Intel Rewards RealSense Developers

May 21, 2015 by admin  
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Intel has awarded  $1m to a number of developers as part of its RealSense 3D App Challenge, which was launched last year.

Announced by Intel president Renee James at Computex 2014, the RealSense App Challenge was part of Intel’s efforts to boost RealSense globally and generate software innovation around the ecosystem.

More than 7,000 software creators in 37 countries applied to compete, and 400 were selected to develop new applications for entertainment, learning and collaboration.

Several hundred developers of creative app ideas in these categories received the latest edition of the RealSense 3D Camera and RealSense software development kit, which included free tools, examples and application programing interfaces with which to develop their ideas.

Intel announced on Thursday that the grand prize winner, who picks up $100,000, is Brazilian developer Alexandre Ribeiro da Silva of Anima Games.

His Seed app requires gamers to use reflexes and rational thinking to solve puzzles. The goal of the game is to guide a little floating seed through its journey to reforest a devastated land.

The second prize of $50,000 was awarded to Canadian developer David Schnare of Kinetisense. His OrthoSense app uses RealSense to help medical professionals remotely rehabilitate a patient who has suffered a hand injury by tracking their range of movement over time.

“This practical application of human-computer interaction is an impressive example of how technology can make our lives better,” Intel said.

Another notable winner was Lee Bamber from the UK, who received recognition for his virtual 3D video maker. The app allows a user to record themselves as a 3D hologram and then transport to a variety of scenes.

Once recorded, they can then change the camera position over the course of the playback to add an extra dimension to a video blogs, storybook or v-mails, for instance.

“The idea of the app is that you can choose the backdrop then set the lighting as you would in a studio then do the acting,” Bamber explained in his video.

Doug Fisher, SVP and general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group, said in a blog post that now the app challenge is complete “the real work begins”, as Intel Software will continue to encourage all finalists to bring products to market.

“We also will continue mobilising our resources to inspire, educate and advance innovation through programmes such as the Intel Developer Zone, where developers can engage to find new software tools and build industry relationships,” he said.

“Human-computer interactions will no longer be defined by mice, keyboards and 2D displays. Our physical and digital worlds are coming together. When they do, the opportunities for us as consumers and businesses will explode.”

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Samsung Buys LoopPay

March 5, 2015 by admin  
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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd has acquired U.S. mobile wallet startup LoopPay, signaling its intention to launch a smartphone payments service to compete with rival Apple Inc.

Mobile payments have been slow to catch on in the United States and elsewhere, despite strong backing. Apple, Google, and eBay Inc’s PayPal have all launched services to allow users to pay in stores via smartphones.

The weak uptake is partly because many retailers have been reluctant to adopt the hardware and software infrastructure required for these new mobile payment options to work. These services also fail to offer much more convenience than simply swiping a credit card, Samsung executives said on Wednesday.

LoopPay’s technology differs because it works off existing magnetic-stripe card readers at checkout, changing them into contactless receivers, they said. About 90 percent of checkout counters already support magnetic swiping.

“If you can’t solve the problem of merchant acceptance…, of being able to use the vast majority of your cards, then it can’t really be your wallet,” said David Eun, head of Samsung’s Global Innovation Center.

Injong Rhee, who is leading Samsung’s as-yet-unannounced payments project, said the Asian giant will soon reveal more details of its envisioned service. He would not be drawn on speculation the company may do so during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

He said new phones such as the upcoming, latest Galaxy would support the service.

Apple Pay, launched in September, allows iPhone users to pay at the tap of a button. Executives have lauded its rapid rollout so far, including the fact that more than 2,000 banks now support it and the U.S. government will accept Apple Pay later this year.

But Apple Pay requires retailers to install near-field communication and some have been reluctant. In addition, many retailers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and CVS Health Corp, back their own system, CurrentC.

Samsung had invested in LoopPay, along with Visa Inc and Synchrony Financial, before its acquisition. Terms of the deal, which Samsung negotiated over several months, were not disclosed.

It’s unclear how else Samsung could differentiate its service versus Apple’s or other rivals.

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Is Qualcomm Overheating?

February 2, 2015 by admin  
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South Korean smartphone maker LG Electronics Inc said on Thursday that it has not experienced any overheating problems with Qualcomm Inc’s new Snapdragon processor that is powering a curved-screen device going on sale later this month.

“I am very much aware of the various concerns in the market about the (Snapdragon) 810, but the chip’s performance is quite satisfactory,” Woo Ram-chan, LG vice president for mobile product planning, told reporters at a press event for the company’s G Flex2 smartphone.

The comment came after Bloomberg reported a day earlier that Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s top smartphone maker, decided not to use the new Qualcomm processor for the next flagship Galaxy S smartphone after the chip overheated during testing. Samsung and Qualcomm have declined to comment on the report, which cited unidentified sources.

Samsung is widely expected to unveil the new Galaxy S smartphone in early March, and Bloomberg reported that the Korean firm will use its own processors instead.

But LG’s Woo said on Thursday that internal tests for the G Flex2, powered by the new Qualcomm processor, show that the new product emits less heat than other existing devices. The new phone is scheduled to start selling in South Korea on Jan. 30.

“I don’t understand why there is a issue over heat,” he said.

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Are We Moving Too Fast Into Cloud Computing?

January 7, 2015 by admin  
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Businesses need to take a hybrid approach when it comes to the cloud, Dell has said.

The firm’s cloud strategy leader, Gordon Davey, told V3.co.uk in an interview that cloud computing is “overhyped” and moving an entire IT infrastructure into the cloud would be an unrealistic goal.

Davey also believes that cloud vendors have enticed companies to make major shifts to the cloud without considering a model that works for their business.

“I think it’s definitely a case of cloud as a buzzword is overhyped. The idea of cloud for the sake of cloud doesn’t really stand out,” he said.

“The problem comes from customers that have seen the buzzword and want to get the benefits and are just jumping on the bandwagon because it is an industry hype thing, rather than actually evaluating the benefits that a true cloud can bring, and applying that to their business requirements.”

Davey outlined the need to take a more considered approach, adopting an IT strategy that mixes on-premise infrastructure with cloud components to harness the technology without escalating IT costs and complexity.

“The future is going to be hybrid. It’s horses for courses – putting the right workload on the right platform,” he said.

“It’s that balanced approach that I think we’re going to see much more often, rather than trying to put everything into the cloud and potentially failing.”

Davey’s position is unsurprising given Dell’s approach of acting as a ‘middleman’ between cloud service providers and end users, providing hardware, software, services and consultancy to enable businesses to use cloud computing in a way that works for them.

“We see our role as enabling the cloud industry, being that underlying technology,” he said, going on to detail Dell’s five pillar approach to acting as a cloud middleman rather than developing its own end-to-end cloud offering.

The strategy involves consulting on a customer’s cloud needs, helping provide cloud infrastructure, brokering deals between vendors and users, providing security, and managing how multiple cloud services are deployed in a single business.

Davey claimed that Dell’s strategy will help companies take a more tailored approach to cloud adoption, adding: “A properly deployed cloud for the correct workloads in hugely beneficial.”

Dell is not alone in promoting a hybrid approach to cloud adoption. Microsoft is adding hybrid cloud capability to the next version of Windows Server.

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Twitter To Track Mobile Users

December 11, 2014 by admin  
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Twitter Inc has plans to start tracking what third-party apps are installed on users’ mobile devices so the social media company can deliver more tailored content, including ads, the company has revealed.

The feature, called “app graph,” will allow the company to see what other applications users may have installed on phones or other devices.

“To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in,” the company said on its site.

The posting also included instructions on how to turn the feature off. Twitter is not collecting data from within the applications, the posting noted.

Twitter, whose main service allows users to broadcast 140-character messages, has been searching for ways to re-invigorate user engagement and drive growth. As part of that effort, the company is considering creating additional mobile applications beyond its core messaging service.

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Office 365 Goes Video Streaming

December 3, 2014 by admin  
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Microsoft unveiled Office 365 Video, a YouTube-like streaming service where enterprises and large organizations can post in-house video content for communication and training.

“Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content,” said Mark Kashman, a senior product manager with the Office 365 team, in a blog posting.

Kashman touted Video as a tool for internal communications, citing the examples of new-employee orientation, management messaging and worker training. Employees will also be able to contribute to a “Community” section, though most companies will probably frown on cat antic clips.

The service rolls out over the next few days to companies that have registered for Office 365′s First Release early distribution program, then through early 2015 to others.

Video will be available only to subscribers of Office 365′s plans for enterprises — E1 through E4 — and universities (A2 through A4). It will not be offered to consumer subscribers or firms with small business-oriented plans like Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium.

Kashman also said Office 365 plans for government agencies will get Video at some point, but he did not proffer a timeline.

The other requirement is SharePoint Online, an off-premises component of the enterprise and academic plans, but missing from the increasingly popular Office 365 ProPlus, the rent-not-buy plan used by organizations that have decided to retain their back-end services, like SharePoint and Exchange, on premises.

Although Office 365 Video has elements of consumer streaming services like Google’s YouTube, it’s strictly an in-house affair: It will be available only to employees, and then only those whom IT administrators have assigned access rights.

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What Will Facebook Do With WhatsApp?

October 21, 2014 by admin  
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Facebook, which closed its acquisition of mobile messaging service WhatsApp earlier this week, has said that it has no near-term plan to make money from it.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, who is visiting India to participate in an event to boost Internet usage, refused to say much more, but it does indicate that the company has not worked out a cunning plan yet.

Facebook’s final WhatsApp acquisition price tag has risen an additional $3 billion to roughly $22 billion because of the increased value of Facebook’s stock in recent months. This means that Zuckerberg is under pressure to make a bob or two from the deal.

WhatsApp works across different types of phones, across borders, and without advertising. The app only charges a 99 cent annual subscription fee, which is waived for the first year.

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Will HP Dump Snapfish?

September 26, 2014 by admin  
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Hewlett-Packard Co is taking a look at putting its web-based photo sharing service Snapfish on the block, and has held discussions with multiple private equity and industry buyers, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Snapfish, which HP bought for more than $300 million in 2005 and currently sits within its printing and personal systems group, is considered non-core for the company, the person said, asking not to be named because the matter is not public.

A spokesman for HP declined to comment.

Last year, HP replaced the printing and personal business’ long-time head Todd Bradley with former Lenovo executive Dion Weisler. Bradley has since left the technology company, to join Tibco Software Inc as its president.

Some of the parties that have been eyeing Snapfish have also expressed interest in buying another online photo-sharing services provider, Shutterfly Inc, the person said.

Shutterfly hired Frank Quattrone’s Qatalyst Partners over the summer to find a buyer, and is expected wrap up its process in the next several weeks, people familiar with the matter have said previously.

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Ericsson Acquires Fabrix Systems

September 25, 2014 by admin  
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The distinctions between TV and mobile services continues to merge and in many cases that occurs in the cloud.

That’s the logic behind Ericsson’s planned $95 million acquisition of Fabrix Systems, which sells a cloud-based platform for delivering DVR (digital video recorder), video on demand and other services.

The acquisition is intended to help service providers deliver what Ericsson calls TV Anywhere, for viewing on multiple devices with high-quality and relevant content for each user. Cable operators, telecommunications carriers and other service providers are seeing rapid growth in video streaming and want to reach consumers on multiple screens. That content increasingly is hosted in cloud data centers and delivered via Internet Protocol networks.

Fabrix, which has 103 employees in the U.S. and Israel, sells an integrated platform for media storage, processing and delivery. Ericsson said the acquisition will make new services possible on Ericsson MediaFirst and Mediaroom as well as other TV platforms.

Stockholm-based Ericsson expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter. Fabrix Systems will become part of Ericsson’s Business Unit Support Solutions.

Other players usually associated with data networks are also moving into the once-specialized realm of TV. At last year’s CES, Cisco Systems introduced Videoscape Unity, a system for providing unified video services across multiple screens, and at this year’s show it unveiled Videoscape Cloud, an OpenStack-based video delivery platform that can be run on service providers’ cloud infrastructure instead of on specialized hardware.

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Acers To Launh Cheap Tablets

September 17, 2014 by admin  
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Acer’s latest low-cost 8-inch tablets will come to market in both Android and Windows flavors.

The Iconia Tab 8 W runs Windows on an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core processor. It offers 8 hours of battery life, weighs 370 grams and is 9.75 millimeters thick. The 8-inch screen has a resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels.

For the $149 price tag, Acer includes a one-year subscription to the Personal version of Office 365, which includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook.

Android fans will prefer the Iconia One 8, running Android 4.4. It has the same Intel processor and screen dimensions as its Windows cousin, but is slightly lighter at 340 grams and only 8.5 millimeters thick.

Buyers can choose between 10 colors, including red, green, blue, purple and pink.

Acer also took the covers off the Iconia 10, an Android-based 10-inch tablet. The device has a quad-core processor from MediaTek. The screen is protected using Gorilla glass and has Full HD resolution. Using Dolby Digital Plus, surround sound is simulated from two-channel stereo audio headphones.

Available in black or white and with a price of $199, the Iconia Tab 10 includes a micro HDMI port and Wireless Display support for showing photos and videos on a bigger TV.

The first of the new tablets to start shipping will be the Iconia 10, available this month in the Americas and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

The Iconia Tab 8 W will go on sale in October in EMEA and in November in the Americas.

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