06 Jan

You've seen the TV commercials featuring Siri, the digital assistant for iPhones. "She" gives directions, looks up information and even seems to appreciate a user's sense of humor. That's a significant step forward from phone answering systems that used to translate simple phrases into gibberish, as in "Please connect me to a representative" being answered with something like, "I'm sorry you're having difficulty making a choice."

The ability to respond to individual users' habits and personalities means that voice recognition, which began in the 1950s with systems that only understood single, spoken digits, looks to become the next big add-on to computing systems -- particularly mobile systems that already offer some degree of hands-free operations.

04 Jan

It seems these days as though every major electronics manufacturer is lining up to produce the next big thing in the tablet PC industry. What at one time was a product that was little more than a novelty is now a major contender for consumers' dollars. So it would stand to reason that Nokia, at one time a top name in cell phones, is poised to take its place on retailer shelves.

But in an already overcrowded field, is there room for yet one more tablet manufacturer? It doesn't help that this particular manufacturer has been operating mostly behind-the-scenes for the past decade or so. However, Nokia has never been one to shy away from innovation. This is, after all, the company that was at the forefront of development of the GSM chips that allowed cell phones to carry data as well as voice. Without GSM, we'd be forced to talk to each other 20th-century style instead of texting, Tweeting, and Facebooking.

02 Jan

Groupon booked hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter in revenue in 2011, just three years after beginning operations. Google evidently liked the numbers so much, it offered to buy the coupon giant for $6 billion USD.

That deal never happened, which looks to have been a blessing in disguise. For Google, that is.

31 Dec

In Jeff Bezos’ world, profits rank lower on the list of priorities. What ranks first, is innovation. Can a publicly traded company openly say this and still manage to maintain a healthy market capitalization through the years? If Amazon’s success story is anything to go by, then the answer is a resounding yes. Just think of the things that Amazon managed to revolutionize.  Shopping, selling, publishing, reading and now computing. I believe it’d be safe to say that Amazon is rediscovering distribution as well.

Instant gratification certainly drives our world today. “Everything on demand” should be the slogan of this decade. If there was one thing that was holding a few shoppers back from shopping online, it was the fact that  buying online meant waiting for two days or sometimes a week to get the goods. Sure, nobody can beat the Amazon prices but waiting a week before you actually set your eyes on your purchase? Where’s the fun in that?

29 Dec

As electronics stores begin filling their shelves with Smart TVs, consumers are naturally drawn to the new technology. Change the channel without having to hunt for the remote? They're in...without question. But are Smart TVs too "smart" for their own good?

A research firm recently discovered a disturbing fact about Samsung's Smart TV. The team was able to hack into the TV, take over its settings, and browse any other data stored on the TV.

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