Android Creator Develops New Smartphone and Smart Speaker, Home

Devoted Android fans are likely familiar with Andy Rubin, the creator of the Android device. Now, Rubin has moved on to new mobile projects with his company Essential. Essential revealed that it will be releasing a new smartphone, a smart speaker device like the Amazon Echo called Home, and a new operating system, Ambient. The smartphone launch is currently causing the most buzz. Although details are limited, renders show that the device will feature an edge-to-edge screen made of titanium and ceramic with a small bezel. The device will measure around 5.6-inches and will feature a Qualcomm 835 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of device storage. The company’s Home is also interesting compared to Amazon Alexa and Google Home as it will avoid using the cloud for funneling and data storage when possible. Regardless, it will be interesting to watch Essential and see how these new products stack up against the competitors.

Read more about Essential’s new smartphone and smart speaker at TechCrunch

Consumers Spend More Time Watching Video on TV Than on Mobile Devices

Although industry experts will have you believe that watching video content on an actual television set is becoming obsolete, Nielsen has found the opposite to be true. According to Nielsen, the time consumers spent watching video content on a television set is more than the time spent watching video on any other platform combined, including TV-connected devices, PCs, smartphones, and tablets. The results show that 92.4% of viewing time was spent watching content on a television or on a television connected device. Viewing content on other platforms (a PC, smartphone and tablet) shares the remaining 7.6% of viewing time.

Read more about the findings of this Nielsen report at Forbes

Craving Denny’s? Place Your Order Via Denny’s Mobile App or Through Twitter

Denny’s is harnessing the power of mobile and social media to make ordering food easier for hungry customers. The diner chain recently launched “Denny’s on Demand,” a service that enables users to order food both online and through its iPhone mobile app for takeout and delivery. Although ordering a meal through a mobile app is not a new phenomenon, Denny’s is offering a unique ordering service via Twitter Direct Messages. Denny’s will also bring this same ordering functionality to Facebook, utilizing Chatbots and additional on-page options to enable customers to place their orders while engaging with social media.

Read more about “Denny’s on Demand” and ordering via social media at 9To5Mac

Snapchat and Drones? Snap Inc. Acquires a Drone Startup

In an interesting move, Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, has acquired the drone startup company, Ctrl Me. Although Ctrl Me does not build drones, it does offer customizations of drones to carry high-end cameras making it a natural fit with Snapchat. As Snap Inc.’s CEO Evan Spiegel has stated, Snap is a “camera company,” with industry experts predicting that Snap Inc.’s interest in Ctrl Me lies in its skills with shooting video and less about the technology itself. Ctrl Me has worked with Hollywood Studios and since Snap Inc. is interested in building out original content with major networks, it will be interesting to see how Snap Inc. leverages this new acquisition and the implications for video content in the future.

Read more about Snap Inc.’s acquisition of Ctrl Me at RetailDive

Epic! Raises $8 Million to Keep Kids Reading in the Digital Age

Now that summer is approaching and school is out, many students are tasked with summer reading assignments. But, in today’s digital age, with numerous platforms competing for kids’ attention, will books and reading fall by the wayside? Epic!, an on-demand digital library that is a “Netflix for books,” has recently raised $8 million thanks to efforts of education venture firm Reach Capital. Epic! currently offers around 25,000 books and videos targeted for elementary school age children, and reaches 5 million students thanks to the use of Epic! in schools. Besides offering books, Epic! features a teacher dashboard where teachers can track students’ reading progress. Investors hope that Epic! will help students to continue learning by eliminating the separation between school and home by encouraging students to read.

Read more about Epic! and its role in encouraging kids to read at TechCrunch