Why Sony Is Now The PlayStation Company

Read original story on: The Verge

Earlier this week, Sony announced that it has started spinning off its audio and video divisions, after a similar decision to spin off its television division last year. This means that in a few years, Sony would exit the laptop, smartphone, and TV markets entirely, leaving only its movie studio, Sony Pictures Entertainment, and its PlayStation division as company’s core business.

Such focus seems necessary since Sony’s mobile division reportedly cost the company over $1.5 billon in Q2 2014, while the gaming division earned the company $200 million in profit. It’s also safe to conclude that failure to compete with rival Asian tech giant Samsung, especially in the smartphone and TV markets, played an important part in Sony’s drastic decision.


Virtual Reality—The Next Big Thing In Social Media?

Read original story on: The Verge

Some wondered why Facebook acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion last year, and now it seems like we are getting some answers: Facebook is reportedly building versions of its apps in virtual reality.  No further detail about the VR apps has been released, but sources say that future Facebook users will be able to share their current environment with other users via an app, which could just become a new version of social media sharing in the near future.

What Do You Want To See Next In Virtual Reality?

Read original story on: The Verge

Demonstrating the public’s continued interest in virtual reality, a fundraising campaign for a VR rock opera film has been live on Kickstarter. Described as a seven-part “feature-length virtual reality music experience”, the final product will be playable on a normal PC monitor, but is clearly made for the Oculus Rift.  This project, if successfully funded, would indicate further diversification of virtual reality content, which in turn could help push VR technology closer to the consumer market.

Snapchat Is Getting More Local

Read original story on: TechCrunch

After dipping their toes into original content development, Snapchat has started locally curating its content. The chat app is now turning its previously open-to-public, event-based curating feature “Our Stories” into a geo-fenced content channel that hightlights local Snapchat contents that can only be seen by people nearby. If Yik Yak’s recent rise in popularity proves that there is a market demand for location-specific social sharing apps, then this new localized feature might just be a timely addition for Snapchat.


How Credit Card Companies Are Enhancing Payment Security

Read original story on: WSJ

Major credit card companies are finally stepping up their game in payment security: Visa is reportedly expanding tokenization to devices beyond iOS ones, and MasterCard plans to spend $20 million on developing biometrics and fingerprint matching to strengthen its mobile payment security.

As mobile payments begin to gain traction, mobile devices now reportedly make up a disproportionate share of up 21 percent of all fraud costs that merchants and card issuers suffered each year. Amid such high fraud concerns, it’s only sensible for credit card companies to beef up their security measures.

Can Smartphones Replace Fitness Wearables?

Read original story on: Engagdet

A new study by The University of Pennsylvania shows that smartphone apps’ step counts are reasonably on the mark, whereas fitness wearables are much less reliable, with wide error margins. This, coupled with the news of Fitbit advising users suffering from skin rash to take off its products for a while, raises the question of whether smartphones are adequate substitute for fitness wearables. After all, it’s the data these devices collect that matters, not the devices themselves.

At least for now, the answer is a tentative “no”. First off, smartphone screens are getting bigger and bigger, which makes them inconvenient to carry around, especially while exercising. Moreover, it may take a few more years for smartphone to be equipped with advanced biometric sensors that are currently on some wearables. That being said, wearables are designed to be worn, and brands need to do a better job at making them truly wearable.

Pinterest Dives Deeper Into M-Commerce

Read original story on: TechCrunch and Re/Code

Pinterest is about to give mobile apps a visual boost: the company just announced a partnership with Apple that would allow mobile users to download iOS apps without leaving Pinterest’s app. Apple has opened an official “App Store” account on Pinterest to showcase curated apps.

Moreover, Pinterest is also looking to launch a “buy” button in the next 3 to 6 months, further integrating mobile commerce into its framework. Twitter rolled out its “buy” button about 7 months ago to lukewarm receptions. But if Pinterest could leverage its great visual designs into its m-commerce contents, it might work like magic.

Guess Which Major Global Market Is Getting Free Internet From Facebook

Read original story on: TechCrunch

Following recent launches in Colombia and several African countries, Facebook’s charitable plan of entering emerging global mobile markets continues, with India becoming the newest country to receive free mobile Internet services provided by Facebook’s Internet.org project. Partnered with local operator Reliance, the service is currently limited to six states, but Facebook states that it is looking to provide Internet access to over one billion unconnected Indian consumers soon.


Why Podcast Ads Have A Measurement Problem

Read original story on: Digiday

Thanks to the surprise hit “Serial,” there’s little dispute that podcasts are all the rage right now. Indeed, the recently revived medium is growing exponentially, reportedly reaching 65 million monthly unique listeners last month. Yet large brands have been hesitant to embrace the medium, for which its undeveloped audience measurement system is to blame.

Apple dominates the podcasting landscape, with around 70% of all podcast downloads via iTunes and its iOS podcast apps, but the company lacks incentive to offer better measurement since it doesn’t host the content and has no plans to monetize the medium. But as its audience size grows, a mature audience measurement system seems inevitable, and necessary, for podcast. After all, brands and podcast belong together.

Beacon-Influenced Sales Predicted To Grow 11 Times More Next Year

Read original story on: MediaPost

$4 billion this year, $44 billion next: BI Intelligence’s Beacons Report on beacon-influenced retail sales are certainly eye-catching. Despite its predicted substantial growth, it is important to remember that this still takes up less than 0.1% of total store sales for now. More retailers need to get on board with the proximity technology for beacons to hit mainstream. According to the report, consumer adoptions will be driven by coupons, loyalty programs and personalized messaging.