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08.24.16 | an hour ago

Morning intel: Tesla ups the ante with 100kWh battery, Facebook tests autoplay videos with sound

• Tesla is releasing a 100kWh battery for the Model S and X, which will take the cars from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and 2.9 seconds, respectively.

• Facebook is reportedly testing autoplay videos that automatically play sound, including ads and Facebook Live streams. 

• Samsung Pay has reportedly processed 100 million transactions barely a year after launch, the company claims. 

BuzzFeed is splitting into two departmentsBuzzFeed News and BuzzFeed Entertainment Group—in an effort to double down on its video content. 

08.24.16 | an hour ago

Uber partners with Betterment to help drivers plan for retirement

For many gig economy workers, retirement can seem like an elusive goal. Their income is constantly in flux, and they receive none of the 401(k) benefits available to full-time employees, like matching contributions. A new partnership between Uber and Betterment, a wealth management startup, underscores the shortcomings of the gig model. Through the deal, Betterment will offer its financial planning technology to Uber drivers without charge for one year. 

"We want to bring world-class personal finance and investment management services to investors of all types," says Betterment CEO Eli Broverman. Through the Uber app, drivers will be able to set financial goals and contribute to an IRA or another retirement account. But Uber will contribute nothing to those savings—the transportation company is not even reimbursing Betterment for the annual fee it has agreed to waive for drivers (worth approximately $156, depending on the account balance). 

In parallel, Broverman continues to grow Betterment for Business, a 401(k) solution designed for full-time employees. Last month the startup reached over $5 billion in assets under management, the first independent robo-advisor to hit that milestone

As for the Uber partnership, drivers in Boston, Chicago, New Jersey, and Seattle will be able to access Betterment starting today, with plans to expand the program nationwide later this year. Uber selected Betterment after quietly putting out the word that they were seeking a financial planning partner. 

[Screenshot: courtesy of Uber]

08.24.16 | 2 hours ago

Brunswick Park joins technical fabric workwear trend

Today, Boston-based clothing brand Brunswick Park launches. The company earned $80,000 in funding on Kickstarter to create a line of staple workwear clothing made of technical merino, which is designed to get you through a long day comfortably. The clothes are all anti-stink, moisture wicking, breathable, anti-wrinkle, and machine washable. They now have two pieces of apparel each for men and women, including a blazer and a more casual sweater. 

08.24.16 | 2 hours ago

Tim Cook unlocks $100 million in bonuses as he celebrates his 5-year anniversary as Apple CEO

Most five-year anniversary gifts are pretty lame—but not if you're the CEO of the biggest tech company on the planet. Today marks five years to the day that Tim Cook became CEO of Apple, and because of meeting that milestone he has been awarded stock bonuses, which at AAPL's current price are worth more than $106 million, reports MacRumors. The bonuses paid out today are tied to both Cook meeting the five-year mark and also Apple's performance under his leadership during the time, which includes its total shareholder return relative to the S&P 500.

08.24.16 | 3 hours ago

Google’s Daydream VR is launching soon

The search giant's VR platform is expected to launch "in the coming weeks," according to Bloomberg. Daydream was announced at Google I/O in May. It's a VR platform baked into Android 7.0 that will work on most newer smartphones that run Android 7.0 and also supports Google Cardboard headsets. But instead of having a sole and heavy focus on games—at least at launch—Bloomberg says Daydream will also focus on original content, funding the production of 360-degree videos with hot YouTube stars and working with other content partners, such as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, Hulu, Netflix, HBO, IMAX, Ubisoft, and EA.

08.24.16 | 4 hours ago

This tweet about the EpiPen price increase says it all

08.23.16 | 8:00 pm

Samsung Note 7 screen survives 50 face drops and still works

And that's a blessing because replacing the glass on one of the devices costs $270. 

The people at PhoneBuff did a head-to-head drop test comparing the iPhone 6s and the Note 7, which uses the new Gorilla Glass 5 from Corning. The Note 7 prevailed easily, sustaining most of its damage on the edges and corners. But the damage didn't seem to extend into long cracks covering the screen, as it did on the iPhone 6, which likely uses Gorilla Glass 4. 

08.23.16 | 7:38 pm

Is this Samsung’s entrant into the home personal assistant wars?

The "Scoop" showed up in regulatory documents filed by Samsung to the FCC recently, and the small device appears to have some of the hallmarks of being a home personal assistant like Amazon's Echo. The photos submitted with the regulatory documents clearly show a microphone port at the side of the Scoop. In fact, the Scoop looks a lot like Amazon's Dot, which uses Alexa as its brain (like the Echo) and connects via cable or Bluetooth to whatever sound system is already in the home.  The Scoop appears to have a small speaker inside, probably for streaming sound from a phone or other mobile device, but also has an audio port at the side.

Samsung has said nothing in the past about releasing a freestanding home assistant device. Google announced its entry into the category earlier this year with its as-yet-to-be-seen Google Home . 

08.23.16 | 7:23 pm

Too brie to fail: why the U.S. government is buying 11 million pounds of cheese

Difficult as it is to imagine, there is apparently too much cheese right now. In fact, the surplus is the highest it's been in 30 years. That's why the U.S. Department of Agriculture is stepping in: The agency said Tuesday it will purchase about $20 million worth of cheese to alleviate the burden for private dairy producers, while at the same time help out food banks and pantries. 

Federal law allows the USDA to dip into fiscal-year funds to purchase surplus food and use it to assist families in need. The national marketplace for cheese has "stalled," the agency said, with dairy producers seeing revenues fall 35% over the last two years.

08.23.16 | 7:11 pm

Samsung Pay is one year old, company says it’s done 100 million transactions

Samsung Pay arrived on the scene about a year after Apple Pay, but may be growing faster. It's now in seven countries and Samsung says its device users have now done around a hundred million transactions using the service. Samsung Pay differs from Apple Pay and Android Pay in that it can use either a Near Field Communication (NFC) radio or a standard stripe reader technology to communicate the transaction with the terminal. 

Samsung Pay is supported on premium devices like the Galaxy Note7, Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, S6 edge+, and Note5, as well as on mid-range devices like the Galaxy A5, A7 and A9.

08.23.16 | 6:06 pm

Fission at BuzzFeed: new News and Entertainment orgs aim for online video dominance

You will not believe what is happening at BuzzFeed!

Well, over at Vanity Fair today, we just got word that the massive online repository of cat videos, dress memes, and a fair amount of terrific reporting is being split into two organizations. One will be all about entertainment, the other about news. 

The idea, BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti told Vanity Fair, is to maximize the company's dominance in online video. 

Should that worry people who look to BuzzFeed for real journalism rather than just 25 ways to this or that? "Peretti says he understands that the shift toward video can be 'scary for people who write for a living,'" VF wrote. "But he notes that change is an industry-wide concern, not one unique to just BuzzFeed."

Peretti told Fast Company last winter that he looks to CNN and Paramount for inspiration. Perhaps that's why the new BuzzFeed News seems to have a CNN feel to it. Peretti also told us that BuzzFeed reorgs every three months as a way of keeping people from getting complacent.

08.23.16 | 4:41 pm

Move over “Gilmore Girls,” “Anne of Green Gables” is arriving on Netflix

Fans of the Anne of Green Gables books were in equal parts thrilled and apprehensive about the news in January that a new eight-episode drama was in the works. 

Yesterday, Netflix announced that it would be streaming the new show, which will be created by Breaking Bad writer Moira Walley-Beckett and directed by Niki Caro of Whale Rider fame. It is set to be released next year. 

Read more in The Hollywood Reporter