Thursday, December 8, 2016

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Spotify has backed out of talks to acquire SoundCloud

Dec 08, 5:04PM

soundcloud spotify The digital music marriage that many wanted to happen, isn’t happening after all. Spotify has given up on its latest effort to buy SoundCloud following months of talks between the two, according to a source at Spotify who is familiar with discussions. Read More

Google now lets developers write apps for the Assistant on Google Home

Dec 08, 5:00PM

5-google-home Google today announced that all developers (and not just those in its private preview program), can start bringing their applications and services to the Google Assistant, starting with what the company calls “conversation actions” on Google Home. This allows developers to create back-and-forth conversations with users through the Assistant and users can simply start these… Read More

Osmo raises $24 million from Sesame, Mattel and other big names in toys and education

Dec 08, 4:59PM

osmo2 Hardware kits, internet-connected toys and robots that teach kids to code are now commonplace. But Osmo, an early entrant in IoT toys, is pulling ahead of the pack with funding and partnerships with top names in the field. Specifically, Osmo has raised $24 million in new venture funding from Mattel, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Collab+Sesame, the venture fund run in partnership by New… Read More

Johnson & Johnson and HAX team to foster health device hardware development

Dec 08, 4:51PM

shutterstock healthcare Johnson & Johnson, of BAND-AID and Tylenol (and about half the inventory at your local drugstore) fame, is teaming up with Shenzhen-based accelerator and hardware investor HAX to put some weight behind health startups. Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the forward-thinking wing of the cursive font conglomerate, is apparently on the lookout for technology ideas aligned with the… Read More

Estimote uses their new mesh network of BLE beacons to decorate a yuletide tree

Dec 08, 4:45PM

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-5-34-18-pm Everyone knows the holiday season means three things: family, friends, and interconnected low-energy Bluetooth devices connected using a simple mesh network. Estimote, a beacon company, has given us the last thing by creating a small mesh network of wireless beacons that they proceed to hang on a Christmas tree. The new beacons run Bluetooth Low Energy and connect to each other automatically.… Read More

Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana gets a revamp on Android and iOS

Dec 08, 4:29PM

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-11-24-03-am In the battle of the virtual assistants, Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Microsoft’s Cortana, the latter hasn’t had much success off the Windows 10 platform – its iOS app is ranked #1,295 on the top charts, for example. In an effort to give its assistant broader appeal, Microsoft is today announcing a redesign of its smartphone application, which is now focused on making… Read More

HBO NOW opens up shop in VR on Google Daydream, Netflix coming soon

Dec 08, 4:01PM

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-7-18-19-am If you’re the owner of a Google Daydream View headset, there’s about to be a lot more content to watch in your little headset. Today, Google announced that HBO’s standalone subscription app, HBO NOW, is arriving on the company’s Daydream mobile VR platform. The company also announced that Netflix will soon be arriving on the Daydream platform as well, though they… Read More

Google's Daydream VR just got some new games: Here's how they rank

Dec 08, 4:00PM

gunjack2 The primary weakness of Google’s Daydream VR is still a lack of a content, but the young platform got a bunch of new software today, including a sizeable list of new games. I tried out a bunch, and here’s a look at what I thought of a few and which ones might help further popularize Android’s built-in VR environment. 1. Gunjack: End of Shift This sci-fi shooter is a follow-up… Read More

Prosper's chief product officer just joined Norwest as a partner

Dec 08, 3:34PM

screen-shot-2016-12-07-at-1-53-30-pm Norwest Venture Partners, the 56-year-old, Palo Alto, Ca.-based venture firm that counts banking giant Wells Fargo as its single institutional investor, has just brought aboard Parker Barrile as a partner. Barrile most recently was chief product officer at the fintech marketplace Prosper; before that, he spent five years at LinkedIn, where he was a VP of product. Since Norwest doesn’t… Read More

Bluetooth 5 will bring higher speeds, better range and a focus on IoT

Dec 08, 3:19PM

img_0651 The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) gave the green light to Bluetooth 5 this week, a new spec that promises some pretty radicular performance enhancements over its predecessor, according to the organization. The latest version of the ubiquitous wireless technology is said to offer twice the speed, four times the range and eight times the capacity for broadcast messages. All of those… Read More

HTC debuts Vive Studios, building VR games that highlight the strengths of its platform

Dec 08, 3:10PM

arcadesaga_bowshot_2_1920 More than a little bit of drama has emerged in the VR community in response to the trend toward exclusives among hardware manufacturers. Oculus and Sony have devoted significant resources to ensuring its systems have titles either launch first on their platforms or only on them. Meanwhile HTC and its Vive system, which is built upon Valve’s OpenVR platform, have stayed in the good graces… Read More

Backing up the history of the internet in Canada to save it from Trump

Dec 08, 3:00PM

servers in data center When the Library of Alexandria burned, the world lost a significant portion of its cultural knowledge and history. That’s the fate that Brewster Kahle fears might await the Internet Archive under Donald Trump’s regime — and so he’s creating a backup of his renowned digital library in Canada. Every election cycle, voters disappointed by the outcome joke about moving… Read More

Secret founder returns to anonymous publishing with launch of IO

Dec 08, 2:50PM

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-9-43-20-am Secret co-founder David Byttow said his shuttered startup would make a return of sorts, tweeting as much in November. Byttow launched the revived anonymous publishing app as IO on Thursday morning, with a different approach that has more in common with Medium than mobile social apps like Twitter (and with Bold, the startup he launched as a long-form content publishing platform for enterprise… Read More

Pokémon Go is officially teaming with Starbucks for 7,800 new Gyms and PokéStops

Dec 08, 2:20PM

starbucks_pokestop_gym Pokémon Go’s next big sponsor partner in the U.S. is Starbucks, which is going to host new gyms and PokéStops at 7,800 company-run Starbucks stores in the U.S. In addition to the new in-game locales, Starbucks is also making a Pokémon Go edition Frappuccino to celebrate the tie-up. What does Pokémon Go taste like in sugared coffee drink form? I have no idea, but I will definitely… Read More

The Surgeon General calls youth e-cigarette smoking 'unsafe'

Dec 08, 2:19PM

vadm-murthy A statement issued by the Surgeon General of the United States on youth e-cigarette use this morning, while not quite definitive, is fairly damning nonetheless. While Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy stated that more research needs to be done on the issue, he believes enough evidence exists to consider the phenomenon “a major public health concern.” Murthy spoke to The Washington… Read More

Microsoft officially closes its $26.2B acquisition of LinkedIn

Dec 08, 2:14PM

linkedin-microsoft After getting its final European Commission approvals earlier this week, Microsoft and LinkedIn today announced that Microsoft’s $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the social networking site, has officially closed. The news comes six months after news first broke of the deal. In an internal memo, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner went through the areas where the two companies would be… Read More

Super Mario Run first month revenue projected at over $70M

Dec 08, 2:00PM

mobile_supermariorun_iphone6plus_screenshot_01 Nintendo is putting Super Mario Run out for everyone on December 15, which is just one short week away. The new mobile game is the iconic plumber’s first official outing on iOS or Android, and it’s likely to be a big win for Nintendo, even as a free release with in-app purchase as its primary sales model. Played might not pay anything up front for Super Mario Run and some initial… Read More

AMD's new Crimson ReLive Edition offers more tools for game sharing

Dec 08, 2:00PM

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-8-22-33-am AMD’s big graphics software update this year is called Crimson ReLive, and comes in both Pro and standard formats. The annual huge improvement dump adds a lot of oomph under the hood for Radeon graphics hardware, including performance increases of over 8 percent in terms of specific title gaming performance on the same generation of hardware Radeon Pro and Radeon Relive includes a new… Read More

This new development kit makes it easier to get started with Alexa hardware design

Dec 08, 1:00PM

ds20921-evk_mic-module Building hardware with Alexa included is likely a smart way to go, given interest in Amazon’s voice assistant, but it’s also hard to do well. Consumer electronics industry supplier Conexant is looking to make the early stages of the process easier with a new development kit designed to provide accurate voice recognition from a distance of several meters using only two… Read More

Mobile free roaming space sim 'Galaxy on Fire 3 – Manticore' is out now

Dec 08, 12:52PM

gof-gif-compressor Perhaps you’re like me and you wasted (or spent wisely) hours and hours of your youth playing Escape Velocity and its various sequels on an early Mac. If you are in that group, than the Galaxy on Fire series is probably no stranger, either. And if neither of these games sounds familiar, then I’ve got good news – there’s still time, and the new Galaxy on Fire 3 –… Read More

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