Wearables have tremendous potential for the enterprise and consumer markets, but the industry still has multiple challenges to overcome. Companies are focusing more on the enterprise wearable market at the moment, but technology breakthroughs should trickle into consumer markets as familiarity and stability increase.
(From right to left: Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO; Paul Travers, Vuzix CEO; Fred Ishii, Iron CIty Micro Display founder; Mark Spitzer, Google X Director of Operations; and Jessica Lessin, moderator)
During the recent Kopin Wearable Technology Launch Event in Santa Clara, California, panelists spoke during a round table discussion and shared their views on what needs to change for the future of wearables to accelerate even faster.
"Miniaturization is hugely important - and second to that, bringing down cost (is important)," said Bruce Hawver, SteelSeries CEO, during a panel discussion at the Kopin press event. "Consumers are now more aware and willing to adopt it. Technology is now pervasive in our lives and users look for easier ways to access it."
The Kickstarter-backed Veronica Mars movie will be doing something that most other movies could only dream of: it will be launching online and in theaters, at the same time.
Veronica Mars will be launching on 270 screens across the United States, which is a big deal considering its more of an indie, crowdfunded movie, compared to the big movies that the large studios push these days. Warner Bros. has decided to rent 260 theaters from AMC to play the movie, giving the studio the freedom to do something this unique.
AMC's vice president of special and alternative content, Nikkole Denson-Randolph, spoke with the WSJ and said: "On projects like this where we know we have a partner with the resources to promote the film and an easily targetable audience, we will rent theaters out".
Sony has launched its PlayStation 4 in Japan, over three months since the console launched in the US. With over 5.3 million PS4s sold so far, Japan is yet another market where the PS4 can stretch its legs.
The PS4 is being offered in two separate packages in the US, the first of which is the regular edition which sells for ¥41,900, or the second bundle which includes the PlayStation Camera which retails for ¥46,900. Sony Worldwide Studios' president, Shuhei Yoshida, talked with The Verge, where he said that there has been a "great response" to the PS4 in Japan.
Yoshida continued: "In a sense I hope [PS4 sells out in Japan too]. That's what's been happening outside Japan, so it would be strange to see just in Japan that there are units everywhere". Microsoft on the other hand, has not expressed any plans of launching its Xbox One console in Japan.
To appease OEM hardware manufacturers upset with disappointing Windows 8 sales, Microsoft reportedly will slash 8.1 prices it charges to OEMs by 70 percent. Instead of paying a license fee of $50 for mobile products that cost $250 or less, OEMs will now only have to pay $15 per unit.
Microsoft said it did 1.24 billion hours of Windows 8 testing during development, hearing about user displeasure of the Metro interface. New CEO Satya Nadella must try and determine if Microsoft will move on to the next version of Windows, or put full effort into trying to raise adoption as quickly as possible.
Using market-development funds and other incentives, larger hardware OEMs were paying around $30 per unit, according to a report published by Bloomberg Technology. Microsoft offers MDF money, similar to other companies, based on sales, revenue generated, using a tier system with its partners.
Electronics company Samsung Electronics and researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) have teamed up to establish the UCSF-Samsung Digital Health Innovation Lab. The UCSF Mission Bay campus in San Francisco will host the research and technology lab designed for mobile health trial testing.
The health and medical worlds are heavily involved in the "Internet of Everything," and wearable computing, health sensors, next-generation medical software, and similar technologies are pushing the industry forward.
"There are many new sensors and devices coming onto the market for consumers, but without medical validation, most of these will have limited impacts on health," said Dr. Michael Blum, UCSF associate vice chancellor for Informatics, in a statement. "Meanwhile, many practitioners also have creative ideas for new devices, but they lack the technological knowledge to fully develop them."
There is increased interest in mobile health solutions, which can be used by doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners in the field - but HIPAA regulations, standardized formats, and other issues must be properly addressed.
Cybercriminals are successfully using malware to steal customer debit and credit card information, company customer lists, and sensitive data seemingly at will. Underground forums have become a popular destination for criminals buying and selling stolen personal information, with analytics used to detail credit limits and which banks have more lenient security procedures in place.
In one underground forum, for example, a list of 10,000 e-mails - broken down by age, gender, and geographic location - for just $79 for purchase, and there are plenty of similar offers available. Key logger software can be purchased for $35-$50, and customizations can be added for a slightly increased fee.
After the recent Target data breach, which affected more than 70 million in-store customers, more Internet users are becoming aware of cyber threats. Banks have already paid more than $200 million in costs related to the breach, and that number is only expected to increase over the next few months.
While Facebook's $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp was most certainly the biggest tech news of the week, another popular messaging service is making big waves in the tech community as well, although most Americans have likely never heard of it. Korean messaging service Kakao, has announced that it is negotiating with Morgan Stanley as well as Samsung Securities in hopes of filing its first Initial Public Offering.
With more than 133 million users, the app is about 1/5 the size of WhatsApp in its user base, but with more than seven years under its belt, it is a vet when it comes to instant messaging and mobile gaming. Kakao is seeing to raise about $2 billion which is about 1/8th of what Facebook paid for WhatsApp, so in terms of scale, the asking price is technically a deal, but with the app being locked to the Korean market, it is still a bit of a gable. Some industry insiders are suggesting that Kakao could be seeing the capital in an effort to expand its world wide presence, but nothing official has been announced yet.
The world's fastest 7-inch tablet, the NVIDIA Tegra Note 7, has just been updated with NVIDIA's i500 LTE modem. This provides the tablet with the high-end speeds of LTE, but continues its great starting price of just $199.
NVIDIA's Tegra Note 7 tablet includes NVIDIA's Tegra 4 SoC, a stylus, Android 4.4.2 (KitKat), and now, LTE and HSPA+ support. The new NVIDIA i500 processor the company has installed into its 7-inch slate uses a software-defined radio technology, meaning it can provide consumers with new features through software updates.
Another benefit of the NVIDIA i500 processor is that it's just 40% of the size of a traditional modem, but features 4x the capability of its predecessor. The normal Tegra Note 7 starts at $199, while the LTE-powered model will cost $100 more at $299, and will start selling across the world in certain markets in Q2 2014.
While the Angry Bird craze has mostly come to an end, Rovio is still partnering with big name brands to use its game as a marketing platform. Today the company announced that Angry Birds Rio has been updated to version 2.0 for both Android and iOS to celebrate the upcoming premier of Rio 2, the sequel to Rio, a animated movie from Blue Sky Studios.
With the original Angry Birds Rio seeing millions of downloads, Rovio and Blue Sky Studios teamed up again to create some hype for the April 11th debut of the Rio 2 movie. Unfortunately with the game not as popular as before, I really do not see it gaining as much traction as it did the first time around. I spent many hours playing Angry Birds and Angry Birds Star Wars, but I never could get into Angry Birds Rio. I will most likely download it tonight and spend a few minutes trying it out before bed though.
A new report from BGR is suggesting that the rumors of alloy-framed Galaxy S5 smartphones exist might just be true. The report states that after two different cases popped up on Amazon recently, there will actually be two versions of the Galaxy S5 debuting next week. The report says that there will be the normal Galaxy S5, and then an alloy-framed model carrying the title Galaxy S5 Prime.
The Galaxy S4 Prime will feature a high-strength aluminum alloy chassis as well as quad HD Super AMOLED display which will measure in at 5.25-inches. Processing will be handled by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.5GHz quad-core processor or a Samsung 8-core Exynos chipset followed up by 3GB of DDR3 RAM. A new 16-megapixel camera will be on board with a 10-megapixel front facing camera for HD selfies. A 3,000 mAh battery, support for 4G LTE data speeds of up to 150Mbps, and Android 4.4 KitKat will also be featured.
In all honesty though, at this point, so many rumors are coming from every direction with different information each time, the best thing to do is just sit back and wait until Monday to see exactly what Samsung is showing off. We do know that the Galaxy S5 will make an appearance, and we do know that its camera and screen will be improved, and that Android KitKat will be on board. Everything else is up in the air at this point, and only time will reveal the true details.