TechSummit Rewind #036

Editor’s Note: This is the TechSummit Rewind, a daily recap of the top technology headlines.

Windows 10 available now in 190 countries

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Windows 10 is available now in 190 countries.

To upgrade, if you have a genuine Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 device, a new notification on your taskbar will alert you when your upgrade is ready to be installed. For business customers, Windows 10 can be deployed now, and starting August 1, organizations with volume licensing can upgrade to Windows 10 Enterprise and Windows 10 Education. Windows 10 IoT is also available today.

Devices with Windows 10 pre-loaded are available for purchase today from Lenovo, HP, Dell, and Acer at retailers worldwide.

If you’re a Windows Insider, today isn’t going to be as exciting as you thought it was. Build 10240, the program’s latest build, is the build that the general public is getting today. You simply need to check for updates in Windows Update for any final updates.

Twitter reports Q2 2015 earnings

Twitter HQ

Twitter has announced their Q2 2015 earnings. Revenue was up 61% year-over-year. There was a Q2 GAAP net loss of $137 million ($0.21share) and non-GAAP net income of $49 million ($0.07/share).

Advertising revenue totaled $452 million, a 63% increase year-over-year. Mobile advertising revenue was 88% of total advertising revenue. Data licensing and other revenue totaled $50 million (an 44% increase year-over-year). US revenue totaled $321 million (an 53% increase year-over-year). International revenue totaled $181 million (an 78% increase year-over-year).

“Our Q2 results show good progress in monetization, but we are not satisfied with our growth in audience. In order to realize Twitter’s full potential, we must improve in three key areas: ensure more disciplined execution, simplify our search to deliver Twitter’s value faster, and better communicate that value.”

-Jack Dorsey, Twitter interim CEO

Average Monthly Active Users (MAUs) were 316 million for Q2, up 15% year-over-year (compared to 308 million in Q1). The vast majority of MAUs added in the quarter on a sequential basis came from SMS Fast Followers. Excluding SMS Fast Followers, MAUs were 304 million for the second quarter, up 12% year-over-year, and compared to 302 million in the previous quarter. Mobile MAUs represented approximately 80% of total MAUs.

Jackson, Oestlien out at Twitter

Following the announcement, Twitter’s director of product management Todd Jackson has left the company for Dropbox to become the company’s first VP of product.

Christian Oestlien, Twitter’s former head of growth, also jumped ship for YouTube.

Nokia’s Ozo is a 360 degree VR camera for professionals

Nokia Ozo

At an event for the entertainment industry in Los Angeles Tuesday night, Nokia announced Ozo, a camera for capturing audio and video in 360 degrees. The Espoo, Finland-based company intends for the device, which is now in its preproduction phase, to become the default mode of shooting virtual reality experiences for Hollywood, and the media and advertising industries. A formal launch, along with a final sale price, is planned for the fall, but Ozo is not a consumer camera – the device is expected to sell in the mid-five figures.

For Hollywood, Ozo lets them make VR in real time, thanks to two key features: live monitoring, where directors can view footage as it’s being shot on a headset, and rapid playback, which allows Ozo to render lower-resolution video for playback in a few minutes, according to Nokia.

The camera is a spherical rig the size of a large cantaloupe that weighs roughly six pounds, with eight optical image sensors spaced roughly an eye width apart. Audio is captured in three dimensions by eight microphones embedded in the camera, and the result is audio that helps to locate you in space.

Ozo affixes to a standard tripod and outputs video in standard formats. You can watch video from the device on the Oculus Rift or as a 3D video to a site like YouTube.

Janut VR, a VR studio that’s building its own camera, has agreed to be one of Nokia’s first customers for the device. Ozos will be at its studio, where it works with companies like Conde Nast to produce VR film.

Amazon unveils proposal for drone-only airspace

Amazon Prime Air

At NASA’s UTM Convention, Amazon announced details of a plan to create a multi-tiered superhighway in the sky, one in which all drones flying above 200 feet would have the ability to communicate with other aircraft.

Amazon’s proposal creates a slow lane for local traffic below 200 feet and a fast lane for long-distance transport between 200 and 400 feet. Altitudes between 400 and 500 feet would become a no-fly zone, and anything above that is already banned by FAA regulations for hobbyists.

In Amazon’s vision, there would be a central command and control network that’s similar to the FAA’s Air Traffic Control that takes in data about the position of each drone and shares it with every other vehicle connected to the network. There would also be vehicle-to-vehicle communication, similar to what’s in autonomous cars. Access to different layers of the airspace would be governed by how well your drone can communicate with its pilot, the command and control network, and other drones.

“Everyone can have access to the airspace. It doesn’t matter if you’re a hobbyist or a corporation. If you’ve got the right equipment, you can fly.”

-Gur Kimchi, Amazon Prime Air program head

If you’re operating a radio-controlled quadcopter with no internet connection, you would be relegated to the area below 200 feet.

“Amazon’s proposal to create a commercial airspace dedicated to drones is smart thinking for the future of its business proposition. The uptake of drones means that regulation will need to change to adapt; however, given the utility of personal-use application of drones, regulation must be careful not to regulate commercial use in such a way that drones become too costly to deploy and inaccessible to consumers, as this will in turn create a bar to their usage and adoption.”

-Antoine Level, Squadrone System CEO

“Right now, the standard is an aircraft that can basically fly itself, with a human at the controls to take over at anytime. But with UAS, there won’t be a single operator for every drone. We need a lot more automation than we have with the traditional model.”

-Gur Kimchi

The drones will automatically adjust their path if they are on a collision course with something, and warn one another about obstacles, according to Amazon.

“I am from Seattle, there are many seagulls. Our drone would automatically get out of the way and also alert others in the area.”

-Gur Kimchi

The new air traffic control system would also link UAS with traditional aircraft. If a fire department helicopter needed to fly low over an emergency, for example, it would be able to communicate with command and control, warning drones that it was in the area, and creating a geofenced area around itself that would become a no-fly zone.

Amazon’s plan also includes airspace for open flying fields where anyone is welcome to operate, regardless of their equipment. This would be a safe space to fly at great heights without meeting all the command and control requirements, as the airspace would be marked off and avoided by commercial flights.

“We need a predefined low-risk area where people can experiment. We don’t have any plans to fly at 12,000 feet, but if that is something you are interested in, go for it!”

-Gur Kimchi

 

Razer will pay what Ouya owes to indie developers

Razer

Razer will pay over $600,000 in funds indie developers are owed as part of Ouya’s Free the Games initiative, according to company CEO Min-Liang Tan.

Earlier this week, Razer acquired ownership of Ouya’s software, online store, and name.

“We only acquired the team, the platform and the assets of Ouya. We didn’t look at the debts because that’s not how the deal was structured for us.”

-Min-Liang Tan, Razer CEO

Nintendo swings to first-quarter operating profit

Nintendo E3 2013

Nintendo has booked a profit for its April-June quarter due to a weaker yen and strong amiibo sales.

The Kyoto, Japan-based company had a profit of $9.3 million, compared with a loss of $76.6 million a year earlier.

Nintendo also cited strong Nintendo 3DS console sales, and strong Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzles & Dragon Super Mario Bros. Edition sales. The company also sold 16.2 million copies of Wii U shooter Splatoon.

LG posts slim Q2 2015 profit as smartphone shipments slip to 14.1M

LG-Logo1

LG shipped 14.1 million smartphones in Q2 2015, which translates to $3.33 billion in sales (a 1% increase year-over-year).

The Seoul-based company increased revenue in North America by over a third, because of its mid-range devices, while selling a record 8.1 million LTE smartphones in the quarter.

LG will “more aggressively implement its dual strategy focusing on both premium devices as well as mid-range smartphones.”

Overall, the company’s revenue fell 7.6% year-over-year, but its mobile business was a highlight. Its home entertainment business struggled as LG “lost ground” on its competition. The company’s home appliances unit reported sales up 10% compared to last quarter, and a six percent annual rise in operating profit. Its vehicle business also sale sales rise 18% compared to Q1 2015 to help steer LG to a $206 million profit overall.

Moto Match press event recap

Motorola 2015 smartphone lineup

At simultaneous events Tuesday in Sao Paulo, London, and New York, Motorola unveiled its 2015 smartphone lineup.

The lineup continues Motorola’s strategy of embracing a “pure,” unaltered version of Android.

Moto X Style

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The Lenovo-owned company unveiled the Moto X Style (Moto X Pure Edition, in the US) as its flagship smartphone. The phone comes with universal LTE banding in the United States, allowing it to work with any US carrier. The Style comes with a 5.7-inch quad-HD display, the ability to charge 34% of its battery in 15 minutes, and a soft grip back. Like other Motorola smartphones, it will be customizable through the Moto Maker program. It will cost $399 unlocked when it launches in September through Motorola’s website and retailers like Amazon instead of through carriers.

The Moto X Style pushed to improve the camera with faster focus, the ability to capture more light, and reproduce better color. The Style will have a 21-megapixel rear camera, and a five-megapixel front camera with a wide-angle lens.

“It’s the best we’ve ever built.”

-Jim Wick, Motorola head designer

Moto X Play

The Moto X Play boasts longer battery life than the Style, but features a smaller 5.5-inch 1080p screen. The Play has a 3,630mAh battery that can last two days on a single charge, and the phone can get up to eight hours of battery life in a 15-minute charge with its turbocharging capability. It also has a 21-megapixel rear-facing camera and five-megapixel front-facing camera.

The Play will launch in August, and will sell for $300-$400 less than the standard flagship phone. It can also be customized via Moto Maker.

Moto G

Motorola has improved the Moto G to add a waterproof coating on the device. In addition, the camera got a 13-megapixel rear camera, as well as a five-megapixel front camera. The phone will also come with 4G LTE standard. The Moto G will also be customizable with Moto Maker. The revamped Moto G is available now for $179.99.

Accessories

Motorola also unveiled two accessories: the Moto Pulse, a $59.99 over-the-ear headphone, and the Moto Surround, a $69.99 band that wraps around your neck with ear buds that can be extended to your ears. Both are wireless accessories that connect to the phone via Bluetooth.

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