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Showing posts from November, 2018

E Ink debuts a new electronic drawing technology

E Ink — a name synonymous with e-reader screens — just debuted a new writing Display technology called JustWrite. The tech offers the company’s familiar monochrome aesthetic — albeit in negative this time, with white on black.The key here, as with most of E Ink’s technology is minimal power consumption and low cost, the latter of which it was able to accomplish by dumping the TFT (thin-film-transistor LCD). Instead, it’s a thin roll that could be used to paper surfaces like conference rooms and schools, in order to let people write on the walls using a stylus with practically no latency, as evidenced in the below GIF. “The JustWrite film features one of E Ink’s proprietary electronic inks and offers similar benefits as E Ink’s other product lines: a paper-like experience with a good contrast and reflective display without a backlight,” the company writes. “The JustWrite film is an all plastic display, making it extremely durable and lightweight, with the ability to be affixed and remo…

Google Rumored to Shut Down Hangouts in 2020

Google's inability to form a coherent messaging strategy is legendary at this point, and it doesn't look like things are getting any better if a new rumor is accurate. AccordingThe post Google Rumored to Shut Down Hangouts in 2020 appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Fury of Disappointment: Darksiders III

After the collapse of THQ in 2013, the fate of well-loved franchises like Darksiders was in peril. The company's intellectual properties scattered to the winds, devs moved to other endeavors, and fans were heartbroken. But all these years later, Darksiders is back from the dead.The post Fury of Disappointment: Darksiders III appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Facebook adds free TV shows Buffy, Angel, Firefly to redefine Watch

Facebook hasn’t had a hit show yet for its long-form video hub Watch, so it’s got a new plan: digging up some deceased cult favorites from television. First up, Facebook is making all episodes of Joss Whedon’s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly free on Facebook Watch. There’ll be simultaneous viewing Watch Parties where fans can live comment together for Buffy at 3 pm PT today, Angel tomorrow at 12 pm PT, and Firefly on sunday at 12pm PT. Facebook recruited Buffy star Sarah Michelle Gellar to promote the launch.These shows aren’t original, and they’re far from exclusive since they’re included in a Hulu subscription and are available to rent or buy on other platforms. But at least they’re not run-of-the-mill web content.Wwith Facebook’s remake of MTV’s Real World not arriving until Spring 2019, these sci-fi and horror shows are the most high-profile programs available on the free ad-supported streaming service. The hope is that fans of these shows will come get a taste of Wat…

PayPal: Black Friday & Cyber Monday broke records with $1B+ in mobile payment volume

Black Friday broke records in terms of sales made from mobile devices, according to reports last week from Adobe. This week, PayPal said it saw a similar trend during the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday shopping event. PayPal saw a record-breaking $1 billion+ in mobile payment volume for the first time ever on Black Friday – a milestone it hit again on Cyber Monday.Mobile payment volume on Black Friday was up 42 percent over Black Friday 2017, the company said, and it even outpaced the mobile payment volume on Cyber Monday this year.However, Cyber Monday saw more total payment volume, likely because much of the shopping that takes place that day comes from office workers back at their desktops, wrapping up a few more purchases.Worldwide, mobile payment volume from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday accounted for a significant 43 percent of PayPal’s total payment volume. Between those days, PayPal was processing more than $25,000 per second, with more than $11,000 per second processed on mobile…

The International Space Station’s new robot is a freaky floating space Alexa

Meet Cimon. The 3D printed floating robot head was developed by Airbus for the German Space Agency. He’s been a crew member of the International Space Station since June, though as Gizmodo notes, this is the first time we’re seeing him in action.Really the floating, Watson-powered robot face is like an extremely expensive Amazon Echo designed to study human-machine interactions in space. This video highlights an early interaction between Cimon and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst.Gerst requests his “favorite song,” leading Cimon to play Kraftwerk’s “Man Machine,” only to shaken by the astronaut, who then demands the robot shoot some video. Once again Cimon complies, though this time he’s clearly a bit annoyed that the music has stopped. Kind of a rough first encounter for the two new coworkers.“Happy with his initial outing, both Cimon’s developers and Alexander hope to see Cimon back in action again soon,” the ESA says. “While no further sessions are planned during the…

3 Minuscule Moon Rocks Just Sold for $855,000 at Auction

The newly auctioned moon fragments came to Earth aboard the Soviet Luna 16 return rocket, the first automated probe to return a sample from the lunar surface.The post 3 Minuscule Moon Rocks Just Sold for $855,000 at Auction appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Niantic confirms that Pokémon GO is getting PvP battles “soon”

Two and a half years after the launch of Pokémon GO, it’s still missing one major staple of the main series games: player versus player battling.That’s about to change.In a series of teaser tweets this morning, the company confirmed that the battle system is on the way, noting only that it’s “coming soon”.Hmm…what’s this?— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) November 30, 2018— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) November 30, 2018— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) November 30, 2018 Get prepared… Trainer Battles are coming soon to Pokémon— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) November 30, 2018 Battling is the feature perhaps most demanded by the player base — particularly after the other oh-so-demanded feature, trading, was finally added around six months ago. While players have long been able to battle Pokémon stored in gyms, or work together to take down bigger/badder Pokémon that show up in raids, there’…

The Arlo security camera goes 4K

The Arlo line was something of a surprise hit for Netgear, causing the networking company to spin it off into its own business earlier this year. The Arlo ecosystem is one of the most robust in the smart security camera space, and now it’s getting something it had never had before: 4K.The new Arlo Ultra shoots in ultra high definition, with HDR image processing. At $400, it seems like — and likely is — overkill for most users. Do you need a 4K security camera? Almost certainly not. But there are some instances when getting the extra granular detail ultra high def affords could come in handy.That price also gets you a free one-year subscription to Arlo’s Smart Premier service (worth $120), along with the Arlo SmartHub for connecting to home Wifi.Beyond that, the Ultra also sports a 180-degree field of view and a built-in LED spotlight to get a better shot of dark views that night vision car offer. There are dual-mics on board as well, for two-way communications with active noise cancel…

AT&T details its streaming service plans as it weighs a sale of its Hulu stake

AT&T may be ready to sell its stake in Hulu, the company revealed in an analyst presentation on Thursday. The company currently owns a 10 percent stake in the service by way of WarnerMedia, as a result of its Time Warner acquisition. But AT&T today is running its own streaming services, including live TV service DirecTV Now aimed at cord cutters, and a more lightweight WatchTV. It’s also preparing to launch yet another direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019 that leverages its WarnerMedia properties.The company offered a few more details about this new service during the presentation, noting that it will have three tiers of service.The entry-level package will be focused on movies, followed by a premium service with original programming and “blockbuster movies.” The third service will include content from the first two tiers, then add an “extensive library of WarnerMedia and licensed content,” including classics, kids & family programing, comedy, and other theatrical …

In China, Electric Vehicles Log Precise Location Data With the Government

In China, electric vehicles constantly report their exact real-time position -- and a great deal of additional information besides -- to the Chinese government.The post In China, Electric Vehicles Log Precise Location Data With the Government appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Toyota taps Docomo 5G to remotely control its humanoid robot

Toyota introduced T-HR3 to the world right around this time last year. The humanoid robot is capable of mimicking to the motions of a plugged-in human, a la Pacific Rim and countless other sci-fi franchises. The ‘bot’s learned a few new tricks in the intervening years, including, notably, untethered control via 5G.Using the next-gen wireless tech, a plot is able to remotely control the robot from a distance of up to 10 kilometers (~6 miles). Toyota notes in a press release tied to the news that, in spite of earlier images, demos have been performed with a tethered robot. Using 5G tech from Japanese carrierDocomo, however, the robot can be controlled from a distance with low latency.As for what such a robot might actual be good for (beyond knocking the snot out of pint-sized kaiju), Toyota sees potential in homes and healthcare, with an eye on “a prosperous society of mobility.”At the very least, it’s a nice little bit of press for the promise of 5G connectivity, which networking compa…

Stop Ignoring Your Smart Speaker’s Privacy Functions

I use my Amazon Echo almost daily: to set tea or cooking timers, to check the news and weather, to play The Greatest Showman soundtrack for the millionth time. In the four months […]The post Stop Ignoring Your Smart Speaker’s Privacy Functions appeared first on


And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2018 is… Legacy

At the very beginning, there were 13 startups. After three days of incredibly fierce competition, we now have a winner.Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup.After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to five finalists: Imago AI, Kalepso, Legacy, Polyteia and Spike.These startups made their way to the finale to demo in front of our final panel of judges, which included: Sophia Bendz (Atomico), Niko Bonatsos (General Catalyst), Luciana Luxiandru (Accel), Ida Tin (Clue), Matt Turck (FirstMark Capital) and Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch).And now, meet the Startup Battlefield winner of TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2018.Winner: Legacy Legacy is tackling an interesting problem: the reduction of …

Shaping Healthcare Ecosystem with Blockchain

Blockchain has become a hot topic of discussion these days as it has made its way into a number of industries. From finance to infrastructure, blockchain or distributed ledger has found interoperability in every sphere of work. Healthcare is another realm that has found a widespread implementation of the technology. This collaboration has changed the […]The post Shaping Healthcare Ecosystem with Blockchain appeared first on ReadWrite.

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U.S. mobile app stores had their biggest day ever on Black Friday 2018

Black Friday wasn’t just a boon for e-commerce retailers, it helped the mobile app stores break new records, too. According to a new report from Sensor Tower, the combined consumer spending across the U.S. Apple App Store and Google Play on Black Friday 2018 reached $75.9 million – a record for the most ever spent in a single day on both stores.The App Store accounted for most of that figure, however, with U.S. consumers spending a record $52 million on Black Friday. That’s a 31.6 percent increase in spending over last year’s shopping event, when consumers then spent $39.5 million.It’s also notably higher than Christmas 2017, when spending reached $39.8 million – typically a strong day for app purchases and in-app sales, as consumers unwrap new iPhones.The App Store’s $52 million was more than double the $23.9 million spent on Google Play during the same time.Sensor Tower attributes the increased spending to a variety of factors, largely driven by mobile gaming. Game makers this year …

9 Charged With Selling Samsung’s Bendable Screen Technology

South Korean prosecutors charged nine people with IP theft against Samsung, in a failed bid to steal OLED technology for a Chinese manufacturer.The post 9 Charged With Selling Samsung’s Bendable Screen Technology appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Lawmakers say Amazon’s facial recognition software may be racially biased and harm free expression

Amazon has “failed to provide sufficient answers” about its controversial facial recognition software, Rekognition — and lawmakers won’t take the company’s usual silent treatment for an answer.The letter, signed by eight lawmakers — including Sen. Edward Markey and Reps. John Lewis and Judy Chu — called on Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos to explain how the company’s technology works — and where it will be used.It comes after the cloud and retail giant secured several high-profile contracts with the U.S. government and at least one major metropolitan city — including Orlando, Florida — for surveillance.The lawmakers said that they expressed a “heightened concern given recent reports that Amazon is actively marketing its biometric technology to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as other reports of pilot programs lacking any hands-on training from Amazon for participating law enforcement officers.”They also said that the system suffers from accuracy issues — which could…

DoJ charges Autonomy founder with fraud over $11BN sale to HP

UK entrepreneur turned billionaire investor, Mike Lynch, has been charged with fraud in US over the 2011 sale of his enterprise software company.Lynch sold Autonomy, the big data company he founded back in 1996, to computer giant HP for around $11BN some seven years ago.But within a year around three-quarters of the value of the business had been written off, with HP accusing Autonomy’s management of accounting misrepresentations and disclosure failures.Lynch has always rejected the allegations, and after HP sought to sue him in UK courts he countersued in 2015.Meanwhile the UK’s own Serious Fraud Office dropped an investigation into the Autonomy sale in 2015 — finding “insufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction”.But now the DoJ has filed charges in a San Francisco court, accusing Lynch and other senior Autonomy executives of making false statement that inflated the value of the company.They face 14 counts of conspiracy and fraud, according to Reuters — a charge whic…

Microsoft Wins $480M Contract to Provide HoloLens to US Military

Microsoft has signed a major deal with the US military to provide HoloLens devices for both training and, eventually, live combat.The post Microsoft Wins $480M Contract to Provide HoloLens to US Military appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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There’s definitely reason to worry about Brexit, says Accel’s London team; “It’s not just startups; I’m not a U.K. citizen”

Longtime Accel partners Philippe Botteri, Sonali De Rycker, Luciana Lixandru, and Harry Nelis took the stage at Disrupt Berlin earlier today, and unlike many London-based investors, who have downplayed how much Brexit could hurt their local economy, the team was frank about their sundry concerns over what happens if the U.K. leaves the European Union as is currently scheduled to happen, beginning March 29, 2019.Though they reiterated that no one can no for certain what Brexit’s impact might be, Botteri raised a handful of things that have the firm worried, beginning with “immigration and hiring talent and the movement of talent,” which could be meaningfully hampered by Brexit. “Even companies that don’t move their headquarters to London will often at some point begin to build a team,” he noted, questioning whether that will continue to happen.There’s also the nontrivial issue of what happens to fintech companies, which have been thriving in London as a gateway between the U.S. and Eur…

Asana raises $50M, Airbnb gets a new CFO, and a 2019 IPO preview

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.This week as TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin came to life, Kate Clark and I snagged some mics and dug through the biggest news of the week (a $50 million check), and talked through who may go public next year, and what those IPOs might look like.Our usual fare, if you will. (If you are missing Danny and Connie, fear not, they will be back next week.)This week we hit two news items and one roundup. Here’s the skinny:Asana raises $50 millionYep, Asana went back to the funding well this week for its Series E, despite having raised a $75 million Series D earlier this year. The company’s funding pace might seem aggressive, but we’re hearing that many startups are looking to tack on extra cash. Why? Because the market might change, and so the savvy are stacking chips in case the cashier closes. Oh, and the company dropped a number of relative growth metrics that were,…

Shuttle business Via could add scooters to its lineup

Via, a shuttle-based carpooling service and platform that partners with cities in the U.S. and Europe, could soon add scooters to its business.Via CEO and co-founder Daniel Ramot said on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin that the company is experimenting with the idea of adding scooters as a complement to its shuttle business.“We’re also adding scooters mostly, again, for our partner cities, where they’re going to provide a holistic transportation solution as a public transit offering to the residents,” Ramot said.Via’s consumer-facing shuttles are in Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York. The company also partners with cities and transportation authorities, giving clients access to their platform to deploy their own shuttles. For instance, Austin’s Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority uses the Via platform to power the city’s Pickup service. Via’s platform is also used by Arriva Bus UK, a Deutsche Bahn Company for a first and last-mile service connecting commuters to a hig…

Best Cars of the 2018 LA Auto Show

Old models return. New cars get faster and safer. More SUVs, more pickups, a few more sedans. Even Tesla has a booth.The post Best Cars of the 2018 LA Auto Show appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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Sweetgreen is opening up order-ahead locations inside WeWork

Salad startup Sweetgreen is expanding on a pilot program with WeWork that provides free delivery to WeWork members. Though, it’s more accurate to describe it as an order-ahead service that lets you pick up your food from your WeWork of choice.Geared toward WeWork employees and members, Sweetgreen at WeWork outposts are live in seven cities in the country. Across those seven cities, which include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Boston, Sweetgreen at WeWork has plans to cover 50 WeWork locations.“WeWork and sweetgreen share a vision for creating community and being more conscious global citizens, fostering discussion and recognition of the way our actions impact ourselves, our communities, and the world around us,” WeWork President & Chief Financial Officer Artie Minson said in a press release. “Together, we are bringing sweetgreen’s offerings directly to thousands of WeWork members and employees while leveraging WeWork’s platform to…

Apple Music is coming to the Amazon Echo

Starting mid-December, Amazon Echo devices will be able to stream songs from Apple Music. A bit of a surprise, perhaps, given that Apple’s been a competitor in the space since launching the HomePod back in 2017.Amazon’s had its own music service for some time as well, but the company appears to have given up on the dream of being a series competitor in the space — for now, at least. Instead, Echo smart speakers offer native support for a decent cross section of streaming services, including Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn.The new skill lets users play specifics songs, genres, playlists and the Beats 1 station through the smart speakers. Adding Apple Music will help the popular smart home products tap into a rapidly growing service.The company cracked 50 million subscribers earlier this year. That’s still well behind the 83 million paid subscribers Spotify announced back in July, but this addition should help give Amazon an added advantage against Google’s Home devices, parti…

Facebook quietly hired Republican strategy firm Targeted Victory

Facebookis still reeling from the revelation that it hired an opposition research firm with close ties to the Republican party, but itsrelationship with Definers Public Affairsisn’t the company’s only recent contract work with deeply GOP-linked strategy firms.According to sources familiar with the project, Facebook also contracted with Targeted Victory, described as “the GOP’s go-to technology consultant firm.”Targeted Victory worked with Facebook on the company’sCommunity Boost roadshow,a tour of U.S. cities meant to stimulate small business interest in Facebook as a business and ad platform. The ongoing Community Boost initiative, announced in late 2017, kicked off earlier this year with stops in cities like and Topeka, Kansas and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Facebook also worked with Targeted Victory on the company’s ad transparency efforts. Over the last year, Facebook has attempted to ward off regulation from Congress over ad disclosure, even putting forth some self-regulatory efforts

Microsoft’s Next Surface Might Tap AMD Hardware

There are rumors that AMD, not Intel, might get the nod for the next version of Microsoft's Surface.The post Microsoft’s Next Surface Might Tap AMD Hardware appeared first on ExtremeTech.

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UrbanClap, India’s largest home services startup, raises $50M

UrbanClap, a four-year-old startup that offers home services across in India, has closed a $50 million Series D round for expansion.The round was led by Steadview Capital, a hedge fund with over $1 billion under management, and existing investor Vy Capital. It takes UrbanClap to $110 million raised to date, according to data from Crunchbase.UrbanClap matches service people, such as cleaners, repair staff or beauticians, with customers across 10 cities in India via its platform. Co-founder and CEO Abhiraj Bhal told TechCrunch that the business supports 15,000 “micro-franchisees” with around 450,000 transactions taking place each month.“Micro-franchisees” is an interesting term — I’ve not heard it used much, even in the buzzword-heavy world of tech startups — but Bhal explained his vision to enable service workers to earn more and enjoy greater control of their work and, consequently, overall life.For example, he said, the typical salary for an offline service worker might be in the reg…

Jina Choi, the head of the SEC’s San Francisco office, is leaving the agency

Silicon Valley companies know to operate in the gray might be heaving a small sigh of relief this morning. Yesterday, afternoon, the Securities & Exchange Commission announced that Jina Choi, the head of its San Francisco office, is retiring after 16 years with the agency.The release about Choi’s move is glowing, though it doesn’t off an explanation of why Choi is leaving or what her next move may be, though many federal employees are eventually lured into higher paying jobs in the private sector. (We’ve reached out to learn more.)Choi was appointed to lead the SEC’s Bay Area office in 2013, and with a staff of 130 enforcement attorneys, accountants, investigators, and compliance examiners, it has brought enforcements against numerous high-fliers, including, most recently, Tesla’s Elon Musk, who was made to step down as chairman of the company for a period of at least three years after he was accused of fraud for tweeting that he had secured company for the car company when he had…

N26 says it now has more than 2M customers

N26 announced today that it now has more than 2 million customers — up from 1.5 million in October.The German fintech startup’s CEO Valentin Stalf was interviewed onstage at Disrupt Berlin with Tandem CEO Ricky Knox, where they discussed the growth of what are sometimes called challenger banks or neobanks — new banks that are taking on the incumbents by focusing on digital tools.Stalf said N26 is seeing more than €1.5 billion in transactions each month, with €1 billion in deposits. He also discussed the company’s recent launch in the United Kingdom — he didn’t know the exact number of U.K. users, but estimated that the company has tens of thousands of U.K. accounts, with between 1,500 and 2,000 new signups on a single day three days ago.Meanwhile, Knox said Tandem now has nearly half a million users in the U.K. (“This year, we’re seeing everybody’s growing really quickly.”) He also noted that because Tandem allows users to aggregate different accounts, he’s noticed some of those users…

Starwood Hotels says 500 million guest records stolen in massive data breach

Starwood Hotels has confirmed its hotel guest database of about 500 million customers has been stolen in a data breach.The hotel and resorts giant said in a statement that the “unauthorized access” to its guest database was detected on or before September 10 — but may have dated back as far as 2014.“Marriott learned during the investigation that there had been unauthorized access to the Starwood network since 2014,” said the statement. “Marriott recently discovered that an unauthorized party had copied and encrypted information, and took steps towards removing it.”Specific details of the breach remain unknown. We’ve contacted Starwood for more and will update when we hear back.The company said hat it obtained and decrypted the database on November 19 and “determined that the contents were from the Starwood guest reservation database.”Some 327 million records contained a guest’s name, postal address, phone number, date of birth, gender, email address, passport number, Starwood’s reward…