Amazon reportedly plans to get into the set-top-box game this fall

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Following in the footsteps of Apple and Google attempts at the set-top-box market, Amazon is planning to release a set-top-box, according to Bloomberg

They say the box will plug into TVs and give users access to Amazon’s expanding video offerings. Those include its a la carte Video on Demand store, which features newer films and TV shows, and its Instant Video service, which is free for subscribers to the Amazon Prime two-day shipping package. The Amazon set-top box will compete with similar products like the Roku, Apple TV and the Boxee Cloud DVR, along with more versatile devices like the Playstation 3 and the Xbox. An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

The device is reportedly being developed in Amazon’s Cupertino based labs and could launch this fall. The project is reportedly being spearheaded by a former Apple and Cisco employee:

The project is being run by Malachy Moynihan, a former vice president of emerging video products at Cisco (CSCO) who worked on the networking company’s various consumer video initiatives. Moynihan also spent nine years at Apple (AAPL) during the 1980s and 1990s.

Perhaps this future product is the reason that Apple and Amazon have no deal for Amazon content streaming on the Apple TV.

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Google acquires natural language engine Wavii for over $30M (Update: Wavii closed)

Update: Following Google’s acquisition, Wavii has shut down its service and pulled its iOS app.

Google has purchased natural language processing engine Wavii for more than $30 million, according to TechCrunch.

The acquisition has several similarities to Yahoo’s recent purchase of Summly, which Yahoo integrated into its iOS app just yesterday, as both start-ups focused on parsing text from content and delivering summarized snippets of information.

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What to expect from IFA 2013: Samsung, Philips, and others prep new product launches for Sept.

We are pleased to have the opportunity to attend the annual IFA Global Press Conference this year. Taking place in Sardinia, Italy, over 300 journalists from 55 countries have been invited to learn about exactly what’s in store for one of the world’s biggest consumer electronics trade shows this summer in Berlin. We all know IFA has become one of the premiere destinations for tech companies to introduce and show off Samsung-Galaxy-S4-IFA-GPC-2013new and upcoming products each summer, so we were excited to learn what the show has planned for 2013.

As for Android products, Samsung was showing off its line of Smart washing machines and dryers that can be controlled via its Android devices. A new update, we’re told, will be rolling out for the connected white goods in the coming months that will allow full control over the majority of functions through a cellular connection. Currently these features of the app are limited to devices connected to the same home network as the appliance.

Samsung also had its just released flagship Galaxy S4 on show and we didn’t hesitate to get some extra hands-on time with the device before posting our full review.

Although Google TV didn’t seem to really be on the radar when it came to trends in the TV industry– Samsung, and talks from analysts such as NPD’s DisplaySearch, focused mainly on 4K and OLED trends — wearable technologies was a big topic of conversation throughout presentations and panels at IFA’s GPC this week. Not surprisingly, Google Glass was one of the most talked about wearable technology trends, and wearables are expected to be an even bigger focus at IFA 2013 this summer thanks to Glass.

Google-Glass-conceptMuch of the talks around future trends in tech centred on what Google is doing in this space, and of course the industry leaders from most of the mobile related presentations discussed the potential for Glass and other wearable form factors, such as watches, to have an impact on the mobile device industry in the coming year.

Good news for potential product announcements at IFA 2013 this summer, not only is IFA expecting growth among both trade visitors and exhibitors, most companies on hand this week, including Samsung, Kobo, Philips and more, confirmed new products will be on show in early September in Berlin. Philips is planning a new generation of app-enabled accessories, while Samsung will have new sizes of its Ultra HD TVs and more mobile related products.

We plan to be on hand at IFA 2013 in Berlin when it kicks off the first week of September, so stay tuned to 9to5Google for the latest product announcements.


Google Now voice search, cards could be coming to the web



Google appears to be readying a Google Now web interface for the company’s Siri-like voice search with Google’s homepage as the intended destination.

It’s no surprise that Google would bring its voice search to the web, as it already offers the service on Android and plans to bring it to iOS (Google Search for iOS currently offers real-time voice search but doesn’t support Google Now cards), and tends to have a cross-platform approach to its services as opposed to Apple’s ownership approach to its services.

Sure, Apple does have limited iCloud functionality on Microsoft’s Windows operating system and allows users to manage iCloud from a nicely designed web interface, but Apple only offers Siri on the iPhone 4S and 5, as well as the iPad mini, iPad 3 and 4, and latest iPod touch, though the upcoming release of OS X 10.9 could bring Siri to the Mac just in time to compete with Google Now on the web.

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Google Web Fonts rebrands as Google Fonts, simplifies web interface

Google has rebranded its font collection Google Fonts, which debuted in February 2011, dropping the ‘web’ from Google Web Fonts while still boasting its catalog of over 600 free, open-source fonts optimized for the web.

Google has also simplified the web interface with a more modern design, which allows users to view font examples in various formats, including word, sentence, and paragraph.

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Google uses its Android scale to increase charitable giving with One Today app

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Google is heading toward 1 Billion Android users and two million in the next few years. Imagine if Google could harness a few tenths of a percent of that to give to charity. That’s the idea behind the One Today project. It’s a social giving project which is invite only at the moment but one ramped would seem to have a powerful affect on giving, if Google can get people involved. Read more

Want a Verizon Galaxy S4? You’ll need to wait until May

Spint and T-Mobile showed their hand earlier this week. Verizon’s isn’t looking good but they do have more LTE than everyone else combined so good things come to those who wait.

Google announces Q1 2013 earnings: $13.97 billion revenue, up 31% year-on-year



Google released its earnings report from Q1 2013 today.

Notably, Google’s consolidated revenues increased 31% over Q1 2013 with $14 billion gross income.

“We had a very strong start to 2013, with $14.0 billion in revenue, up 31% year-on-year,” said Larry Page, CEO of Google. “We are working hard and investing in our products that aim to improve billions of people’s lives all around the world.”

Google reported $3.35 billion net revenue, which is nearly half a billion up from $2.89 billion during the same quarter last year.

The company reports $50 billion in the back at the end of Q1 2013.

Cash – As of March 31, 2013, cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities were $50.1 billion.

The company’s effective tax rate came in low at 8% following a tax credit mandated by legislature in Congress.

Income Taxes – Our effective tax rate was 8% for the first quarter of 2013.

Google CEO Larry Page mentioned during the conference call to investors that the company’s opportunities primarily exist in Chrome, YouTube, and Android, in that order. It believes more “connected TV’s” will allow the company to directly connect with consumers via relevant advertising more easily.

The company had praise for its marketing team, citing doubling its retail foot print thanks to more availability of its Chromebook in Best Buy.

Google discussed its success with commercial advertising via YouTube, announcing 325,000 Super Bowls worth of ads have been consumed.

When asked about Andy Rubin’s responsibilities after being pulled from heading Android, Larry Page reiterated that the company has yet to make that announcement and had no plans to make news in that regard today.

Regarding Glass, Larry Page admitted the price tag for early adopters is certainly high, but stepped short of calling it a luxury price and stated the company wasn’t prepared to announce a consumer price tag.

Press release below:

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