August 3, 2016: Samsung Unveils Galaxy Note 7 and New Virtual-Reality Headset, Twitter Announces Olympic Plans, Instagram's New Stories Feature Draws Comparisons to Snapchat's Stories

1. SAMSUNG UNVEILS GALAXY NOTE 7 AND NEW VIRTUAL-REALITY HEADSET: Samsung revealed details about its new Galaxy Note 7 at Samsung Unpacked 2016, which was held Tuesday at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom. The 5.7-inch smartphone boasts a stylus, an iris scanner for extra security, 64 GB of storage, a longer battery life, and a 12-megapixel camera; it goes on sale August 19. The company also introduced the new Gear VR headset for virtual-reality needs; it has been redesigned to be lighter and more effective. CNET: "Even with its differences, the Note 7's wraparound screens, 12-megapixel camera, expandable storage and water-resistant coating bring it closer to the S7 series than to last year's Note 5 (that's right, there's no Note 6). And that's a good thing. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are two of the year's best phones, with excellent cameras and battery life—not a bad way to begin your pedigreed life as a phone." For the VR headset, "There is a USB-C port to connect with the Galaxy Note 7 (a Micro-USB adapter is included in the box to work with older Samsung devices like the Galaxy S7 and Note 5). A second USB-C port sits on the top of the unit for compatibility with what Samsung teased as 'future accessories.' The viewing angle has been expanded from 96 degrees to 101 degrees for a more immersive experience and reduced tunnel vision. ... The touchpad on the side is now flat, not recessed like before."

2. TWITTER ANNOUNCES OLYMPICS PLANS: Twitter's plans for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will include a dedicated section in Moments with breaking-news content and stories, as well as the launch of more than 200 hashtag-triggered emojis. Press release: "In addition to a new Rio 2016 section in Moments, Twitter will feature live Olympic Moments to follow for key sports and events throughout the Games in the following markets: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States. People in these markets, as well as Germany and France, will also be able to follow country specific Moments. By tapping to follow a country Moment, relevant Tweets are added directly into the timeline for the entirety of the event, so it's easier than ever to keep up with what's happening. Fans can also catch up on what they missed every day with recap Moments that will highlight results, medal counts and more. ... Fans across the globe can share their passion for their favorite teams on Twitter with 207 team emojis. Tweeting with the three-letter country code hashtag will trigger flag emojis for every team, including the Refugee Olympic Team (#ROT). Fans can also trigger over 50 Olympics and sports emojis on Twitter. ... Through Twitter Amplify, fans in markets such as Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, United States, and others will be able to see video highlights from their favorite events throughout the games. Periscope and Vine will bring fans closer to the Games as well. Periscope will have a featured channel with Olympics-related content. Vine will also feature Olympics-related content in the Explore section on Vine's mobile apps in the coming days, and when people double-tap a Vine from @Olympics and various team accounts, they'll find an Olympic Flame instead of a heart."

3. INSTAGRAM'S NEW STORIES FEATURE DRAWS COMPARISONS TO SNAPCHAT'S STORIES: Instagram has debuted its new Stories feature, and it's already being compared to Snapchat's own popular Stories feature. Recode: "On Tuesday, Instagram announced Stories, a 'new' feature that is—with the exception of a few minor design elements—a replica of Snapchat’s Stories feature, which lets users share photos and videos to their followers, and which expire 24 hours after they are posted. The similarities are striking, even outside of the main concept. Both Stories products limit videos to 10 seconds, feature Stories in a row of small circles inside the app, and let you draw or add stickers to photos and videos you share. Oh, and the name is the same, too. Depending on where you work, Instagram’s Stories feature is either the most sincere form of flattery or the most blatant form of plagiarism. Instagram doesn’t seem concerned. New product VP Kevin Weil, who joined the company earlier this year from the same position at Twitter, likened Snapchat’s creation of Stories to the way the hashtag started on Twitter."


AUSTIN:  The 12th annual Fantastic Fest, which will take place September 22-29 at Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar, has announced its first wave of programming. Movies screening at the horror/fantasy festival will include Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (with director Tim Burton in attendance), Phantasm: Ravager, and American Honey. The festival will also have virtual-reality programming for the first time this year. Partnering with Los Angeles-based VR studio Dark Corner, the event's VR films will include Mule and Burlap.

CHICAGO:  4 Star Restaurant Group's Mexican concept Tuco and Blondie is slated to open in mid-September. The 250-seat restaurant, which will feature branding by Grip and culinary operations by corporate executive chef Todd Stein, will have 3,000 square feet of indoor space and 3,000 square feet of private patio space. 

Italian restaurant Spiaggia has debuted a new private events offering with Italian Chef's Table Menu & Wine Bar, which will include a custom menu priced per person, custom table stations, a wine bar, and a barista bar. 

HOUSTON:  Home2 Suites by Hilton Houston Stafford is now open. The all-suite property has 91 rooms with fully equipped kitchens, complimentary Internet services, and a combined laundry and fitness area. 

LAS VEGAS:  On August 24, Rio Spa & Salon at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino will host its seventh annual Cut-A-Thon to benefit Locks of Love.

Ipec Las Vegas has rebranded as the Conference Center of Las Vegas, aiming to highlight its free-standing conference and special events center.

The fourth annual Style With a Cause, which benefits homeless and disadvantaged high schoolers through supporting Project 150, will take place September 7 at Fashion Show. The event will feature beauty bars from Sephora and a fall fashion show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue.

LOS ANGELES:  Jimmy Fallon has been named host of the 74th annual Golden Globes, which will take place at the Beverly Hilton on January 8. The awards show is slated to air live on NBC.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MAUI, HAWAII:  Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa will debut three new event spaces this fall: The renovated Monarchy Ballroom spans 18,000 square feet, the new 9,500-square-foot Halona Kai event space accommodates 500 for receptions, and the new Regency Club Lounge boasts 3,333 square feet with ocean views.

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Grove Bay Grill and Shake-A-Leg Miami are organizing a cleanup of the coastal habitats of the Coconut Grove marina on Saturday. The event's registration requires a $15 donation, and will take place at Grove Bay Grill in Coconut Grove. The cleanup will be followed by a barbecue. 

NEW ORLEANS:  The founders of New York oyster bar Grand Banks have opened Seaworthy, a new oyster bar at the Ace Hotel New Orleans. 

NEW YORK:  The inaugural Brooklyn Bike Rave, hosted by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative, will take place August 27. The seven-mile race will begin in Greenpoint and end under the Manhattan Bridge archway. 

The New York Comic Con Eastern Championships of Cosplay, presented by Autodesk, will take place October 8 at the Javits Center. The costume contest is the 10th stop in ReedPop’s 2016 Global Championships of Cosplay circuit. The winner of the contest will win cash and prizes, as well as a trip to Chicago for C2E2 next April to compete in the C2E2 Crown Championships of Cosplay, the last stop in the competition. 

The New York Building Congress' 2016 Industry Recognition Dinner will take place November 16 at the Grand Hyatt New York.

NBC will televise the birthday special Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet to Come on December 20. The event will be prerecorded at Radio City Music Hall in mid-September on a date to be announced. Bennett will appear on the program, which will include musical tributes from Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Billy Joel, Elton John, Rufus Wainwright, K.D. Lang, and Stevie Wonder. Alec Baldwin, Steve Buscemi, Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, and Bruce Willis will also participate in the show.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

SAN DIEGO:  The U.S.S. Midway aircraft carrier will host a viewing party of the Summer Olympics opening ceremony Friday on the ship's flight deck. The event, which is free and open to the public, is being presented in a partnership between U.S.S. Midway, NBC 7, the Chula Vista Olympic Training Center, and Brazilian Productions.

TORONTO:  This year's Taste of the Danforth street festival will take place Friday to Sunday. The event will feature Greek-theme events including archery and plate-smashing.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  BizBash's third annual Elevate D.C. takes place today at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. Guest speakers include executives from Univision, AOL, Dufour and Company Productions, iStrategyLabs, Human Rights Campaign, and Multi Image Group. More information can be found at

The U.S. Soccer Foundation, EventsDC, and the Embassy of Colombia will host an Olympic women's soccer-viewing party for the U.S. vs. Colombia match on Tuesday. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the outdoor lawn of Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square.

The third annual All Things Go Fall Classic will take place Monday at the Capitol Riverfront's Yards Park. The festival will include performances from Empire of the Sun, Passion Pit, Sylvan Esso, and Christine and the Queens. 

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Carla Hay, Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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