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bmw is working with lidar company innoviz to make self-driving cars – techcrunch

bmw has already made clear its intent to launch self-driving cars by 2021. now, the automaker has decided on solid-state lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors and computer vision tech from startup innoviz to enable its level 3 – 5 autonomous vehicles to “see” their surroundings. for clarity, level 3 involves highly automated driving, level four is highly automated while level five is entirely autonomous, which means a human couldn’t intervene even if they wanted to.lidar sensors, which use lasers to help self-driving cars figure out how to navigate, are usually quite bulky and constantly spinning on the roof of the car. the solid-state lidar sensor from innoviz is much smaller and doesn’t spin. next year, the innovizone will available as a built-in device beginning next year.it’s not clear what lidar bmw was using in its previous testing (we’re asking), but bmw’s venture funding had previously invested in lidar company blackmore sensors and analytics. moving forward, the plan is to integrate innoviz’s technologies into the intel-mobileye platform for the purposes of testing and mass production. bmw has already been working with intel and mobileeye around autonomous driving.in addition to lidar sensors, innoviz brings object detection (people, cars, trucks, bikes, lane markings), tracking, classification and other functionality to bmw. this partnership also includes collaboration with auto industry supplier magna, which participated in a $65 million se...





nintendo’s annual profit rockets by 500% after selling 15m switch consoles – techcrunch

nintendo has announced impressive financial results thanks to strong sales its switch console, and a new ceo.operating profit rose by a huge 505 percent to reach 178 billion yen ($1.6 billion) over the last financial year. revenue was also up by an impressive 116 percent to hit 1.06 trillion yen ($9.7 billion) over the period as nintendo sold 15 million switch units, vastly out-performing the initial target of 10 million set last year. (the firm later updated its forecast to match the 15 million.)on the games front, super mario odyssey was the biggest seller at 10 million copies, followed by mario kart 8 deluxe (nine million) and splatoon 2 (six million.) the firm also revealed that it sold over five million of the snes classic edition product, too.nintendo is aiming to grow switch sales to 20 million over the next year. aside from continued games, it is banking on reaching new segments through labo, its cardboard-based product that literally brings games to life. the firm is already forecasting annual revenue of 1.2 trillion yen with an operating profit of 225 billion yen.that period will see the firm helmed by shuntaro furukawa, an existing board member, who is stepping up into the president and ceo role to replace incumbent tatsumi kimishima. kimishima, who is 68, stepped into the breach following the death of satoru iwata in 2015. furukawa is far younger at 46. he joined the company in 1994, has worked in global marketing and was a board member with pokemon co.





chinese smartphone shipments drop 21% to reach lowest level since 2013 – techcrunch

analysts have long-warned of a growth crunch in china’s smartphone space, and it’s looking like that’s very much the case right now.china’s smartphone growth has been the feel-good story for domestic oems who have clocked impressive figures as the billion-plus population has rushed online via mobile devices. however, the market reached saturation point in 2017 — when sales stopped growing for the first time — and the first quarter of this year is already showing savage results.in a report released today, canalys claimed that shipments across the industry fell by 21 percent year-on-year in q1.the total number of mobile devices shipped in china dropped below the 100 million mark in a quarter for the first time since late 2013, the firm added.“eight of the top 10 smartphone vendors were hit by annual declines, with gionee, meizu and samsung shrinking to less than half of their respective q1 2017 numbers,” the report read.ouch.of the field, only xiaomi — the firm tipped for an ipo at a $100 billion valuation — was able to post positive momentum as its numbers grew by 37 percent to reach 12 million. that was enough to see it overtake apple into fourth place, but xiaomi numbers are still heavily reliant on its $150 redmi range, which isn’t as lucrative as its higher-end products.huawei, oppo and vivo led the market. somewhat incredibly, those three firms plus xiaomi now account for a very dominant 73 percent of all shipments, which canalys believes is bad for ...





snapchat launches spectacles v2, camera glasses you’ll actually wear – techcrunch

photos, not just video. no yellow ring alerting people to the camera. underwater-capable. classier colors with lighter lenses. prescription options. faster syncing. and a much slimmer frame and charging case. snapchat fixed the biggest pain points of its spectacles camera sunglasses with v2, which launch today for $150. the company only sold 220,000 pairs of v1, with their limited functionality, tricky exports and goofy hues. but v2 is stylish, convenient and useful enough to keep handy. they’re not revolutionary. they’re a wearable camera for everybody. you can check out our snazzy hands-on demo video below:the new spectacles go on sale today in the u.s., canada, u.k. and france, then in 13 more european countries on may 3. the $150 v2s are $20 more than the old version and only available on snap’s app and site — no amazon, pop-up stores or vending snapbots. and v1 owners will get a firmware update that lets them take photos.after two days of use, i think spectacles v2 cross the threshold from clumsy novelty to creative tool accessible to the mainstream. and amidst user growth struggles, that’s what snap needs right now.  v1 was to get people comfortablewhat snap doesn’t need is a privacy scandal, and that risk is the trade-off it’s making with its more discreet spectacles design. they still display a little circle of white lights while recording, but with the permanent yellow ring on the corner removed, you might not notice there’s a camera lens there. ...





cashback app dosh raises $44m on a $240m valuation from paypal and more – techcrunch

in an era where we can buy whatever we want from wherever we want nearly in the blink of an eye, loyalty, rewards and membership programs have become a major lever in capturing repeat consumer spend — amazon prime perhaps being one of the most successful examples. now, a company that has built up shopping frequency across multiple retailers by rewarding buyers with cashback is announcing a big round of funding to expand its businessdosh, a startup and app of the same name that lets you get cash back when you shop at selected retailers with a linked card, has raised $44 million in a series a round of funding from investors that include paypal and goodwater capital. the company has paid out $25 million to some 3 million uses since being founded in 2016.it claims to be the largest card-linked cash-back app and network in the u.s. with sam’s club, forever 21, cost plus world market, target, mattress firm, papa john’s, u.s. polo assn., chili’s, and payless shoesource among the retailers integrated with it.no valuation is being disclosed but we understand from a source familiar with the deal that it is $240 million.the funding brings the total raised by dosh, based out of austin, to $56 million. other investors in the company have included next coast ventures, chetrit ventures and extol capital.there are dozens of services on the market today that let users get cash back when they make purchases. they include genre-specific apps like mogl for restaurants, shopping portal ...





leaked iphone pics show glass back and headphone jack – techcrunch

the headphone jack could still have a future in an iphone. these leaked pics show an iphone se 2 with a glass back and headphone jack. like the current iphone se, the design seems to be a take on the classic iphone 5. i dig it.the leak also states the upcoming device sports wireless charging, which puts it in line with the iphone 8 and iphone x.rumors have long stated that apple was working on an updated iphone se. the original was released in march 16 and updated a year later with improved specs. with a 4-inch screen, the iphone se is the smallest iphone apple offers and also the cheapest.wwdc in early june is the next major apple event and could play host for the launch of this phone. last month, around the iphone se’s birthday, apple held a special event in a chicago school to launch an education-focused ipad. it’s logical that apple pushed the launch of this new iphone se to wwdc to give the ipad event breathing room.while apple cut the headphone jack from its flagship devices, the se looks to retain the connection. it makes sense. the low-cost iphone is key for apple in growing markets across the world where the last two models helped grow ios’s market penetration. this is apple’s low-cost offering and thus suggests apple doesn’t expect buyers to also spring for its wireless earbuds.if released at wwdc or later in the year, the iphone se looks to serve consumers who enjoy smaller phones with headphone jacks. that’s me.





this is a real life transformer – techcrunch

the j-deite ride transformers from a vehicle to a robot just like the megazord from voltron. specific information about the creation is a bit sketchy but the youtube channel states it’s an electric vehicle and shows the driver and passenger staying in their seat as it changes forms. it can even walk.the whole process seems automated and takes just a few minutes. sure, if this was a michael bay movie, this transformer wouldn’t stand a chance against the jaegers that can change form in seconds. but this is real life and so i’m still impressed.





meet 11 new startups launching out of the entrepreneurs roundtable accelerator – techcrunch

today, 11 new companies launch out of the entrepreneurs roundtable accelerator based in nyc. this is the 14th cohort of startups to launch out of era, and each company has received $100,000 in seed funding from the accelerator.these startups span a wide variety of industries, from hospitality to new retail to healthcare. so without any further ado, here are the 11 companies launching out of era:butlerbutler wants to handle room service and amenities for hotels, partnering with hotels to provide room service, catering and other food-based amenities from butler’s various hubs across the city. using sms as a means of communication with guests, butler can serve a larger number of hotels. right now, butler serves 5,000 rooms in manhattan.choosyleveraging machine learning algorithms that scour social media, choosy quickly whips up fashion designs, sends them to china for manufacturing and offers flash-fashion items via instagram. as brands like h&m and top shop continue to speed up their operations and offerings, choosy looks to use tech to keep up the pace.flume healthflume health works with self-insured employers and healthcare providers to ensure that employees are best utilizing their healthcare benefits. the company says that 78 percent of employees don’t understand how their benefits program works, costing companies up to 26 percent more for healthcare. flume health uses concierges to connect employees with the best healthcare at the lowest price based on their benefits p...





alexa will soon gain a memory, converse more naturally, and automatically launch skills – techcrunch

alexa will soon be able to recall information you’ve directed her to remember, as well as have more natural conversations that don’t require every command to begin with “alexa.” she’ll also be able to launch skills in response to questions you ask, without explicit instructions to do so. the features are the first of what amazon says are many launches this year that will make its virtual assistant more personalized, smarter, and more engaging.the news was announced this morning in a keynote presentation from the head of the alexa brain group, ruhi sarikaya, speaking at the world wide web conference in lyon, france.he explained that the alexa brain initiative is focused on improving alexa’s ability to track context and memory within and across dialog sessions, as well as make it easier for users to discover and interact with alexa’s now over 40,000 third-party skills.with the memory update, arriving soon to u.s. users, alexa will be able to remember any information you ask her to, and retrieve it later.for example, you might direct alexa to remember an important day by saying something like, “alexa, remember that sean’s birthday is june 20th.” alexa will then reply, “okay, i’ll remember that sean’s birthday is june 20th.” this effectively turns alexa into a way to offload information you’d otherwise have to store in your own brain, and is reminiscent of earlier bots, like wonder, which were designed to remember anything you told it, for later ret...





tile and comcast team up to help you find lost items with your tv’s voice remote – techcrunch

lost device finder tile today is making good on its previously announced partnership with comcast by introducing a way for comcast xfinity customers to locate their tiles using comcast’s tv remote, the xfinity x1 voice remote. this is also the first video and voice partnership with tile, which has been steadily expanding its integrations with third parties, including most recently bose, samsonite, boosted boards, and others.the company has said its goal is to “blanket the world” in smart location through its partnerships, which have also included those with access points and airport wi-fi.with the comcast partnership in particular, tile users can speak into their voice remote and ask for the location of one of their tiles – the small dongles that can be attached to things like bags, purses, keys, wallets and more.to use this feature, you have to say “xfinity home,” (yes, this is how you talk to your remote), “where are my keys?” or “sam’s backpack?” or whatever other label you’ve assigned your tile device.the last known location and the address of the missing tile will then appear on the tv screen.to use the feature, xfinity customers will have to download the xfinity home app on their ios or android device to add their tiles following the instructions in the app.the companies say that later this year the feature will become available to all xfinity internet customers, too.though there are a number of lost item finders on the market, tile has become on...





samsung tempers record earnings with pessimistic smartphone outlook – techcrunch

samsung’s latest earnings report is a succinct lesson in hoping for the best and preparing for the worst. the actual news here is pretty positive, as the company reports a record operating profit, courtesy of high demand for its components and flagship handsets.but a statement tied to the news mentions “slow demand” no fewer than seven times, as the company looks to temper investor expectations, those warnings largely revolve around the company’s display panel offerings and a perceived stagnations in the mobile sector in general. “for the second quarter,” the company writes in a statement, “samsung expects the memory business to maintain its strong performance, but generating overall earnings growth across the company will be a challenge due to weakness in the display panel segment and a decline in profitability in the mobile business amid rising competition in the high-end segment.”the slow down, it seems, has already had an impact on the display side, though samsung’s weathered much worse than this already. keep in mind how the whole note 7 debacle didn’t make a dent in the company’s profitability. samsung is the consumer electronics poster child from the importance of product diversity. there’s some apple shade implied here as well. after all, samsung provides the oled panel for its chief competitor’s ultra premium handset, leaving wall street to infer that less than stellar iphone x sales was a contributor here. samsung’s forecast also includes...





mammoth biosciences launches a crispr-powered search engine for disease detection – techcrunch

most people tend to think of crispr as a groundbreaking gene-editing technology that can hunt down and snip away bits of dna, like the cut and paste function on a keyboard. while many research projects tend to emphasize the potential of that process in replacing target bits of genetic material, for mammoth biosciences, the search function is the real game changer.“control + f is the exciting part,” mammoth co-founder and ceo trevor martin told techcrunch in an interview. “at core it’s just this amazing search engine that we can use to find things. the way that we search for things is just like google.”to conduct that search, one must enter a guide rna and tell a crispr protein what to search for, any specific dna or rna sequence, from a malaria pathogen to a biomarker for leukemia. mammoth’s novel technology uses a reporter molecule that exudes color when the sequence is located and snipped, indicating that the genetic search term was present in the sample and making the result of such a search viewable with the naked eye.as the company’s documentation explains, the process would go like this:this could be as simple as a rapid test on a credit-card sized disposable paper strip that anyone could use at home… for at-home testing, once the user has completed the test, they will securely upload an anonymous photo of the strip to mammoth’s corresponding application for remote analysis and then receive their confidential results and professional advice – all in ...





dropbox rolls out a templates tool for its paper online document service – techcrunch

as dropbox looks to woo larger and larger businesses with its strategy of building simpler collaboration tools than what’s on the market, it’s making some moves in its online document tool paper to further reduce that friction today.dropbox said it was rolling out a new tool for dropbox paper that allows users to get a paper document up and running through a set of templates. it may seem like something that would be table stakes for a company looking to create an online document tool like google docs, but figuring out what paper’s core use cases look like can take a lot of thinking and user research before finally pulling the trigger. dropbox at its heart hopes to have a consumer feel for its products, so preserving that as it looks to build more robust tools presents a bigger challenge for the freshly-public company.the templates tool behaves pretty much like other tools out there: you open dropbox paper, and you’ll get the option to create a document from a number of templates. some common use cases for dropbox paper include continuous product development timelines and design specs, but it seems the company hopes to broaden that by continuing to integrate new features like document previews. dropbox paper started off as a blank slate, but given the number of options out there, it has to figure out a way to differentiate itself eventually.the company said it’s also rolling out a number of other small features. that includes a way to pin documents, launch presentati...





twitch solidifies its lead with viewership up 21% in q1, while youtube gaming drops – techcrunch

twitch further solidified its lead in the game streaming market in the first quarter of the year, with gains in both average concurrent viewership and peak concurrent viewership, while the number two streaming site, youtube gaming, saw losses on both fronts. according to a new report from streamlabs, which has visibility into the market thanks to its software platform used by hundreds of thousands of streamers, twitch viewership was up by 21 percent in the quarter, growing from 788k average concurrent viewers in q4 2017 to 953k in q1.meanwhile, youtube gaming dropped 12 percent from 308k average concurrent viewers to 272k during that same time.other streaming services also saw gains, but their viewership numbers are much smaller.facebook, for example, grew viewership by 103 percent to reach 56k average concurrent viewers, periscope grew 18 percent to 94k, and microsoft’s mixer grew 90 percent to 9.5k. (microsoft’s real figures are likely much higher, however, because streamlabs can’t track mixer’s viewership on xbox – which is most of it. streamlabs is also missing some of facebook live’s viewership, as it can’t track private live streams only shared with friends.)it’s no surprise that twitch has a killer quarter, however.the company announced in february it saw a record-breaking 388,000 concurrent viewers tune into a stream by dr. disrespect. this milestone was then blown out of the water the following month when ninja played fortnite with drake and travis sc...





one week left for disrupt sf ’18 super early-bird prices – techcrunch

your chance to get the best price on passes to disrupt san francisco 2018 — september 5-7 at moscone center west — is disappearing faster than affordable housing in the bay area. right now, you can save up to $1,800 on super early-bird pricing, but that sweet deal ends one week from today on may 3. get your passes right here.why take the time and spend the money to attend disrupt? simply put, it’s the mother ship. it’s where tech founders, investors, hackers, leaders, makers and shapers gather to push and expand tech boundaries. disrupt sf 2018 is our biggest disrupt ever, with three program-packed days across four unique stages, interactive workshops, world-class speakers, q &a sessions and more than 1,200 startups — and that’s just the tip of the tech iceberg.we’ll have an amazing array of speakers covering the most critical tech topics of the day on the disrupt stages. cryptocurrency, for example, is just one white-hot topic, and you won’t want to miss founder and former eic michael arrington (of arrington xrp capital, a $100 million digital asset management firm in blockchain-based capital markets) and ceo brad garlinghouse (of ripple, a payment services company) as they discuss the evolution of cryptocurrencies.in startup battlefield, you’ll see a curated cohort of pre-series a startups compete for a $100,000 prize (yup, we doubled the prize money — and we still don’t take an equity cut). maybe yours will be one of them; you’ll never know unless ...





snap to change how snap map operates in europe ahead of gdpr – techcrunch

snapchat is making changes to the information it collects about under-16s in europe as it works to comply with an update to the eu’s data protection rules. the changes could see its location tracking snap map being disabled for younger teen users in the region.the messaging app, which is most popular with teens, has faced criticism in europe for how it processes and exposes the location of children on the snap map feature which launched last summer.following its launch some european schools wrote to parents warning them of safeguarding concerns over the feature. police forces have also raised concerns about snap map.the ft reports that the messaging app will stop gathering the location data of younger european teens. a spokesperson for the company told the newspaper it will generally no longer process any data that might require parental consent. although the company also said snapchat does not intend to put an outright bar on 13-year-olds signing up to its service.the latter decision stands in contrast to a move by facebook-owned whatsapp, which earlier this week revealed it’s raising its minimum user age to 16 for european users, also as a gdpr compliance step — although whatsapp did not detail any plans to actively enforce this new limit, i.e. beyond asking users to state they are over 16.gdpr includes a new provision on children’s personal data, setting a 16-year-old age limit on kids’ ability to consent to their data being processed. although member states ca...





bmw is working with lidar company innoviz to make self-driving cars – techcrunch

bmw has already made clear its intent to launch self-driving cars by 2021. now, the automaker has decided on solid-state lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors and computer vision tech from startup innoviz to enable its level 3 – 5 autonomous vehicles to “see” their surroundings. for clarity, level 3 involves highly-automated driving, level four is highly automated while level five is entirely autonomous, which means a human couldn’t intervene even if they wanted to.lidar sensors, which use lasers to help self-driving cars figure out how to navigate, are usually quite bulky and constantly spinning on the roof of the car. the solid-state lidar sensor from innoviz is much smaller and doesn’t spin. next year, the innovizone will available as a built-in device beginning next year.it’s not clear what lidar bmw was using in its previous testing (we’re asking), but bmw’s venture funding had previously invested in lidar company blackmore sensors and analytics. moving forward, the plan is to integrate innoviz’s technologies into the intel-mobileye platform for the purposes of testing and mass production. bmw has already been working with intel and mobileeye around autonomous driving.in addition to lidar sensors, innoviz brings object detection (people, cars, trucks, bikes, lane markings), tracking, classification and other functionality to bmw. this partnership also includes collaboration with auto industry supplier magna, which participated in a $65 million se...





nintendo’s annual profit rockets by 500% after selling 15m switch consoles – techcrunch

nintendo has announced impressive financial results thanks to strong sales its switch console, and a new ceo for its business.operating profit rose by a huge 505 percent to reach 178 billion yen ($1.6 billion) over the last financial year. revenue was also up by an impressive 116 percent to hit 1.06 trillion yen ($9.7 billion) over the period as nintendo sold 15 million switch units, vastly out-performing the initial target of 10 million set last year. (the firm later updated its forecast to match the 15 million.)on the games front, super mario odyssey was the biggest seller at 10 million copies, followed by mario kart 8 deluxe (nine million) and splatoon 2 (six million.) the firm also revealed that it sold over five million of the snes classic edition product, too.going forward, nintendo is aiming to grow switch sales to 20 million over the next year. aside from continued games, it is banking on reaching new segments through labo, its carboard-based product that literally brings games to life. the firm is already forecasting annual revenue of 1.2 trillion yen with an operating profit of 225 billion yen.that period will see the firm helmed by shuntaro furukawa, an existing board member, who is stepping up into the president and ceo role to replace incumbent tatsumi kimishima. kimishima, who is 68, stepped into the breach following the death of satoru iwata in 2015. furukawa is far younger at 46. he joined the company in 1994, has worked in global marketing and was a...





ifttt raises $24m led by salesforce to expand its platform to ‘connect everything’ – techcrunch

ifttt, a startup that was an early mover in api integrations by creating a platform for people to write easy scripts to connect different apps to each other (the name stands for “if this, then that”), is announcing another $24 million in funding to take its business deeper into areas like enterprise and iot services.this funding comes on the back of what ceo linden tibbets described in an interview as the company’s strongest-ever year in terms of revenue and growth (without disclosing any actual numbers; ifttt has never been very transparent on this front, frustratingly).ifttt today has 14 million registered consumers (although it will not say how many are active), 75 million applets since launch, and more than 5,000 active developers building services and more than 140,000 building applets on the ifttt platform. products from google, microsoft, amazon, twitter, bmw, samsung, ibm, myq, and verizon are among those touched by ifttt scripts.the round is notable for a couple of reasons. it’s the first funding announced by ifttt in four years, a relatively large gap in the startup world. and it’s the first time that ifttt has had strategic investors. the series c was led by salesforce, with participation also from ibm and the chamberlain group (best known for a variety of brands of automatic entry gates and garage door openers) — who all have services and applets available on the platform — along with fenox venture capital.“they see ifttt as an important busines...





chinese smartphone shipments drop 21% to reach lowest level since 2013 – techcrunch

analysts have long-warned of a growth crunch in china’s smartphone space, and it’s looking like that’s very much the case right now.china’s smartphone growth has been the feel-good story for domestic oems who have clocked impressive figures as the billion-plus population has rushed online via mobile devices. however, the market reached saturation point in 2017 — when sales stopped growing for the first time — and the first quarter of this year is already showing savage results.in a report released today, canalys claimed that shipments across the industry fell by 21 percent year-on-year in q1.the total number of mobile devices shipped in china dropped below the 100 million market in a quarter for the first time since late 2013, the firm added.“eight of the top 10 smartphone vendors were hit by annual declines, with gionee, meizu and samsung shrinking to less than half of their respective q1 2017 numbers,” the report read.ouch.of the field, only xiaomi — the firm tipped for an ipo at a $100 billion valuation — was able to post positive momentum as its numbers grew by 37 percent to reach 12 million. that was enough to see it overtake apple into fourth place, but xiaomi numbers are still heavily reliant on its $150 redmi range, which isn’t as lucrative as its higher-end products.huawei, oppo and vivo led the market. somewhat incredibly, those three firms plus xiaomi now account for a very dominant 73 percent of all shipments, which canalys believes is bad fo...