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Date

7th September 2017

Google and HTC said to be in “final stage” of negotiation for sale or investment

There is no smoke without fire, as they say, and the smoke around HTC’s rumored “strategic options” is only getting thicker.

According to Taiwanese publication Commercial Times (cited by Digitimes, via Phone Arena), the embattled manufacturer is in advanced talks with Google for a potential sale or strategic investment.

Specifically, the report claims HTC wants to sell its rapidly deteriorating smartphone business, but not its Vive VR business. Talks between HTC and Google are said to be in the “final stage of negotiation” and a final decision could be made by the end of the year.

We’ve heard this before

The story follows the Bloomberg report from August 24, which first revealed that HTC is weighing “strategic options” that include taking an investment from a partner and selling or spinning off the Vive unit. Bloomberg named Google as one of the companies that were talking to HTC about a potential deal. A sale of HTC in its entirety was deemed unlikely by one person familiar with the matter, because it would be difficult to find an interested partner.

Getting desperate

The last time HTC made so little money, the Motorola Razr V3 was all the rage.

It’s clear that HTC is in dire need of help. The company just announced its results for August 2017 and, even for a company that has grown used to bad results, the bottom line is catastrophic. HTC reported the lowest revenue for the month of August in 13 years. At a little under $100 million, revenue was 51.5 percent lower than in July and 54.4 percent lower than in August 2016.

To put things in perspective, the last time HTC made so little money in August was in 2004, when the Motorola Razr V3 was all the rage, the iPhone was still in early development, and Android was just a glimmer in Andy Rubin’s eyes.

This time it’s different?

The question is, why would Google buy another ailing smartphone maker? After the surprise acquisition – and the quick offloading – of Motorola, it seemed that Google was done with hardware adventures. But a lot has changed since 2014. Google is now the proud owner of its own brand of smartphones and a growing ecosystem of consumer devices. The company is well on the way to becoming a consumer electronics company that competes with Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, not to mention a myriad of Android OEMs.

It could be that Google has realized that, if it wants to stay relevant for the next decades, it needs to control software, services, content, AI, cloud, and hardware. It already excels in all non-hardware areas, and buying HTC’s established, albeit struggling hardware operation could help it become a hardware powerhouse as well. Older rumors of a strategic investment in LG could be interpreted in the same way.

Let’s not get to ahead of ourselves though – this is just a rumor after all, and even if it’s accurate, there’s no guarantee a deal will be reached. Google can – Source

Watch SpaceX launch the U.S. Air Force’s secretive X-37B spaceplane live

SpaceX is set to launch the U.S. Air Force’s X-37B spaceplane into orbit today, with a launch window that opens at 9:50 AM ET (6:50 AM PT). The Boeing-built uncrewed spaceplane most recently completed a two year orbital mission before returning to Earth in May, and it’s going back up hopefully this morning, though weather conditions are looking only 50 percent favorable ahead of… Read More

– Source

The Ford Ranger Raptor is real, and it looks spectacular – Roadshow

It’ll arrive in Australia in 2018, and it would make sense for the US in the future, too. – Source

Now even chocolate can be millennial pink, too

Pink is the new chocolate.

Barry Callebaut’s new pink-hued confection — touted as a brand new “fourth type in chocolate” — is a far cry from the bright, dyed candy melts you’ve seen on supermarket shelves.

Rather, this “Ruby” chocolate — developed in the global chocolate retailer’s R&D centers and unveiled Tuesday — gets its natural hue from the ruby cocoa bean, per a statement from the company.

SEE ALSO: Rosé gin exists because y’all have a rosé problem

Its unusual shade makes it the newest type of chocolate since the introduction of dark, milk, and white.

So how does it taste? Barry Callebaut …

More about Watercooler, Food, Culture, Culture, and Food – Source

Samsung is giving out $200,000 in its new bug bounty program

Samsung has launched a new Mobile Security Rewards Program, offering monetary prizes ranging from $200 to $200,000 to anyone who discovers and submits a report of a bug or a security issue in the company’s products and services. The program covers 38 mobile devices, dating from 2015 to present day, and also includes services, such as Samsung Pay, Samsung Pass, Bixby, and others.

To be eligible to enter, hackers participants must provide a proof-of-concept for an exploit in the latest firmware version of the respective device, or in the latest update for a software … – Source

Amazon wants a second HQ, and it’s got $5 billion to spend – CNET

Cities, get your bids ready. The tech giant says it’s looking for a “second home” where it could create up to 50,000 high-paying jobs. – Source

BMW readying Tesla-rivaling electric i concept car for Frankfurt Motor Show – Roadshow

BMW’s i sub-brand is readying a four-door electric show car amidst plans for 25 electrified cars by 2025. – Source

Every Jaguar and Land Rover vehicle from 2020 on will have an electric option

Jaguar Land Rover is joining the rising chorus of automakers embracing electric and fusion powertrain options, revealing that all new vehicles in both the Jaguar and Land Rover range will offer an electric or hybrid option from 2020 on. Jaguar Land Rover announced the news on Thursday at its very first Tech Fest event, noting that this will include fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild… Read More

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Spotify and Hulu partner on a discounted entertainment bundle, first aimed at students

Hulu and Spotify announced a partnership today that will see the two companies working together to market entertainment bundles offering both services which will be jointly sold through a single subscription plan. Initially, this bundle will be targeted towards U.S. college students and will cost just $4.99 per month – the same as Spotify’s existing student plan. The bundle… Read More

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Budget hotel network pioneer OYO raises $250M led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund

India-based OYO, a startup that pioneered and popularized the concept of budget hotel networks, has closed $250 million in new funding led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The startup was founded in 2013 by Thiel Fellow Ritesh Agarwal, now aged 24, and the concept centers around standardizing the quality of India’s wildly-differentiated affordable hotels, and providing some structure… Read More

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What is Intel Optane?

A few months ago, Intel launched Optane, the first new memory technology to hit the PC market since Toshiba released commercial flash memory over three decades ago. Intel claims this new storage medium will be more durable than flash, and an order of… – Source

These USB-C to Micro-USB adapters are great for your legacy devices

Transitioning between standards can be tough, but you can make it easier on yourself.

We’re roughly two years into the major transition to USB-C as a standard port on computers and phones. It’s pretty tough to buy a new high-end device today that doesn’t have a USB-C port, and most new laptops have at least one USB-C ports for charging and data.

But of course we don’t all refresh every device we own every year — there are still plenty of phones, tablets, and most importantly accessories we all own with Micro-USB ports. All the while, every new device we get comes with a USB-C cable in the box, and the number of old Micro-USB cables we have is decreasing.

Instead of buying new Micro-USB cables to carry around for those old devices like my Bose QC35 headphones or Anker PowerCore battery, I picked up a pair of awesome USB-C to Micro-USB adapters. Nope, these aren’t the super-popular adapters that go in the other direction — these little bits of plastic and metal let you use your new USB-C cables with old Micro-USB devices!

See at Amazon

Micro-USB is still going to be around for a while — make the transition simpler.

The adapters that I’ve been using are from TechMatte, and are just $8 for a pair. Yes it feels a little dumb to be buying new things to help me continue using old technology, but try as I might to have everything in my life be USB-C it just isn’t possible right now. By spending a few bucks on these adapters, I can keep using my old Micro-USB devices without having to keep a whole Micro-USB cable around. The adapters also work for data transfers to a computer, which isn’t something I necessarily expected to work.

Now I’ve wrapped up and stored my Micro-USB cables, swapping everything out to USB-C to use a majority of the time while I have these adapters around for the edge cases when I have to power up something old. It isn’t ideal, but it’s far better than the alternative — and it only cost me $8.

See at Amazon

– Source

Slack has some real competition with this new work chat app

Colleagues have so many ways to communicate, but it’s debatable if all those messages and emoji are actually leading to productivity. Workers are even having nightmares over missing notifications from Slack.

That’s one reason why Atlassian, one of the biggest businesses in workplace software with products like Confluence, JIRA, and HipChat, decided to create and release a new messaging system.

SEE ALSO: Nowhere is safe from Slack — not even your dreams

Called Stride, the product is all about taking action. It cuts down on notifications by letting users put themselves in a “Focus Mode,” and it makes it super simple to switch from text to video. The design is mobile-friendly and easy to use, not unlike its competitor Slack. But it offers features that make it arguably a better product than Slack for actually getting work done. …

More about Slack, Atlassian, Work Life, Workplace Culture, and Facebook Workplace

– Source

Self-driving Lyft cars will pick up passengers in the Bay Area with new partnership

A self-driving Lyft could soon give you a ride around San Francisco.

Lyft is adding another name to its growing list of collaborators via a partnership with Drive.ai, a Mountain View-based self-driving startup. The pair will launch a new pilot program in the Bay Area with Drive.ai self-driving cars on Lyft’s open autonomous platform, putting driverless cabs on the streets for the first time since Uber’s service flamed out of San Francisco last year.

Drive.ai will take advantage of Lyft’s ride-hailing app to connect with passengers while testing out its self-driving technology in its own fleet of vehicles, which will be operated by trained safety drivers who will take the wheel if needed. Riders will have a chance to opt out of an autonomous ride on the app. …

More about Lyft, Autonomous Vehicles, Self Driving Cars, Bay Area, and Drive.Ai – Source

Reddit teams with Lucidworks to build new search framework

Reddit revealed today that it has teamed with Lucidworks to provide a long-needed, modern search tool for the immensely popular online discussion platform. When you face the kind of scale that Reddit does with 270 million monthly active users generating 5 million comments and a staggering 40 million searches every day across a more than a million communities, it’s a daunting task to find… Read More

– Source

Atlassian launches Stride, its Slack competitor

Atlassian has long offered a team communications service in the form of HipChat. Over the last few years, Slack has had an outsize influence on this space. The Atlassian team decided to go back to the drawing board and see what its take on a Slack-like team workplace communication service would look like. The result is Stride, which is launching today. Read More

– Source

Nvidia and Avitas Systems partner on using AI to help robots spot defects

Automated inspection company Avitas Systems, which is a GE Venture company, is using Nvidia’s DGX-1 and DGX Station to train its neural-network-based artificial intelligence to be able to quickly and consistently identify defects in industrial equipment. Avitas Systems uses a range of robotic equipment to monitor things like oil and gas pipelines, coolant towers and other crucial… Read More

– Source

Lyft and Drive.ai partner on Bay Area self-driving ride-hailing pilot

Drive.ai is going to be operating some of its test fleet on Lyft’s open platform, which Lyft created to help carmakers and self-driving tech companies build and deploy autonomous vehicles in the real world, and to eventually serve as on-demand ride hailing vehicles. Drive.ai is a startup that has deep roots in Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, with an approach… Read More

– Source

Microsoft and Adobe announce an expanded partnership around Adobe Sign and Microsoft Teams

Almost exactly a year ago, Microsoft and Adobe announced a strategic partnership around Microsoft’s Azure cloud and Adobe’s Marketing Cloud. That, however, was only a first step for the two companies. Today, they are announcing a major expansion of this partnership that sees them collaborating around e-signatures and team communications. Read More

– Source

Groupon debuts Groupon+, voucherless meal deals with Visa and Mastercard

Restaurant deals are some of the most popular offers on Groupon, the platform that lets you buy discounted experiences and goods from retailers near you. Today the company is launching a new service to help promote that vertical more. Groupon+, as it is called, will let people use Groupon meal deals, and if they pay for them with their Visa or Mastercard, they will get 30 percent of the value… Read More

– Source

Literally no bezels: Alleged Meizu teaser shows a phone worthy of the “bezel-less” tag

A couple of months back we ran a feature titled “Bezel-less is not a thing, and here’s why it shouldn’t be” featuring the image above, which perfectly illustrates the problem with calling devices like, say, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or LG V30 bezel-less.
But whether you agree with the sentiment of the editorial or not, you can’t argue with one of its key messages: the nomenclature itself is wrong, since all devices out there following the bezel-less design philosophy actually do feature bezels.
But this might change soon, and … – Source

Self-driving Lyft cars are headed to San Francisco – CNET

The ride-hailing company partners with Drive.ai for a rollout of autonomous vehicles in the Bay Area. – Source

Amazon tries to snuff out a bunch of Kindle publishing scams – CNET

The company on Wednesday filed five legal actions against alleged scammers using the Kindle Direct Publishing platform. – Source

Maestro gives gamers and big brands new tools to manage and control their live streams

From Twitch to Facebook to Periscope, live streaming is a growing phenomenon that’s making some decent money for the people who own the platform. For the actual people recording the streams and making things happen, not so much. Maestro, a Los Angeles-based company is looking with a toolkit for capturing data and analytics, and engaging with viewers in live streams, has raised $3 million… Read More

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Highest-energy cosmic rays bounce off bubble, irradiate Earth

Enlarge / Our galaxy’s Fermi bubbles are the dense patches of red above and below the center of this image. (credit: NASA)

Cosmic rays are a nuisance, a source of mystery, and a window into the galaxy. Cosmic rays are high energy bursts of particles, mostly protons. These slam into the atmosphere, generating showers of other high energy particles. We see them, whether we want to or not, as streaks in images or errors in computer memory. They are, to put it bluntly, a minor nuisance for every researcher. They are a major nuisance for dark matter and neutrino detectors the world over. The cosmic ray noise is so bad that is has driven physicists to live at the bottom of mine shafts, muttering in order to get away from them.

But cosmic rays also been a source of mystery for other physicists. Where do they come from? That question remained fairly contentious up until a few years ago, when supernovae were finally convicted of making neutrino scientists miserable. It turns out that as a star explodes, the magnetic field associated with the shock wave can accelerate particles up to energies of about 1015electronVolts (For comparison, the LHC works at about 1012eV).

That accounts for most, but not all of them. Cosmic rays at even higher energies have been detected, and they have remained a mystery. Now, it seems that they may actually also come from supernova, but not by a direct route. First, they have to exit the galaxy and then come back hot and angry after being given the shock of their lives.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

– Source

‘Home Again’ is insane and I think it’s my favorite movie of the year

Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: This is not the Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy return you’re likely expecting if you count yourself as someone who regularly watches Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama on cable.

Instead, Home Again is a “romantic comedy” only if you insist that your movies be categorized in some specific way; saying Home Again is a rom-com is like saying an iphone is a great calculator. Yes, technically … but my god, you’re missing the point.

SEE ALSO: Fall movie preview: What to watch if you want to feel good

Witherspoon shines with the kind of type-A intensity that made her soar in Election and was recently on display in Big Little Lies as Alice, a recently separated 40-year-old mom who’s moved back to California with her two young daughters. She goes a little crazy on her birthday night out, and brings a twenty-something suitor — not to mention his two friends! — back to her place. …

More about Reese Witherspoon, Movie Reviews, Home Again, Entertainment, and Movies Tv Shows – Source

Xiaomi to unveil one more device alongside Mi Mix 2

Xiaomi may unveil more than one device at its September 11 event. As you might already know, one of the devices is already confirmed to be the Mi Mix 2, but there’s no information about the second one.

The Chinese company’s president Lin Bin who dropped hints about a second product unveiling in a recent Weibo post.

The first-gen Mi Mix went official last October. Alongside it, the company also unveiled the Mi Note 2. So it’s reasonable to assume that the second device that Xiaomi president is talking about could well be the Mi Note 3. Adding weight to this assumption are recent…

– Source

Freaking out about Hurricane Irma? You’ve got good reason

Enlarge / Flooded street in the eastern town of Fajardo during the passing of Hurricane Irma north of Puerto Rico. (credit: .Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

As of Thursday morning, the 180-mph Hurricane Irma continues to pose a grave threat to the southeastern United States. The best available modeling continues to suggest this will probably be a historically bad storm for much of the southern half of Florida.

There remains a chance that Irma will turn north before reaching Florida and move to the east of the peninsula, which would leave the state on the drier side of the storm, with lesser winds and surge. But a 30 to 40 percent chance is not something we would gamble our lives and property on. If an evacuation order is called for your area, heed it.

You may have noticed some people are kind of freaking out about Irma, and we expect that to only get worse as the storm approaches Florida this weekend. And although it is certainly better to prepare for a hurricane rather than panic, there are some pretty legitimate reasons for extreme concern.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

– Source

‘Pen’ identifies cancer in 10 seconds

The technology could help surgeons ensure they remove all of a tumour. – Source

IBM and MIT pen 10-year, $240M AI research partnership

IBM and MIT came together today to sign a 10-year, $240 million partnership agreement that establishes the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab at the prestigious Cambridge, MA academic institution. The lab will be co-chaired by Dario Gil, IBM Research VP of AI and Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering. Big Blue intends to invest $240 million into the lab where IBM researchers… Read More

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