vision is working better than it once did, and EyeSight Technologies is one of the companies taking advantage of that.

The company is revealing new hand and finger gestures for the second generation of its Singlecue gesture-recognition technology. With Singlecue Gen 2 and a wave of a hand, a pinch of a finger, or a palm push, you can control various items in your house, including TVs, thermostats, sound systems, lighting, and media streamers. The company unveiled the technology at the CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Singlecue Gen 2's new gestures can be performed at any time to control central functions of the devices, regardless of the menu and screen someone is currently using. Each of the new gestures involves natural, simple movements of the finger or hand to activate different functions.

 

You can control your TV with a finger with EyeSight Technologies.

Above: You can control your TV with a finger with EyeSight Technologies.

Image Credit: EyeSight Technologies

"Adding these new global gestures to Singlecue Gen 2 enhances the user experience by bringing immediate and direct interaction between the user and their home devices," said Gideon Shmuel, CEO of EyeSight Technologies, in a statement. "As we continue to generate more advancements to our product, it is our hope that gesture control becomes the standard for interacting in the home and is essential to each individual lifestyle."

Now you can power devices on or off with a swift wave of your hand. You can play and pause a channel or video by opening and closing your palm. And you can control volume with the pinch of a finger moving left to right.

At CES, EyeSight Technologies will be demoing an automotive solution, which was created to enhance the driving experience. You can use simple gestures to reduce cognitive load; the technology uses face and eye tracking to detect a driver's attentiveness and adjusts the in-car environment to the detected driver's preferences and needs.

EyeSight Technologies will also be featuring its virtual reality solution. The computer vision technology revolutionizes the interaction with virtual content by giving VR headsets and AR (augmented reality) glasses touch-free control that is natural and intuitive. By simply lifting a finger or hand and moving it in the air, users can interact with virtual scenes without any gloves, hardware controllers, or button-pressing.

CES2017

GeniCan launches smart garbage can to automate grocery lists

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 10:00 AM PST

GeniCan is a smart garbage can.

The Internet of Things is making everyday objects smarter and connected. So why not a garbage can?

GeniCan is launching its smart garbage can device at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. Part of the smart home, the GeniCan attaches to most garbage cans and recycling bins so that you can easily update your grocery list. Once you’ve thrown something out, the odds are good you’ll want a replacement. Clearly, the Internet of Things means that just about everything is going to be connected, sensored, and smart.

Through a partnership with Amazon's Dash Replenishment Service, GeniCan can also automatically order popular items, like diapers, paper towels, and snacks, once they have been thrown away or recycled. When you run out of a product, you can scan the item before throwing it away to quickly add it to a grocery list. Items without a bar code can also be effortlessly added by holding the item in front of GeniCan for a couple of seconds and using voice recognition technology to instruct the device.

GeniCan leverages sensors to detect and scan items, which are then added to the app through a connection to the home's Wi-Fi. To avoid accidentally adding products, GeniCan is calibrated to only add items that have been intentionally scanned or added via voice recognition. If an item is simply tossed into the garbage can, it will not be added to the list.genican-2

GeniCan ensures users have their grocery list with them any time they head to the store and makes it easy for the entire family to participate in generating and updating the list. The accompanying GeniCan app stores the grocery list, which can be shared across devices, so the entire family can view it anytime, anywhere. The list can also be manually updated within the app, which includes a bar code scanner and the same voice recognition technology as the device itself.

"I was on a work conference call when my wife called and asked me to text her a photo of the grocery list. How often do we go to the store without a list and end up buying things we don't need, or worse, forgetting to buy essentials?" said GeniCan cofounder and inventor Rob Griffin, in a statement. "I knew there had to be a better way than scribbling on a piece of paper, or using an app that you never update and can't share with the family. That's why I invented GeniCan."

GeniCan is hands-free, allowing users to update the grocery list the moment they are thinking about what they need, even if their hands are dirty or full. The device ships with four Duracell AA batteries that will last a year between replacements. It is compatible with all major platforms, including Apple and Android, with future plans to include Windows phones.

"We're thrilled to offer a solution to a pain point most families and households are confronted with," said Dave Pestka, cofounder, in a statement. "In addition to saving users time, GeniCan has the added benefit of saving them money, since shopping with a list and sticking to it is proven to help save money at the store, while reducing the number of trips. Our partnership with Amazon also provides an alternative option for time-crunched families, allowing them to have essentials delivered and skip the trip to the store altogether."

GeniCan is now available for preorder and will be available for demos at CES 2017. Griffin and Pestka started the company in 2014.

 

CES2017

PlayStation Plus free games for January are now live: Day of the Tentacle and 5 more

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:30 AM PST

One of the best puzzles involves Betsy Ross and her design for the U.S. flag.

If you got a new PlayStation 4 for Christmas and have a PlayStation Plus subscription, here’s an easy way to get a bunch of games for the console.

This month’s PlayStation Plus games for Sony’s systems are now available. You can download these if you pay for the premium version of the PlayStation Network that costs $10 per month or $60 per year. Many of these have a cross-buy feature, meaning that you can play them on multiple platforms (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, or Vita) once you download and version of it.

On PlayStation 4, you can download the remastered version of the classic adventure game Day of the Tentacle (crossbuy with Vita) and the life-management war game This War of Mine: The Little Ones. PlayStation 3 owners get the isometric racer BlazeRush and the sidescrolling burglary game The Swindle (crossbuy with PS4 and Vita). On the portable Vita, you get the puzzle game Azkend 2 and the top-down action-adventure title Titan Souls (crossbuy with PS4).

That’s a pretty nice mix of games, and you can play most of them on a PlayStation 4.

The latest HP Envy is an all-in-one PC with a 34-inch curved screen

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:07 AM PST

HP Envy is a curved all-in-one PC with a 34-inch display.

HP has taken the wraps off the HP Envy all-in-one PC with a 34-inch curved display.

While the Envy looks like a curved display, it is a full-fledged computer with an Intel 7th-Gen Core i7-7700T processor or optional Core i5 processor.

The screen is a micro-edge curved WQHD display, and there’s an integrated privacy camera atop the sculpted aluminum stand and a sound bar with directional audio. The display has a resolution of 3440 x 1440, with LED backlighting. It boasts a 178-degree viewing angle, so multiple people can watch it at once.

The machine has 16GB DDR4-2133 SDRAM memory, a 1 TB hard drive, a 256GB solid state drive, and an Advanced Micro Devices Radeon RX 460 graphics card with 4GB GDDR5 dedicated memory.

Envy also has an HP TrueVision HD IR camera, five USB ports (including one Type-C), HDMI Out, HDMI In, wireless networking, and Bluetooth 4.2. The computer debuts on HP.com on January 11 and at select retailers on February 26. The starting price is $1,730.

CES2017

Acer debuts a 21-inch curved screen gaming laptop for $9,000

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:06 AM PST

The Acer Predator 21 X is $9,000, with a 21-inch curved screen.

Acer is debuting two new gaming laptops at CES 2017, including a 21-inch model with a curved screen.

The Taiwanese company announced the laptops at the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

The Acer Predator 21 X Notebook comes with a curved screen. It also features Tobii eye tracking, dual Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphic cards in SLI mode, and a overclockable 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7820HK processor.

It also has 64GB of DDR4-2400 memory, up to four 512GB solid state drives in RAID 0 configuration (including 2 NVMe PCIe SSDs, which are up to 5 times faster than SATA SSDs) and a 7200 RPM hard drive with up to a 2TB capacity. It will sell for $9,000 and will be available in February.

Acer is showing off Acer Predator 17-inch and 21-inch models.

Above: Acer is showing off Acer Predator 17-inch and 21-inch models.

Image Credit: Acer

The Acer Predator 17 X gaming notebook has been upgraded and will now include models with a 7th Gen Intel Core i7-7820HK processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 graphics processing unit (GPU).

It also has up to 8GB GDDR5X video memory and 64GB of DDR4-2400 memory. The laptop also has enterprise level NVMe PCIe solid state drive or three-SATA-SSD RAID 0 array for fast data transfer speeds. That makes it ready for demanding games and virtual reality devices.

The screen is a 17.3-inch G-SYNC panel. The price starts at $2,600. Availability is to be determined.

CES2017

CES 2017: Tobii Brings Eye Tracking to PC Gaming, Consumer Notebooks, VR & Smartphones

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:05 AM PST

BusinessWire_FeaturedImage

STOCKHOLM & LAS VEGAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–January 3, 2017–

Tobii, the global leader in eye tracking, is poised for another year of industry-leading innovation as it brings eye tracking solutions to multiple new consumer technology categories including VR, personal computing and smartphones. Building on rapid 2016 growth with the introduction of six consumer eye tracking devices, including the Alienware 17 gaming notebook and several monitors from Acer’s Predator gaming line, Tobii will showcase what this year has in store at the 2017 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 5-8.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170103005391/en/

Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro Black Edition with integrated Tobii eye tracking, creating smoother workflows ...

Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro Black Edition with integrated Tobii eye tracking, creating smoother workflows and enhanced navigation in Windows 10. (Photo: Business Wire)

“In the past 12 months we’ve seen The Eye Tribe acquired by Facebook, EyeFluence acquired by Google, FOVE take its first pre-orders and multiple consumer integrations of our own technology with Alienware, Acer, Huawei and MSI,” said Oscar Werner, president of Tobii Tech. “If 2016 was an indicator of the growing interest in eye tracking, it’s only the beginning; 2017 is going to be an even more interesting year for Tobii.”

At CES, Tobii will discuss its leadership in the following areas:

Virtual Reality

2017 will be the year that Tobii, in partnership with manufacturers and developers, will bring consumer-grade foveated rendering technology to both VR and PC gaming devices. Removing one of the greatest barriers to the widespread adoption of consumer VR, foveated rendering significantly enhances graphics performance while reducing GPU demands, bringing consumers closer to untethered and more immersive VR experiences. With over eight years of wearable eye tracking expertise, a full scale, in-house VR R&D team and the world’s largest eye tracking patent portfolio, Tobii has both the technological acumen and operational flexibility to deliver industry leading innovations for VR.

Beyond this major milestone, Tobii is innovating in other key areas of eye tracking for VR, including social cues, character interaction and dynamic content. Most recently, the company announced its participation in the Khronos Group VR Standards Initiative with industry leaders Oculus VR, Google VR, Valve and NVIDIA as well as plans to invest $50M in its own large scale VR and smartphone initiatives.

Personal Computing

Unveiled today, the Acer Aspire V 17 Nitro is the world’s first general consumer notebook with integrated eye tracking. Through the use of dynamic multitasking features like ‘Touch at Gaze’ and ‘App Switcher,’ eye tracking creates smoother workflows and easier navigation between apps. For example, with ‘Touch at Gaze’, users only need to place their finger on the precision touchpad (PTP) and the mouse pointer appears in the area they want it. When users scroll the computer will know what window to scroll in automatically, since you are already looking at it.

Smartphones

Tobii has also made its first mobile integration with Huawei’s Honor Magic smartphone. Announced in December and only available in China, the device uses Tobii EyeCore algorithms and a near infrared camera to acquire information on the user’s presence and attention, making it more responsive and intuitive. With a user facing intelligent sensor, the Honor Magic has greater insight into the user’s intention and is better able to accommodate their actions. A first step in the mobile category, Tobii is exploring additional applications and use cases for eye tracking in smartphones.

PC Gaming

As it continues its aggressive expansion in PC Gaming, Tobii will also debut two new major eye tracking titles, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Dying Light at CES 2017. Now available in over 45 titles at TobiiGaming.com including, WATCH_DOGS 2, Steep, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Tom Clancy’s The Division and Elite: Dangerous several new eye tracking enhanced games are added monthly. Tobii expects 100 eye tracking enhanced games by the end of 2017, including several more upcoming AAA titles.

These titles provide gamers greater immersion through a steadily growing number of gaming devices, suiting a wide variety of gamer preferences, including peripherals: Tobii EyeX, Tobii Eye Tracker 4C and SteelSeries Sentry; gaming notebooks: Alienware 17, Predator 21X and MSI GT72; and monitors: Predator Z271T, XB251HQT and XB271HUT.

“Founded over fifteen years ago with the vision of an eye tracker in every computer, we’re very happy to bring our tech to a wider array of consumer markets and continue our position as the clear market leader,” continued Werner.

Visit Tobii to go hands-on with its latest eye tracking product at CES 2017 in the Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 2, Booth 26602.

About Tobii

Tobii is the global leader in eye-tracking. Our vision is a world where all technology works in harmony with natural human behavior. Tobii operates through three business units: Tobii Tech develops Tobii’s technology for volume markets such as computer games, personal computers, virtual reality and mobile. Tobii Dynavox makes specially designed computers that are controlled by eye movement or touch screens for use by people with special needs due to spinal cord injuries, CP, ALS or other medical conditions. Tobii Pro develops and sells eye-tracking equipment and services used today by more than 3,000 companies and 2,000 research institutions, including all of the world’s 50 highest ranked universities. Tobii is headquartered in Sweden and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm (TOBII). The group has around 700 employees. For more information, please visit www.tobii.com.

Tobii Tech
Stephan Floyd, +1-781-223-2005
Head of Content, PR and Brand
Stephan.floyd@tobii.com

Dell launches 4 Inspiron and Alienware gaming laptops with Intel Kaby Lake processors

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:05 AM PST

Dell's Aliewnare 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch laptops have Intel Kaby Lake processors.

Dell is launching four new gaming laptops today based on Intel’s newest Kaby Lake processors.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company unveiled the laptops at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. The models include the Inspiron 15 7000 gaming laptop, as well as three Alienware gaming laptops with 13-inch, 15-inch, and 17-inch diagonal screens. All of the laptops are available for purchase today.

The inspirations for design that started with Alienware are moving to the more mainstream Inspiron brand, said Eduardo Goyanes, product marketing manager, in an interview with GamesBeat.

The Inspiron 15 7000 is less than an inch thick. It starts $799. It has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics chip and a quad-core 7th Generation Intel Core i5 processor (previously code-named Kaby Lake). The machine is for players who want to experience something more than a console, but are price sensitive. It has 4GB of GDDR5 main memory, and a hard drive (ranging from 512GB to 1TB). It has a 4K UHD display. The 15-inch and 17-inch versions use Nvidia G-Sync display technology.

Dell Inspiron 15 7000 laptop for gamers.

Above: Dell Inspiron 15 7000 laptop for gamers.

Image Credit: Dell

The 13-inch machine has extra-capacity heat exchangers connected by oversized piping to dual cooling fans. There’s also a cheaper 14-inch version. It has an onboard subwoofer, tailored speaker enclosures, and Waves MaxxAudio Pro audio processing. It has a 74 watt-hour battery. It has 802.11ac wireless, a Gig-E networking port, a SD media card reader, and USB 3.0 ports.

Meanwhile, the three new Alienware laptops are based on the same industrial design introduced with Skylake processors in August. Those systems have been updated and redesigned for the Intel Kaby Lake processors, which are 7 percent to 9 percent faster than the previous generation.

Dell said the Alienware 13 is the first 13.3-inch laptop that is ready for virtual reality. It has quad-core H-class 7th Generation Intel Core processors. Alienware’s dynamic overclocking technology works with the 13-inch model. It has an infrared camera with support for Windows Hello. It has an option for Tobii Aware eye-tracking technology. It uses Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1060 graphics chip and an option for the GTX 1050. It will sell for $1,000 in the U.S. The 15-inch sells for $1,200 and the 17-inch sells for $1,349.

Dell Alienware 17 gamer laptop.

Above: Dell Alienware 17 gamer laptop.

Image Credit: Dell

The housing is made from anodized aluminum, magnesium alloy, steel reinforced keys, and copper thermal modules. It has a hinge-forward design that enables more rear input-output, improved audio, and larger internal fans. It is 21 percent thinner than the previous Alienware 13 when using the OLED display.

Gamers looking for more upgradability will be able to connect the optional Alienware Graphics Amplifier which allows you to use the latest AMD and Nvidia desktop graphics with the machine. The machine has new finishing process that enables reduced "smudginess" and fingerprinting residue on the palm rest.

The new steel-reinforced Alienware TactX keyboard is designed for uniform feedback while typing The new keyboard introduces an optimized RGB LED lighting articulation designed for a better lighting than the predecessor and each key has a full 2.2mm of gaming-grade travel.

All configurations include Killer Networks e2500 Gigabit Ethernet and Killer Networks 802.11ac 2×2 Wireless with Bluetooth 4.1 technology. It includes three USB 3.0 ports, one of which includes PowerShare technology, another of which uses a Type-C connector for Type-C compatible devices. It has a Thunderbolt 3 Port (USB Type-C with support for SuperSpeed USB 10Gbps, 40Gbps Thunderbolt, and DisplayPort).

CES2017

HP unveils Sprout Pro G2 to spread creativity around

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:04 AM PST

Brad Short shows off the HP Sprout Pro.

HP aimed to start a revolution in creativity when it launched the Sprout by HP creativity computer in 2014. And the company is continuing that push with the unveiling of the Sprout Pro G2, a creativity computer that expands the market to business, education, and manufacturing.

The company unveiled the second generation of Sprout computers at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week. Brad Short, creator of the original Sprout and distinguished technologist at HP, showed off the dual-screen machine at a preview event for VentureBeat.

The machine is targeted at creators across a variety of industries and schools, moving us a step closer toward enabling a "creator economy," a world dominated by people who create things rather than just consuming them.

The all-in-one computer has a 23.8-inch diagonal touchscreen monitor, as well as a 21.3-inch diagonal HD touch display that is projected onto the surface in front of the computer. The original Sprout only had touch capability on the screen projected onto that mat. Now you can write on the projected touchscreen with a pressure-sensitive active stylus. You can press lightly or press firmly to make a deeper line. “We’ve added an active stylus so that it really becomes a true design tool,” said Short.

HP's Sprout Pro G2 can scan a shoe accurately in a matter of minutes.

Above: HP’s Sprout Pro G2 can scan a shoe accurately in a matter of minutes.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

The projection screen’s resolution is 1920 x 1080, the same resolution as the main screen.

“That’s a huge advantage for moving things back and forth between the screens,” Short explained.

The Touch Mat is 2.2mm thick and can take 20 points of contact, so more than one person can have their hands on it at once.

The redesign has made the machine more immersive and responsive. It also has a darker color scheme, and there’s a space under the monitor where you can store the keyboard and keep it out of the way when it’s not in use.

Short demonstrated how you can use 2D and 3D scanning software to scan images, such as a tennis shoe, into the computer as 3D objects. You can then manipulate the 3D object in the computer, modify it with the stylus, and print it out in a redesigned form, using a 3D printer.

The machine has an Intel Core i7 processor, 1 terabyte of SSHD storage, 8 gigabytes of DD4R-2400 main memory, a Nvidia GTX 960M graphics card, and Microsoft Windows 10 Pro.

It uses an upgraded Orbit 3D-sensing camera for scanning. Previously, HP used an Intel RealSense camera. But that worked better for longer ranges, while Orbit is good for short ranges, which allows for greater accuracy in 3D scanning.

You can write with a stylus on the projected screen on the HP Sprout Pro G2.

Above: You can write with a stylus on the projected screen on the HP Sprout Pro G2.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

“This time, we are emphasizing third-party apps over our own apps, which are more like utilities,” Short said. “The types of scans we get are phenomenal. We could scan an object in five minutes.”

Sketchfab lets you scan 3D objects and then share the scans with other people.

“Things like 2D capture and 3D capture just work better,” Short said.

He demonstrated that the scanning software is smart enough to delete his hand when he is holding a shoe. He also showed how he could instantly change the texture on the shoe, modifying its surface or color.

The pricing for commercial customers will be revealed later. The machine will ship in March 2017 in selected countries.

CES2017

HP unveils Omen X 35-inch curved display for gamers

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:03 AM PST

HP Omen X curved 35-inch monitor.

HP is trying to get in good with gamers. Its latest effort is the Omen X 35-inch curved display that goes with the Omen X gaming computer launching in 2016.

The display is designed to immerse gamers with a screen that covers their whole field of vision. The UWQHD 21:9 display offers 34 percent more screen than a 16:9 QHD display. HP is showing the display off at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

The screen has deep black levels made possible by a 2,500:1 static contrast ratio. That means the colors are vibrant and the blacks are really black. It has a three-sided micro-edge liquid crystal display design with less than 7 millimeters of border on the edges.

It also has a 3-millisecond response time and 100-hertz refresh rate. It uses Nvidia G-Sync technology to eliminate image tearing and lag.

The adjustable height stand has 130 millimeters of travel and ambient lighting to diffuse the display brightness in dimly lit rooms.

And the screen has 1,800R curvature that lessons eye strain by bringing the left and right edges inward for a wider field of view. You can store your headset on the built-in headphone hook.

The monitor has an accessible DisplayPort, HDMI connector, and three integrated USB 3.0 hub downstream ports. Cables are included. The display will be available in March for $1,300.

CES2017

Intel launches Kaby Lake desktop and mobile workstation processors

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:02 AM PST

Intel Kabylake processor

Intel is releasing its second batch of 7th Generation Core processors, code-named Kaby Lake, for desktops and mobile workstations.

The world’s biggest chip maker shared the announcement at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week, where the chips can be seen in a wide variety of gaming laptops, desktops, VR/gaming machines, and vPro for enterprise PCs.

The Kaby Lake chips, first revealed for laptops in August 2016, are the successors to 2015’s Skylake processors. Skylake used a 14-nanometer manufacturing process, and Kaby Lake uses something that Intel calls “14nm+.” The 14nm+ process can deliver a family of Kaby Lake processors that are as much as 300 megahertz faster, as well as offering some architectural improvements.

For instance, Kaby Lake delivers the same central processing unit (CPU) core and performance per megahertz as Skylake, but it has improvements in graphics, video processing, increased battery life for laptops, and the number of data lanes to the CPU.

Intel 7th Generation Core processors

Above: Intel 7th Generation Core processors

Image Credit: Intel

 

Intel says the new 7thGen Intel Core processors are designed to fit every life and work style. The 7thGen Intel Core processor family will fit in just about anything, including compute sticks, ultra-thin 2-in-1 detachables and convertibles, thin and light laptops, high-performance laptops, a range of desktops, all-in-ones and minis, and Intel Xeon processor-based mobile workstations.

The new 7thGen Intel Core processor and Intel Xeon processor family includes the 4.5-watt Intel Core vPro processors (Y-series) for 2-in-1 detachables, 15-watt Intel Core vPro, 15-watt and 28-watt Intel Core processors (U-series) for 2-in-1 convertibles and thin and light clamshells, and more.

For the mid range, Intel has 45-watt Intel Core vPro processors (H-series) for large screen clamshells and premium notebooks, 45-watt Intel Core mobile processor (H-series), unlocked processors for enthusiast and VR capable notebooks, and 45-watt Intel Xeon processors for mobile workstations.

And at the high end, Intel has 65-watt Intel Core and Intel Core vPro processors (S-series) for mainstream towers, 65-watt and 35-watt Intel Core and Intel Core vPro processors (S-series) for all-in-ones and minis, and 95-watt and 65-watt Intel Core processors (S-series) for enthusiast towers.

Intel’s rival, Advanced Micro Devices, is planning to compete against Intel’s Kaby Lake lineup with its Ryzen processors, which will come out in the first quarter of 2017.

Smarter’s FridgeCam can guess when your food expires

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:01 AM PST

Smarter's FridgeCam keeps track of your groceries.

Smarter is unveiling its FridgeCam, a refrigerator camera that can tell you when your food is about to expire or when you are running low on groceries.

The London-based company unveiled the product — which is part of the ever-growing Internet of Things (making everyday objects smart and connected) — at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Smarter’s FridgeCam is a wireless camera with an app that allows users to see the contents of their fridge from anywhere, receive reminders about expiration dates, and pick up groceries that are running low.

Scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2017, the Smarter FridgeCam was designed to help address the global food waste crisis by notifying consumers of approaching expiration dates and suggesting ways to use foods before they go bad.

Additional features include alerts when the refrigerator temperature ventures outside the ideal range, notifications when food items are removed from the fridge, and auto-replenish ordering via the user's preferred online grocer.

Geo-location reminders will alert the user when a grocery store is nearby, so milk, eggs, or other essentials can be purchased. The Smarter FridgeCam will sell for $150.

Smarter's FridgeCam notifies you when items are about to expire.

Above: Smarter’s FridgeCam notifies you when items are about to expire.

Image Credit: Smarter

Christian Lane, creator of Smarter, launched his first company at 19 with the backing of investors from Dragon's Den, the U.K. version of Shark Tank. Christian launched Smarter in 2013, with the goal of making people’s lives easier through connected technology. He is the recipient of 2015 Great Britain Young Entrepreneur of the Year, London Design Awards, and other accolades for his IoT contributions.

"We are very excited to showcase our FridgeCam with its full range of functions for the first time anywhere in the world,” Lane said in a statement. “We created the FridgeCam to not only save people money, time, and energy, but also tackle food waste head-on in the process. In the U.S., average households can waste anywhere between $1,365 to $2,275 of food every year.”

Smarter’s other products, the iKettle and Smarter Coffee Maker, are sold in more than 1,000 stores in the U.K. and Europe. By the end of 2017, Smarter expects to become a global connected platform that connects consumers to their kitchens, making grocery shopping and food waste a thing of the past.

Smarter is self-funded and it has 20 employees.

CES2017

HP refreshes 15.6-inch Spectre x360 with 7th-gen Intel chip, 16GB RAM, starts at $1,280

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:00 AM PST

HP Spectre x360 15.6-inch laptop with stylus

HP is refreshing its 15.6-inch Spectre x360 laptop to make it more appealing to creators. Billed as the "most powerful" Spectre, this touch-friendly convertible laptop builds on its 2016 predecessor with a 7th-generation Intel chip, fast-charging support, a larger battery, and an ultra high-definition (UHD) display.

The 2017 edition of the 15.6-inch Spectre x360 goes on sale February 26 on HP’s website starting at $1,280. You can also purchase the computer at Best Buy for $1,500.

Equipped with a 15.6-inch diagonal 4K touch display, a 3840×2160 resolution, and more than 8 million pixels, this computer is not just your normal work laptop — it’s designed to entertain and provide optimal graphic support to designers, gamers, photographers, and those who just prefer having sharper images. The Spectre has a micro-edge display that has become a standard feature, with a UWVA eDP BrightView WLED-backlist narrow border touch screen.

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Running on Windows 10 Home, the laptop also has a 256GB PCle NvME M.2 Solid-State Drive, 16GB DDR4 SDRAM, Bang & Olufsen dual speakers, a full-size island-style backlit keyboard, and a front-facing FHD IR webcam and dual array microphones. There are also ports for USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, USB A, and USB Type-C 3.1 Gen.

HP has added a larger battery to the computer, claiming that it can run up to 12 hours without charging, or about 1.5 hours longer than the 2016 edition. And when your battery does run low, you probably won’t have to wait long to be back on the go, since this year’s model features support for fast charging, which the company promises will produce a 50 percent charge in 30 minutes.

In a twist, Intel graphic cards are not being used this time around. While you had a choice of an Intel HD Graphics 520 or Iris Graphics card last year, HP has shifted to include an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX card with 2GB of dedicated video memory and about 10GB total graphics memory.

Overall, the 15.6-inch Spectre x360 is a tad heavier than its predecessor: 4.4 pounds versus 4.02 pounds.

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In October, HP refreshed the 13-inch version of this laptop. You can read VentureBeat’s review here.

Besides the updated Spectre, HP is also introducing a new version of its EliteBook x360, Envy Curved AiO 34, and OMEN X 35-inch curved display, and the Sprout Pro G2.

CES2017

Acer’s C731 is an 11-inch Chromebook with 12-hour battery life, starting at $230

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 09:00 AM PST

acer_chromebook_c731_keyboard

Acer today expanded its 11-inch lineup with the Chromebook 11 N7 (C731), available later this month. Still priced at $230, like its C730 predecessor, the new model adds durability features, a fanless design, and a longer battery life.

The Taiwanese company is hoping the C731 will be picked up by schools and school districts that “want a reliable, powerful, and quiet device for student learning.” That’s not too big of a surprise, given that Chrome OS has seen the most success in the education market.

The latest Acer Chromebook meets the U.S. MIL-STD 810G military standard, which isn’t a huge deal but is certainly better than nothing. The laptop can thus handle up to 132 pounds (60kg) of downward force on the top cover, the corner-shield structure and rubber bumper keyboard surround protect it from drops up to 48 inches (122cm), and the spill-resistant keyboard drains up to 11 ounces (330ml) of water. A fanless design, meanwhile, translates into a quieter laptop without airflow issues and dust accumulation.

acer_chromebook_c731

But all in all, those are minor improvements. The real news here is the promised 12 hours of battery life, which is definitely on the high end for such a small and cheap laptop. That said, remember that your mileage will naturally vary.

Here are the Chromebook 11 N7 (C731)’s specs:

  • CPU: Intel Celeron dual-core processor N3060 (2MB L2 cache, 1.60 GHz)
  • Memory: 4GB of Dual-channel LPDDR3
  • Display: 11.6-inch HD (1366×768 resolution), LED-backlit TFT LCD
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics
  • Storage: 16GB eMMC or 32GB eMMC
  • Audio: Two built-in stereo speakers, built-in microphone
  • Wireless: Intel Dual Band Wireless AC, 802.11ac/a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports: Two USB 3.0, SD card reader, HDMI, 3.5mm headphone
  • Battery: 4090 mAh 11.1 V 3-cell Li-Ion battery
  • Dimensions: 11.72 x 8.27 x 0.87 inches (297.6 x 210 x 22 mm)
  • Weight: 2.98 lbs, 1.35kg

It’s also worth noting that there is a touchscreen version (C731T) and just one color option: Granite Gray. If 11-inch is the size you want, this looks like a great Chromebook for the price-conscious consumer.

CES2017

Proterra raises $140 million to turbocharge electric bus production

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 08:31 AM PST

Proterra

Electric bus maker Proterra has raised $140 million in equity funding from existing investors including Tao Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins, and GM Ventures, with a number of new investors joining the fray too.

Founded in 2004, Burlingame, California-based Proterra manufactures transit buses that use fast-charging electric batteries that can be replenished in around 10 minutes. And back in September, the company unveiled a more efficient battery system with its new Catalyst E2 series, promising around 350 miles per charge.

The company says that it has so far sold more than 300 vehicles to 35 municipal, university, and commercial transport organizations across the U.S.

Before this latest round of funding, Proterra had raised around $180 million. In terms of the makeup of the new investment, well, it includes $40 million from an “undisclosed investor” and $60 million from “several new investors,” in addition to those who had plowed cash in previously. The new funds will be used to accelerate manufacturing as the company looks to double its production to meet “growing customer demand” across the U.S. Indeed, the company says that it plans to grow manufacturing in its East Coast plant, located in Greenville, South Carolina, by 300 percent.

“The size of the round and the diversity of our investors reflects what we’re seeing around the world as institutions and businesses divest from fossil fuels,” said Ryan Popple, Proterra CEO, in a press release.

Electric vehicles and batteries are ripe for investment across the transport spectrum, with heavyweights such as Samsung making strategic investments and acquisitions. One of the key obstacles preventing electric vehicles from taking off has been the available battery technology, with long charging times and short ranges traditionally serving as deterrents. But as startups continue to innovate, and companies such as Proterra push the envelope in terms of expediting charging times and increasing mileage, the appeal of electric vehicles will surely grow.

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Intel seeking indirect stake in mapping firm HERE

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 08:21 AM PST

The logo of Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, is seen at their offices in Jerusalem, April 20, 2016. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

(Reuters) — Chip maker Intel has sought approval to buy a stake in HERE, a digital mapping firm controlled by Germany’s carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen, a filing to the German cartel office showed.

HERE could not immediately be reached for comment. Intel declined to comment. Germany’s cartel office would not comment on the size of the stake sought by Intel.

The filing dated Jan. 2 said Intel Corporation is seeking an indirect stake in HERE International B.V.

In July, BMW teamed up with Intel and Mobileye to develop self-driving cars by 2021.

(Reporting by Sabine Wollrab, Ilona Wissenbach, Matthias Inverardi, Edward Taylor and Irene Preisinger, editing by Louise Heavens)

Ganondorf’s weakness to fishing poles and other Zelda trivia

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 08:15 AM PST

One evil guy.

A hero is only as good as their villain. Luckily for The Legend of Zelda star Link, Ganon — and his human form, Ganondorf — are around.

YouTube channel Did You Know Gaming‘s latest video shows off some interesting trivia and little-known facts about the red-haired thief/pig monster. I had no idea he showed up in Animal Crossing, nor did I know he could be defeated with silly items like an empty bottle.

It was also interesting to learn that Ocarina of Time originally could have been a smaller game set entirely inside Ganon’s castle. I’m glad that the Nintendo 64 classic eventually went with a larger scope, but I sure am curious to know what that game looked like.

Speak Music launches Melody, a voice-powered app that streams music through Bluetooth speakers

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 08:00 AM PST

Screenshots of Melody's voice-powered music assistant.

Speak Music has launched an iOS app called Melody, which lets you play music using voice commands and stream tunes through your phone or Bluetooth-enabled speaker. Available for free, it lets you broadcast music stored locally or pull from YouTube, iHeartRadio, or Spotify (if you have a premium subscription). The company said that additional sources will be supported later this year.

"Finding and playing music on your phone while engaging in other activities, such as driving, sports, or many other activities is difficult and disruptive," a spokesperson told VentureBeat. "We created a platform that allows users to simply speak what they want to hear and it plays, instantly."

Within Melody, first connect any of the supported music services. Then tap the microphone in the app and give it a voice command — such as requesting a particular artist, song, album, genre, or mood. You can say, "Shuffle my happy playlist," "Play some Sia," "Play the news," "Play Los Angeles rock radio," or just "Play some good music." To have music play on a third-party speaker, you’ll have to first pair your phone with the speaker and then select the device through your iPhone. You’d use the same process if you wanted to sync it with your Apple TV.

Speak Music's onboard process for Melody

Above: Speak Music’s onboard process for Melody

Image Credit: Speak Music

Melody came out of Speak Music’s acquisition of the Joy music assistant service. The idea was to create a product capable of supporting multiple streaming services. Speak Music bills Melody as "a platform that comes as a consumer app, as well as is licensing its technology to consumer electronics manufacturers to build and create intelligent headphones and Bluetooth speakers that allow access to multiple streaming services through voice control."

You could think of Melody as similar to Siri, but specifically tailored to music and with a few notable omissions. First, the app needs to be open and you have to press the microphone button in order for it to activate. It won’t search for things beyond what’s in your music library and connected services, and you can’t ask it when the next Sia or Katy Perry concert near you will be. Another limitation is the somewhat clunky experience when streaming music from your phone to third-party speakers, headphones, or even your car — if there was an easier way, it would be great.

Speak Music's onboard process for Melody, part 2

The company defended the launch of a mobile app, explaining that the "majority of people" consume music through smartphones primarily, but "most of us are engaging in other activity while listening to music, whether that is working out, studying, or driving. In fact, 75 percent of millennials consume music from their mobile phones while also engaged in other activities." The company also acknowledged the limitations of the mobile device — its small screen and the potential for it to be distracting — but believes its voice-activated solution alleviates these problems:

"Finding and playing music on your phone while engaging in other activities […] is difficult and disruptive. We created a platform that allows users to simply speak what they want to hear and it plays, instantly."

Like many apps and products in the marketplace today, Melody leverages artificial intelligence. Speak Music shared that "Melody is also a ‘personal’ assistant — it learns from your voice commands and context to give you the best results. You can teach Melody by saying ‘Learn my shower song’ or have it play music you'll like by saying ‘Play some good music’."

And Speak Music sees Melody as also being a platform, integrated within hardware, which opens new opportunities. The company is already working with manufacturers such as iHome — others will be announced later in the quarter, we’re told. It’s feasible that we’ll see an Amazon Alexa-like music-centric service built into devices, so if you have a Bose hub, you can use your voice to play music without needing an app.

Melody is currently only available for iOS, but an Android version is scheduled to be released in Q1 2017.

CES2017

Amazon brings Fire TV OS to Element, Seiki, and Westinghouse 4K TVs

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 08:00 AM PST

Westinghouse Smart 4K UHD TV -- Amazon Fire TV Edition

Amazon today announced its first licensing relationship with a television manufacturer to enable native integration of the Fire TV. This first partnership is with the parent company of Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element and makes it possible for viewers to watch live shows and stream movies and series using an Alexa-powered voice remote. The device in question is a 4K ultra high-definition smart TV that is expected to be priced under $1,000.

"Our new line of 4K Ultra HD Smart TVs — Amazon Fire TV Edition — represent an elevated customer experience powered by the highest performance processors in the industry, a unique voice-controlled remote control, and Amazon’s cinematic viewing experience," said Tongfang Global’s vice president of marketing, Sung Choi.

The new television, which will be available around Q2 2017, took a year to develop and comes in four sizes: 43, 50, 55, and 65 inches. All feature a 3840 x 2160 panel resolution; 3GB of memory; 16GB of internal storage; Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity; streaming resolution at 4K Ultra HD (2160p), 1080p, and 720p, up to 60 frames per second; and one year limited warranty.

The user interface on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV - Amazon Fire TV edition.

Above: The user interface on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV – Amazon Fire TV edition.

Image Credit: Westinghouse

This TV will function like a standard television, but viewers can switch over to streaming content provided through Amazon without needing a Fire TV stick or a third-party set-top box. Many manufacturers tout 4K displays, but the problem has been a the lack of available content, especially with cable. "You want dedicated programming to give you that experience in 4K," Choi shared. "Amazon has plans for 4K content."

He went on to explain that current televisions are cumbersome and can be difficult to use, largely because TV manufacturers tried to be software developers. Televisions are now equipped with a "lower-grade chipset," which he said was "adequate for processing video," but insufficient to get the best experience on 4K. Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element utilized a powerful MStar chipset from Taiwan, which Choi claimed is one of the largest chipsets in the market.

The live TV guide on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV - Amazon Fire TV edition.

Above: The live TV guide on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV – Amazon Fire TV edition.

Image Credit: Westinghouse

"We saw TVs becoming more like computers — connected, internet browsers built in, and more content streamed to the TV," Choi claimed. "If you have tablets and phones, it’s a great solitary experience, but how do you share it with your family? There are other products [Chromecast, for example] that let you mirror it, but it’s clumsy as well. TVs are trying to be computers, but have slow processors, lagging Wi-Fi connectivity, poor resolution. These are challenges in the marketplace."

So teams at Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element set out a year ago to create a better alternative — a high-quality, value-priced, 4K smart TV. Still, it’s one thing being able to watch 4K content, but what if it’s in 1080p — how will it look? This is something these companies spent time looking at and why the TV has a really good upscaler built into the processing chip. The new TV is "fast enough to run videos, video games, support HDR capabilities, and everything under the sun."

Seiki had past business dealings with Amazon — its TVs are sold through the marketplace — so there was an opportunity to bundle the TV with Fire TV. But instead of adding the Fire TV stick, Choi’s team opted to "take it further" and make it feel like part of the native experience.

Inputs supported on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV - Amazon Fire TV edition.

Above: Inputs supported on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV – Amazon Fire TV edition.

Image Credit: Westinghouse

Another potential selling point of the new TV model is the Alexa platform, which gives viewers not only voice control over what’s airing right now, but the ability to check sports scores, weather, and more. Viewers can even turn off lights in a room or open the garage door — you won’t need to get an Amazon Echo in your living room anymore. "No one else in the TV market has this capability," Choi boasted.

Although Amazon has licensed its Fire TV OS with Tongfang Global, the 4K HD Smart TVs are available through the Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element brands. Except for branding and where you can purchase the Amazon Fire TV edition, there are no differences between the televisions.

A guide on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV - Amazon Fire TV edition.

Above: A guide on the Westinghouse 4k UHD Smart TV – Amazon Fire TV edition.

The Amazon partnership appears to be a multi-year agreement with Tongfang Global. Choi revealed that the deal could be expanded to the U.S., the U.K., and Germany in the future, but as of right not negotiations are on-going.

As the TVs are aimed at the average consumer, it’s likely the Amazon Fire TV editions will cost under $1,000. However, exact pricing won’t be revealed until a later date.

Updated as of 10:17 a.m. Pacific on Tuesday: Clarified terms of the agreement saying that negotiations are still on-going.

Machine learning: What, how, and why you need it now (VB Live)

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 07:35 AM PST

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Machine learning isn’t just self-driving cars and personal assistants — companies like Netflix, Facebook and eBay use it to predict customer behavior, prevent fraud, improve the supply chain, boost customer retention and more. For insight into how you can leverage the power of machine learning, don’t miss this interactive VB Live event.

Register here for free.


“10 years ago, we struggled to find 10 machine learning-based business applications,” said Gartner’s VP of Research, Alexander Linden, during his speech at the Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit in India. “Now we struggle to find 10 that don’t use it.”

Machine learning is already the foundation of industry giants. It drives Google’s RankBrain, which processes more than 3.5 billion search queries every day, continuously comparing billions of pages to move the most relevant to the top to improve your results.

Netflix uses machine learning to not only boost user engagement but keep customers coming, by processing ever-changing title ratings, viewing statistics, and geographical information to ensure content served to viewers is what they more likely want to see.

At Facebook, they’re trying to keep you logged in, and keep you interested in the ads you see on your sidebar and in your news feed, not just with age, interests, education data, and more helping them constantly refine their targeting and improve their retargeting, but based on the things you liked, groups you joined, and the pages you follow.

eBay and Amazon want to keep you shopping, so they’re investing in machine learning to uncover exactly what products you want to see and are likely to buy. And the more time you spend shopping, the more they learn about your habits and interests, and the deeper they crawl into your secret wishes and find you the velour jumpsuit you didn’t know you wanted.

Machine learning is the answer to the question many companies asked when they were faced with the possibility of big data — what’s the point of all this data? And isn’t most of it useless? Businesses were reluctant to invest in analytics platforms without having a data strategy, and the flood of information made it nigh-impossible to sift through and figure out, first of all, what matters, exactly.

And they weren’t wrong. With data analysis often relying on a trial and error approach, it is actually impossible to analyze every bit of data collected. By the time you’ve gotten through it, it really is pointless.

That’s where machine learning comes in: to analyze information, uncover patterns and extract actionable insights you didn’t know were lurking in that ocean of facts, figures, and statistics — up to billions of transactions with ease, in real time. All the data, regardless of its volume, can be mined; no data is left behind. And that means improved real-time customer segmentation, reduced churn, predictable LTV — and all many other applications.

Sound useful? Join our latest VB Live to learn how to ensure that you’re making the right decisions with the right data with machine learning. Because the more data you have, the better those decisions will be.


Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.


In this VB Live event, you'll:

  • Learn how cognitive technologies scale across mobile devices (including cars)
  • Evaluate the value of a machine learning product to your organization
  • Tailor your data structure to optimize for future machine learning initiatives

Speakers:

  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
  • Quinn Banks, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Farmers Insurance

Moderator:

  • Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

Polar unveils connected sports shirt with built-in heart-rate monitor

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 06:10 AM PST

Polar Connected Shirt

If 2016 saw the emergence of a host of new and random internet-connected products, just three days into the new year, the Internet of Things onslaught is showing no signs of subsiding.

Polar, a company known for a range of sports training computers, such as activity-trackers and Wi-Fi scales, has announced a new connected sports shirt with built-in health-tracking smarts. The Polar Team Pro Shirt builds on the company’s existing athlete-focused heart-rate monitoring hardware, which includes the Polar Team Pro chest strap and serves to give coaches real-time data on their athletes’ performance, including effort expended and speed of recovery.

Polar says the shirt will be made available in light grey only, from March 2017, though the company has not yet revealed a price.

Polar: Connected Shirt

Above: Polar: Connected Shirt

Featuring two heart-rate capture points built directly into the fabric, the sleeveless base-layer shirt is designed to replace the need for a dedicated chest strap monitor. “As a result of our continued focus on improvement, we've reimagined the chest strap for professional athletes and developed Team Pro Shirt,” said Tom Fowler, president of Polar U.S.

On the surface, the reasoning seems sound — why bother with cumbersome and fiddly hardware when you can just throw on a shirt? One possible problem arises from the fact that some athletes like to change their shirts during training sessions or competitions, meaning multiple connected shirts must be purchased. Even if they only use one shirt per session, with the smarts built directly into the material, it will need to withstand daily washing. With a dedicated heart-rate monitor, an athlete can wear whatever they want.

Still, for professional sports teams with big budgets across the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NFL, buying dozens or hundreds of these kits won’t be prohibitively expensive, and it does simplify the process of tracking a range of key health metrics. In addition to heart rate, a small sensor pod can be slotted into a pocket on the rear or the collar that tracks an athlete’s distance traveled, speed, and acceleration and allows coaches to see stats for each player in a team instantly.

Polar

Above: Polar

Image Credit: Polar

Polar isn’t the first company to bring connected clothes to market. Back in 2014, Hexoskin launched a new $200 smart shirt aimed at athletes, and today the company offers a range of connected garments. And last year, Samsung spin-off Salted Venture launched a smart shoe for sports enthusiasts, with an initial focus on helping golfers analyze their balance and weight shift to garner real-time feedback on their swing.

CES2017

Keyshare Technology debuts Kimon selfie drone

Posted: 03 Jan 2017 06:01 AM PST

Keyshare's Kimon self drone.

Drones can do a lot of things, but perhaps we have finally discovered their true purpose: as a new way to take selfies.

Keyshare Technology has announced its Kimon “selfie drone” today at CES 2017, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this week.

Selfie drones are multiplying, but the company hopes to tackle the mainstream market. Keyshare introduced the Kimon in the Chinese market in July 2016.

The selfie drones eliminate the standard selfie limitations – small photo area due to the length of your arm or selfie stick – while delivering quality photos at an affordable price.

The Kimon is easy to use, portable, has a replaceable battery and is capable of taking quality photos with a high-definition camera. All its features are tailored to provide a great selfie-taking experience, including a 16 megapixel camera that supports 4K 25 frames per second video recording.

You can control it with a smartphone app that has one-touch takeoff, hovering, landing, and return maneuvers. It has multiple shooting modes that include photography, video recording, burst mode, slow motion, and time-lapse photography.

Kimon also has five selfie-taking modes: 360-degree panorama, 45-degree shot, follow shot, panoramic selfie, and standard selfie. A positioning module enables easy selfie-taking under three meters high — a key feature for indoor environments without GPS signals.

The Kimon sells for $400 and comes in five colors. It can operate for 15 minutes on one charge.

Keyshare’s formal name is Hunan Keyshare Information Technology Co. The company is based in Changsha, China.

CES2017

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