Monday, December 19, 2016

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Tech's 2016 in diversity, and more cars that drive themselves: It's The Daily Crunch

Dec 19, 5:37PM

daily-crunch-2x1 Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday our daily guided tour of the biggest tech stories from the past 24 hours will appear here on To get The Daily Crunch in your inbox every day of the week, sign up here and be sure to take a look at the rest of our newsletters while you’re at it. How did the tech industry rate in terms of diversity and inclusion in 2016? That answer and… Read More

Facebook will launch the first preview of React VR later this week

Dec 19, 5:26PM

BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 24:  The Facebook logo is displayed at the Facebook Innovation Hub on February 24, 2016 in Berlin, Germany. The Facebook Innovation Hub is a temporary exhibition space where the company is showcasing some of its newest technologies and projects.  (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images) Facebook published a blog post with plenty of year-end vanity stats about its open source project today, but in an email to us, the company also announced that it is about to launch the VR version of one of its most popular open source offerings: React. React VR, a Facebook spokesperson told us, will launch in preview later this week. React Native itself is Facebook’s second most… Read More

7 good value gifts for the budget PC gamer

Dec 19, 5:19PM

2016-gift-guide-budget-gamer We’re getting down to the wire in terms of getting holiday gifts, but if you’re looking for presents for a gamer in your life with big aspirations, but also don’t want to spend on true top-end gear, we’ve got your back. This list has options for a more modest spender. The idea is to provide the best value, so not everything on here is super cheap. Instead, it’s how… Read More

Facebook Messenger launches 6-screen group video chat with selfie masks

Dec 19, 5:00PM

fb-group-video Teen app sensation Houseparty will get some competition as Facebook Messenger is launching its own split-screen group video chat feature. 6 users can appear in split-screen at the time and don Snapchat-style selfie masks, while 50 total can listen and talk over voice while sending text, stickers, emojis, and GIFs. The feature could make a Messenger a place to “livechill” with… Read More

Amigo helps you stop texting and start hanging with your friends

Dec 19, 4:45PM

amigo-co Social planning is a tough nut to crack, but a new app called Amigo is looking to make a difference when it comes to how we hang out with our friends. The premise behind Amigo is that we spend too much time in back-and-forth communication with our friends about what we want to do, where we want to go, and when. But Amigo aims to be a social secretary of sorts, helping out with all that… Read More

Twitter will live stream the Golden Globes' red carpet pre-show

Dec 19, 4:32PM

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 12:  71st ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: A general view of atmosphere at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 12, 2014 --  (Photo by Mark Davis/NBC/NBC via Getty Images) The Golden Globes’ red carpet is coming to Twitter. That’s right: not the award show itself, but rather the pre-show event where the celebs walk the red carpet and are interviewed by Hollywood press with questions about what they’re wearing, and who they want to win, among other things. Now, Twitter users will be able get in on that action, too. The new deal will also see… Read More

EU asks whether the financial sector's use of big data needs new rules

Dec 19, 4:28PM

servers in data center European financial regulators are worried that big data techniques might result in restrictions on consumer access to products and services in future, and are considering whether new rules might be needed to tackle the risk of more granular algorithmic analysis leading to discrimination. Read More

Watch the first official trailer for Blade Runner 2049

Dec 19, 4:10PM

blade-runner-2049 Blade Runner‘s sequel is nearly upon us, and now we have a first official trailer to help whet our appetites. The Denis Villeneuve-directed sci-fi epic looks like it’ll retain a lot of the atmosphere and grit of the 1982 original Plus, Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford show down already, in case you didn’t have to get enough to be excited about. Blade Runner 2049 is slated… Read More

A look back on tech diversity and inclusion in 2016

Dec 19, 4:00PM

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 08:  Members of Slack accept the award for Fastest Rising Startup at War Memorial Opera House on February 8, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch) The quest to achieve diversity and inclusion in the tech industry is still in full swing. In the past year, we’ve seen some progress made on the D&I front, but not without hiccups along the way. Believe it or not, people are still racist! And sexist! And homophobic! And transphobic! Among leading tech firms in Silicon Valley, 57 percent of executive employees were white, 36 percent… Read More

Momento's new app turns your own photos into GIFs you can decorate and share

Dec 19, 3:43PM

momento-gif One of the more clever apps to launch on the iMessage App Store is Momento, an app that automatically turns your photos into GIFs for easy sharing. Now this app is available in a standalone format to all iPhone and iPad users, outside of iMessage. It also arrives with an expanded feature set, including the ability to decorate your photos with filters, stickers, text, and other effects,… Read More

Starry Internet's broadband beaming technology raises another $30 million

Dec 19, 2:49PM

screen-shot-2016-01-27-at-10-48-53-am Since the covers came off Starry Internet early last year, the startup has mostly been in trial mode, rolling out its unique technology in a limited trial around its Boston headquarters and showing it off to select press. Starry’s solution has been the subject of much speculation and excitement, promising a potential alternative to internet company lockdowns by beaming broadband speed… Read More

Amazon Fire tablets updated with kids' reading app, Amazon Rapids, and a more powerful Alexa

Dec 19, 2:48PM

scaled.FireHD6-Kids-Edition Amazon Rapids, the tech company’s new attempt at getting children interested in reading through a chat-based mobile app, is arriving today on Amazon Fire tablets. The app was first introduced last month as a subscription-based service that lets kids read stories across a variety of categories that are told in the style of chat sessions. That is, both the text and the illustrations are… Read More

Here's how Montréal is turning to Bluetooth to address traffic congestion

Dec 19, 2:37PM

12216122576_f9511a65d7_k Connected city infrastructure and cars that talk back could potentially do a lot to help ease traffic conditions, but in the meantime, the city of MontrĂ©al in Quebec, Canada is using a more immediately available tech to try to address its urban traffic problem: Bluetooth. The city has installed over a hundred Bluetooth signal detectors over the past couple of months, with the aim of being able… Read More

Enemies no longer, Uber strikes partnership with Indonesia's second largest taxi firm

Dec 19, 2:31PM

taxi-indonesia Uber is the scourge of taxi drivers worldwide, but sometimes the two can pull in the same direction. Like in Indonesia today, for example, where Uber inked a partnership with the country’s second largest taxi cab provider, Express Group, to allow its drivers to use the on-demand service to boost their income. Read More

Kik adds group video chat to its messaging app

Dec 19, 1:45PM

kik-video Kik, the chat app that’s hugely popular with teens and young people in North America, is finally adding video chat to its service. Video with a twist, that is. Read More

BlackBerry opens a research center for self-driving tech in Canada

Dec 19, 1:18PM

bentley-2 A former smartphone powerhouse wants to be an instrumental part of the coming smart car revolution, and BlackBerry is deepening its investment int he field with a new autonomous driving research center opening for business on Monday in Ottawa, Reuters reports. BlackBerry is one of three initial organizations to get clearance from the government of Ontario to test self-driving vehicles in… Read More

Xura buys Mitel Mobility for $385M and Ranzure to double down on 5G

Dec 19, 12:06PM

Abstract 3D network in future After failing to complete its $1.96 billion merger with Polycom earlier this year when Polycom instead got acquired by Siris Capital for $2 billion, today Mitel Networks began the process of streamlining its business to go forth alone, or find another acquisition or merger as a simpler company. Today Mitel announced that it would divest Mitel Mobility, its mobile operations, to Xura for… Read More

AR display maker Lumus grabs $30M in new funding from HTC, Quanta

Dec 19, 12:01PM

dk40a Like many startups that have been in the AR space for more than a couple years, Lumus got its start building tech for the military where its optics technology was integrated into the helmets of Air Force fighter pilots. Today, the Tel Aviv-based AR display company is beginning to shift its attention towards consumer and enterprise customers as it places a major bet on smart glasses… Read More

OneWeb raises $1.2B to offer satellite-based internet services as soon as 2019

Dec 19, 11:52AM

nasa-earth-2015 The battle for satellite-powered internet is heating up. Weeks after Tesla asked the U.S. Government for permission to launch a service powered by thousands of satellites above the Earth, rival project OneWeb has raised $1.2 billion in new funding to get things rolling as soon as 2019. Read More

OS builder Thundersoft buys UI maker Rightware for $68M to expand in automotive

Dec 19, 10:42AM

screen-shot-2016-12-19-at-10-41-36 Thundersoft, a company out of China that designs operating systems for drones and other connected devices, has made an acquisition to drive deeper into automotive technology: it has paid €64 million ($68 million; RMB471 million) for Rightware, a company out of Helsinki that develops graphical user interfaces for connected devices, with a special focus on automotive: its Kanzi product… Read More

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