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Apple Highlights User Experience in New OS Lineup
June 5, 2019
Apple dangled the next versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS before developers' eyes during the keynote event at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. In this round of operating system upgrades, Apple seems focused on improvements. "They're polishing a number of aspects of the operating systems, " said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
Review Roundup: Pixel 3a Wins Kudos for Cameras, Battery Life, Assistant
May 9, 2019
Google's Pixel 3a smartphone, launched at Google's 2019 I/O developer conference, has wowed reviewers with the quality of its photos and other features, as well as its low price. "I like the direction Google is taking with the 3a," said Ramon Llamas, research director at IDC. "While it removes some of the features and functionalities of its cousins, it still retains the key ones."
Snapchat Refreshes App to Revive Prospects
April 9, 2019
New augmented reality features, an SDK for Stories, and a games platform highlighted Snapchat's first developer's conference. AR features announced at Snap's first Partner Summit: solving math problems by pointing the app's camera at them; AR effects for monuments, pets and people; buying what the camera sees through Amazon; and identifying songs through Shazam.
The 3D E-Commerce Revolution
February 22, 2019
We're living in a time when customer expectations change particularly fast, and retailers that can't keep up get left behind. A consumer who enjoys the online shopping experience at an e-store automatically begins to expect the same level of service from every virtual point of sale. Thus, the expectation loop is born, and the only thing for retailers to do is to innovate, innovate and innovate.
Rumors Roil Ahead of Next Month's Galaxy Unpacked Event
January 15, 2019
Samsung is expected to unveil its new lineup of flagship smartphones on Feb. 20 at a Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco, and the rumor mill has been operating on overtime. It's believed three new Galaxy S10 models will be announced at the event, as well as a folding phone. Banners promoting Unpacked are using the phrase "Unfolding the Future" as a tagline.
Quirky but Useful Gifts: Rob Enderle's 2018 Personal Tech Product Guide
December 3, 2018
This is the time of year for a product guide. I'm a big fan of products most people don't have that solve a specific work problem, as well as those that could make your life easier, more comfortable or more fun. I like to give gifts that people actually would use. In some cases, due to the cost, these may be things you'd buy only for yourself, a spouse, or a relative you really want to impress.
Apple Unveils Trio of New iPhones
September 13, 2018
Apple unveiled three new iPhones at a Wednesday in Cupertino. Along with the iPhone Xs, iPhone Xs Max and iPhone XR, Apple introduced the Apple Watch 4. "Our mission started with personalizing technology for the desktop," said CEO Tim Cook, and it's "now personalizing it for every aspect of our lives." Apple aims "to put the customer at the center of everything we do," he added.
Trio of New iPhones Expected in September
August 28, 2018
Apple will release three new iPhones in September, according to a Monday report citing unnamed knowledgeable sources about the company's plans. Although all the phones will have edge-to-edge displays, like the iPhone X, only two reportedly will have OLED screens. Some Apple insiders have been referring to 2018 as an "S" year. Most of the phone's significant changes will be on the inside.
Sony's 48MP Sensor Delivers Greater Detail Despite Shrunken Pixels
July 24, 2018
Mobile phone cameras are about to get a significant performance boost. Sony on Monday introduced a 48-megapixel sensor for cellphone cameras that measures less than one-third of an inch diagonally. The sensor is slated for release in September. To pack that many pixels into such tight quarters, Sony had to shrink their size to 8 microns. Shrinking pixel sizes usually results in performance degradation, not improvement.
The Pain and Potential of Making a 180-Degree Policy Shift
July 20, 2018
Photo-hosting service Photobucket in May quietly restored third-party hosting of photos, reversing its unpopular year-old policy that required users to pay nearly $400 for hosting privileges. Many irate users claimed their photos were "taken hostage." Hosted photos on blogs, forums and other sites were replaced by an image of a dial indicating the hosted data quota had been surpassed.
Echo for Kids, Retro Voice Assistants, and a Second Snap
May 8, 2018
Amazon is trying to rope in younger members of the family to use its Alexa voice assistant with the release of a smart speaker for kids. The Echo Dot Kids Edition has a rubber case protecting a standard Echo Dot and a two-year, no-questions-asked replacement policy. It includes a one-year membership for Amazon's subscription service for kids' books, videos, games, education apps and Alexa skills.
Snap Doubles Down on Spectacles Wearable Cam
April 27, 2018
Snap, the company behind Snapchat, on Thursday released the second generation of its Spectacles, a wearable video camera that captures short clips that can be synced to a smartphone. The new version also takes still photos and is designed to be water-resistant. The new Spectacles sport the same basic Ray-Ban style design as the first iteration, but they have been slimmed down and are less bulky.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ May Shine Brightest as S6, S7 Replacement
March 8, 2018
Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets claimed the spotlight on Thursday as the first reviews of the smartphones surfaced. The general consensus appears to be that these new models successfully built on past designs, yet fell short in numerous areas. The new phones are good -- but anyone expecting revolutionary functionality may be disappointed.
NICE Alliance Aims to Get Smart Cameras to Play Well Together
March 6, 2018
Sony Semiconductor Solutions, Nikon, Foxconn, Scenera and Wistron have formed an alliance to create standards that allow surveillance and IP cameras to play well with each other. The NICE Alliance, unveiled Monday, aims to create a new smart camera ecosystem, along the lines of the mobile ecosystems that have become so familiar. The "NICE" acronym stands for "Network of Intelligent Camera Ecosystem."
Disaffected Social Media Users Flock to Vero
March 1, 2018
Vero, a relatively unknown social network, has been enjoying a surge in user engagement in recent weeks, a trend that may be tied to growing user discontent over recent changes to Instagram's algorithm, along with an assortment of other objections that have been driving users away from the leading social platforms. Vero has rapidly moved up in the App Store and Google Play rankings.
Camera, Audio Star in New Galaxy Phones
February 26, 2018
Samsung has raised the curtain on the latest models of its flagship Galaxy smartphones, the S9 and S9+, featuring improved imaging and audio performance. Two standout features in the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera are improved low light performance and super slow-mo video. By adding dual aperture capabilities to the camera, Samsung has boosted the unit's performance in challenging lighting conditions.
7 Tips for Powerful Product Photos
January 9, 2018
Product photos are a vital part of e-commerce. Because they provide the central connection between customers and products, photos can make or break an e-commerce business. "You can have a great looking website and user interface, but if you don't have great product photos it is like driving a Mercedes with a flat," said Sam Werkmeister, CEO of ProductPhoto.com.
New Lens Tech Can Shrink Cameras, VR and AR Gear
January 3, 2018
Harvard scientists on Monday unveiled a metalens that has the potential to shrink the size of any device that uses a camera while at the same time improving performance. While traditional lenses are made from glass, metalenses use a flat surface peppered with nanostructures to focus light. One problem with metalenses has been their inability to focus the full spectrum of light.
Snapchat Draws Bright Line Between 'Social' and 'Media'
November 30, 2017
Snap aims to combat fake news on Snapchat by separating content from professional creators from postings by friends and family. Stories and Chats from friends will appear on the left side of the camera, while Stories from content creators, publishers and other members of the community will appear on the right side. Snapchat aims to disentangle "social" from "media," noted Snap CEO Evan Spiegel.
Facebook Messenger Promises Speedy Delivery of 4K Pics
November 21, 2017
Facebook on Tuesday raised the ante for messaging apps photo quality with the announcement of 4K support for Messenger. Starting Tuesday, "people can send and receive photos in Messenger at 4K resolution -- or up to 4,096 x 4,096 pixels per image -- the highest quality many smartphones support," wrote Facebook Messenger product managers Sean Kelly and Hagen Green.
Neural Nets Give Low-End Phone Pics DSLR Look
October 31, 2017
Researchers have found a way to use neural networks to create DSLR-quality photos from snapshots taken with low-end smartphones. A team of scientists at the ETH Zurich Computer Vision Lab recently published a paper describing a deep learning approach that uses neural networks to translate photos taken by cameras with limited capabilities into DSLR-quality photos automatically.
Google's Pixel 2 Earns High Marks in Spite of Dull Design
October 18, 2017
As Google's new Pixel 2 smartphones get ready to hit the shelves, reviews of the models have begun mushrooming online. While the new phones generally have received positive grades, many reviewers found the their design boring. "The Pixel 2 hardware is ho-hum," observed Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "Google didn't take many risks in its design."
AI Ripples Through Google's New Product Lineup
October 5, 2017
Google on Wednesday launched a bevy of new products into its growing hardware and software ecosystem at its Made by Google event. Many of the new devices are infused with artificial intelligence capabilities. "Since last year and since Google I/O, we've been working hard, continuing our shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the gathering.
5 Ways to Use Snapchat to Target Millennials
September 18, 2017
Once just a hangout for teenagers, Snapchat has matured into an engaging and effective social media platform. If you're trying to reach a younger demographic, it's somewhere you probably want to be. "Snapchat is the best channel to reach young people, as they count for more than two-thirds of its audience and are very active users," said Melissa Sanchot, head of marketing at MakeMeReach.
Apple Unveils Highly Secure, High-Priced iPhones
September 12, 2017
Apple has made its long-awaited iPhone splash, accompanied by announcements of major upgrades to Apple Watch and Apple TV. The company launched two new generations of mobile phones -- iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, and iPhone X -- with enhancements in photography and device security in all models. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are built for durability with a new glass back design.
Pixelmator Pro Whirlwind Appears on the Horizon
September 6, 2017
Pixelmator on Tuesday unveiled Pixelmator Pro 1.0 Whirlwind, a high-powered version of its popular photo editing application for macOS. Whirlwind will be available this fall. The app's interface has gotten an overhaul -- it's now in a single window with no floating toolbars -- and it boasts new nondestructive, GPU-powered image editing tools and enhanced machine-learning features.
LG Unveils V30 Flagship With Super Camera, Sound Features
September 5, 2017
LG Electronics last week unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the LG V30, at IFA 2017 in Berlin. Among the LG V30's innovations: an F1.6 aperture camera lens; a glass Crystal Clear Lens; the first OLED FullVision display; Cine Video mode for producing movie-quality videos; and the Point Zoom feature, which lets users zoom in on any subject anywhere in the frame.
Samsung's Note8 Is Its Biggest Galaxy Phone Yet
August 24, 2017
Samsung has unveiled its Galaxy Note8 smartphone, positioning the oversized handset as the ideal choice for those who want to do bigger things. The new Android-powered device's larger Infinity Display features nearly bezel-less full-frontal glass and an edge-to-edge screen. The Note8 comes with an improved S Pen that will allow users to communicate in what the company called more "personal ways."
Dual-Lens Camera Revealed in Leaked Note8 Images
August 2, 2017
Photos posted to Twitter show the next Samsung Note phone will have a dual lens camera. Reporter Evan Blass posted a photo of the front of a black Note8 to Twitter on Monday. On Tuesday, he added front and back images of gold and black versions of the phone, as well as a stylus device called the "S Pen." The latest photos show a dual lens camera at the back of the phone.
Has Photobucket Painted Itself Into a Corner?
July 20, 2017
Various celebrities over the years have "broken the Internet" when risqué photos or shocking revelations surfaced, with or without their knowledge or approval. Photo hosting service Photobucket may have surpassed Kim Kardashian's most notorious stunts, though. The company recently changed its user agreement for the hosting of images on third-party sites, and truly may have broken the Internet.
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Should government regulators force the breakup of big tech companies?
Yes -- it's the only way to restore competition.
No -- breaking them up would make them less useful to consumers.
Yes -- it would encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
No -- but some regulation is needed to restrict their power.
Yes -- but only the firms that function as utilities.
No -- the government should keep its hands off and let the market decide.