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Honda steps on gas to add Apple, Android connectivity
Honda Motor Co. will bring the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connected-car technology to its 2016 Accord model, the Japanese automaker said Thursday at the launch of its expanded Silicon Valley research center. The Accord will also feature Honda Sensing, the company's suite of driver-assisting and safety technology. Bloomberg (7/23)

Report: Millennials buy, use soundbars for more than TV
Millennials are a "key factor" in the success of the soundbar market, as the 18-to-34 group spends upward of $300 million annually on the audio solution, an NPD Group report states. Roughly 66% of millennials spend almost one-quarter of their soundbar-using time listening to audio-only content. TWICE (7/23)

Apple's not-so-secret Titan car project is gaining momentum
Engineers and auto experts are reportedly flocking to work on developing Apple's next product launch: a high-end electric "minivan like vehicle" that can challenge Tesla Motors. News reports indicate the soonest Apple's Titan will enter the market is 2020. The Christian Science Monitor (7/22)

Google launches "immersive" 360-degree film app for iOS
Google's Spotlight Stories application is now available for iOS devices, bringing its 360-degree "immersive" animated movies to Apple devices for the first time since the app was created in 2013. The app relies on 3D animation and mobile devices' sensors to let the user see different angles of a scene by moving around. TechCrunch (7/23)

Chen: BlackBerry to pare back new smartphone models
BlackBerry will reduce the number of new phones it launches each year to one or two, CEO John Chen said Thursday, adding that the company might stop making handsets altogether if sales keep dropping. "At a certain point in time, the economics take over," Chen said in an interview. ZDNet (7/24), Bloomberg (7/23)

Technicolor to buy Cisco's Connected Devices unit for $600M
Technicolor will purchase Cisco Systems' Connected Devices unit, the companies say. Cisco will continue offering software and cloud services and will help Technicolor develop video products for service providers, executive Hilton Romanski wrote in a blog post. The $600 million deal is expected to be finalized early next year. CIO.com/IDG News Service (7/23)

Amazon's market value leaps over Wal-Mart's in after-hours trading
Amazon's market value passed Wal-Mart's as it rose above $250 billion when shares increased 14% to $550 per share in after-hours trading on news of the company's most recent quarterly earnings. Wal-Mart posted $486 billion in annual sales last year, while Amazon's sales reached $89 billion, but investors are betting on Amazon's potential for growth, Matt Phillips and Shelly Banjo write. Quartz (7/23)

"There is no passion to be found playing small -- in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."
-- Nelson Mandela,
political activist and president of South Africa

 

Researchers: Music playlists could get more personal

Music streaming services could get more personal thanks to future algorithms that could link music preferences to how a person thinks, University of Cambridge researchers say. The researchers surveyed 4,000 people and found those who were more empathetic preferred "mellow" and "unpretentious" music, while those who leaned toward systematic thinking preferred "intense" tunes, such as heavy metal and hard rock, Natasha Lomas writes. TechCrunch (7/23)

LG Display to put $900M into flexible OLED display plant

LG Display announced its plans to spend a little more than $900 million building a new plant to manufacture flexible plastic OLED displays. The South Korean plant could also be the site for making future foldable displays and in-car screens. Reuters (7/22), Channel NewsAsia (7/23), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/22)

HEVC Advance seeks royalties from Ultra HD device makers
A group of patent holders is seeking royalties from the makers of many 4K Ultra HD products to use High Efficiency Video Coding encoding or decoding. HEVC Advance is the second patent pool that has formed in the sector to tag small fees onto long lists of costs stacking up for manufacturers moving ahead with the technology. HD Guru (7/22)

Netflix update has a "channel-surfing" feel
TechCrunch (7/22)

Google's "Your Timeline" can retrace your steps
Google is giving people the option to retrace their steps with a new Google Maps feature launched Tuesday, dubbed "Your Timeline," for PCs and Android devices. Timeline can recall every place a person has been on any given day, giving insight into personal routines, but the feature also poses privacy questions, Cat Zakrzewski writes. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/22)

49ers sign VR deal with STRIVR Labs to prep players
The San Francisco 49ers have joined the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in adding virtual reality technology to their players' training routines, Elizabeth Oconnell writes. The team will use STRIVR Labs to bring on-field experiences to life for players to better ready them for the upcoming season. The technology could be used for recruiting and fan experiences in the future. SportTechie.com (7/22

T-Mobile revs up text messaging with real-time chats
T-Mobile on Wednesday introduced an Advanced Messaging system, similar to the iPhone's iMessage, that allows users to engage in real-time chats with individuals or groups, as well as transfer video and photo files up to 10 megabytes. So far only one phone, the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, can access the feature -- which is built on the Rich Communication Services standard -- but T-Mobile said it will add "nearly a dozen more" devices by the end of the year. Digital Trends (7/22), BGR.com (7/23)

Rite Aid stocks up on back-to-school electronics
Rite Aid is stocking its shelves with Android tablets and netbooks, Bluetooth speakers, LED TVs, HP printer cartridges and a variety of chargers and accessories in preparation for the back-to-school shopping season. Drug Store News (7/22)

"If you want to achieve excellence, you can get there today. As of this second, quit doing less-than-excellent work."
-- Thomas Watson,
corporate leader

 

Nokia's secret project may be an entry into virtual reality
Nokia is teasing an upcoming announcement with "Nowhere/Now Here" stamped on invitations for an event next week in Los Angeles. Some reports suggest Nokia is gearing up to unveil a virtual-reality device to rival Microsoft's HoloLens and Facebook's Oculus Rift. ZDNet (7/22)

3D printed cap detects spoiled milk in the jug
Entrepreneur online (7/21)

Verizon's Shammo talks up mobile-first video service
Verizon Communications plans to offer a limited menu of content when it initially launches its mobile-first streaming video service late this summer, Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo said after the telecom announced earnings Tuesday. The service is expected to use LTE Multicast technology. RCR Wireless News (7/21), CNET (7/21)

Are buttonless iPhones in the works?
Sonavation claims it can put accurate fingerprint sensors underneath a pane of Gorilla Glass, which could signal an opportunity for Apple to nix the home button on future iPhones, Roger Fingas writes. A previous AppleInsider report suggests that Apple is working on buttonless devices, although such phones are not expected to hit the market until at least 2017. AppleInsider (7/21)

ZTE takes aim at the U.S. market with high-end Axon phone
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/21)

Apple disappoints despite 35% jump in iPhone sales in quarter
Apple sold 47.5 million iPhones in its latest quarter -- 35% more than a year ago -- and revenues and profits grew by 33% and 38%, respectively, but investors still punished shares because iPhone sales fell below their expectations and declined by 23% from the previous quarter. Apple cited its move to reduce inventories as the reason for the shortfall. The company did not report results from the Apple Watch. PCWorld/IDG News Service (7/21), Bloomberg (7/21), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/22)

Accounting charge gives Microsoft $3.2B quarterly loss
Microsoft took a $7.5 billion accounting charge in the quarter that ended June 30, wiping out profit and giving the company a $3.2 billion loss. The accounting charge grew out of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's mobile-phone business. The New York Times (single-article access for SmartBrief readers) (7/21)

How Jet.com aims to build a $20B Amazon rival
Jet.com will spend the next five years scaling up to 15 million users and $20 billion in revenue for a subscription buying service that uses an algorithm to determine the best deal on a shopper's total order, said founder and CEO Marc Lore. He explained how it's going to work to CNBC's panel of financial reporters. CNBC (7/21), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/21)

"Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure."
-- Confucius,
philosopher and teacher

Spotify kicks off Discover Weekly personalized playlists

Spotify is delivering weekly personalized playlists to listeners with its service Discover Weekly, which launched Monday. The feature introduces listeners to new music tailored to their preferences and listening histories. Digital Trends (7/20), TechCrunch (7/20)

Research: Netflix primed to take bigger chunk of TV viewing time
Netflix streaming in the U.S. could increase from 8.6 billion hours in the first quarter of 2015 to between 14.3 billion and 21.8 billion hours by Q1 2019, MoffettNathanson Research indicates. That would mean Netflix's share of linear TV viewing would at least double -- from about 6% to between 12.2% and 22.6%. MediaPost Communications (7/20)

Qualcomm said to eye a breakup option, plan layoffs

Qualcomm is said to be considering a number of strategic options, including a breakup, a report states, noting that the chipmaker has faced pressure from activist shareholder Jana Partners to make changes. Also, during its earnings call Wednesday, Qualcomm is expected to reveal plans to eliminate more than 10% of its 30,000-member workforce. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/20), Forbes (7/20), Reuters (7/20)

Chinese takeover is unlikely for Idaho's Micron, CEO says
Boise, Idaho-based tech giant Micron is the last DRAM-maker in the U.S., and CEO Mark Adams says the company will stay put for a "long, long time," despite rumors of a $23 billion bid from China's Tsinghua Unigroup. The company has survived 37 years in the tech industry and now employs more than 30,000 people around the globe. Quartz (7/21)

Apple expected to see boost in iPhone sales during Q2
Smartphones are expected to remain a major money maker for Apple as it releases its second-quarter results today, with iPhone sales continuing to grow even as other smartphone companies lose ground. The company does not plan to release data on Apple Watch sales. The Associated Press (7/20)

Tagit Labs' extreme sports IoT safety tag targets cyclists
Tagit Labs is releasing its first "smart safety" tag aimed at extreme sports athletes: an Internet-connected device for cyclists. The BikeTag uses sensors and iBeacon technology aided by the rider's smartphone to automatically track the rider's location and report accidents. TechCrunch (7/20)

PayPal's shares soar on its first trading day

PayPal's shares closed up 5% at $40.48 on Monday, the first day the payment provider traded as a stand-alone company. The move marked PayPal's spinoff from former parent eBay and put the company's market value at close to $50 billion. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/20)

Target takes $50 off Microsoft Band through July 25
CNET (7/20)

Samsung's new tablets lose weight, are thinner than iPad Air 2
Samsung Electronics has introduced the Galaxy Tab S2, a pair of tablets skinnier than Apple's iPad Air 2. The 9.7-inch version weighs 14 ounces, while the 8-inch tablet weighs in at 9 ounces. Both are housed in 0.22-inch-thick metal frames. Equipped with 2048-by-1536-pixel Super AMOLED screen displays, they are scheduled to go on sale next month. TechCrunch (7/20), Computerworld/IDG News Service (7/20)

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"Buddy" robot interacts with the whole family
"Buddy" the robot has burst through its initial $100,000 crowdfunding goal on its way to becoming a future moving member of families, specifically aimed at helping look out for children, Ross Rubin writes. The friendly-looking, open-source bot recognizes faces, connects with other Internet of Things home devices and has an add-on option tailored toward children with special needs. VentureBeat (7/20)

Kube drink cooler doubles as a sound system
The Kube drink cooler, which doubles as a portable sound system and debuted at the 2015 CES, is now on sale on the Kube website for $1,100. Kube claims the sleek box can hold 48 12-ounce cans and will play clear tunes up to 500 feet out. Digital Trends (7/19)

"Headmaster" soccer game could bring virtual reality to more games
A soccer-themed virtual reality game may be one of the first to introduce all types of gamers to future virtual reality headsets, Tim Moynihan writes. A product of Frame Interactive for Sony's Project Morpheus, "Headmaster" offers a family-friendly game where players use their heads to fire soccer balls at targets. Wired.com (7/20)

College athletes win $60M suit for use of names, images in EA games
U.S. News & World Report/The Associated Press (7/17)

Microsoft claims free Windows 10 will reach 1B devices
Microsoft's Windows 10 release marks the beginning of a new era for the software giant, which is offering its operating system update for free as it looks to better compete with Google and Apple, Nick Wingfield writes. Microsoft claims that Windows 10 will be used on 1 billion PCs and mobile and other devices in two to three years. The New York Times (single-article access for SmartBrief readers) (7/19)

Analysis: Has the Apple Watch failed as a breakout hit?
Sales of the Apple Watch appear to have fallen off sharply since the week the device was introduced, which has some analysts disheartened. Although one analyst remains hopeful, given that the device seems popular among younger consumers, many major application developers, such as Facebook and Google, remain unconvinced. Business Insider/Agence France-Presse (7/20), The New York Times (single-article access for SmartBrief readers) (7/19)

Huawei sees a need for 100 MHz of sub-6 GHz spectrum for 5G
RCR Wireless News (7/17)

Jet.com takes off Tuesday, aims to undercut Amazon
E-commerce newcomer Jet.com has raised $225 million to launch a site that will look to compete with Amazon by undercutting its prices on millions of products and offering an annual membership for $50, CEO Marc Lore said. "[T]he idea is the bigger your basket, the more cost you pull out of the system and the more you save," Lore said. Jet.com launches Tuesday. USA Today (7/19), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/19)

Retailers hope digital tags will combat "showrooming"
Kohl's and Nebraska Furniture Mart are among retailers using digital price tags, which can be updated in real time and built into shoppers' smartphone apps. The move is a bid to tackle "showrooming," in which consumers visit stores but ultimately buy products online. The maker of these tags, Pricer, has tripled its U.S. sales from a year ago. Bloomberg (7/17)

"If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine -- it is lethal."
-- Paulo Coelho,
novelist




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