• Uber’s self-driving unit gets $1 billion investment from SoftBank and Japan’s auto industry
    by Nick Statt on April 19, 2019 at 1:19 am

    Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced this evening a $1 billion investment from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank’s Vision Fund, car maker Toyota, and automative component supplier Denso. The news confirms an article from The Wall Street Journal published earlier this week reporting that Uber was close to securing funding for its autonomous division, called Uber Advanced Technologies Group, or UberATG. Khosrowshahi announced the investment with a tweet, which included a photo of the chief executive alongside executives from SoftBank, Toyota, and Denso. According to the accompanying press release, the capital injection values Uber’s self-driving unit at $7.25 billion, ahead of the company’s official initial public offering likely later this... Continue reading […]

  • HP’s first 15-inch Chromebook features a full-size keyboard and IPS touchscreen for $449
    by Nick Statt on April 18, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Chromebooks continue to impress in the price-for-quality department, and the HP Chromebook 15 is no exception. The first ever 15-inch HP Chromebook (15.6 inches to be exact) comes not only with a full-sized keyboard and number pad, but also a blacklit IPS touchscreen and 64GB of base flash storage. That model starts at $449, and you can pay extra for double the eMMC storage and a faster Intel Core i5 processor, but the company isn’t yet saying how much that will cost. Another 15-inch Chromebook to rival full-sized, traditional laptops HP says the device starts shipping today from its online store, but the listing for the HP Chromebook 15 still says “coming soon,” for whatever reason. That said, the device has some impressive specs for... Continue reading […]

  • Amazon Music’s free ad-supported tier goes live, but only for Alexa users
    by Dani Deahl on April 18, 2019 at 10:19 pm

    Amazon has launched a free tier of its music streaming service in the US that is ad-supported and available to use through the company’s Echo speaker and other Alexa devices. Billboard first broke the news about this free option earlier this week, and the tier went live today. This new version gives access to a selection of ad-supported top playlists and stations for free on compatible Alexa devices. Previously, the only ways to access Amazon’s music offerings were to buy a Prime membership, which has Prime Music bundled in, or to separately pay a monthly fee ranging from $3.99 to $9.99, depending on the tier. This launch puts Amazon in direct competition with Spotify This launch puts Amazon in direct competition with Spotify. Until... Continue reading […]

  • Instagram has considered hiding the like count on people’s photos
    by Ashley Carman on April 18, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Instagram has considered hiding the like count on photos, so audiences can’t see how many people have liked an individual post. An unreleased feature that would publicly hide like counts was spotted today by code hunter Jane Wong, who says the test states that Instagram wants “your followers to focus on what you share, not how many likes your posts get.” Only the person who posted a photo will be able to see the number of likes it’s received. Instagram says that it has not tested the feature. In a statement to The Verge, an Instagram spokesperson said: “We’re not testing this at the moment, but exploring ways to reduce pressure on Instagram is something we’re always thinking about.” Details of the test come just days after the I... Continue reading […]

  • This $2,799 emulator is the fanciest retro game console around
    by Dani Deahl on April 18, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Retro games keep resurfacing in all types of emulators, but Swedish artist and craftsman Love Hultén has created one that goes the extra mile if you really want a full, nostalgia-fueled experience. His newest design, called Yesterday Vision, is a handmade midcentury-inspired monitor enclosure that can play games from classic systems. The Yesterday Vision contains a 19-inch 4:3 monitor that’s designed to have the curvature distortion of an old CRT monitor. It also has full-range loudspeakers and a built-in Raspberry Pi computer that emulates gaming systems like the SNES, NES, Genesis, NeoGeo, MAME, Atari 2600, N64, and PSX. You can also play modern games or connect your laptop to Yesterday Vision via an HDMI input on the back. It can also... Continue reading […]

  • Amazon admits defeat against Chinese e-commerce rivals like Alibaba and
    by Shannon Liao on April 18, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    Amazon is shutting down its Chinese domestic e-commerce business, it told sellers on Thursday. By July 18th, will no longer be open to third-party sellers, meaning it won’t compete with the massive e-commerce giants of China, including Alibaba and Amazon still plans to let Chinese customers shop at international versions of the site, including the company’s American, British, German, and Japanese marketplaces. Amazon says it’s reevaluating its fulfillment strategy in the country to meet those needs. Amazon tells The Verge in a statement, “Over the past few years, we have been evolving our China online retail business to increasingly emphasize cross-border sales, and in return we’ve seen very strong response from... Continue reading […]

  • Why Juul and Republican lawmakers want to raise the minimum vaping age
    by Rachel Becker on April 18, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing a new bill that would block all tobacco and vape purchases for Americans under 21 years old, according to an announcement today that was reported by Bloomberg. In a statement today, McConnell presented the bill as a response to widespread public health risks posed by teen vaping. “For some time, I’ve been hearing from the parents who are seeing an unprecedented spike in vaping among their teenage children,” McConnell said. “In addition, we all know people who started smoking at a young age and who struggled to quit as adults. Unfortunately it’s reaching epidemic levels around the country.” McConnell says he will look to the 11 states that already have Tobacco 21 laws on the books for... Continue reading […]

  • Digital publishing site Wattpad is partnering with Sony to adapt stories for Hollywood
    by Andrew Liptak on April 18, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Wattpad, the online story-sharing community for up-and-coming and established writers, has signed a “first-look” deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop new projects based on its vast catalog of uploaded stories, Wattpad announced yesterday. With this new partnership, Wattpad will essentially give Sony a heads-up when it comes to projects that might make for a good TV series. According to Wattpad, the two companies will “work together to identify and develop popular narratives from the half a billion story uploads that have been shared on Wattpad,” and Sony will have access to data from Wattpad’s machine learning efforts that help it churn through the site’s uploads, identifying what stories have potential in other media formats. ... Continue reading […]

  • Facebook stored millions of Instagram passwords in plain text
    by Jacob Kastrenakes on April 18, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    Facebook says it stored millions of Instagram users’ passwords in plain text, leaving them exposed to people with access to certain internal systems. The security lapse was first reported last month, but at the time, Facebook said it only happened to “tens of thousands of Instagram users,” whereas the number is now being revised up to “millions.” The issue also affected “hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users” and “tens of millions of other Facebook users.” Passwords are supposed to be stored in an encrypted format that allows websites to confirm what you’re entering without directly reading it. But as Krebs on Security first reported, various errors seem to have caused Facebook’s systems to log some passwords in plain text since as... Continue reading […]

  • BlackBerry Messenger (yes, that BBM) is shutting down on May 31st
    by Natt Garun on April 18, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    Clutch your old BlackBerries dear, because the consumer version of BBM is officially dying at the end of May. In a blog post, Emtek (the company that has taken over running the BBM app since 2016) has announced that it will end support for the messaging app on May 31st, citing fleeting users over the past years despite efforts to revitalize the app with features like Uber hailing and video calling. “We are proud of what we have built to date ... The technology industry however, is very fluid, and in spite of our substantial efforts, users have moved on to other platforms, while new users proved difficult to sign on,” the company wrote in a blog. “Though we are sad to say goodbye, the time has come to sunset the BBM consumer service, and... Continue reading […]

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