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Tech Information 13

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Samsung's mobile wallet arrives in the US
Samsung Pay is now available to US customers with a Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ or Note 5 smartphone on most major carriers, except for Verizon. Samsung Pay features near-field communication technology for mobile transactions, but unlike Apple Pay, Samsung's mobile wallet works with most legacy card swipe registers, Shara Tibken writes. CNET (9/28)

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Netflix's build-it-yourself button controls more than the TV
Netflix is preparing a kit for a build-it-yourself smart button that will be able to turn on a smart TV, control smart lights and launch shows on Netflix, Jason Brooks writes of the Netflix Switch button. KPIX-TV (San Francisco) (9/28)


Amazon's Fire TV sticks to debut in Japan on Oct. 28
Rapid TV News (U.K.) (9/29)

Google music service to link smartphones, home audio
Google is expected to make another foray into users' living rooms with a service that, similar to related TV device Chromecast, streams music from a smartphone into a home audio system. Chromecast Audio would be enabled by a device that plugs into the audio system's headphone jack. CNET (9/27)

Polyera plans to put bendable displays on consumer wrists
Polyera is gearing up for the 2016 release of its first wearable, a touch-screen wrist device that can bend and flex in the user's hand. Polyera's "Wove" may be the first of its kind on the market, and the flexible electronics company is working to get developers on board to prepare applications for a better user experience. The Verge (9/28)

Chip computer, priced at $9, ships to backers
Backers of the Kickstarter campaign to fund manufacturing of the $9 Chip computer will shortly begin to receive their units, which have Wi-Fi connectivity and come packaged with the open-source LibreOffice software programs. Next Thing Co. is taking orders on its website for the standard version of the computer, which is expected to ship in early 2016. Digital Trends (9/25)

Google launches free 3D field-trip pilot program
Six states and three countries will participate in a new 3D virtual field-trip pilot program announced by Google on Monday. The field-trip simulation system, which is free for schools, includes about 100 trip options with plans for it to offer college tours and other options in the future. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/28), T.H.E. Journal (9/28)

Apple sees record-setting first weekend for new iPhones
Apple says it sold 13 million iPhone 6S and 6S Plus units over the weekend, topping last year's result by 30% and setting an iPhone record. The figure surprised analysts, who cited sales in China as a primary reason for the strong showing. Some analysts said Apple is on pace to sell more iPhones than it did a year ago. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/28), Reuters (9/29), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/28)

What iPhone 6S means for "Enjoy" electronics delivery, tutoring service
USA Today (9/28)

"Better to trust the man who is frequently in error than the one who is never in doubt."
-- Eric Sevareid,


"Just Dance 2016" to launch with subscription service
Ubisoft, maker of cross-platform game series "Just Dance," is adding a subscription service to the latest game edition called "Just Dance Unlimited," which will allow players to access songs from past versions and bring the total title list to 150 songs, Jonas Sunico writes. "Just Dance 2016" will launch on Oct. 20. International Business Times (9/28)

Samsung woos phone shoppers by paying their bills
Samsung Electronics will rebate buyers their monthly phone payments for the rest of the year if they purchase one of four of the newer Galaxy phones by Oct. 9 in a promotion that includes Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile US. The South Korean company said it will pare the cost of Galaxy S6, S6 Edge+, S6 Edge or Galaxy Note 5 phones by up to $120 as it tries to attract shoppers away from the new iPhones. The Verge (9/26), The Economic Times (India) (9/28)


Wide color gamut to reach 25% of display market by 2020
Wide color gamut displays are expected to occupy 25% of the display market by 2020, up from 3% this year, data from IHS indicate. Quantum Dot, light-emitting diode technology on chips and OLED displays are the three wide color gamut solutions leading the trend, an IHS report shows. Broadband TV News (9/28)

"Minecraft" makes the Oculus VR's "Rift" game lineup
Microsoft is making its popular "Minecraft" game available for Oculus VR's Rift device, Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey confirmed. More than 200,000 game developers have registered to create virtual reality games for the Rift, which is expected to launch early next year. RedOrbit (9/25)

Polk Audio debuts premium gaming headset starting at $130
Coolest Gadgets (9/27)

India seeks to lure US tech firms
India's prime minister, Narendra Modi, met with tech firms and government officials in the US recently about his country's potential as a base for companies. Tech companies are increasingly looking at India as China maintains strict Internet regulations. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/27)

Windows 10 Mobile framework includes facial recognition
Microsoft on Friday issued guidelines on the set of features that it will build into its Windows Mobile 10 platform, including facial-recognition unlocking technology on high-end and large-screen phones. The move may be aimed at enterprise users. Network World/IDG News Service (9/25)

Demand for new iPhones sparks resale market
Carrier promotions that encourage iPhone fans to upgrade their phone models have sparked the iPhone resale market, states a report based on data from eBay and retailer Gazelle. Shoppers on online sites can find year-old iPhones for $300 to $500, compared with the $550 base price of a new iPhone 6. CNET (9/26)

"No legacy is so rich as honesty."
-- William Shakespeare,
playwright and poet


Amazon looks to cross borders in slowing Chinese economy
China's "new normal" of slower growth isn't a worry for Amazon's Chinese sector because the company is focusing on its Cross-Border 2.0 concept, the company said. "We see a lot of opportunities in e-commerce -- cross-border e-commerce in particular, as the Chinese economy moves from low-cost manufacturing to creating brands," said Doug Gurr, Amazon China president. The program focuses on offering faster delivery and helps Chinese consumers get authentic overseas products delivered to their door, and it also helps China-based sellers to grow their business internationally. China Daily (Beijing) (9/24)

Amazon streaming, Fire devices arrive in Japan (9/24)

Oculus, Samsung ready consumer VR headset for Nov. release
Virtual reality is about to make its broadest debut yet to the consumer market via the Samsung Gear VR headset, set for a November release at $99. The immersive headset built by Facebook-owned Oculus will work with smartphones such as Samsung's Note 5 and Galaxy S6 to transport users to new worlds. CNET (9/24), TechCrunch (9/24)

Virtual reality coming soon to Netflix, Hulu
Netflix and Hulu are delving into virtual reality. Netflix's application was developed with Facebook's Oculus VR for the Samsung Gear VR, which will cost $99. Hulu plans to offer both original VR programming, along with 3D versions of its library content, on its own app. Variety (9/24)

Lower HEVC Advance patent fee to widen 4K availability
CNET (9/24)

Chevy to offer Android Auto upgrade in March
Chevrolet owners whose cars feature the company's 8-inch infotainment display will be able to access Android Auto features as an upgrade beginning in March. 2016 Chevy vehicles with 7-inch displays currently support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while the larger screens only offer CarPlay features for now. The Verge (9/23)

Ford to allow developers to build apps for SYNC 3 system
Ford said that its connected vehicle platform SYNC 3 would be open for developers to create applications to integrate with Ford vehicles. The latest version of the platform includes in-car notifications, voice-activated services that can be used by applications, and app access to vehicle data such as fuel economy and level, temperature and engine performance. Programmable Web (9/24)

Amazon issues post-mortem on AWS outage
Amazon says overuse of the Global Secondary Indexes feature of its DynamoDB led to a metadata glitch that snowballed into high-profile outages of Amazon Web Services over the weekend. An Amazon blog post apologized for service disruptions and detailed the overload that led to AWS being taken offline. Fortune (9/23)

Touch screens improve online shopping, research suggests
Tablet touch screens give online shoppers a more sensory experience and lead to higher rates of satisfaction and engagement than do traditional computer mice, research from Boston College suggests. The study observed shoppers looking for hotels and revealed that tablet shoppers conducted more searches and mentioned more tangible elements of the rooms than did PC shoppers browsing with a mouse. Women's Wear Daily (subscription required) (9/23)

"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go."
-- William Feather,


New tech will get drones in the skies sooner
Snapdragon Flight is a new platform developed by chip-manufacturer Qualcomm, whose goal is to create drones more easily at less cost. "The Snapdragon Flight will enable shorter development times, and smaller, light, easier-to-fly consumer drones with advanced features such as [a] 4K camera and sophisticated navigation," because it uses smartphonelike computing power, said Hugo Swart of Qualcomm. Fortune (9/22)

Apple is digitizing the television experience
Apple TV includes tvOS, a tool for developers to build native experiences on television, to give consumers not just access to movies and TV but to content such as games, social media, shopping and music streaming. The technology also connects smartphones to the TV, allowing consumers to explore between the two and enabling marketers to integrate content across devices. "Seamless cross-screen interaction means marketers can deliver timely, useful TV ads to consumers," writes Peter Hamilton. Advertising Age (free access for SmartBrief readers)

Nielsen: 16M cord cutters take bite out of broadcast
New York Post (9/22

Alibaba, FiiSmart plan smartwatch made for mobile payments
China-based Alibaba is teaming with FiiSmart on plans for a $160 smartwatch that would make mobile payments through Alibaba's Alipay platform, Michael de Waal-Montgomery writes. Alibaba plans a crowdfunding campaign for the smartwatch. VentureBeat (9/23)

Intel on track to supply iPhone chips next year, sources say
Intel has hit several milestones in negotiations with Apple to provide modem chips for iPhones manufactured next year, unnamed sources say. Apple reportedly plans to split production of next year's iPhone chips between Intel and Qualcomm. VentureBeat (9/23)

Samsung Pay takes off in S. Korea ahead of US launch
Samsung's mobile payment solution, "Samsung Pay," has accumulated $30 million in transactions in South Korea in the first month since it was released, surpassing Samsung's expectations in its home country, the company said. Samsung Pay, which will roll out in the US on Monday, will work with credit-card readers that do not support near-field communication technology. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/24)

Mobile seen as key to subdued holiday shopping
Mobile is an increasingly important factor in generating sales in physical stores and this could prove vital for retailers during the holiday shopping season, Deloitte says in a report. That's because sales are projected to be up only modestly from last year, giving retailers with a mobile focus a key advantage as nearly two-thirds of sales are influenced by digital interactions. Mobile Marketer (9/24)

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Hermes launches a content site to promote its men's line
Hermes will raise the profile of its understated but ultra-high-end men's line with the launch of Le MANifeste d’Hermes this week. The quirky men's website will boast photos, games and videos featuring men wearing pieces from the line, with links to the brand's e-commerce site. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/23)

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."
-- Joseph Chilton Pearce,


WalmartLabs buys PunchTab to enhance Sam's Club membership
WalmartLabs has purchased a tech startup focused on providing real-time data through customer loyalty programs and building followings through social media, e-mail and store applications. PunchTab employees will work first on the Sam's Club app and before moving on to and other Walmart units, Sarah Perez writes. TechCrunch (9/22)

Cable companies eyeing wireless industry, observers say
Cable companies may respond to the proliferation of online video content by seeking ways to provide wireless services, say T-Mobile CEO John Legere and some analysts. For instance, cable companies might bid aggressively at the spectrum auction scheduled for March, Miriam Gottfried writes. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/22)

Consumer IoT platform Wink seeks new home as parent Quirky faces bankruptcy
Reuters (9/22)

Xiaomi challenges China carriers with wireless plans, mobile device
Xiaomi on Tuesday unveiled its latest smartphone, along with two prepaid wireless plans that mark the company's first push into the mobile virtual network operator industry. Xiaomi is hoping its Mi Mobile service will compete with China's national carriers. Reuters (9/22), TechCrunch (9/22)

India's connected device market to hit $12B by 2020
The Internet of Things is catching on in India, with the connected-device market forecast to reach $12 billion in revenue by 2020, data from Karbonn suggest. A separate study by Peel Technologies found that about 85% of consumers in India would like smartphones that act as universal remotes for other connected devices. Business Standard (India) (9/23)

IPhone 6s joins trend of hands-free voice control
The iPhone 6s now allows users to chat with Siri without touching the phone by using the hands-free voice control feature. Siri will answer to "Hey, Siri" and is capable of complying with requests to control third-party devices connected to the iPhone using HomeKit. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/22)

IHS: Wide color gamut TVs to go from 3% to 25% of the market by 2020
Rapid TV News (U.K.) (9/22)

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Print is winning over digital as e-book sales dwindle
The demand for print is on the rise, as e-books have plateaued at about 20% of the market, data from the Association of American Publishers indicate. "People talked about the demise of physical books as if it was only a matter of time, but even 50 to 100 years from now, print will be a big chunk of our business," said Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/22)


Amazon offers deal on Prime service to celebrate winning 5 Emmys
Amazon, to mark its five victories at the Primetime Emmy Awards, on Friday will reduce the fee for its Prime service from $99 a year to $67, a price available for one day only. The Prime membership includes access to original streamed content, TV shows and movies, as well as free access for six months to The Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Fortune (9/22)

"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."
-- Seneca,


Apple's watchOS 2 brings more apps to the user's wrist
Apple has refreshed its Apple Watch software with the launch of watchOS 2, allowing more third-party applications and apps that take advantage of the heart-rate sensor to operate directly on the Watch. The Watch is also running faster, it allows for custom faces, and it can send texts and call up Siri over Wi-Fi. VentureBeat (9/21), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/21)

What a smart bathroom may look like in 10 years
The Internet of Things may take over home bathrooms in as little as a decade, with scales built into the floor and mirrors that give health screenings with a retina scan and connect patients to doctors, Ian Pearson predicts. By 2040, bathrooms could house robots that groom humans and clean up after them. Digital Trends (9/21)

Report: Wide-color-gamut panels to take over 25% of display market by 2020
TWICE (9/21)

Disney puts funds into virtual-reality startup
Virtual-reality startup JauntVR has attracted Disney as one its lead investors, with its overall funding topping $100 million. The company wants to be the leading virtual-reality provider for cinematic experiences. "Jaunt's unique end-to-end solution for producing and publishing high-quality VR experiences is cutting edge, and we are excited about its future potential," said Disney's Kevin Mayer. Fast Company online (9/21)

Kickstarter puts value in greater good
Kickstarter co-founders Yancey Strickler and Perry Chen have decided to reincorporate their popular crowdfunding site as a "public benefit corporation," making its positive social impact a top priority when it comes to decision-making. Selling or going public, Strickler said, "would push the company to make choices that we don't think are in the best interest of the company." The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/20)

Starbucks launches mobile ordering app
Starbucks rolled out its mobile ordering application across the US today, giving Apple and Android smartphone users a way to bypass barista lines. Users place their orders and pay in advance, then get an estimate on when their coffee and food will be ready. The app also gives directions, shows menus and offers options for customizing drinks. FastCoDesign (9/22), The Verge (9/22)

Google Wallet adds peer-to-peer feature to iOS app
Google on Monday updated its Wallet application for iOS mobile devices to match the Android upgrade released this month. The new software enables users to transfer money to other users. Those on the receiving end do not need a Wallet account, just an e-mail address. TechCrunch (9/21), The Verge (9/22)

Oyster shutters subscription e-book service
CNET (9/21)

Apple says upcoming iPhones have sold out online
Consumers looking to purchase an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus will need to wait until Sept. 29 for delivery, as the products are sold out online for the first four days after they are released, Apple says. A limited number of the new phones will be in stock at Apple Stores, the company says. 9to5Mac (9/21)

"It is more difficult to stay on top than to get there."
-- Mia Hamm,
professional soccer player

Photos courtesy by |

First large-scale hacker attack hits Apple App Store
Hackers created a counterfeit version of iOS developer software to launch the first large-scale cyberattack on Apple's App Store. The malware was limited and has not been linked to specific theft, but it could have allowed hackers to steal user data through the infected applications, which Apple is working to remove. BBC (9/21), Reuters (9/21)

Apple's HomeKit lets developers build smart home apps
Apple is opening its smart home hub HomeKit up to software developers so they can improve and add to the applications that hardware-makers have already set in motion. With developers' help, Apple aims to let consumers control all the electronics in their household through a single iPhone. Business Insider (9/20)

Devices that keep seniors connected are a growing market
Startups and established technology companies alike are developing services to help elderly people living at home stay connected to family and health care services. A key challenge is making older customers comfortable with new, connected devices. (9/18)

Nintendo patent may hint at future features of the NX console
Nintendo has filed a patent for what appears to be a handheld device surrounded by outward-facing image sensors that may be able to scan codes on toys such as the Amiibo, or detect a pulse. The company has kept plans for the upcoming Nintendo NX console under wraps, but this patent may show some ideas connected to the making of the console. (9/20)

Customizable Xbox One Elite Controller goes on sale Oct. 27
International Business Times (9/21)

Display-makers turn to OLED as LCD margins hit bottom
Display-makers are facing making no profit on LCD panels as early as next quarter, an IHS Technology forecast states. Manufacturers such as LG Display are trading LCD for organic light-emitting diode technology to improve profits. Yonhap News Agency (South Korea) (subscription required) (9/21)

Microsoft may have another Band fitness tracker up its sleeve
India Today (9/21)

China's malls feel pinch of online retail's rise
Vacancy rates at some Chinese malls are on the rise as consumers shift their spending to electronics, clothing and other goods online, according to a report from Moody's Investors Service. Half of the retail space completed worldwide last year was in China, according to CBRE. The Straits Times (Singapore) (free content) (9/18)

Target gigs to come with a Fitbit
Target will offer all 335,000 of its US employees free Fitbit activity trackers in a move aimed at cutting health care costs, helping employees stay in shape and raising the brand's image as a wellness company. Target and Fitbit will work together on employee programs centered around the gadgets, the companies said. Bloomberg (9/16)


"Patience is the best remedy for every trouble."
-- Plautus,


Amazon takes aim at holiday shoppers with 4 new tablets
Amazon recently introduced four tablets that it plans to push during the holiday shopping season. The company is touting the durability of its $230 Fire 10.1-inch HD device -- one of two HD tablets the company has planned. Amazon will also market a $50 low-end device and a $100 tablet for kids that carries an extra-strong case and a child-friendly version of the Internet. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/17), CNET (9/17)

Hisense aims to lower prices on high-end TVs with new tech
Hisense is working on new laser-projected technology it hopes will lower the cost of high-end TVs, sources say. The company is also gearing up for Ultra HD and OLED TV lines. DigiTimes (9/18)

Ford debuts smartwatch app for EVs, hybrids
The MyFord Mobile application now enables users to control their electric and plug-in hybrid cars through their Apple Watch or Android Wear devices. The app provides information on battery status and car location, and enables drivers to remotely unlock their doors. (9/17)

Microsoft seeks partner to bring Cortana to cars
Microsoft says it has created a model to bring its virtual assistant Cortana to connected cars and is looking to develop it with a Taiwanese company. Samuel Shen of Microsoft Asia Pacific Research and Development says the system would allow drivers to use voice commands to utilize the technology while driving. The Taipei Times (Taiwan) (9/16), (9/16)

Tech giants cast long shadow at auto show
Apple and Google were hot topics at the Frankfurt International Motor Show this week, as automakers discussed challenges presented by the car of the future and new competition. Car companies are determined not to become mere hardware providers as tech companies profit from the evolving software capabilities of connected cars. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/17)

Smart necklace can project texts to your hand
Makers of the Miragii smart necklace debuted a fashion-forward wearable at CES this year, and now the company is raising funds on Kickstarter, Tyler Lee writes. The Miragii lets the user take calls from a discreet Bluetooth earpiece and projects text messages onto the user's hand or another surface. (9/17)

AMD touts energy efficiency of new processors
Advanced Micro Devices says its A-Series "Carrizo" accelerated processing units have improved energy efficiency, which follows a company goal of major gains in that area by 2020. VentureBeat (9/17)

Amazon shutters Webstores platform, sends users to Shopify
Amazon is closing its "Amazon Webstores" software platform for online retailers and encouraging customers to shift to former competitor Shopify. Shopify, which is valued at $2.13 billion, will now allow its 175,000 merchants to use Amazon Payments, the company confirmed. Fortune (9/17)

Retail coupon application Bluup uses geotargeting to draw shoppers
Central Penn Business Journal (Harrisburg, Pa.) (9/18)

"The key to life is accepting challenges. Once someone stops doing this, he's dead."
-- Bette Davis,


U.S. tech firms may have to adhere to Chinese policies to do business there
China is asking U.S. tech companies to sign a commitment that may leave them open to surveillance if they want to operate in the world's largest Internet market, Paul Mozur writes. The government reportedly sent out a formal compliance form this summer to tech companies that want to do business in the country, sources said. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/16)

Roomba vacuum puts commands in the hands of smartphone users
The Roomba 980 robot vacuum cleaner allows users to give commands remotely via a smartphone over a Wi-Fi connection that links the machine to the Internet. The mobile application features a "Clean" button; click it and a camera and sensors send Roomba in straight lines instead of its usual zig-zag pattern. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/16)

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HP to lay off up to 30,000 employees
Hewlett-Packard said it will cut between 25,000 and 30,000 workers at its enterprise business as part of the division's spinoff. The action amounts to about a 10% reduction in the company's workforce of 302,000. The layoff will reduce costs by $2.7 billion a year. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/15), USA Today (9/16), Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (9/15), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)

LG Display to expand big-screen OLED TVs in China
LG Display is teaming up with Chinese television manufacturers to bring 55- and 65-inch OLED TVs into China, the company confirmed. Yonhap News Agency (South Korea) (subscription required) (9/16)

Apple cites bug in postponing Watch software update
Apple cited a nagging bug in the operating system for its decision to put off the release of a software upgrade for the Apple Watch, which was planned for Wednesday. Apple said it has taken longer than expected to fix the flaw in watchOS 2. Apple does plan to release the update "shortly." The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/16), Bloomberg (9/16)

Toshiba unveils $349 ultra-compact laptop, tablet hybrid
TWICE (9/16)

Survey: Many Americans are unaware of chip-based cards
Of more than 5,000 Americans surveyed in August, 56% said they didn't know about the chip-and-PIN payment cards that banks and retailers are implementing to fight fraud, according to Harbortouch, which makes point-of-sale systems. Additionally, 54% of respondents said they had yet to get a chip-based card, although there is an Oct. 1 industry deadline to get the cards into the hands of consumers. Computerworld (9/15)

EBay celebrates 20 years, steps toward e-commerce evolution
EBay, is celebrating its 20th year of operations this month, and CEO Devin Wenig said the company is working "with urgency" to launch new seller tools and update technology to bring eBay to the level of its competitors, such as Amazon and Google. "Technology has created [a] jump ball [within] the entire global retail industry," Wenig said. USA Today (9/16)

"The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one."
-- John Maxwell,
author and speaker


Disney imagines "Internet of Toys" that communicate via LED lights
Disney is working toward a line it calls the "Internet of Toys" -- devices that will communicate with one another through blinking LED bulbs, says Stefan Mangold, one of the project's researchers. Tentatively named "Linux Light Bulb," the protocol allows products to trade data over IP without being fully connected to Wi-Fi. "Communication with light enables a true Internet of Things as consumer devices that are equipped with LEDs but not radio links could be transformed into interactive communication node," said Mangold, who created the technology. TechCrunch (9/15)

Dolby touts cross-platform "digital age" sound system
Dolby Laboratories is touting its Dolby AC-4 system, which it says can deliver high-quality audio to mobile devices and TVs across broadband platforms through more efficient compression technology. Forbes (9/14)

LG to showcase roll-up OLED TV at CES 2016
DigiTimes (9/15)

Google names new automated car head, navigates problems in Russia
Google has installed engineer John Krafcik as the leader of its "Google X" automated car project. Krafcik has held posts at Ford, Hyundai and, most recently, TrueCar. As Google moves forward with the self-driving car, the company is hitting roadblocks in Russia, where search company Yandex recently accused it of unfair competition and won in court. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/14), Barron's (subscription required) (9/14)

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Apple's new iPhones open strong, aided by Chinese preorders
Apple expects that initial weekend sales of its iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will outpace Wall Street's modest expectations, noting that weekend online preorders were "very strong" and on pace to exceed last year's total of 10 million units. The devices were available for preorder in China, contributing to the initial weekend totals. The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/14), Bloomberg (9/14)

Connected-car security is focus of Intel panel
Intel says it has created an Automotive Security Review Board to evaluate connected-car security systems and offer recommendations to automakers. "We can, and must, raise the bar against cyberattacks in automobiles. ... Few things are more personal than our safety while on the road, making the ASRB the right idea at the right time," Intel's Chris Young says. ZDNet (9/14), (U.K.) (9/14)

Twitter adopts Stripe's new universal "buy button"
Payments processing provider Stripe's new Relay feature connects retailers and brands to sell on online platforms. Twitter has adopted the tool, which acts as a universal buy button for brands, enabling them to list items in a single place and sell them through multiple platforms. "As mobile and social (media) continue to grow, consumers are going to discover and transact right in the apps where they spend their time every day," said Twitter's Nathan Hubbard. Reuters (9/15), The New York Times (free-article access for SmartBrief readers) (9/14)

Early data show a strong start for
ChannelAdvisor has released data showing that e-commerce retailer is gaining traction with online shoppers. Since it began operations in July, Jet has seen a 23% repeat buyer rate, compared with eBay's 17% and Amazon's 11% over the same time period, according to the data. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (9/11)

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
-- Will Durant,
historian and philosopher


HR exec named next president of Nintendo
Nintendo has appointed Tatsumi Kimishima as president to succeed Satoru Iwata, who died this year. The company is gearing up to release a new console and push toward mobile gaming. Bloomberg (9/14)

NASA turns to Ultra HD to bring space to TV
NASA is gearing up to show off its archived space footage in Ultra HD via a new commercial-free cable TV channel and streaming service. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (free content) (9/13)

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Roostr launches platform for mobile game campaigns
Boston-based startup Roostr has launched a platform to connect video game publishers with content creators to help convert live-stream viewers into customers. Roostr was behind an "Angry Birds 2" campaign that achieved a conversion rate 10 times higher than the game's Facebook mobile ad campaign, Timothy Loew writes. The Boston Globe (tiered subscription model) (9/11)

How Apple could change the face of gaming
A new Apple TV device will launch in October with a collection of family-friendly game applications and with a touch remote that responds to gestures, the company announced last week. While Apple is not aiming to take over the console business, Todd Martens writes, the company will tap into a group of gamers who value ease-of-use and the ability to carry content from the TV to iOS mobile devices. NewsFactor Network (9/12)

Nintendo celebrates 30 years of Super Mario
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/14)

Report: Facebook eyes mobile devices as virtual reality hubs
Facebook is said to be developing an application that would support 360-degree virtual-reality video technology on smartphones, per a report, which says the technology would work via users tilting their handsets. The app, which is reportedly in the early stages of development, would fulfill Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's stated vision of VR as the next "computing platform," the report says. The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (9/13)

Smartphones can give independence to people who are blind, visually impaired
Smartphone applications are helping people who are blind or visually impaired become more independent with gesture-based and other features that allow them to take advantage of their handsets' abilities. "Whatever I can do on the computer, I can basically do it on the iPhone," said Ruben Morales, who is blind. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.) (9/13)

Sony's Xperia Z5 phones tout premium camera, 4K screen
USA Today/ (9/13)

Report: Amazon Prime to push revenues past expectations
Amazon Prime may help Amazon push beyond analyst expectations, an RBC Capital Markets report indicates. Roughly 40% of Amazon customers are registered Prime users, up from 25% in 2013, and 49% of first-year subscribers and 68% of fourth-year customers are spending upward of $800 per year on Amazon, the report shows. CNBC (9/11)

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