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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Star Wars News: Is There a Resistance Inside the First Order?

A new rumor suggests one of Kylo Ren’s employees might be a traitor.
Source: Wired

Tile names GoPro vet CJ Prober new CEO, adds Comcast as investor and new product partner

There’s a changing of the guard, and a new strategic partnership, over at Tile, the startup that helps you keep tabs on the location of your things by way of small tracking devices. Today, the company is announcing that CJ Prober — a longtime exec at GoPro who had most recently been the COO, and had been on the Tile board for the last seven months — is taking on the role of CEO from co-founder Mike Farley.

Farley will keep a seat on the board and become a strategic advisor to the company, stepping away from a day-to-day role.

The leadership change coincides with another significant piece of news for the company: US media giant Comcast is taking a strategic investment in the startup that will also become the basis for a long-term product and marketing partnership. The value of the investment is not being disclosed but a source close to the deal described it as a “sizable investment” made at a higher valuation than for Tile’s previous round. (For some context, Tile last raised $25 million in 2017, at around a $167 million post-money valuation.)

Prober would not comment on whether this potentially the beginning of a larger round for the company, which has disclosed some $61 million in funding, a total that is now higher with this new infusion from Comcast.

Both pieces of news come just as we start to inch into the holiday sales period, a key time of year for consumer electronics companies. Tile specifically will be looking for a turnaround after a disappointing holiday season, and layoffs, in 2017. With over 15 million of its square devices to date, Tile is considered the leader in its category in key markets like North America, but there are a number of me-too products out there — some of which have had their own struggles in meeting sales projections and could lead some of those competitors to exit the consumer market for device tracking altogether.

In an interview, Prober said that his time at GoPro — which has also had its share of struggles — “really did expose me to the opportunities and challenges that come with consumer hardware”, and he’s hoping to use some of that experience to help Tile take itself to the next level as a product business.

The “primary use case,” as Prober describes it, is finding keys — and the strength of that has helped the company establish a global community that helps power Tile’s location-finding platform. (Some 4 million Tiles are active each month across 220 territories, he said.) The next steps will be to create an even stronger network of nodes that do not have to rely on active Tile users; and to start creating other kinds of tracking services that might not even rely on the Tile fob itself.

“We’d like to embed Tile technology into anything that already uses Bluetooth,” he said, citing a deal with Bose from earlier this year as a template it would like to continue to develop. And the company is also now testing out a new feature it calls “smart alerts,” which will not simply let you locate items when you’ve misplaced them, but will alert you when you leave something important behind.

The Comcast deal is also part of that strategic continuum. When it’s not outbidding Fox to buy broadcasters in the UK, the company has been focusing on how it can build out a more central role for itself in the connected home, as a way to help differentiate itself from the rest of the pack of media and broadband providers in its home market of the US.

Comcast has launched voice-controls for connected home services using its X1 Voice Remote, smart home automation, and even an early partnership with Tile. The investment will help the two build on that by putting Tile tech into its network of devices — namely remotes and set-top boxes — to create more access points to use the Tile location-tracking technology. And then two plan to co-market each other’s products.

Tile currently has 100 employees.


Source: TechCrunch

Democrats Are Busting Their 2016 Mobile Canvassing Records

With six weeks to go until Election Day, more volunteers have already logged on to the party’s canvassing app than in any other election.
Source: Wired

'Maniac' Is the Most Netflix-y Netflix Show Yet. In a Bad Way

This is what happens when a prestige- and pedigree-obsessed creative strategy overrides all functionality.
Source: Wired

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II Review: Our Favorite Point-and-Shoot

Pocketable and powerful, this compact Canon is mightier than it may seem.
Source: Wired

SiriusXM to acquire Pandora for $3.5 billion

SiriusXM and Pandora have announced acquisition plans before the stock market opens. SiriusXM is offering to acquire Pandora for $3.5 billion in stock, or $10.14 per share. Pandora would continue to exist as an independent service.

For Pandora shareholders, this offer represents a 13.8 percent premium over the volume-weighted average share price of the past 30 days. Both the Pandora board and the SiriusXM board have approved the plan.

But the transaction isn’t going to happen right away. As part of the deal, Pandora negotiated a “go-shop” provision, which means that Pandora’s board can still evaluate other offers. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019.

The announcement says that SiriusXM plans to leverage both services to cross-promote the other service. For instance, you could see references to SiriusXM shows while listening to Pandora. And SiriusXM hosts could suggest downloading the Pandora mobile app.

The company also plans to create subscription packages that could include SiriusXM radios as well as a Pandora premium subscription. SiriusXM also plans to make you listen to Pandora in your car as SiriusXM is already widely available in American cars.

Pandora shares are currently up 8.58 percent to $10.65 in pre-market trading. SiriusXM shares are currently trading at $6.89 (down 1.29 percent) in pre-market trading.

Pandora has been a public company since 2011 but has consistently lost money. The company bet very early on music streaming with an innovative interest-based smart radio format. That was before Spotify, before Apple Music, before SoundCloud, before smartphones.

While Pandora currently has over 70 million monthly active listeners, the vast majority of them aren’t premium subscribers. Pandora only has around 6 million paid subscribers — Spotify has 83 million paid subscribers. Paid subscribers tend to boost the average revenue per user. But the company never quite figured out how to convert those free users into subscribers.


Source: TechCrunch

WhatsApp hires ‘grievance officer’ to help combat false information in India

Following widespread criticism of the way its service is used to spread false information and news in India, WhatsApp has hired a “grievance officer” for the country.

U.S-based Komal Lahiri is the lead who handles complaints about the service from users, law enforcement and other government officials, according to Mint.

WhatsApp did not respond to a request for comment on Lahiri’s hiring and her role. Her LinkedIn account, however, states that she has been “Senior Director, Global Customer Operations & Localization” at WhatsApp since March. Prior to that, she spent over three years with Facebook and Instagram in the U.S.

WhatsApp claims over 1.5 billion active users per month, India is its largest market and it accounts for an estimated 200 million of that figure. Despite the many benefits of a more connected society, information on WhatsApp has led to a number of troubling incidents. That includes the killing of five people who visited a rural village but were beaten to death after being falsely accused of being child kidnappers due to the spread of rumors on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp has tried to advise people by taking out full-page advertisements in an assortment of daily newspapers as well as educational camps, but the Indian government has pressured WhatsApp to do more. The IT minister met with WhatsApp COO Chris Daniels after it had sent two letters to the company asking it make its service more accountable and enable law enforcement agencies to use it.

The company has instead said it is impossible to track messages since its service is end-to-end encrypted. It has added features in India — one indicates when a message has been forwarded, and another limited the number of times messages can be forwarded on — but that hasn’t solved the problem. WhatsApp is at least stepping up its efforts with this hire, but it remains to be seen how adequate a job Lahiri can do from the U.S.

More widely, WhatsApp does seem to be struggling make hires in India.

While this role is located in the U.S, the company is still trying to fill the position of ‘head of India’ and its head of policy in the country, too. Facebook itself is also hiring for a managing director for its India business.


Source: TechCrunch

Google started quietly logging you into Chrome with latest update, reports say – CNET

People note that Chrome 69 logs them into the browser when they access a Google-owned site.
Source: CNET

Airline prepares to make world's longest commercial flight: 19 hours – CNET

The journey between Singapore and New York will require a few good books.
Source: CNET

iPhone XS drop test: This phone would not crack – CNET

We dropped a brand-new gold iPhone XS onto the sidewalk four times to find out how durable the glass is on both sides.
Source: CNET

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