Amazon Provides Free Hosting Space For Alexa Developers
Amazon is now letting developers build and host skills for its Alexa voice assistant for free using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Previously, developers could incur fees after exceeding AWC usage limits. Now developers with a published Alexa skill can apply to receive a $100 AWS promotional credit and can also receive an additional $100 per month in AWS promotional credits if they incur AWS usage charges for their skill, said Amazon. Interested developers can visit Developer.Amazon.com/ Alexa to apply.
THX Stamps Seal Of A/V Approval On Portable Devices
THX has created a new certification program for smartphones, tablets and laptops. Under the THX Mobile Certification program, THX engineers check panel performance, audio signal path and headphone amplifier output, meant to ensure consistent image quality and sound performance. Razer’s Blade Pro laptop is the first device to be certified under the program. (Razer is THX’s parent company.) The 17.3-inch 4K monitor features Nvidia G-Sync tech for smooth frame rates.
Slow & Steady Stays In The Race: 4K UHD Blu-ray Progressing
The 4K Ultra HD home video market will build on the strong sales momentum experienced in the last 12 months, with 8.4 million UHD Blu-ray discs to be sold globally in 2017, Futuresource Consulting predicted. This will make up 4 percent of all Blu-ray discs shipped worldwide. Should Apple launch its rumored 4K store, the mass-market reach of Ultra HD availability will receive an additional shot in the arm.
Netflix Bestows 2017 Recommended TV Crown
Netflix chose Sony, LG and Samsung as the recipients of this year’s Recommended TV designation. The program highlights TV manufacturers that have taken pains to ensure seamless integration with the video-streaming platform; in order to be a Netflix Recommended TV, the model must meet five of seven criteria, including the ability to power on a TV and start using Netflix or other Internet TV apps in just a few seconds.
Consumer Confidence Wanes, Reversing Course
Consumer sentiment toward technology spending and the overall economy decreased in March - but both indexes remain higher for the month on a year-over-year basis, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Indexes. The CTA Index of Consumer Technology Expectations decreased 4.8 points in March to 87.9, but remains 1.5 percentage points above March 2016. The CTA Index of Consumer Expectations, measuring consumer sentiment about the U.S. economy as a whole, decreased in March by 2.9 points. While the labor market remains firm, respondents showed slightly less optimism in their own job prospects this month.
Intel To Acquire Mobileye For $15.3 Billion
Intel intends to acquire Mobileye, a maker of collision-avoidance technology, for $15.3 billion, propelling Intel’s mission of becoming a leader in Cloud-to-device providers. Intel said in a statement that it estimates the vehicle systems, data and services market to reach $70 billion by 2030. Mobileye has previously sold its technology through retailers, as well as partnered with automakers for inclusion.
Smartphone Revenues Still Growing Despite Falling Prices
Global smartphone revenues will grow 13 percent over the next five years, according to Strategy Analytics, increasing smartphone volume will be partly offset by decreasing average selling price, as vendors and operators penetrate deeper into the price-sensitive prepaid market. Falling component prices will enable sales expansion in lower price-tiers, particularly for emerging markets like Asia and Latin America. Meanwhile, Apple and others will continue to target the premium category.