DMA Tech Watch: James Bond, Blizzard, Google Cardboard & Social Media

By Phill Powell

Welcome to DMA Tech Watch, where we review the biggest news events and tech trends now on the radar. Here’s what we’re watching as of November 9, 2015:

WILL JUMBO IPAD PRO BE A BIG DEAL?

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Big enough to serve dinner on: the new iPad Pro has a 13-inch screen.

On Wednesday, Apple will launch another of its celebrated iDevices, and the tech giant is hoping this one will be a big deal in every sense. It’s an iPad Pro with a screen that’s nearly 13 inches. At 12.9 inches, the screen is large enough for you to use this thing as a virtual office, and ideal for whatever multitasking you have in mind.

Extra tasks need extra power, and apps for iPad Pro will benefit because it’s also equipped with an A9X chip that’s 1.8 times faster than its predecessor. Watching movies on it will be a blast, too, thanks to the four-speaker audio. Prices start at $799, with a nicely tricked-out version available for $1,079.

BLIZZARD HEATS UP WITH HUGE ACQUISITION

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Like many companies, Blizzard is gearing up for making mobile games.

More proof that there’s a lot of gold in game development right how: Activision Blizzard announced its purchase of King Digital Entertainment, which published the popular game Candy Crush. The terms of the deal: $5.9 billion in cash, making it the third-largest deal to ever hit the video game industry.

In addition to the lucrative Candy Crush franchise, the deal should extend Activision Blizzard’s presence in mobile gaming.

TV TOPS SOCIAL MEDIA AMONG TEENS, SAYS STUDY

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For many teens, it’s not one or the other. It’s TV and Net surfing, social media or playing games.

Common Sense Media studies young people’s involvement with media. Its recent findings offer a surprise or two, although nobody’s going to be shocked to learn that the average 8-18 year-old teen (among the 2,600 teens studied) spends about 9 hours per day using some type of media.

The surprise is that watching TV still slightly edges out using social media, with 58 percent reporting daily TV watching, while only 45 percent using social media everyday. Only about a third of social-media users said they liked social media “a lot.”

GOOGLE TO BRING VR PROGRAM TO EVEN MORE SCHOOLS

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Google Cardboard will soon be blowing minds in a dozen new cities.

Google Cardboard is a cool tech application that puts simply made Virtual Reality viewers in the hands of school kids who might not otherwise get to experience VR thrills (unless they attend summer VR tech camps).

And now Google’s planning to broaden its reach, by expanding the Expeditions Pioneer Program to: Alexandria, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C.

TWO CLASSIC CHARACTERS SAVE THE WEEKEND BOX OFFICE

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Daniel Craig is back as Bond in Spectre, but will this be his last appearance as 007?

October’s movie box office wasn’t much to write home about. In fact, it was pretty lousy (about half as profitable as October 2014). But November’s off to a much stronger start, thanks to two classic characters who’ve each been thrilling audiences for more than 50 years.

The weekend box was captured by the 23rd entry in the James Bond series, Spectre, which earned $73 million at theaters. Another $45 million in ticket sales came from Charlie Brown and The Peanuts Movie. Matt Damon’s The Martian hung in there for another week, bringing in another $9.3 million.

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