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Razer Buys THX

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Razer Buys THX

Gaming accessory maker Razer makes a surprise acquisition with THX, the venerable audio certification unit founded by George Lucas 33 years ago. Financial details of the deal are not available.

According to the new buyer THX should retain both its management and employees, and will continue operating as an "independent startup" under the Razer banner. The company will continue working on audio standards for both cinema and the home, but will also branch out into "new categories in order to address evolving consumer needs."

"Our focus has always been on ensuring that anyone can experience high quality entertainment, regardless of their medium of choice. With Razer, we can now continue to strengthen our core lines of business while delivering excellence for our customers’ ever-changing needs," THX says. "As a standalone company, THX will work with Razer but will primarily continue to service our partners in the industry in order to deliver great products to consumers."

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Microsoft Opens European HoloLens Preorders

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Microsoft Opens European HoloLens Preorders

Customers in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK interested in the HoloLens can now preorder the mixed reality computing headset, following an initial US launch.

The device has been available in N. America since August 2016, and previous to that (specifically in March) Microsoft started shipping a number of HoloLens kits to a select list of organisations. Technically, in its current state the headset is aimed at virtual and augmented reality specialists, but in actual case all one needs to buy the device is a Microsoft account and €3299.

"When we set out to pioneer mixed reality we knew that many of the best innovations would be discovered only when developers and organisations started developing with HoloLens," the company says. "It has been nothing short of inspiring to see what our partners have built and what individual developers have created."

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Lenovo to Buy Fujitsu PC Business?

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Lenovo to Buy Fujitsu PC Business?

Fujitsu plans to hand over the its PC business to Lenovo as part of refocus on higher-priority efforts, the Nikkei Asian Review reports-- and the companies hope to reach a deal some time on October 2016.

The company did release a statement on the matter, but it appears to neither confirm nor deny the story. Instead it simply says Fujitsu is "currently considering various possibilities, including what is being reported, but a decision has not yet been made."

In turn, Nikkei claims the two companies have two proposals for the Fujitsu PC business-- either the transfer of Fujitsu PC design, development and manufacturing operations to a Lenovo-led joint venture, or Lenovo taking a majority stake in the Fujitsu PC subsidiary. Either decision moves 2000 employees from Fujitsu to Lenovo.

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Samsung Buys Viv AI Assistant

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Samsung Buys Viv AI Assistant

In a clear effort to not remain behind Apple and Google in voice-controlled assistant race Samsung buys Viv, the next AI project from the creators of Siri, for an unspecified sum.

Viv was co-founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, who left Siri after it was acquired by Apple in order to start Viv in 2012. Post-acquisition Viv will continue running as an independent company, if one providing services to Samsung and related platform.

“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” Samsung says. “Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more, as the paradigm of how we interact with technology shifts to intelligent interfaces and voice control.”

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Google Brings Nexus to an End With Pixel Phones

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Google Brings Nexus to an End With Pixel Phones

The Made by Google event involves a bevy of hardware announcements, including search giant's next smartphone line-- dubbed Pixel, not Nexus-- the Daydream View VR headset, the Home smart speaker, the simply named Wi-Fi router and the 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra.

Clearly underlining the end of an era, the Pixel-branded smartphones are described as wholly designed by Google, with HTC simply taking care of manufacturing duties. The phones come in two sizes (the 5-inch Pixel and 5.5-inch Pixel XL) and carry AMOLED displays, quad-core Snapdragon 821 CPUs, 4GB RAM and 12.3MP cameras inside aluminium and glass bodies.

However what Google really pushes with the smartphones-- and the rest of its hardware announcements-- is the software. The Pixel phones run on the latest version of Android and come with Assistant (the Google take on the Siri-style voice assistant) built-in. A long press on the Home button summons the Assistant, allowing one to access a variety of Google services and connected apps through voice alone.

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Peerless-AV Partners with Almoe Digital Solutions at Gitex 2016

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Peerless-AV Partners with Almoe Digital Solutions at Gitex 2016

Peerless-AV and Almoe Digital Solutions, distributor of AV and IT products and supplier of customised business technology solutions across the UAE, announce their new partnership-- and the launch of new solutions at the 36th Gitex Technology Week (at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 16th to 20th October).

On the Almoe Digital Solutions stand, Peerless-AV will be exhibiting a range of versatile and installer-friendly video wall mounts and kiosk solutions to GITEX's international audience of more Continue reading...

Apple Moves London HQ to Battersea Power Station

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Apple Moves London HQ to Battersea Power Station

Apple takes over a famed "cathedral of power" as it announces plans to move 1400 staff from 8 locations in London to the restored Battersea power station, making it one of the biggest Apple sites outside of the US.

The iPhone maker will occupy all top 6 office floors in the Grade II listed building, which has stood derilict for 33 years on the bank of the Thames. The actual move to the building should take place in 2021, and makes Apple the biggest single tenant in the 42-acre complex comprising homes, offices, shops and leisure facilities.

“This is a great opportunity to have our entire team working and collaborating in one location while supporting the renovation of a neighborhood rich with history,” an Apple statement to the Evening Standard reads.

Apple's European HQ will remain in Cork, Ireland, where it employs around 6000 people. The company has 2530 staff in the British capital, 1100 of which work in its retail operations. Its biggest London office is in Hanover Street, Mayfair, near the flagship Regent Street store.

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Logitech Buys Saitek

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Logitech Buys Saitek

Logitech acquires more gaming capability with Saitek, the UK-based maker of high-end flight, farm and space simulation game controllers designed for titles such as Elite Dangerous and Star Citizen.

"We’re pleased with this tuck-in acquisition of the Saitek product portfolio," Logitech says. "The Saitek product line complements our market-leading portfolio of Logitech G gaming products, including simulation products like our G29 and G920 Driving Force steering wheels, and expands our leadership position at a very exciting time for gaming.”

The acquisition brings up questions on the health of Saitek's previous owner, Mad Catz, who acquired the controller maker for $30 million back in 2007. Under Mad Catz ownership Saitek produced two of its most popular controllers, the X-52 and X-55.

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A New McAfee is Born: Intel Sells Majority Stake

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A New McAfee is Born: Intel Sells Majority Stake

Intel sells 51% of its security business to private equity firm TPG to create an independent company in a deal worth about $4.2 billion.

While Intel paid $7.6 billion for McAfee in 2010, the $3.4 billion difference belies the fact that the security unit is still financially strong and Intel's minority position should generate cash for some years to come.

Last quarter it generated $537 million, a 10% revenue increase over the same 2015 period, and through the first half of 2016, revenue grew 11% to $1.1 billion.

Intel Security Group says it protects more than 250 million endpoints, counts almost two-thirds of the world's largest 2000 companies as customers, defends more than 200 million consumers and detects more than 400,000 new threats each day. That seems healthier than the PC business...

Private equity firm TPG will take a 51% stake and Intel will keep a 49% share in a security company that will now revert to the McAfee name. "We believe that McAfee will thrive as an independent company," TPG co-founder and co-CEO Jim Coulter says. "With TPG's investment, along with continued support from Intel, McAfee will sharpen its focus and become even more agile in its response to today's rapidly evolving security sector." Continue reading...

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