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The Long Black Friday Shopping Day Has Dawned
November 6, 2017
Black Friday falls on Nov. 23 this year, but retailers already have begun to promote the huge discounts they plan to offer in its name. Some deals already are available to shoppers. Although Cyber Monday has grown in significance, Black Friday "is still significant as the kickoff to the holiday season," said Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
The Eve of the Self-Driving Revolution
November 2, 2017
A decade ago, there wasn't much talk about self-driving cars or autonomous-cars, but Toyota and Lexus were setting the stage with their self-parking cars. They aired television commercials showing how cars magically parallel-parked themselves. At the time, it seemed amazing, but that was nothing compared to what's coming next. The self-parking revolution is now expanding.
iPhone X Delivers on Apple's Promises and That's Plenty, Say Reviewers
November 1, 2017
Reviews of Apple's next generation iPhone X have started appearing online, and for the most part, critics have showered praise on the product. "The iPhone X is clearly the best iPhone ever made," wrote Nilay Patel. "It's thin, it's powerful, it has ambitious ideas about what cameras on phones can be used for, and it pushes the design language of phones into a strange new place."
Amazon to Let Delivery Drivers Open Your Front Door
October 26, 2017
Amazon has announced a new service that will allow Prime members to receive in-home delivery of packages with the help of high-tech smart locks that allow drivers to open their front doors. Amazon Key will launch officially on Nov. 8 in 37 U.S. cities and surrounding communities, with additional locations to be added over time. The service will be available at no extra cost to Prime members.
Apple May Have Fudged iPhone X's Face ID
October 25, 2017
Apple reportedly has reduced the accuracy of the iPhone X Face ID feature to speed up production. It's not clear how much the new specs will reduce Face ID's efficacy, but if the reporting is accurate, there could be problems recognizing changes in facial hair, glasses and other ancillary features, suggested Gerrit Schneemann, senior analyst at IHS Markit. "That would be a real problem."
Screen Burn-In, Piercing Sounds Beset Google's Pixel 2s
October 24, 2017
Complaints have been mounting over display and audio issues with Google's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. Consumers have reported a screen burn-in problem with the Pixel 2 XL, which refers to embedded functions leaving a ghost-like image on the display. In addition, there have been numerous reports of high-pitched noises and strange clicking sounds occurring during calls on the Pixel 2.
Google Aims to Turbocharge Online Checkout
October 24, 2017
Google on Monday rolled out an online payment service that's designed to accelerate the online checkout process. While the new offering isn't quite Amazon One-Click, it will eliminate many of the annoying steps that can slow down the online purchase process and often result in abandoned shopping carts. Pay with Google uses address and credit or debit card information users provide to Google to speed them through checkout.
PayPal Lets Messenger Users Send Money to Buddies
October 20, 2017
PayPal has announced the immediate availability of its peer-to-peer payment service on Facebook Messenger, making it easy to exchange money between friends and family. PayPal also introduced its first-ever customer service bot. Payments can be made in Messenger by pressing the blue plus icon when composing a message and then tapping the green payments button.
Apple, GE Join Forces on Industrial IoT Apps
October 19, 2017
Apple and General Electric on Wednesday announced a new software development kit for iOS that enables developers to create applications for Predix, an Internet of Things platform made by GE. Applications developed with the new SDK could give industrial operators more insight and visibility into the performance of their equipment and operations on an iPhone or iPad.
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."
Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija: Not All Customers Will Help You Make Money
October 17, 2017
"As services are getting more and more mobile, service needs to get mobile as well," said Helpshift VP Tushar Makhija. "If you look at customer service over the last 10 to 15 years, first it was all about average handling time. If you grew quickly as a business, you needed to stack up a call center. The next five to six years were all about self-service, so technology started building up."
WPA2 Flaw Could Blow WiFi Systems Wide Open
October 17, 2017
A security flaw in WPA2, the security protocol for most modern WiFi systems, could allow an attacker to steal sensitive data including emails, credit card numbers and passwords, Researchers at Belgian university KU Leuven reported Monday. Depending on the network configuration, the flaw also could allow an attacker to inject or manipulate information in the system.
Retailers Slowly Embracing In-Store Tech Tools
October 16, 2017
Most retailers don't have the in-store technology to view customer information across various touchpoints, suggests a new study from Kibo. Fifty-eight percent of retailers who participated in the study, released last Thursday, acknowledged they did not have that capability. The study was based on questions posed to 115 retail executives during the Future Stores 2017 conference.
Android Devs May Follow Apple's Face ID Lead
October 9, 2017
Apple's use of facial recognition to unlock its iPhone X may open the gates for developers champing at the bit to bring the technology to the Android world. Face ID, which will replace fingerprint scanning in Apple's new iPhone X, uses Apple's TrueDepth 3D camera to verify the owner of a phone. Android developers have been working on similar systems, said Sensible Vision CEO George Brostoff.
AI-Powered Mobile Chatbots Promise More Efficient Customer Service
October 9, 2017
Helpshift's new Web Chat application uses AI to help companies release scalable chatbots that can automate customer service through real-time interactions. The new AI-based tool, released last week, will boost Helpshift customers' ability to provide enterprise-grade support to their customers, according to Helpshift, which specializes in customer support for the gaming industry.
Google Pixel 2: 8/10ths of an Apple-Killer Strategy
October 9, 2017
What would it take to cause Apple to fail? While Steve Jobs was alive, the prevalent belief was that it would take his removal from the company. That has happened, but Apple's valuation and reserves are higher. Although the foundational element was removed, no one really went after Apple hard until last week, when Google launched a comprehensive strategy that clearly targeted the company.
Hologram Debuts Open Source Cellular Modem for IoT
October 5, 2017
Hologram on Thursday launched Nova, the first open source modem for cellular connectivity. Nova is a USB cellular modem purpose-built for Internet of Things development. Its Hologram software tools are compatible with most single board computers, such as Raspberry Pi. The Nova modem is open source and unlocked, so its use is not limited to Hologram's SIMs.
Google Poised to Add New Pixels to Growing Ecosystem
October 3, 2017
A refresh of Google's critically acclaimed Pixel smartphones is expected Wednesday when the company holds its annual product launch event at the SFJAZZ center in San Francisco. Although their features won't be known officially until Google raises the curtain on the phones at the event, leaks -- including photos -- have given the public a good idea of what's to come.
Amazon's Alexa May Get Into Your Head
September 21, 2017
Developers at Amazon's secret Lab 126 reportedly have been working on audio-only smart glass technology that would allow users to communicate with its virtual assistant Alexa. The smart glasses would connect wirelessly to users' smartphones and transfer communications through a bone-conduction audio system that would negate the need for headphones. Amazon plans to release the device this year.
Apple's Worthy iPhone 8 Models May Languish in X's Shadow
September 20, 2017
Reviews of Apple's new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have been laudatory. However, the reviewers can't seem to get their minds off the jewel of the Apple universe, the iPhone X. Both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are "awesome" and better than last year's models -- but iPhone shoppers who want to be part of the future will save their money and buy an iPhone X later in the year, suggested reviewer David Pierce.
New Mobile App Promises Full B2B E-Commerce Experience
September 19, 2017
Insite Software has introduced the first fully configurable white label mobile app built for leading manufacturers and distributors, it said. The app supports everyone involved in the B2B e-commerce experience, from customers to channel partners, to field sales and support teams. Companies purchasing the app can tailor its functions to specific roles and responsibilities.
How Many Ways Might iPhone X's Face ID Go Wrong?
September 14, 2017
When Apple unveiled its iPhone X on Tuesday, officials highlighted the device's advanced functionality, including what truly could be a game changing feature, its facial recognition technology. The new handset allows users to unlock it simply by looking at it. The 10th anniversary edition of Apple's flagship mobile device is the first Apple handset to utilize Face ID.
First Impressions: iPhone X Garners Lots of Cautious Thumbs Up
September 13, 2017
Apple on Tuesday raised the curtain on its next-generation iPhone X, and it so far has been greeted with praise -- though tentative -- from early hands-on reviewers. For the most part, they gave the X kudos for design and build, but reserved their unequivocal endorsements until they could spend more time with the phone. A sore point with many reviewers was the mobile's price.
5 Ways to Give E-Commerce Shopping That Personal Touch
September 5, 2017
Shopping online can feel a bit impersonal. It's all about looking at screens and filling virtual carts, and not so much about having a rich experience. Many consumers long for just that kind of experience -- one that's similar to walking into a store, looking at products, talking with an associate, and perhaps ultimately making a purchase. This is where e-commerce personalization tech comes in.
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.
Consumers' Embrace of Mobile Apps Is Limited to a Choice Few
August 31, 2017
Mobile app use has become a powerful habit among U.S. consumers, based on new research findings. An increasing number of users have been spending their time consuming video, music and social media on smartphones and other mobile devices, but many are reluctant to try new apps. A large percentage of mobile app users' time is spent on apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter or Instagram.
Rise in Mobile Commerce Fuels Demand for Omnichannel Service
August 30, 2017
Omnichannel support and communications are becoming essential for brands, as consumers' increasing use of mobile devices to make purchases and access content fuels their demand to be able to connect with companies when and how they want. However, brands lack the necessary expertise and infrastructure, and are turning to mobile network operators, or MNOs, to acquire omnichannel capabilities.
Cyberthieves Train Their Sights on US Mobile Phone Customers
August 29, 2017
A relatively new form of cybercrime recently has been plaguing American consumers. Thieves have been hijacking mobile phone account numbers and then transferring services to a different device. Further, hackers have begun using mobile numbers to raid digital wallets and similar accounts. This type of theft has been successful even against the most sophisticated of consumers.
Apple to Sate iPhone Curiosity Sept. 12
August 29, 2017
Apple plans to refresh its iPhone, TV and watch lines at an event scheduled Sept. 12. In addition to upgrading its iPhone 7 models, the company is expected to debut the "iPhone 8" to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand. It reportedly will have an OLED display with barely any bezel, a fingerprint scanner at the rear of the phone, and support for facial recognition and wireless charging.
Google Connects Mobile Searchers to Depression Assessment Tool
August 25, 2017
The National Alliance on Mental Illness on Wednesday announced that Google on mobile now provides people who search for the term "clinical depression" with a direct link to the PHQ-9 questionnaire used by medical professionals in the United States to evaluate patients for the disorder. People can conduct a self-assessment by filling in the questionnaire online.
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Of the following CES 2018 crowd pleasers, which do you consider the most important or desirable new tech?
Google Assistant -- voice-activated AI on displays everywhere
Helite's Hip'Air - a hip-protecting airbag belt for seniors
HTC Vive Pro - a VR headset with way better resolution and sound
Samsung's 'The Wall' - a modular TV with MicroLED for consumers
Sony's Aibo -- a lovable AI-powered robotic pet dog
Toyota's e-Palette -- a self-driving van for deliveries and more