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January 22, 2013
17:08 EDTLYVLiberty Media reports 26.4% stake in Live Nation
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December 1, 2015
14:51 EDTLYVAugmented reality to overtake smartphones in 10 years, Citi says
Virtual reality devices and similar "augmented reality" gadgets could become the new smartphone in just one decade, Citi researcher Kota Ezawa argued Tuesday, building on a growing volume of analyst opinions on the promising new technologies. CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHIFT: Virtual reality and augmented reality devices will eventually generate "major new markets that replace the smartphone" in a process of "destructive creation," Citi analyst Kota Ezawa and his team contended in a research note. Current virtual reality gadgets involve large headset "goggles" aiming to completely immerse a user in a virtual space, while augmented reality technology seeks to overlay or superimpose images and data over objects in the real world. AR, seemingly the more portable and compact of the two approaches, allows users to move, work, and perform everyday tasks while still making use of the tech. Though VR goggles offer greater immersion, AR devices seem to be the more obvious bridge between smartphones and truly wearable computers, leading Ezawa to forecast the AR market ultimately becoming larger than VR. That said, the mobility of AR also creates greater technical hurdles, as the need to embed processors and batteries within the wireless headset while still displaying high-quality, convincing imagery means the technology has a longer development horizon than VR, which can offload much of its processing requirements to a stationary computer or game console. Early versions of AR are expected to appear in 2016-2017, according to Ezawa, though full-featured systems are unlikely to be available before 2019-2022. Both technologies have numerous applications, said the analyst, with early content being primarily games and movies before expanded offerings involving theme parks, live events, remote medicine, job tasks, and, notably, significant e-commerce and mobile commerce applications. With the VR/AR market "set to ramp up" from 2016, Ezawa sees the space reaching $674B in 2025 as the average price of headsets declines to $227 by the mid-2020s. The analyst's main recommendation in the space is Sony (SNE), whose Playstation VR headset is scheduled for a 1H16 launch. Other key names in headset development include Facebook's (FB) Oculus virtual reality subsidiary and Samsung (SSNLF). Note also Microsoft's (MSFT) Hololens and Google's (GOOG) Project Glass. Meanwhile, LG Display (LPL) and Analog Devices (ADI) are among hardware names with exposure to VR/AR, while Live Nation (LYV), Disney (DIS), Time Warner (TWX), Fox (FOXA), SAP (SAP) and Salesforce (CRM) are among software and service providers that may benefit. PRICE ACTION: Sony shares trading in New York have advanced roughly 1.4% to $26.29 in afternoon trading.

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