The Tech Bet

  Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 | 9:11 AM ET

Why the iPhone 6 will be a game changer

Posted By: Althea Chang

The new, upsized iPhone 6 is likely to usher in a new era for Apple this fall, giving the tech giant the boost it's been needing, according to one expert.

"It'll be a game changer, since this will be the biggest design departure in years," said Mashable Tech Editor Pete Pachal.

Read MoreApple planning bigger iPad for 2015: Report

Bigger screens are an especially important update to Apple's iPhone lineup, both in the United States and in Asia, where there's a strong market for so-called "phablets."

"Phablets are crazy popular in Asia, where people use them as phones and tablet substitutes. Now Apple will have an offering for those markets, and the iPads have shown that iOS works fine at larger sizes," Pachal said.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 | 1:15 PM ET

Flexible screen tech a shot in the arm for Apple?

Posted By: Althea Chang

Apple has patented new flexible display capabilities that could change the game for mobile devices, computers and even TVs, but it could take some time before consumers can get their hands on that technology.

"There are constantly new patents, and some come to market sooner than others ... It could be several years before this makes its way into mainstream," said Jeremy Rosenberg, senior vice president and head of digital at Allison+Partners.

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  Friday, 22 Aug 2014 | 11:57 AM ET

A smart baby monitor that goes a step further

Posted By: Erika Santoro

Wearable tech seems to be the trend these days so it comes as no surprise that another high-tech device is aimed at helping new parents track their infant's health and daily activity.

Sproutling is a wearable ankle band baby monitor that focuses on more than just data. It uses a smart sensor to detect heart rate, body temperature, motion and position. It then communicates with the mobile app via Bluetooth to let the user know if the baby is sound asleep or if there are any complications, said Mathew Spolin, co-founder and CTO of the company that created the device.

»Read more
  Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 | 12:35 PM ET

Snapchat users might actually be OK with ads

Posted By: Althea Chang

Social network Snapchat is expected to introduce news, video clips and advertisements to its news feeds, a move that its users may not entirely hate if they're presented in the right way, according to one tech expert.

"Generally speaking, users hate advertisements and distraction in the social media feeds. Users hate the concept, but if it is done well they will accept it," said Dan Costa, PCMag.com editor-in-chief, who adds that Facebook and Instagram have managed to prevent their ads from being too obtrusive.

Read More Is this Instagram's answer to Snapchat?

SnapChat, which allows its users to post photos and videos that disappear within seconds, had about 27 million iPhone and Android app users in June, according to comScore estimates. And more than 700 million photos and videos are shared on the service every day, Costa notes.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 | 12:58 PM ET

Why Samsung could dominate Apple in the smart home

Posted By: Althea Chang

Samsung could have a leg up on Apple and Google in the home thanks to its existing line of appliances and recent acquisitions.

Last week, Samsung acquired start-up SmartThings, and this week, it acquired air conditioner distributor Quietside.

Read More Google's in your car, in your house-where next?

Those acquisitions follow Google's Nest buy, which adds smart thermostat technology, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to the tech giant's offerings, as well as several acquisitions by Apple, including its purchase of HomeKit technology to help users control their connected home devices.

»Read more
  Friday, 15 Aug 2014 | 12:07 PM ET

Futuristic heads-up display for your car dashboard

Posted By: Erika Santoro

An automotive tech start-up is aiming to address the issue of being on your smartphone while driving by unveiling a Google Glass-like heads-up display for your car dashboard.

Navdy, a device that can be mounted on any car's dashboard and provides a high-resolution heads-up display that helps the driver still see the road, is meant to create a new and safer way to interact with smartphone while driving, said Doug Simpson, CEO and co-founder of the company that created the device.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 | 2:07 PM ET

What a new iPad needs for Apple to succeed

Posted By: Althea Chang

Apple could be gearing up for an October launch of a new iPad amid concerns about falling tablet demand.

New features on the rumored iPad Air 2 are expected to include an anti-glare coating and a fingerprint sensor, but beyond appealing to Apple "fanboys" and early tech adopters, they might not be enough to get the average tablet user to upgrade, said Alice Truong, a staff writer at Fast Company.

Apple reported a 9 percent decline in tablet sales in its latest quarter, and for the first time, overall quarterly tablet sales fell year-over-year, according to NPD research.

Read More Why tablet sales may not see an upswing

»Read more
  Friday, 8 Aug 2014 | 1:01 PM ET

This robot is a personal assistant to your family

Posted By: Erika Santoro

Technology is beginning to reach new heights with the unveiling of a family robot that acts as a personal assistant to families.

Jibo, a social robot that can interact with people, has six skills that users may find helpful. "It can act as an assistant, a messenger, photographer, an avatar, a storyteller and companion," said Cynthia Breazeal, founder and CEO of the company which created the robot and is also called Jibo.

Its two high-resolution cameras recognize and track peoples' faces, capture photos and enable immersive video calling. It also has 360-degree microphones and natural language processing so that a user can talk to Jibo from anywhere in the room.

»Read more
  Tuesday, 5 Aug 2014 | 1:30 PM ET

What Samsung could be doing wrong with smartphones

Posted By: Althea Chang

Samsung could be spreading itself too thin and targeting too wide a range of smartphone users, leaving the manufacturer to play second fiddle to more popular competitors.

"Apple, in sticking to its strategy of only targeting the high end, is really paying off. Samsung's approach has always been different. It's been 'fill every niche possible.' It's attacked the low end...the mid-range and the high end, and it seems like a good idea, but ultimately when you try to target everyone, you kind of end up targeting no one," explained Mashable Tech Editor Pete Pachal.

Apple's iPhone users make up more than a 50 percent share of smartphone web traffic, according to July usage data from Chitika, an online advertising network. Meanwhile Samsung smartphone users account for about half of that, according to Chitika.

Read MoreApple acquisitions suggest hardware sales concerns

"Web traffic is a pretty good measure of usage. The most popular app on most phones is usually the browser," Pachal said.

"Samsung, for all of its power in mobile, doesn't really have a full 'platform.' It's still very Google-flavored, and its attempts at differentiation amount to a spaghetti-against-the-wall approach. Other manufacturers, like HTC, focus on just a few key features, and it makes them awesome," Pachal said.

Read More'China's Apple' knocks Samsung off top spot in China

In China, local manufacturer Xiaomi has beaten Samsung as the country's top smartphone maker, based on sales in the second quarter.

"Homegrown brands like Xiaomi and Oppo are cranking out great phones with low prices. There's also crazy competition at the low end, with brands like Motorola and Nokia offering some impressive stuff," Pachal said.

»Read more
  Friday, 1 Aug 2014 | 12:18 PM ET

Hi-tech gadgets for the new school year

Posted By: Erika Santoro

The new school year is around the corner, so it's time to start thinking about some of those back-to-school gadgets that may be useful to students.

Here are a few standout recommendations from Andrea Smith, executive producer of the website livingindigitaltimes.com.

Quirky's Power Pop is a colorful outlet that bends to fit any size plug or adapter. "That item now comes in five colors and has a 4-foot extension cord with a flat, 45-degree plug to put power in hard to reach places," Smith said.

At $20, the Power Pop costs a bit more than any standard power cord that can be purchased on Amazon for $11, but it has a more attractive look and bends around furniture so that it doesn't get in the way.

»Read more

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