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Google Aims to Secure Voice Purchases Through Match Feature
May 28, 2020
Google has undertaken a pilot program for Voice Match. A limited number of users can use the tool with Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers and smart displays to make in-app digital purchases on Google Play, or to make purchases from restaurants that enable food ordering through Google. "Many folks used to Google Assistant will take advantage of this convenience," said tech analyst Ray Wang.
XRSpace Headset Opens Door to New Virtual World
May 27, 2020
A new virtual reality headset designed for mobility will serve as an entry point into a new virtual world. The $599 Mova headset from XRSpace, founded by former HTC chief Peter Chou, will support 5G and be the exclusive on-ramp to Manova, a social reality platform that aims to defy the boundaries of space and time to bring people together. Users can roam Manova as full-body avatars.
Classroom of the Future: The Rise of Online Learning
May 14, 2020
By necessity, almost all education is happening online at the moment. However, the trend of online education likely will continue even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Online learning is often more convenient than in-person training, and because the methods and techniques for online education are evolving and improving, it quickly has become a preferred business tool.
Merchants: Adopting New Payment Technologies Is Easier Than You Think
May 11, 2020
Consumers increasingly demand seamless ways to purchase wherever they go, and they want their transactions to be quick, safe and, importantly, secure. The fact is, merchants must embrace new methods quickly or risk being left behind. Over the last decade, payment options have evolved in response to developments in technology and changing customer purchasing habits.
Information Security: New Rules
May 8, 2020
Warren Buffet once said, "Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked." You can cover over a host of sins when times are good, but bad or unsafe practices will be exposed when times are rough. Time and experience have borne out the accuracy of this witticism in the financial arena -- and we're now seeing its applicability to the intersection of infosec and COVID-19.
Microsoft Covers All the Bases With Impressive Surface Lineup
May 7, 2020
Microsoft has introduced a slew of new products, including the Surface Go 2, the Surface Book 3, Surface Headphones 2 and Surface Earbuds. Both the Surface Go 2 and the Surface Book 3 come in consumer and corporate versions. "The two products are very different," noted Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "The Go 2 is a high-value product -- the Surface Book 3 high innovation."
New Shopify App Offers Local SMBs a Bridge to E-Commerce
April 30, 2020
Shopify has unveiled an app that lets users discover local businesses, receive relevant product recommendations from their favorite brands, check out effortlessly, and track all their online orders. It can gather and track orders automatically, but it also works without auto-tracking. Consumers can get a customized feed with deals, trending items and recommendations from their favorite stores.
Bottom Line: iPhone SE Packs Great Value for the Money
April 29, 2020
Apple's new iPhone SE delivers incredible value and performance, has a surprisingly good camera, and handles videos well. Reviewers were impressed by the phone's A13 chipset. However, criticisms include insufficient battery life, absence of night mode, and lack of 5G support. "For those of us concerned about money ... the SE provides the greatest bang for the buck," said tech analyst Rob Enderle.
Samsung's Galaxy Watch to Get BP Monitoring Feature
April 23, 2020
Cuffless blood pressure measuring is coming to the Android world. Samsung announced that South Korean authorities have approved its Health Monitor app for use on the Galaxy Watch Active2. The app will be available in the third quarter of this year. High blood pressure has been associated with increased risk of brain, kidney and heart problems, including stroke and coronary disease.
Merchants Now Can List Products on Google Shopping for Free
April 22, 2020
Merchants soon will be able to sell products on Google Shopping at no charge. Previously, they had to pay per click, but the cost was not fixed. There was no minimum, but they had to set a maximum for ad spend and Google would stop displaying their ads once the maximum was reached. Starting next week, search results on the Google Shopping tab will consist primarily of free product listings.
Apple Offers 'Good Enough' iPhone SE at Attractive Price
April 16, 2020
Apple's second-gen iPhone SE, based on its A13 Bionic processor, has the best single-camera system in an iPhone, according to the company. "I'd pay attention to the cameras," said Ramon Llamas, research director at IDC. "Apple insists that its iPhones have best-in-class cameras, and at the price points that the SE is shooting for, I'd be curious about the comparisons you could make."
Coronavirus Threat Sparks Revolt at Amazon, Whole Foods, Instacart
April 2, 2020
Amazon has promised to check temperatures and provide surgical masks for workers at its fulfillment centers and Whole Foods grocery stores starting next week. Instacart workers have not received similar promises. The news came in the midst of brewing turmoil among employees. Some full-time and contract workers at Whole Foods, Amazon and Instacart walked out or called in sick on Monday and Tuesday.
Report: E-Commerce Account Takeovers, Shipping Fraud on the Rise
March 25, 2020
E-commerce account takeovers increased 347 percent and shipping fraud jumped 391 percent from 2018 to 2019, a fraud and identity solutions company reported. Fraudsters are gaining access to accounts using credential stuffing, romance scams, social engineering, phishing or hacking. The three-digit rise in account takeovers is connected to the rash of data breaches over the last decade.
Food and E-Commerce: A Healthy Outlook
March 16, 2020
Consumers were becoming increasingly comfortable with the idea of ordering food online, either for pick up or home delivery, even before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Now many more shoppers are turning to online grocery shopping. "People have been comfortable ordering food such as pizza for delivery for years," noted Commercetools Vice President of Americas Marketing Margaret Rea.
Apple to Pay Up to $500M for Throttling iPhones
March 4, 2020
Apple has agreed to pay up to $500 million to settle a class action lawsuit alleging it slowed down older iPhones in order to push consumers into buying its later, more expensive models. The devices covered in the agreement are iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s Plus, 7, 7 Plus, and iPhone SE models that ran iOS 10.2.1 or later, and iPhone 7 and 7 Plus models that ran iOS 11.2 or later before Dec. 21, 2017.
E-Commerce Payments Industry Trends to Watch in 2020
March 3, 2020
2019 was a milestone year for many in the payments industry, with contactless payments making up more than 50 percent of debit card transactions, and the good news doesn't end there. The consumer drive for seamless experiences is continuing to push the industry toward new innovations that will change the face of payments. So, what will 2020 hold for e-commerce and m-commerce?
The Really Big Salesforce-Vlocity Deal
February 27, 2020
Salesforce just announced it would buy Vlocity -- a startup with all the markings of a unicorn including a billion-dollar valuation -- for $1.33 billion. Vlocity was cofounded and led by David Schmaier, who was executive vice president at Siebel Systems in its go-go years. When Oracle bought Siebel it made Schmaier a wealthy man. He promptly dropped out of the CRM business.
Amazon Goes Big With Automated Grocery Store
February 26, 2020
Amazon has opened its first large-scale fully automated Amazon Go grocery store. The 7,700 square foot store, located in Seattle, offers baked goods sourced locally, fresh seasonal produce, meat, seafood and ready-made meals, as well as beer, wine and spirits. There are no cashiers. To make purchases, shoppers need an Amazon account and the free Amazon Go app.
Sprint T-Mobile Merger Gets Green Light
February 13, 2020
A U.S. District judge has ruled that Sprint and T-Mobile, the nation's third- and fourth-largest mobile carriers, can go forward with a $25 billion merger. The deal will not close until the California Public Utilities Commission approves the transaction, but clearing this latest hurdle moves the two companies one step closer to a merger that has been years in the making.
Samsung Scores With 5G Galaxy S20's Camera Specs, New Z Flip
February 12, 2020
Samsung has refreshed its Galaxy smartphone line, introduced a new foldable phone, and upgraded its wireless earbuds offering. Its three new flagship phones are all 5G ready. The S20 is priced at $999, while the S20 Plus will sell for $1,199, and the S20 Ultra for $1,399. The S20 is smallest of the trio, with a 6.2-inch display. The Plus' display is 6.7 inches and the Ultra's is 6.9 inches.
Razr Reviews Raise $1500 Durability Question
February 11, 2020
Motorola's new foldable Razr phone has been garnering mediocre notices from early reviewers, who tended to find its performance underwhelming for a phone priced at $1,500. Still, it does have personality, which can go a long way in the smartphone market, noted Bob O'Donnell, chief analyst at Technalysis Research. "We've reached an era where phones are incredibly personal."
Mobile App Crashes Iowa Caucuses
February 5, 2020
A coding error in an app used to count vote totals in the Democratic caucuses in Iowa has delayed the release of final tallies. Although the data collected by the app was sound, it was reporting only a portion of that data to party headquarters due a coding issue with its reporting system. After discovering inconsistencies, party staff implemented manual backup measures.
Consumers Like Augmented Reality More Than They Know
February 4, 2020
The augmented reality space continues to evolve. Device makers such as Bosch, Panasonic, Huawei and Pico are introducing significantly smaller and more powerful smart glasses and AR headsets, such as those demonstrated last month at CES 2020, one of the country's largest consumer technology conferences. What is augmented reality exactly? There's not really an easy answer.
From Personal to Planetary: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 4
January 30, 2020
We asked ECT News Network's roundtable of industry insiders to reflect on their own personal tech preferences, to speculate on what popular gadgets may vanish from use in the next decade, to consider the role of wearable health tools -- and then to expand the discussion to the health of the planet, tech advances in traveling on it, and the prospect of leaving it altogether.
Feds Seek Restraining Orders in Robocall Cases
January 30, 2020
The DoJ has filed complaints in two landmark cases calling for temporary restraining orders against five companies and three individuals alleged to have carried hundreds of millions of fraudulent robocalls to American consumers. "This is the first time the DoJ is taking legal action against anyone for facilitating fraudulent robocalls," said Liz Miller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
DoubleTake App Turns Your iPhone Into a Multi-Cam Studio
January 29, 2020
A new iPhone app allows you to capture two high-quality video streams simultaneously from any of the mobile device's cameras. Called "DoubleTake," the free software is produced by FiLMiC, which also makes a pro style video capture and editing app for the iPhone. With DoubleTake, you can shoot two 1080p video streams at the same time, in either landscape or portrait mode.
With Foldable Razr, Motorola Makes Bid for Old Glory
January 28, 2020
Motorola is taking orders for its $1,499 Razr foldable smartphone, and units are expected to start shipping on Feb. 6. Motorola made its mark on the mobile handset business with the original Razr, introduced in 2004, which ushered in the era of flip phones. The new Razr is a flip phone, too. The 6.2-inch OLED screen folds in half to create a compact package that fits in a shirt pocket.
Report: FBI Got Apple to Roll Over on iCloud Encryption
January 23, 2020
Apple shelved plans to give iPhone users control over encrypted backups stored on the company's iCloud service over concerns raised by the FBI and internal sources, according to a report. The company made the decision to retain control over iCloud encryption around two years ago, but it came to light just recently. The plan would have removed Apple's ability to decrypt users' backups.
Uber Tests Plan to Let Drivers Set Their Own Fares
January 22, 2020
Uber has launched a pilot program in California that lets drivers in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs and Sacramento set their own fares for airport rides. Drivers can set a fare multiple on Uber's base, time, and distance rates for UberX and UberXL trips, according to the company. Drivers can increase the fare in 10 percent jumps up to five times Uber's base price.
Building E-Commerce Wave: Social Media Shopping
January 13, 2020
Consumers are on social media constantly, scrolling through posts. Many have begun clicking on brand posts and making purchases. "Social commerce is becoming increasingly popular for brands," noted Darin Archer, chief strategy officer at Elastic Path. "Even when the transaction itself may be happening outside the app, there's a much smaller gap between discovery and purchase."
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