Sprint's 5G wireless launch, planned for May, could be the country's first

Washington Post - Technology News

Sprint customers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City will be among the first to test the company's 5G wireless network when it launches in May, executives said Monday. Expect an additional five markets -- Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. -- to come online by the first half of the year, said Sprint chief executive Michel Combes. The impending launch could make Sprint the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer a mass-market 5G service for smartphones in a global race to provide faster download speeds and support for new applications such as self-driving cars. Customers of Google Fi, the wireless service run by Google on Sprint's network, will be able to connect to Sprint's 5G capabilities, as well, Combes said -- though it is unclear when Google Fi customers will gain access to 5G smartphones that can take advantage of the new technology. Company officials declined to say how Sprint's 5G plans will be sold to consumers, or at what price.


New Google products, services take aim at its biggest rivals

Boston Herald

From virtual reality to a new smart-home speaker, Google is showing off just how pervasive it has become even as it's squeezed by its biggest competitors -- Facebook, Apple and Amazon. Google showed off a VR system called Daydream, along with plans for headsets that will compete with Facebook's Oculus Rift. In a jab at Amazon, the company announced Google Home, an Internet-connected speaker that listens for your voice commands to play music or control lights and thermostats in the home. It is reminiscent of Amazon's Echo and will be available later this year for a yet-unannounced price. In an attempt to outshine Apple, Google is also adding features to its Android operating system, including the ability to run apps without actually installing apps.


New Google Products, Services Take Aim at Its Biggest Rivals

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Google showed off a VR system called Daydream, along with plans for headsets that will compete with Facebook's Oculus Rift. In a jab at Amazon, the company announced Google Home, an Internet-connected speaker that listens for your voice commands to play music or control lights and thermostats in the home. It is reminiscent of Amazon's Echo and will be available later this year for a yet-unannounced price. In an attempt to outshine Apple, Google is also adding features to its Android operating system, including the ability to run apps without actually installing apps. That's perhaps the one truly new thing Google announced Wednesday.


As Facebook plans for the future, VR looms large

Los Angeles Times

When Google wanted people to know it was serious about virtual reality two years ago, it sent software developers attending its I/O conference home with Google Cardboard -- a cheap, build-it-yourself VR headset that developers could use with Samsung Galaxy smartphones. When Facebook wanted people to know it was serious about VR on Tuesday, it sent software developers attending its F8 conference -- all 2,600 of them -- home with Gear VR headsets, which retail at 99.99, and Samsung Galaxy S6 smartphones, which cost 598 apiece. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg's announcement of the high-end swag was met with emphatic applause from the audience of developers, who packed an auditorium in San Francisco's Fort Mason Center to hear him detail the company's 10-year plan. The Gear VR may not rival the coveted, high-end virtual reality headset released last month by Oculus VR, which Facebook acquired in 2014 for 2 billion. But it was enough to drive the message home: VR will play a big role in Facebook's future -- and so will developers who embrace the medium.


Everything Google announced at its 2017 I/O conference

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During a non-stop, two-hour keynote address at its annual I/O developers conference, Google unveiled a barrage of new products and updates. Here's a rundown of the most important things discussed: Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the keynote by unveiling a new computer-vision system coming soon to Google Assistant. Apparently, as Pichai explained, you'll be able to point your phone's camera at something, and the phone will understand what it's seeing. Pichai gave examples of the system recognizing a flower, a series of restaurants on a street in New York (and automatically pulling in their ratings and information from Google), and the network name and password for a wifi router from the back of the router itself--the phone then automatically connecting to the network. Theoretically, in the future, you'll be searching the world not through text or your voice, but by pointing your camera at things.