Why My Samsung Gear VR Virtual Reality Headset Is Gathering Dust

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VR is a very important type of techology. It has failed for decades and only now does it have a chance of taking off. If consumers experience mediocre virtual reality experiences like they do with the Google Cardboard or frustrating experiences with the Gear VR, they may not give the technology a chance when it is perfected. Hopefully, the upcoming Oculus Rift can correct at least some of the ills of the Gear VR and bring virtual reality to the mainstream.  More development work needed for VR to become something we want or even need.

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If Apple loses, your home could be the next thing that’s unlocked

In a recent interview about Apple’s ongoing legal battle with the Department of Justice, Tim Cook said that our smartphones have more information about us and o…

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.engadget.com

In a recent interview about Apple’s ongoing legal battle with the Department of Justice, Tim Cook said that our smartphones have more information about us and our families than any other device we own. He’s right. And if the FBI is able to compel Apple or any company to circumvent a phone’s encryption, it would tap into a wealth of information. But it’s not just the tiny computers in our pocket we need to be concerned about. Your home and car tech could also be affected by the ruling if law enforcement deems it necessary.  The Internet of Things have been a target of security researchers (and rightfully so), but that’s forced companies to make it a priority to secure these devices. Which is paramount because they record an incredible amount of information about you and your family. Cameras like the Nest Cam track who comes in and out of your home. Microphones embedded in devices like the Amazon Echo and smart TVs let you check the weather, change channels and order items with your voice.

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Google is reportedly working with Vizio on Cast-ready TVs

Google has tried reworking Google TV into Android TV, but we’re still not seeing the platform embedded in many more new TVs that were announced at launch. Now,…

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Google has tried reworking Google TV into Android TV, but we’re still not seeing the platform embedded in many more new TVs that were announced at launch. Now, according to a report from Variety, the company could try convincing manufacturers to build Chromecast-like receiving directly into TV sets. The first rumored partner is Vizio, which could be looking for a new edge in smart TVs with Yahoo shutting down its platform, and the possibility of an Android tablet remote. Vizio tried building its own Android tablet before, but packing one in with each new TV would be a step further.  Users have asked for a lighter (or non-existent) smart TV experience, and switching to casting with smarts offloaded to a tablet, or phone, might be the best way to do that. Android TVs already support casting, but including the functionality of the popular dongle in brand news TVs should get the tech in front of more people. As long as that means more WiFi-connected TVs, then for Vizio that means more opportunities to monitor viewing with its InScape technology.

See on Scoop.itInternet of Things – Company and Research Focus

Samsung SmartThings Hub review: an Internet of Things to rule them all?

Hoping to be the one-stop-shop for open IoT control, it joins up various new and existing connected devices in a user-friendly and powerful system

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It supports home-network based devices, plugging into your router to control them through fixed or Wi-Fi networks, as well as two of the most broadly used wireless home-automation standards, ZigBee and Z-Wave. It means that the Hub can talk to almost every product currently available on the market that doesn’t use an isolated proprietary system.  Not all products support the Hub, however, even if they can talk to it. But SmartThings has something many other devices vying for a similar spot in people’s homes doesn’t have – a viable, productive home hacker and developer community.  The result is that even if a product doesn’t officially support Samsung’s open system, such as Google’s Nest smart thermostat for instance, someone will probably have developed a workaround. Those workarounds are often relatively complex to put into practice, but tutorials are available and there are enough support tools to guide most people with a moderate understanding of computers and basic code to make it work.   The Hub is only half the story. You interact with and control your Hub and connected devices through the SmartThings app. It’s available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone, but you will need one of those devices to make it work.

The Android app is relatively intuitive. You add supported devices or “Things” to the app using an automatic discovery system. The Hub scans for stuff it can connect to and allows you to select which ones you want to set up. A couple of taps and that’s all that’s required for most devices.  You can then group devices into rooms, such as the lounge or kitchen, and assign tasks and events to them. An event can be triggered by almost anything, from other devices to your presence or the time of day. There’s a step-by-step guide that walks you through the process and some pre-formed ideas of what might be useful.  More advanced configurations can create an alarm system, using sensors, cameras and other bits. For instance, you can “arm” your house so that the lights come on, the camera starts recording and it sends you alerts to your smartphone if the locked door is opened. – This product may have legs with a couple more iterations for the emerging IoT home space,but the programming aspect may still act as a deterrent for all but the most tech savvy.

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IoT Raises New Legal Challenges For Business

Privacy, security, and data ownership issues surrounding Internet of Things devices are creating a host of new legal questions and problems. Here’s what’s happening now, and what you need to know.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.informationweek.com

For example, VTech is being sued in Illinois for fraud and deceptive business practices, breach of contract, breach of good faith and fair dealing, breach of implied warranty, and negligence. Its product was allegedly vulnerable to a SQL injection attack that allowed hackers to steal the personal information of 2.8 million parents and children.

New classes of devices, including wearables and drones, are collecting information that may not have been available previously, or may not have been cost-effective to procure, particularly in a persistent way, in the past.  “Consumers are going to be providing information to products in a new way that companies have not thought of. Those companies may not have thought about privacy the same way an Internet-facing line of business in the same organization would,” said Nicholas Merker, co-chair of the data security and privacy practice at law firm Ice Miller, in an interview. “If you’ve never captured information in your product and you want to start now, you’re going to have some of the problems folks had in the Internet era when they started doing the same thing.”

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Google surpasses Apple as world’s most valuable company

After beating Wall Street expectations for the fourth quarter of 2015, Google umbrella company Alphabet usurped Apple as the most valuable company in the world on Monday in after hours trading.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: appleinsider.com

For the fourth quarter, Alphabet raked in $21.3 billion in total sales and adjusted profits of $8.67 for every Class A share, the company said in a prepared statement. Total sales were up 18 year over year, while advertising revenue was up 17 percent for the same period.   Alphabet is seeing a renaissance in growth as its advertising business made big gains this quarter. The company’s services division also saw wider adoption including Gmail, which passed one billion users in quarter four. Under the Alphabet umbrella, Google’s “moonshot” projects” — Wi-Fi balloons, self-driving cars, glucose-reading contact lenses, human longevity — saw advancements, but cost the firm more than $3.56 billion over the last three months of 2015.   Apple, meanwhile, is losing ground after sitting as the world’s most valuable company for more than three years. The iPhone maker reached the position in 2011 and throughout most of 2012 before being unseated by Exxon in 2013. Apple retook the lead later that year.   Despite bringing in revenue of $75.9 billion in a record-breaking first quarter, Apple stock is shedding value amid iPhone growth concerns and quickly diminishing iPad sales. For the current quarter, Apple expects year-over-year iPhone unit sales to decline for the first time since the handset launched in 2007.

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Yahoo to cut 15 percent jobs, close several units: WSJ

Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) Chief Executive Marissa Mayer is set to reveal cost-cutting plans that include slashing 15 percent of its workforce, or roughly 1,600 jobs, and closing several business units, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.reuters.com

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is set to reveal cost-cutting plans that include slashing 15% of its workforce, or roughly 1,600 jobs, and closing several business units, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.  The plans are expected to be announced after Yahoo’s fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. It did not specify which business units might be closed.  

Yahoo had about 11,000 employees as of June 30, according to its website, down from a Dec. 31, 2014 total of about 12,500 full-time employees and what it called fixed term contractors.  Last week Yahoo confirmed plans to close its offices in Argentina and Mexico. The company declined to specify how many jobs were affected, but said the offices were small and “sales-focused.” Yahoo has struggled to expand its Internet business, which includes selling search and display ads on its news and sports sites and email service, in the face of competition from Alphabet’s Google unit and Facebook. 

See on Scoop.itInternet of Things – Company and Research Focus

How Google’s SkyBender drones will deliver Internet access to remote areas

The company is quietly conducting tests of the technology, which could potentially transmit large amounts of data at speeds up to 40 times faster than currently 4G LTE networks, at a vast site in New Mexico developed for private spaceflight.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.csmonitor.com

Google is quietly testing whether solar-powered drones can deliver high-speed Internet service from the air at a much faster rate than traditional cell towers.  The project, codenamed SkyBender, uses transceivers that can send and receive signals using high-frequency millimeter wave radio transmissions, which can potentially transmit gigabits of data per second, up to 40 times faster than 4G LTE cell networks, the current mobile standard. The high-frequency transmissions have often been proposed as part of a faster 5G standard.  Because millimeter wave technology uses higher frequencies, it has the potential to carry more data and operate in a less crowded part of the radio wave spectrum, making data-hungry services, such as streaming video sites, available to a wider group of users.  

But there are some drawbacks to the technology behind SkyBender — high-frequency transmissions have a short wavelength, meaning they can’t travel as far and can be blocked by obstacles such as buildings, walls, and windows – and even rain and moisture in the air.  The market for lower frequencies that aren’t already being used — so-called “beachfront property,” which can travel longer distances and through buildings — is often highly competitive. An auction held by the Federal Communications Commission last year netted $45 billion from wireless carriers.  “The huge advantage of millimeter wave is access to new spectrum because the existing cellphone spectrum is overcrowded. It’s packed and there’s nowhere else to go,” Jacques Rudell, a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, told the Guardian.  But in order to get millimeter waves to work from a drone, Professor Rudell says, Google must experiment with using highly-focused transmissions from what’s known as a phased array. That’s a difficult task that also burns a lot of power, Rudell told the paper.

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