Google, not being particularly amenable to letting other robots into your life has unveiled its own version, Home.Just by speaking, you can order an Uber, play Spotify, set alarms or just ask questions.Duo, meanwhile, is quite simply Google's answer to FaceTime or Skype, allowing internet video calls.Both are coming for iOS and Android in the summer.Google's next software operating system update for smartphones and tablets, codenamed Android N, has been released as a developer previewThe new system will be named after a tasty treat, and could be called Nerds, Nutella or NougatNew features include split-app multitasking, the ability to reply to messages from within a notification and increased battery efficiencyGoogle has been dipping its toes in low-end VR with Google Cardboard for a couple of years, but is stepping up by bringing it to Android N.A new feature called Daydream will allow certain phones to up their performance to deliver VR, and Google is releasing a Play Store, Street View and YouTube for VR.Google is also thinking beyond the limitations of Cardboard, and has produced a blueprint for a headset which it will share with third-parties, alongside a natty little controller reminiscent of the Siri-powered pointer Apple unveiled alongside the latest Apple TV last year.
GizChina regulars will know that it isn t going to be a phone, courtesy the impending legal hassles.Anyway, US citizens will still be interested in what Xiaomi will soon have to offer in the country.According to sources in China, it is going to be Xiaomi s own MIUI-powered TV box, which will turn any dumb TV smart.The Xiaomi TV box is sold in a few different versions in the company s homeland of China.However, expect one version to go official in the US — perhaps the most powerful of the lot.This version costs 399 Yuan in China, so a price tag of around the $70 mark is what US folks can expect to pay.Xiaomi already sells some accessories and gadgets in the US.However, this is probably the first time Xiaomi will be launching a device as standalone as the TV box.Will the Apple TV finally face some competition?
The Mi Box, as you can see below, is a sleek and simple set-top-box that doesn t look terribly different from the Apple TV device and numerous other boxes on the market.The Chinese company boasts having sold millions of set-top boxes and smart TVs in China, where it is one of the most popular electronics companies.It will support the newest at this time HDR10 standard, which will be available starting in Android N, as well as HDMI 2.0a.Under the hood lies 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage alongside a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor and Mali 450 GPU.Those who need more space will be able to attach an external drive using USB.Xiaomi says it will have info on availability aside from the fact that it is launching in the US first and pricing at a later date.
But the company s voice platform is fast, alarmingly accurate, and likely baked into tons of products we interact with in some form or another.MindMeld was founded in 2011 and is backed by over $15 million in funding.The company shows example after example of how voice beats just about every other input for generating a response, and even showed off its chops against incumbent giants like the Apple TV voice search.I caught up with CEO Tim Tuttle to see how the company fits into the broader scheme of AI giants e.g., IBM Waton, Amazon Echo and NLP-based startups and to get a view at where we might be headed.We re currently engaged with companies in video, music, quick service restaurants, fashion retailing, IoT, and other categories.There is definitely much greater awareness of AI based conversational interfaces among our target customers than there was even six months ago, Tuttle told me.That s the power of MindMeld s underlying tech — it s not just about powering conversational bots on Facebook Messenger and other messaging platforms the company released its bot platform yesterday, as well .Given the dramatic shift in user behavior we are seeing, this will probably change over the next year.Tuttle, like many others in the media, is particularly unimpressed by the range of bots out there in the wild.
View photosMoreXiaomi-mi-boxChinese tech juggernaut Xiaomi may be best known for making high-quality smartphones like the new Mi 5 and selling them at low prices, but the company has made it very clear it wants to become a household electronics giant that can rumble with the likes of Samsung and Apple on a global scale.The Mi Box runs Android TV 6.0 and and is positioned to compete directly with the Apple TV, Fire TV and other set-top boxes.Xiaomi's streaming box supports 4K playback, like the Fire TV, but it does it one better with HDR High Dynamic Range for picture quality with more colors, higher brightness and increased contrast.The set-top box has access to a full range of apps available in the Google Play store including YouTube, Netflix, Vudu and more."This is a significant milestone for Xiaomi and I am really excited to be working closely with Google to bring such a great product to our fans in the US.I believe US consumers will truly enjoy the Android TV experience on Mi Box, which brings stunning 4K HDR video and a wide variety of content to your living room," Xiaomi vice president of international Hugo Barra said in a press release.
The app is released only to Apple TV, and Bittorrent promises lag free live broadcasts using the file-sharing technology. That's the idea behind Bittorrent Live, a new streaming service from the company behind the bittorrent technology. Because it is based on users helps to transmit the program the image quality becomes better the more people watching the channel. There will also be a cheap alternative for small companies that do not have to invest in giant data centers and huge bandwidth to live to a large audience. Upon release there are 13 free channels that you probably never heard of the app, a range that waft technology demo rather than full-fledged streaming service. But Bittorrent saying that more channels are in the pipeline, both in pay television, advertising-financed free TV and pay-per-view.
MoreApple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the Apple TV during an event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California March 21, 2016.REUTERS/Stephan LamMUMBAI/NEW DELHI Reuters - Apple Inc will set up a software laboratory in India to help Indian startups and developers working on the company's iOS platform, Apple said hours after Chief Executive Tim Cook began his first official visit to the country.The company is also expected to unveil plans to expand its software development center in the southern city of Hyderabad, also home to Microsoft's first India office, where engineers are working on Apple Maps.The app design and development accelerator - the term used for hothouse laboratories in the tech sector - will open in Bengaluru, as Bangalore is now known, in early 2017.Indian government sources expected Modi to encourage Cook to set up production facilities in India, supporting the government's drive to find jobs for millions of Indians joining the workforce every year.Cook will be seeing industry partners during his visit.
Today Google announced that it has sold 25 million Chromecasts, the company s cheap streaming dongles that let you send music, photos, and videos from your phone to a TV or an external speaker.That s 25 million units sold since 2013.We last heard about Chromecast in September, when Google announced it had sold 20 million units and unveiled its first major updates to the product line: Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Audio.It s hard to weigh whether the 25 million unit milestone is actually a big deal or not, as Chromecast doesn t really have a noteworthy direct competitor — similar offerings from Apple and Amazon are pricier and don t really do the same things.For reference, Apple TV hit 25 million units sold back in January 2015.
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Google Wave Long before Slack, Facebook at Work and its own Google Drive tried to get us to work on the same wavelength. Google Glass 2012 Sergey Brin goes out on stage with some of the ugliest spectacle the world has ever known. The highlight - that moment when ashamed cushion needed hugging hardest - was when skydivers equipped with Google Glass jumped on the roof of the Moscone Center, and then ran and cycled! The ball was worked as a streaming hub for Android devices, but missing most of arch-enemy functions. In addition, cost Nexus Q, the entire $ 300 - three times as much as the then-generation Apple TV. 2012 JRC abolished everywhere except on Blogger, who stubbornly fought on the outdated system until January this year.
According to a new report from Parks Associates, Apple TV poked down to fourth place on the list of the most sold devices for streaming video in the United States. Most popular is the Roku with a share of 30 percent, followed by Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV at 22 percent each. The share of Apple TV is on its side at 20 percent, which means that other producers have a combined market share of 6 percent. According to Parks Associates now has more than a third of American households have a media player that can handle streaming video.
While much of today's Google IO keynote was spent on Google Home, the Mountain View company's answer to the Amazon Echo, there was a brief moment where they talked about the future of Android TV.Now entering its third year of life, Android TV will soon add picture-in-picture, live TV DVR and support for high dynamic range HDR content to its repertoire of tricks.The ability to multi-task has always been something Google products have excelled at, so it's perhaps somewhat unsurprising that it became a priority for its Android TV operating system.That news came by way of GPU giant, Nvidia.In a press release sent to techradar, Nvidia says that it has plans to leverage the technology in its Nvidia Shield and will be the first streaming video device to support the technology.Finally, Google announced that it would add several new channels to Android TV, including apps for CNN, Comedy Central, MTV, Freeform, Nickelodeon, Spotify, STARZ, WATCH ABC, WATCH Disney Channel, WATCH Disney Junior and ESPN.
Privacy vs. personalizationUnlike Google, Facebook, and other tech companies that make money from advertising, Apple doesn t collect your personal data because it doesn t need to.It makes money by selling you hardware and getting you to sign up for monthly subscription services like iCloud storage and Apple Music, among other revenue generators.The company has a trio of so-called privacy czars who vet every decision, even inspecting lines of code that might violate laws or company standards.Siri usually reverts to a web search for questions it doesn t know the answers to, and now I ve come to expect that if I want anything more than a timer set or the weather forecast, I ll have to look it up myself.The assistant is hugely helpful on the fourth-gen Apple TV and in Apple Music, and iOS 9 included a Siri search API for deep-linking.Engineers in Cupertino may be working right now on a Siri reboot to rival Google and Amazon s assistants, and maybe even an Apple version of a voice-activated hub like Google Home or Amazon Echo.
After Apple s recent milestone, I posed the following question to a panel of business owners from Young Entrepreneur Council YEC :What do you see Apple reinventing next, and how will this change the markets in which they operate?Siri continues to be integrated into Apple products as exemplified by the most recent integration of Siri into Apple TV.The Automotive IndustryApple will either acquire Tesla or create their own hybrid electric and solar powered vehicle, which will of course be self-driving as well.IoT for Home AutomationAutomating and connecting the home as part of the IoT industry continues to be a growing market.While Apple has done some things related to home networking related to entertainment, they might consider getting into other aspects of the home related to the atmosphere, security and functionality.It s a billion dollar industry, probably more, so more people rely on travel and tech than ever.
Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has announced a new Android TV box with 4K and gaming capabilities.It was easy to miss in Google's jam-packed opening address at Google I/O, but Android TV is still very much a thing.Indeed, Google has some powerful new allies in its assault on the living room.Details on pricing, release date, and wider availability are unknown.But if Xiaomi can price its box keenly as it has a reputation for doing , we could have a very interesting set-top-box contender on our hands.Next, check out our Sky Q hands-on video:Would you consider Xiaomi's new set-top-box if it was available in your territory?
The Siri icon in the Mac dock Credit: MacRumoursApple's OS X will feature an integrated version of Siri for the first time, allowing users to browse the web via voice command, screenshots appear to confirm.Rumours have been circulating for a while over the integration, and the company has allegedly been testing versions of OS X containing Siri for the past four years.A hands-free Hey Siri activation command is also supported by the new software, which is disabled by default, but can be turned on under Preferences.How the Siri icon appears in the menu bar Credit: MacRumoursSiri has become a key search and navigation method in both Apple Watch and Apple TV, where text input is severely restricted by the display size and having to tap in individual letters via remote.On: iOS, Apple TV, Apple WatchReleased: 2011Killer feature: The closest thing AI has to a sense of humourOn: Android, Google app and Google ChromeReleased: 2012Killer feature: Integration with Google's advanced suite of email, maps and searchOn: Windows, Microsoft Band, iOS and Android appsReleased: 2014Killer feature: Available across Windows and mobile devicesOn: Facebook's Messenger appReleased: 2015Killer feature: A team of human operators, M Trainers , answer requests that the AI can't yet manageOn: Not yet releasedReleased: To be confirmedKiller feature: Close integration with many outside companies, including GrubHub, Uber, Zocdoc, and SeatGuruApple has taken to naming its Mac software updates after Californian landmarks in recent years, with last year's offering El Capitan following on from Yosemite and Mavericks.While OS X 10.12's name remains shrouded in secrecy, there's a chance Apple may rebrand the sofware entirely as macOS in alignment with the other lines.
The addition of Android apps for Chrome OS will help, and the sleeper hit may be gaming.At a session during I/O, Google execs confirmed you d be able to run any Android app you liked on Chrome OS — at least someday.It s a hurdle Google will overcome, no doubt; it has become increasingly dedicated to Chrome OS in the past few years.A recent study showed that 90 percent of Android app revenue went to games.You re limited to the Web, and the days of Web-based games being good they were never great have come and gone.Here s how Steve Hoffman of RocketOn put it to GigaOm back in 2009:Google will also face stiff competition in this area from a variety of Linux and Windows netbooks, which will work just fine with Firefox or IE…Maybe, if Google sticks it out, it can gradually gain a dedicated following around Chrome OS in combination with Google s apps and services, and some of those users may take advantage of gaming on this new platform, but this is way off in the future.
Games on Google Play will also be available.Analysts say that Xiaomi s move to the U.S. market is also related to the  growing challenges of the domestic Chinese market.In late 2012, Xiaomi delayed its launch of the TV set-top box when it was investigated by China s State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television SARFT over licensing issues and content.Seven private online TV providers in China were told to  remove unsanctioned content within seven days, and were warned that their licenses would be revoked if they did not comply.To build market share, Xiaomi will have to distinguish itself with some sort of unique selling point aside from merely its non-exclusive cooperation with the systems such as Android and iOS.Additionally, Xiaomi is not the first Chinese company in this sector to explore the U.S. market.Chinese conglomerate LeEco also introduced its set-top box to the US last year.The overall size of the US market is huge, but in marching into this competitive market, it could be like climbing a mountain without a rope: glory if the venture succeeds, but high levels of risk and difficulty along the way.
The Xiaomi Mi Box, though, is pretty enough to keep in plain view, and backs up the good looks with impressive specs.Even the best designers can t do much in the rounded black square genre, but the Mi Box makes the most of it.The Mi Box joins a wave of Android TV set-top boxes that can stream 4K and come with Google Cast baked in.The optional gaming controller shakes and rumbles and vibrates, though you presumably can BYOBluetooth controller of choice.That s changing as devices proliferate and apps like ESPN, Disney, and Spotify join the ecosystem.The Mi Box provides a more overt introduction to a company that does what so few can: Consistently offer well-designed, high-performing products that cost less than you d expect.
Last year, Apple issued its biggest Apple TV update since its original "hobby project".There's been a two or three year gap between each of the four generations we're not counting 2013's minor revision as a distinct generation .Plus, there's been a real lack of rumour and leaked snippets of information from the Apple supply chain, as there typically is ahead of an Apple product launch.If the source and vague nature of this rumour didn't warrant a healthy dose of scepticism, the fact that there have been no substantiating reports from other sources since definitely should.The first version of tvOS named tvOS 9 to reflect its iOS 9 underpinnings launched with the Apple TV 2015 in November, and it received no fewer than three firmware updates in the ensuing six months.The tech giant has been in talks with networks and TV content providers for what seems like and may actually be years in a bid to offer a "skinny bundle" of contract-free channels through its living room box.