Bird, one of the top players in the rentable escooter space, now wants you to buy one.The Santa Monica, California-based company has just unveiled the Bird One, an electric scooter that it says is the culmination of “tens of millions of rides, cutting-edge product design and engineering, safety certifications, and rigorous road tests.”With its steel-reinforced aluminum frame, Bird also claims it’s one of the most durable escooters on the market today — important for a vehicle that’s certain to take a bashing when it hits the streets in the coming months in more than 100 cities globally as part of its scootersharing service.The Bird One can run for 30 miles on a single charge — twice the distance of the Bird Zero that it’s replacing — and incorporates better resistance to rain, dust, and other challenges thrown up by bad weather.It can reach speeds of up to 19 mph, transport a weight of up to 220 pounds, and comes with anti-theft features that include a GPS tracker and a smartphone-controlled digital lock.Safety-conscious riders will be reassured to know that the two-wheeler has received a slew of relevant certifications, so hopefully it’ll be free from the kind of issues that have caused problems for providers of similar schemes in recent months.
Renting a Bird scooter won't be your only option for much longer.The scooter comes in three colors -- jet black, dove white and electric rose -- and costs $1,299.Some of the Bird One's features include extended battery life and protection, a 30-mile travel range on one charge and better durability, the company says.You'll also get $100 in ride credits to use with the shared fleet and the ability to track your scooter with the app, as well as antitheft capabilities through the Bird Hunter Network."Given the excitement and demand for our next generation e-scooter, we are also making a limited supply of Bird Ones available to own," Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird, said in a release.The company's latest scooter will also join Bird's fleet this summer.
Singapore has passed a controversial bill that could equip the government with extensive powers to police online media and free speech.The bill was first drafted last month and, as had been expected, it passed 72-9 in Singapore’s parliament, dominated by the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), late on Wednesday.As we reported last month, the bill caused concern through its potential to stifle free speech, as a key feature enables the government, and in fact any minister, to force “corrections” to be added to online content that is deemed to be “false.”Beyond media, the flex also extends to social media.According to the law, those found to be “malicious actors” face a fine of up to SG$50,000 ($37,000) or five years in prison for their content.Platforms like Facebook and Twitter face fines of up to SG$1 million ($740,000) for their role in such situations.
Three women have filed a federal complaint against Amazon, alleging that they have faced racial and religious discrimination while working at its warehouses in Minnesota.Calling for an investigation, these women said they feared taking time off to pray, fast, or go to the bathroom in case they were fired.They said white workers were promoted over East African and Muslim Somali workers and given better jobs.Three Amazon workers have filed a federal complaint against the retail giant, alleging that they have faced racial and religious discrimination while working at warehouses in Minnesota.The three women, of Muslim Somali descent, said they feared taking time off to pray, fast, or take bathroom breaks in case they were fired, according to a letter from the civil-rights group Muslim Advocates that formed the backbone of a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission."Employees who regularly fell short of the rate — simply because they attempted to observe their religious obligations to pray —faced repercussions such as 'write-ups' that could lead to termination."
If you’ve ever tried to use augmented reality tools built with Apple’s ARKit or Google’s ARCore to measure real-world objects, you know that you’ll be lucky to get within an inch of their actual sizes — estimates that are of no practical value when measuring, say, shoe sizes for feet.So when Nike (via CNBC) says it has developed technology that will let its eponymous app achieve sub-2-millimeter accuracy in fitting shoes, that’s a big step forward.This July, Nike plans to add Nike Fit technology to its iPhone app and some retail stores, using multiple tricks to properly measure any user’s foot.Using a series of photographs, combined with AI and machine learning software, the technology begins by capturing an image of the floor next to a wall and then uses AR to generate a virtual “stand here” dot so you can snap an image of your feet while standing against the wall.Thirteen data points are then used to determine the length and width of each foot, resulting in a shoe size recommendation.The word “determine” is more appropriate than “estimate” in this case, because the measurements are — thanks to machine training — accurate to within roughly a millimeter of actual size.
Possibly because surveillance capitalist firms have subsidized product prices by collecting and trading in the personal data of the people that use their products, enabling them to sell hardware cheap.The crux of Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s argument against firms such as (obviously including but never named) Apple is that his company offers convenience in exchange for personal secrets, makes its services available for free, and has a “profound commitment” to protecting user privacy.By subsidizing products in this way, an unequal playing field is created because products that do not draw subsidy from the erosion of user privacy will inevitably cost more, creating an illusion of them being luxuries.Who else recalls Google’s Screenwise Meter iOS app, which quietly collected user data in defiance of Apple’s developer guidelines?Democracy dies in dark placesYou can read Pichai’s piece here, but for all the statements around democracy and “meaningful choice,” the arguments he’s making still expose weakness in his attempt to rebrand the notion of “privacy.”
48MP cameras have become one of the biggest trends in the past six months, offering high-resolution shots during the day and 12MP pixel-binned snaps at night.That seems to be Samsung’s thinking, as it’s just revealed a 64MP camera sensor (h/t: r/Android).The ISOCELL Bright GW1 sensor offers a higher resolution than existing mobile cameras on the market, but maintains the same pixel size (0.8 microns) as current 48MP sensors.Samsung is also using Tetracell technology (its take on pixel-binning) to merge data from four pixels into one, essentially resulting in 16MP 1.6 micron pixel snaps.This is slightly bigger than the 1/2-inch sensor size of 48MP cameras, likely due to the GW1 needing space for its extra pixels.But Samsung is also touting the sensor’s HDR prowess.
Square is partnering with courier network Postmates to bring on-demand deliveries to more restaurants and retailers.The integration, which is rolling out today, will enable retailers — of any size — that use Square’s payments platform to offer customers the option of having any item delivered.It’s worth noting that Square already offers food deliveries through Caviar, a company it acquired back in 2014, and it has also snapped up other food delivery platforms, such as Fastbite and Entrees on-Trays.But a Postmates partnership opens up Square’s delivery smarts significantly.San Francisco-based Postmates, which recently expanded to more than 1,000 cities as it gears up for its impending IPO, now covers 70% of U.S. households.With around 300,000 couriers, the Postmates platform connects the dots between retailers and consumers and helps brick-and-mortar merchants embrace online commerce.
Mint House is summed up best by Tige Savage, Revolution Venture managing partner: “Mint House is the best of a hotel without the worst of a hotel and the best of an Airbnb without the worst of an Airbnb.”The New York-based Mint House is today announcing a $15 million financing round led by Revolution Ventures, with participation from other investors and hotel industry veterans.The influx of capital and industry connections should go a long way in allowing the company to expand its offering that caters to business travelers looking for apartment-style accommodations with the predictability and reliability found in top-tier hotels.Mint House founder and CEO, Will Lucas, explained to TechCrunch how the company stands apart from hotels and short-term rentals.The traveler doesn’t have to find someone to give them the key; their phone unlocks the door to an apartment-style room.Still, the total offering is relatively small: there are 200 rooms in operation, and 200 are scheduled to open by summer 2019.
Riot Games and GameOn launched the Riot Latinoamérica Esports Bot, the official and exclusive chat application for the League of Legends Liga Movistar Latinoamérica (LLA).Now available on Facebook Messenger and Discord, the Riot Latinoamérica Esports Bot lets LLA fans stay connected to all of the tournament excitement and action in one place.LLA fans can access minute-by-minute recaps and highlights from the latest matches as well as results from recent matchups.As tournaments heat up, eager fans can view upcoming match schedules and join LLA live streams seeing the action unfold in real time.The companies made the announcement at the 2019 Mid-Season Invitational in Vietnam and Taiwan.The Riot Latinoamérica Esports Bot is also the hub for official league news and updates for every LLA esports team, including Isurus Gaming, Rainbow7, Infinity Esports and all other teams in the league.
“Fake news” — news content that either misleads people with half-truths, or outright lies — has become a permanent fixture of the internet.Dhruv Ghulati, the CEO of Factmata — who co-founded the company with Sebastian Riedel and Andreas Vlachos (Riedel’s other fake-news-fighting startup, Bloomsbury AI, was acquired by Facebook last year) — said that the financial terms of the deal were not being disclosed.He added that “eyeo invested both cash and the asset” and that “it’s a significant amount that strategically helps us accelerate development.” He points out that Factmata has yet to raise money from any VCs.Trusted News today — an example of how it looks is in the screenshot above — has “tens of thousands” of users, Ghulati said, and the aim will be to continue developing and taking those numbers to the next level, hundreds of thousands of users by changing up the product.The plan will be to build extensions for other browsers — “You can imagine a number of platforms across browsers (e.g.“We found that young people especially surprisingly really want to get involved in debating how an article is written with others and engaging in rating systems, rather than just being handed a rating to trust.”
Changes are afoot for the Google Play Store that should make the app repository a more informative place for both regular people and developers.Here’s what’s on deck and what it means for you.App ratings are a vital metric that Android users rely on day in and day out to inform their downloading decisions.What’s your threshold, particularly if the app costs real money?That means if the version 1.0 build of any given app was garbage and scored one million one-star votes, those votes will still impact the app’s overall score years later — even after the app reaches version 20.0 and is flawless.Developers can see the new rating via the Google Play Console starting immediately, though end users won’t see the new system until August.
A coalition of child protection and privacy groups has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to investigate a kid-focused edition of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker.The complaint against Amazon Echo Dot Kids, which has been lodged with the FTC by groups including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Center for Digital Democracy and the Consumer Federation of America, argues that the e-commerce giant is violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) — including by failing to obtain proper consents for the use of kids’ data.As with its other smart speaker Echo devices, the Echo Dot Kids continually listens for a wake word and then responds to voice commands by recording and processing users’ speech.The difference with this Echo is it’s intended for children to use — which makes it subject to U.S. privacy regulation intended to protect kids from commercial exploitation online.They also accuse Amazon of providing at best “unclear and confusing” information per its obligation under COPPA to also provide notice to parents to obtain consent for children’s information to be collected by third parties via the online service — such as those providing Alexa “skills” (aka apps the AI can interact with to expand its utility).In parallel, Amazon updated its Alexa smart assistant — adding parental controls, aka its FreeTime software, to the child-focused smart speaker.
Two years in to the life cycle of the latest version of the Intuos Pro, a mainstay professional graphics tablet, Wacom has decided to bring out a small size.As a tablet, it seems tiny but works identically to its medium and large siblings.While it seems like the smaller area wouldn't easily permit working on a large drawing or image, it does.And it requires less arm motion to travel from one side to the other.If you're a hand-dragger, though, you reach the edge of the tablet and fall off, which may not be comfortable for you -- there's not quite as much clearance as there is with the larger models.It's easy to slip in a bag with a laptop to carry around, and it weighs just under a pound (450g).
Hedera Hashgraph, an enterprise-grade blockchain alternative that raised $100 million last year, has begun a new stage of testing for its fast and secure public ledger technology.The Dallas-based company said it will begin phase two of its community testing program on May 13, allowing developers and users to test different network capabilities prior to open access for its mainnet (platform for commerce).Hedera Hashgraph has also joined the open cryptocurrency platform Hyperledger.These applications will all be available to users in this community testing phase to enable micropayments on the Hedera network.“Community testing is invaluable to the success of Hedera.Phase II of our Community Testing Program marks another milestone for us,” said CEO Mance Harmon in a statement.
About 65% of adults, or more than 164 million people, play video games in the U.S., according to a new report by the game industry trade group Entertainment Software Association.Each year, the percentage of Americans playing games has been going up, as non-gamers die off and younger folks start playing games.The ESA collects data for its annual report, and this year’s survey is entitled “2019 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry.”The ESA said that three-quarters of all Americans have at least one video game player in their household, and they play across a variety of platforms.After announcing a record-breaking $43.4 billion in U.S. industry revenue for 2018, the ESA dug deeper into data that tells more about the individual Americans who enjoy video games and their lifestyles to better understand their interests.The study shows that these individuals represent a cross-section of the American population and are diverse, active, and engaged in their communities and see video games as a positive force in society, the ESA said.
In 1927, Charles Brannock, the son of a local shoe company owner in Syracuse, N.Y., invented the Brannock Device.Industry-wide, 60% of consumers are wearing the wrong-sized shoes.During the 92 years since its introduction, the birth of the internet, and some other society-altering technological advances, the Brannock Device has somehow remained uncontested.This summer, Nike will introduce Nike Fit, a foot-scanning solution designed to find every person’s best fit.Conceptually, Nike Fit falls somewhere between “why would we reinvent the wheel” and “we don’t even need that wheel.”Nike Fit uses a proprietary combination of computer vision, data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence and recommendation algorithms to find your right fit.
Parents across the world are doling out $15 to Epic Games after the developer released Season 9, the latest update for its hit game Fortnite that’s particularly popular among kids and young adults.Fortnite is estimated to have more than 250 million players, and it has proven to be a major money-spinner for Epic thanks to sales of seasonal Battle Passes, skins and virtual items for avatars.That’s very much the focus for Season 9, which dropped today and is really about the cosmetics, with the latest Battle Pass unlocking more than 100 rewards, including a range of new skins and characters.Season 9 is an upgrade that’ll keep existing gamers locked into Fortnite through evolution — there are no radical changes to excite new or less-active players.In terms of gameplay, Fortnite has added at least three new locations.Neo Tilted replaces Tilted Towers, which was destroyed by a volcano eruption last week, then there’s Mega Mall, which is an upgrade on Retail Row, and Pressure Plant which is where the volcano used to be.
One of the Fastest Growing Home-Ownership Companies Will Now Serve Customers in Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Nebraska and WyomingNEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 9, 2019–Better.com today announced it has expanded into several new markets, including Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Nebraska and Wyoming.The expansion follows a $85M Series C capital raise and a record-breaking year in which the digital mortgage disruptor reported 3x year-over-year growth, bringing the total number of funded loans since inception to $3B.Mountains of paper being faxed all across the country containing sensitive consumer data is a thing of the past and we strive to make every point for the borrowers home-buying journey seamless, digital and convenient,” said Vishal Garg, CEO and Founder of Better.com.“With our market expansion into several key states, we’re pleased we can now offer borrowers in 36 states home loans that are cheaper, quicker and commission-free.”
Karakuri, a fledgling robotics startup that’s meshing machine learning, optics, and sensors to help commercial kitchens automate the process of dispensing ingredients and measuring precise quantities, has raised £7 million ($9.1 million) in a seed round of funding led by U.K. supermarket giant Ocado.London-based Karakuri is a product of Founders Factory, an incubator that matches investors with startups and helps with product validation, market insights, distribution, and more.Millions of people follow some form of restricted diet, whether for reasons of ethics, health, or allergies — in fact, around 4% of adults have some form of food allergy.One of Karakuri’s aims is to help commercial kitchens automate the processes involved in preparing a meal — making the preparation faster while removing human error from the equation.“Consumer eating habits in and out of the home are changing rapidly as demand increases for healthier options that match specific dietary requirements,” noted Karakuri CEO and cofounder Barney Wragg.These providers have historically relied on identically mass-produced meals to maintain their profit margins.
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