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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

5 phones with the best battery life – CNET

If a long-life battery tops your list of phone needs, you can’t do better than these. Did yours make the list?
Source: CNET

'Unboxing' my new Tesla Model 3 – Roadshow

Tesla’s delivery process is unlike any car purchase I’ve ever made before.
Source: CNET

Paint your walls with these famous hues – CNET

We scanned these well-known shades, so you can paint your bedroom tractor green.
Source: CNET

From Apple HomePod to Google Daydream: All the Things We Loved in May

A look back at everything we tested and liked this month, as well as the most promising updates to the stuff we’re already using.
Source: Wired

Nokia closes digital health sale to Withings founder Eric Carreel, who plans relaunch by EOY

Nokia has closed the books on its unlucky foray into digital health devices and services, and with it, a business is marking its return to the world of startups. Today, the Finnish telecoms giant announced that it has closed the sale of its digital health division, along with 200 employees, to Eric Carreel, the former chairman and co-founder of Withings. Now Carreel plans to relaunch the business once again under the Withings brand by the end of this year, with products focused on preventive health.

Withings had formed the core of Nokia’s digital health business after it acquired the company, famous for its smart scales, in 2016 for €170 million. Nokia later rebranded the business as Nokia Digital Health.

“I am delighted to start working again with the brilliant teams that made the brand such a great success” said Carreel in a statement. “We have an exciting challenge ahead of us as we continue to push the boundaries of connected health.”

The deal comes less than a month after Nokia announced that it had entered into exclusive negotiations with Carreel for the sale, part of a larger reorganization at the company to refocus away from unprofitable businesses.

There were no financial terms revealed in the sale, nor any details about how the new Withings will be financed. (We are asking.) In its previous incarnation as a startup before its exit to Nokia, Withings had raised just under $34 million with investors including Bpifrance, Ininvest and and Ventech starting in 2008. The new startup will be based out of Paris with operations also in the U.S. and Asia.

Alongside the news about Withings, there are some executive changes at Nokia, too.

Gregory Lee — who joined the Nokia Technologies division in part to restructure the business by hiving off unprofitable operations like digital health — is now leaving the company altogether. Maria Varsellona, who is the company’s Chief Legal Officer, will now also be the president of Nokia Technologies.

This change makes some (disheartening) sense: Nokia has a huge trove of patents from its long history, which included helping forge and for a long time leading the mobile phone industry. While Nokia’s mobile phone business eventually collapsed, quite dramatically, it has held on to a number of patents, and has added to that in recent years. And this is why it is unsurprising to have Nokia’s legal head also leading its Technologies division: it shows where the company’s priorities are today. 

Back at Withings, in addition to connected scales, the company today makes activity tracking watches, blood pressure monitors, a smart thermometer, and a sleep tracking pad, which work with an app it calls Health Mate. The focus on preventive health sounds like it will keep all of these in place.

The story of hardware startups is one of many optimistic and often exciting ideas, but also a lot of failures, as the realities set in of developing supply chains, trying to find the right economies of scale and of course finding customers for your shiny new gadgets. Withings is some way out of the initially hard part of simply getting products designed, working, made and out into the market, but it will still have to contend with keeping the business operating and growing — challenges that Nokia clearly could not surmount.

One thing in its favor is the rise of AI and the general expansion of possibilities that come with all the data that can now be collected. Putting aside clunkers like Theranos, a number of startups — such as Ava, which is focusing on women’s health — have been exploring not just what kind of data they can gather from wearables and other devices, but how to “read” that data and match it up with new understanding about disease pathology and health, to gain more insights about us and how we work.

This seems to be the direction that Withings hopes to go, too.

“We are still only just starting to discover what connected health can really bring to people,” said Carreel in a statement. “From now on we must concentrate our efforts on developing tools capable of advanced measurements and the associated services that can help prevent chronic health conditions. Today’s technologies allow us to imagine solutions that have the potential to benefit the lives of millions of people, and our ambition is to ensure that we, as Withings, lead the way with technological advances and intuitive designs.”


Source: TechCrunch

GM’s Cruise gets $2.25b from SoftBank’s Vision Fund, $1.1b from GM

General Motors today announced a large investment into its self-driving unit, Cruise. SoftBank’s Vision Fund will invest $2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings LLC and when the deal closes, GM will invest an additional $1.1 billion. The investments are expected to inject enough capital into Cruise for the unit to reach commercialization at scale beginning in 2019.

“Our Cruise and GM teams together have made tremendous progress over the last two years,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra . “Teaming up with SoftBank adds an additional strong partner as we pursue our vision of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

“GM has made significant progress toward realizing the dream of completely automated driving to dramatically reduce fatalities, emissions and congestion,” said Michael Ronen, managing partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers. “The GM Cruise approach of a fully integrated hardware and software stack gives it a unique competitive advantage. We are very impressed by the advances made by the Cruise and GM teams, and are thrilled to help them lead a historic transformation of the automobile industry.”

The investments will be made in stages. When the transaction closes, the Vision Fund will invest $900 million, and when Cruise is ready for commercial deployment, the fund will provide the remaining $1.35 billion. When closed, SoftBank’s Vision Fund will own a 19.6-percent equity stake in GM’s Cruise.

General Motors purchased the San Francisco-based startup in 2016 for $581 million. Since then, General Motors has reportedly let the unit operate largely on its own. At the time, GM President Dan Ammann told TechCrunch the car maker intended to integrate Cruise’s technology within its fleet of vehicle brands as soon as possible.

Since being acquired by GM, Cruise seems to be, well, cruising. The company had 30 self-driving test cars on the road in 2016 and later rolled out a high-definition mapping system. In 2017 the company started running an autonomous ride-hailing service for its employees in San Francisco, later announcing its self-driving cars would hit New York City.

We took a ride in one of Cruise’s self-driving Chevy Bolts in 2017 and found it a good taste of the future. And now that Softbank’s Vision Fund and GM is dumping billions into the company, that tasty future seems closer than ever.


Source: TechCrunch

Virtru secures $37 million Series B led by Iconiq

Virtru, the security startup that came out of research at the NSA, announced a $37 million Series B financing round today led by Iconiq Capital.

The company also announced the formation of Virtru Labs, an entity to be led by company co-founder and CTO Will Ackerly. The Lab will act as an innovation engine for the company, while trying to make Virtru’s underlying technology, Trusted Data Format (TDF), an industry standard for exchanging data securely in a similar manner that PDF developed into a standard way of exchanging documents.

CEO and co-founder John Ackerly (and brother of Will) says this has been a goal since the earliest days of the company and starting the lab is one of the reasons they wanted to raise this round. “My brother and I firmly believe you need an open framework in order to achieve the vision of true default security,” he told TechCrunch.

They believe by investing time and dollars to get third parties to adopt the TDF and adopting all tiers of this data format, it could remove the friction we have today when data is being shared across systems, while eliminating vendor lock-in.

The company currently offers tools for end-to-end email encryption in G-Suite and Office 365, but they hope to expand to file sync and share applications and chat. They also want to promote technical partnerships through the SDK they launched earlier this year. Finally, they want to expand globally by growing a channel partner system.

Ackerly says all of that takes money and that’s why they went looking for this round. It didn’t hurt that the company has experienced explosive growth over the last year adding 3000 new customers for a total of over 8000 using their products, while tripling revenue (they did not provide an exact figure).

Ackerly says one of the reasons for this growth is an increasing desire on the part of users to have a trust mechanism for sharing information online. “If you look at our partnership with Google, with Microsoft, with Amazon; these are all platform companies that are coming to grips with this privacy imperative. We are in a crisis of trust as a society and Virtru has always taken the approach of partnering closely because these workflows matter to end users,” he said. He adds that this really wouldn’t work if the company tried to create a new set of tools.

Vitru has around 80 employees today and Ackerly expects that to grow by around 50 percent over the coming year as they move into new markets, grow the lab and expand channel and partner support.

The round was led by Iconiq Capital with participation from returning investors Bessemer Venture Partners, New Enterprise Associates, Samsung, Blue Delta Capital, and Soros Capital. Today’s round brings the total raised to over $76 million since the company was founded in 2011.


Source: TechCrunch

Airbus' H160 Helicopter Saves Pilots From Their Own Mistakes

If the pilot ever loses their bearings, a double-tap to the yoke automatically returns the helicopter to a stable, controlled attitude.
Source: Wired

The Messy, Malodorous Mystery of Marin's Dead 60-Foot Whale

It’s the third reported stranding in the Bay Area in a week. The average here for an entire year is five to seven. So what’s going on?
Source: Wired

Suzanne Ciani's New LP Wraps You in Quadraphonic Surround Sound

A new recording by synthesizer artist Suzanne Ciani is being released on a long-forgotten analog surround-sound format.
Source: Wired

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