New Disney Tie-in Commercial

First (of what I am sure are many) cross promotions for Disney


The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition can capture 4K Video

SAN FRANCISCO–GoPro pulled the wraps off of a new generation of its line of Hero sports camera packages built around the smallest, most powerful camera that it has ever offered: the GoPro Hero3.

The GoPro Hero3 Black Edition is the flagship model that will retail for $399.99. This new model features a chassis that is 30 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than the outgoing Hero2 model and is only 20mm thick when removed from its plastic shell. The plastic shell itself is also smaller (obviously) and features a new flat lens. The case also features a double lock that ensures that the rear plastic door isn’t going anywhere once it’s sealed, unless you want it to — even then, it’s sort of tricky to deal with.

The Hero3 is able to capture up to 4K video at up to 15 frames per second, a new 2.7K video resolution at up to 30fps, and an oddball 4:3 aspect ratio 1440p video at up to 48fps. Of course the standard HD resolutions also make return appearances. The Hero3 Black Edition fleshes out its list of formats with 1080p full HD at 60fps, 960p tall HD at 100fps, 720p HD at up to 120fps, and WVGA 480p at up to 240fps. You may think that 4K video is overkill, particularly at the low 15fps frame rate, but being able to capture more-conventional HD video resolutions at ridiculously high frame rates can make for some sweet slow-motion video.

Here comes Windows8 Tablets!

Microsoft – Microsoft is now claiming the new Surface is on a three week backlog prior to there “official” release on 10/26.

They are being positioned as a high-powered alternative to the Apple iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The Surface is available at three price points: $699 for a 64 GB model with a “Touch Cover” (a case plus keyboard, basically); $599 for a 32 GB model with a Touch Cover; and $499 for a 32 GB model without a Touch Cover.

Sony –

The new Windows 8 VAIO can lay flat on a desk or table like a huge tablet, you can flip ou...Sony has priced and detailed the VAIO Tap 20 mobile Tabletop PC and VAIO Duo 11 sliding hybrid Ultrabook seen at IFA 2012 in readiness for the release of Microsoft’s new OS, Windows 8. Both devices lead the charge for a new VAIO Touchworld collection that includes new touchscreen models in the E Series laptop and T Series Ultrabook families-


AMC Chain – SOLD

BEIJING, China and KANSAS CITY, Mo., Sept, 4, 2012 — Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. (“Wanda”), a leading Chinese private conglomerate and China’s largest investor in cultural and entertainment activities, and AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (“AMC”), a preeminent U.S. movie exhibitor, today announced the successful completion of Wanda’s acquisition of AMC, creating the world’s largest cinema owner. The transaction is valued at approximately US$2.6 billion.

Wanda Chairman and President Wang Jianlin said, “We are very pleased to have completed the acquisition of AMC and begin this new chapter in Wanda’s international development. Throughout this entire process we have been impressed with the expertise and dedication of AMC’s management team and associates. We now look forward to working with AMC’s CEO Gerry Lopez and his team to invest in and build on the company’s widely-recognized brand and the incomparable entertainment experience AMC offers to its millions of customers.”

Gerry Lopez, chief executive officer and president of AMC, said, “All of us at AMC are thrilled about our future with Wanda. It allows us to continue expanding and innovating in what is the world’s largest movie market. More so, we are enthusiastic about combining AMC’s leadership in the US with Wanda’s leadership in China, the world’s fastest-growing market. We strongly believe in our shared common interests in advancing the movie industry and we feel this partnership creates one of the world’s premier location-based entertainment companies.”

Wanda will operate AMC as a wholly owned subsidiary under its existing brand while investing up to an additional US$500 million in the unit over time to fund strategic and operating initiatives. AMC will continue to control film programming and remain headquartered in the Kansas City metropolitan area, with more than 17,000 associates operating theaters in 32 states across the United States.

The transaction creates the world’s largest global cinema owner by combining Wanda’s 94 theatres, 805 screens and large-scale stage show, film production and distribution, entertainment chains with AMC’s 338 multiplex theatres and 4,865 screens, including 2,171 3-D screens and 124 IMAX screens, making it the world’s largest operator of IMAX screens. Approximately 200 million people watched movies in AMC theatres in 2011.


Disney Research Zurich has introduced a technology that its team calls a “new physical face-cloning method.” In other words, it can make animatronic faces that no longer resemble Chucky. It allows them to capture a whole new level of detail and accuracy in expressions. The video explains the process, from 3D capturing of a person’s expression to the fabrication and modeling of the face.

“Creating such figures is a difficult and labor-intensive process requiring manual work of skilled animators, material designers, and mechanical engineers,” the researchers said. But it’s clear that the hard work yields amazing results. The face cloning method could be applied to the animatronic figures at Disney attractions, such as those in the Hall of Presidents.

It’s one of many recent developments in technology by the “imagineers” at Disney. One of the most recent areas of interest for the company is the power of touch control, with investigations into the capability to turn anything into a touch-enabled surface and the ability to turn plants into touch sensors.




Microsoft Said to Debut Its Own Windows Tablet Next Week

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) will announce plans to sell a tablet running the next version of the Windows operating system under its own brand, a major departure from its strategy of partnering with computer makers, according to a person familiar with the plans.

The Redmond, Washington-based company may demonstrate the device at an event in Los Angeles on June 18, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans haven’t been made public. The company has said it aims to release the new Windows 8 operating system in time for the holiday season.

Microsoft Said to Plan Branded Tablet Computer Debut Next Week

Microsoft Said to Plan Branded Tablet Computer Debut Next Week

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

The Windows 8 software on tablet devices at the Microsoft Corp. Windows 8 software consumer preview event at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Microsoft has been working with personal-computer makers to produce Windows 8 tablets, designed to win back consumers who have shunned Windows machines in favor of Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad. The world’s largest software maker may be taking steps to exert more control over the hardware that runs its programs — as Apple does — in order to mount a more successful challenge.

“If Microsoft wants to control the entire user experience and the entire quality of their products, they have to build their own hardware,” said Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Washington-based market-research firm.

Frank Shaw, a spokesman for Microsoft, declined to comment.

Yesterday, the company invited press via e-mail to an event in Los Angeles on June 18 at 3:30 p.m., at a location to be disclosed later.

“This will be a major Microsoft announcement — you will not want to miss it,” the invitation said.

Software Focus

Since the release of International Business Machines Corp.’s first PC in 1981, Microsoft has focused on software for the machines and left design and branding to hardware makers. While the company has in the past decade played a larger role in working with some PC makers on design, it has shied away from developing the machines and selling them under the Microsoft brand.

The shift in strategy has the potential to sour Microsoft’s relationship with some PC partners, many of which have been investing to develop Windows 8 tablets themselves and may not want to compete directly with Microsoft.

Still, PC makers may have limited recourse, said Colin Gillis, an analyst at BGC Partners LP in New York. Apple doesn’t license its software to computer makers, and Google Inc. (GOOG), which makes the Android operating system, will probably make its own tablets through its recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

Tablet Options

“If you’re a computer maker, you don’t love it,” Gillis said. “But what are you going to do? Build an Android tablet? Google is going to build its own tablet, too. Everyone is making their own hardware now. It’s like having a poodle in your purse. All the cool kids are doing it.”

The addition of a tablet would radically alterprofitability in the Windows business, which now sells just software with operating margins of more than 60 percent. By comparison, computer maker Dell Inc. (DELL)’s operating margin for the most recent fiscal year was about 7 percent.

A move into tablets would be a similar strategy to the one Microsoft employed with its Zune music and video player. Microsoft initially provided software to partners, who failed to gain share against Apple’s iPod, forcing Microsoft to produce its own hardware. The Zune failed to dent Apple’s dominant market share, and Microsoft canceled the product last year.

Controlled Experience

For Microsoft, sticking with devices from its PC partners only may be equally risky. Sales in the Windows group have missed analysts’ estimates in four of the six most recent quarters as consumers shifted to purchasing tablets rather than lower-cost laptop PCs running Windows. Microsoft, which initially released a version of Windows for tablet machines in 2002 before scaling back, has zero share of the market now, according to researcher Gartner Inc.

Selling a branded tablet would help the company make sure the new Windows dovetails exactly with the hardware, avoiding issues that have cropped up when computer makers have added their own software that has degraded or limited the performance or design of Windows.

“The idea would be to make sure Microsoft’s vision for such a device is translated exactly into the consumer experience without a third-party interpretation,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner.

Apple’s Dominance

Apple has expanded its grip on the tablet market even as companies such as Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. release new tablets running Google’s Android software and PC makers work to prepare their Windows 8 tablets. Researcher IDC yesterday boosted its forecast for the tablet market on strong demand for the iPad.

Worldwide shipments of tablets this year will be 107.4 million units, up from an earlier projection of 106.1 million, Framingham, Massachusetts-based IDC said in a statement. Unit sales may reach 142.8 million next year and 222.1 million by 2016, the researcher said.

IDC predicts the iPad will account for 62.5 percent of global shipments this year, up from 58.2 percent last year. Apple’s share could rise even further if it introduces a smaller, less expensive tablet, IDC said.

Microsoft’s tablet plans were previously reported by entertainment website The Wrap and the All Things D blog.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at; Kathleen Chaykowski in New York at


No more “Shaken not Stirred” for 007?

SKYFALL Poster RevealedAd Age reports that actor Daniel Craig, who portrays the British Secret Service agent, will reach for a Heineken rather than his trademark cocktail in a scene from the upcoming Bond movie Skyfall, thanks to a deal Heineken USA struck with the film franchise.

Craig will additionally star in a commercial for the brew to run globally, with Skyfall director Sam Mendes serving as a consultant.

The English actor will also appear as Bond on special packaging for the beer.

Heineken USA chief marketing officer Lesya Lysyj told the trade paper, “[James Bond] is a perfect fit for us. [He is] the epitome of the man of the world.”

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise and to mark the event, the venerable agent has been cast to open the ceremony at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Craig, 44, will star in a short film called The Arrival to play during the games’ opening night.

In the film, he arrives at Buckingham Palace to be told his latest mission is to launch the Games, with the Queen rumored to be making a cameo appearance.

Bond will then be taken by helicopter to parachute into the Olympic stadium in Stratford, East London

Read more:

Verizon to kill unlimited data plans for existing subscribers

Verizon Wireless subscribers who have held onto their $30-a-month unlimited data plans will soon be forced to upgrade to a new tiered offering the company plans to launch this summer, according to the Web site Fierce Wireless.

Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo told investors that the company’s 3G unlimited data plans that customers were allowed to hang onto last year when Verizon switched to a tiered offering will soon go away entirely. Instead, the company will migrate its existing and new 4G LTE customers to a new “data share plan.”

The company has yet to announce the details of this new plan, but it has said previously that the data share plan will be introduced in midsummer. The plan will allow people on the same family plan to share buckets of data each month, much like they share voice minutes and text messaging. It will also allow individuals to share data across different 4G LTE devices.

Verizon eliminated its unlimited data plan for smartphone users last July, about a year after AT&T had done the same thing. Like AT&T had done previously, Verizon told its existing unlimited data plan customers that they could keep their unlimited data plans even after their contracts expired. And Verizon has allowed its 3G wireless subscribers to upgrade to 4G LTE devices, while keeping their unlimited data plans.

But the company was always careful to say that it could change this policy in the future. And now it looks like that day has finally come. The way it will likely work is that as 3G unlimited contracts expire, Verizon will push subscribers to upgrade their devices to smartphones on company’s 4G LTE network. These customers will then have to sign up for the data share plans.

News of the end of the unlimited data plan is sure to upset some consumers who have held onto their existing accounts specifically for the unlimited benefit.

AT&T also offers this benefit to longtime smartphone customers. But the company has struggled to keep up with the demands of some of these users. In an effort to ensure that “grandfathered” unlimited users don’t hog the network, the company began slowing down a proportion of these heavy users. The move outraged many customers. One man sued AT&T in small-claims court and won. AT&T has since changed its policy and now only slows down or throttles users if they exceed 3GB of data per month.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile USA and Sprint Nextel still offer unlimited data plans. T-Mobile also slows down users if they consume too much data each month. But Sprint claims that it is the only major wireless carrier in the U.S. to still offer unfettered unlimited data. Some people question how long the carrier will be able to offer such a plan given the steep rise in data usage.

Blackberry Music Gateway

To kick off the annual BlackBerry World trade show, Research In Motion unveiled a gadget, the BlackBerry Music Gateway, that bridges your phone with your stereo. Just pair your BlackBerry (or competing handset) via Bluetooth, and you’ll be quickly streaming music to whatever audio system it’s connected to.

Wait, pairing? Isn’t that why Bluetooth streaming hasn’t really taken off? Actually, it’s more complicated than that, but never fear: RIM has made the pairing simple by using yet another wireless technology: near-field communication (NFC).

Although NFC gets a lot of headlines for its application in mobile payments, it actually has a lot of other uses, insanely easy Bluetooth pairing being one of them. Just hold up your NFC-equipped BlackBerry to the Gateway, and — Bam! — you’re connected. Other Bluetooth phones can stream to the Gateway, but the NFC pairing is apparently BlackBerry-only.

SEE ALSO: RIM’s Secret Weapon for Reviving BlackBerry: HTML5RIM is far from the first to come out with a wireless music adapter, but few Bluetooth products so far have the NFC-pairing feature (Parrot’s Zik headphones, which we caught a glimpse of at CES, are another).

The gadget is very small, about the size of a case of dental floss, so it should be easily tucked out of sight somewhere near your stereo. It connects to a stereo either via RCA connectors or a 3.5mm minijack, getting power via USB, letting it transition from home to car fairly easily.

The BlackBerry Music Gateway goes on sale in June for $49.99.

20 Year Light Bulb is for Real

Newser) An energy-saving light bulb capable of staying in service until 2032 hit the market yesterday to coincide with Earth Day. The LED light bulb—which won a $10 million US government eco-bulb prize—originally had a hefty $60 price tag but manufacturer Philips has arranged discounts and rebates to bring the price down to $25 in some areas, reports the BBC.

 “Consumers are no longer looking at a product that will last just six months to a year, they are looking at a product that is much more efficient and will be with them for decades,” a Philips exec says. Even at $25, the bulb may be a tough sell to strapped consumers, but its maker says it will save consumers $165 in energy costs over its lifetime—and if it replaced every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the US, the country would save $3.9 billion in electricity in just one year.