The Tech Bet

  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 MoreGoogle'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.

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  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.

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  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
  Monday, 28 Jul 2014 | 2:12 PM ET

Apple acquisitions suggest hardware sales concerns

Apple has acquired book recommendation service BookLamp, and it's expected to close a deal to buy podcast app Swell, possible signs that Apple's smartphone and tablet sales are expected to level off.

Quarterly tablet sales have already fallen, according to NPD Research, forcing Apple to explore revenue streams from products other than hardware, according to Jon Swartz, USA Today's San Francisco bureau chief.

»Read more
  Friday, 25 Jul 2014 | 11:31 AM ET

Three gadgets for handling business on the go

Posted By: Evelyn Cheng

As more business operations shift to the cloud, physical office needs are shrinking. Here's how technology can offer greater mobility for business on the go.

Smartphone maker ZTE recently launched a new projector with Sprint that is less than 5 inches square and 1.1 inches thick, complete with a 4-inch Android touchscreen system and speakers. One charge gives the unit up to 10 hours of battery life, and the device can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot and a power pack. Sprint also offers an LTE data plan for the projector.

Winning a "Best of CES 2014" from PCMag, the LivePro is a fair match for larger projectors, with the ability to project quality images of 1,080 pixels up to 10 feet long on the diagonal, ZTE said. But its 100-lumen lamp, while trumping the 80 to 90 range of most pocket projectors, is far weaker than the 3,000 lumens of bigger devices.

For comfortable typing, CTX Virtual Technologies has made a pocket-sized laser keyboard fob that projects a pink or green QWERTY layout onto any flat surface. The keyboard links to computers and smartphones via Bluetooth or a USB cable. The company said it is planning to embed the keyboard into smartphones and tablets to eliminate the key fob.

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  Monday, 21 Jul 2014 | 1:40 PM ET

Why the Xbox One is gaining on the PlayStation 4

Posted By: Althea Chang

Sony's PlayStation 4 has outsold the Xbox One, but Microsoft is making moves to gain ground and could still be a strong competitor in the game console market.

Even as Xbox One sales doubled in June, they still fell short of Sony's PlayStation 4 sales, according to NPD, but Microsoft has been taking strides to improve sales of its consoles and still has a chance to compete more fiercely with Sony, said said Jeremy Rosenberg, head of digital at Allison+Partners.

Read More Is this the last hurrah for video game consoles?

"I think the Xbox One was a little bit slow out of the gate. They had a lot of challenges coming into the marketplace," Rosenberg said.

But in May, Microsoft dropped the price to $399 by making its Kinect motion sensor an optional $100 add-on.

»Read more
  Friday, 18 Jul 2014 | 11:09 AM ET

Snap winning pics with these cool gadgets

Posted By: Devin Hance

The future of mobile photography is underway and there are numerous ways to be able to capture and share your favorite memories.

Here are two standouts recommended by Andrea Smith, executive producer of Living in Digital Times.

»Read more

About The Tech Bet

  • Tech Yeah! zeros in on the biggest trends, hottest issues and coolest gadgets making waves in the ever-changing world of technology.