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09.30.16 | 8:32 am

In China, ride-sharing wars spill over into bicycles

Competition in China's ride-sharing market has been fierce, so fierce that Uber gave up its battle with homegrown rival Didi Chuxing in August. Now the battle for urban transportation in China is expanding from cars to bicycles as investors plow a combined $200 million into Beijing-based bike-sharing services Ofo and Mobike. 

Didi Chuxing backs oFo, which recently raised $100 million-plus and is now valued at more than $500 million. Mobike, also coming off a $100 million round, has raised funding from traditional investors, including Asian-focused private equity firm Hillhouse Capital, which also backs Airbnb.

05.24.17 | an hour ago

The Fashion Tech Forum goes to L.A., America’s new fashion capital

The Fashion Tech Forum is an annual gathering of business leaders to discuss the future of the fashion industry. In the past, it's been held in New York, but in a telling move, the event is being held in L.A. this year on October 6th.

Fashion startups like Buck Mason and Reformation have been increasingly making L.A. their home, and the garment district in L.A. is a thriving hub of American clothing manufacturing. Future-thinking designers like Rebecca Minkoff and Tommy Hilfiger have also eschewed New York Fashion Week in favor of alternative events in L.A. 

05.24.17 | an hour ago

Floyd wants to give Ikea a run for its money with American-made, non-disposable furniture

Let's face it: we have a love-hate relationship with Ikea. Young urbanites, who are constantly moving, need cheap furniture whenever they move to a new pad; but the quality is not always great, which is okay since the furniture is meant to be temporary and disposable.

Enter Floyd, a Detroit-based furniture company founded in 2013 that has been growing more than two and half times a year since it launch. It creates similarly designed modular pieces, but unlike Ikea, they are designed to be collapsed and rebuilt many times (no tools required!), so you can take your stuff from apartment to apartment. Floyd launched with a few key pieces: a bed, a desk, a shelf. Today, they're expanding their selection with an attachable birch headboard. And there are more pieces in the pipeline coming out in 2017.

05.24.17 | 2 hours ago

Jeff Bezos just gave $1 million to the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Amazon founder's $1 million gift was the largest in the organization's 46-year history, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press said in a statement. The organization provides pro bono legal representation and other legal resources to protect the rights of journalists in the United States. "This generous gift will help us continue to grow, to offer our legal and educational support to many more news organizations, and to expand our services to independent journalists, nonprofit newsrooms, and documentary filmmakers," Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press chairman David Boardman said.

05.24.17 | 4 hours ago

Uber’s general counsel for EMEA just bailed

Jim Callaghan, who was Uber's general counsel for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, has departed the company, Recode reports. His departure is just the latest in an exodus of execs from the company in recent months, including its president, senior vice president of engineering, vice president of global vehicle programs, head of communications, vice president of growth, and head of AI Labs. Callaghan's departure comes after the company was deemed a transportation service—and not just a digital service—by a European court, and thus will have to comply with safety laws that apply to the taxi industry. 

05.24.17 | 5:18 am

Apple is working on a 5G iPhone

But don't expect the advanced cellular technology in the iPhone 8, due this year, or even the iPhone due in 2018. That's because, at the earliest, 5G networks won't begin to roll out in most of the world until 2019. Still, that's only two years away, so the fact that Apple has filed for an experimental license from the FCC to use 5G tech (via Business Insider) shouldn't come as too much of a shock. 

05.24.17 | 5:11 am

A SpaceX technician says the company falsified rocket-building tests

Ex-SpaceX employee Jason Blasdell said he observed that managers were pressuring technicians to sign off on tests of Falcon 9 and Dragon rocket parts that hadn't actually been tested according to protocol, reports Bloomberg. He even went so far as to have a discussion with Elon Musk about the falsified tests and, as a result, he alleges, his concerns were never addressed, and instead he was fired by the company. Blasdell is currently suing the company for wrongful termination in a California court. 

05.23.17 | 9:19 pm

Now you can control your Tesla via a chatbot named Elon 

Sahas Katta, the CEO of a startup called Smartcar, has been thinking about inventive ways to control Tesla's cars for a while. A few years ago, he created a Tesla app for Google's ill-fated Google Glass. And now he's back with Teslabot, which lets people lucky enough to own a Tesla S or X talk to their car via Facebook Messenger.

Teslabot lets you do anything from unlock the doors to vent the sunroof to monitor charging. And Katta gave his bot a human name that—though uncommon among actual humans—is ideal for this particular product: "Elon."  

 

05.23.17 | 7:38 pm

Embrace.io’s new platform helps mobile devs spot issues before losing customers

Currently developers get crash reports when an app fails while you're using it, but they don't always know when something else happens—say the app freezes, there's a tiny glitch, or just a bad design that's making you ditch the app for something else. A new platform launching today, Embrace.io, helps diagnose those issues before they result in lost customers.

Now, most developers use a combination of crash reports, analytics, and logging to figure out where things have gone wrong. A complicated process with mixed results. Embrace.io is instead a unified platform that turns data into solutions that developers can use to create better-performing apps, freeing up time typically spent troubleshooting for writing actual code.

The first platform to provide performance feedback for mobile, along with its launch it also announced $2.5 million in seed funding led by Eniac Ventures, with investments from the Chernin Group, Techstars Ventures, and BoxGroup. Developers can sign up for the limited release on the company's website.

05.23.17 | 6:48 pm

Bug in Twitter’s ads code allowed hackers to tweet from anyone’s account

Much as some of us might wish, it doesn't explain Donald Trump's tweets, but there's a chance it could explain irregularities in tweets from any number of other Twitter accounts.

It, in this case, is a bug that would have allowed hackers to post from anyone's account–even Trump's, and even before Trump added two-factor authentication. According to Motherboard, code from Twitter's ads team had introduced the vulnerability. Discovered in February by someone who goes by the nickname kedrisch, the flaw "in the handling of Twitter Ads Studio requests…allowed an attacker to tweet as any user. By sharing media with a victim user and then modifying the post request with the victim's account ID the media in question would be posted from the victim's account. This bug was patched immediately after being triaged and no evidence was found of the flaw being exploited by anyone other than the reporter." Twitter seems to have paid kedrisch a bounty of $7,500 for discovering the bug.

[Photo: Unsplash user Benjamin Balázs]

05.23.17 | 5:42 pm

Watch Mark Zuckerberg tell stories Live in his Harvard dorm room

Mark Zuckerberg visited Harvard today and broadcasted briefly from his old college dorm room on Facebook Live. During the broadcast, he shared a number of fun and interesting stories from his college days. You can check out the full broadcast below:

Facebook launched a few new features for Facebook Live today, including the ability to create private comment threads about Live videos for just your friends, and invite a friend to broadcast Live with you.

05.23.17 | 4:35 pm

The new Surface Pro is a bigger upgrade than Microsoft let on

A couple of weeks after downplaying expectations for a new Surface Pro tablet, Microsoft announced an upgrade that's surprisingly substantial. The fifth-generation device–simply called the new Surface Pro–has a more flexible kickstand that bends back 165 degrees, longer battery life of up to 13.5 hours, and a slightly curvier design. The mid-tier Intel Core i5 model has also become lighter and quieter by dropping the cooling fan, and there's an option for built-in 4G LTE connectivity. Just one catch: Microsoft is no longer throwing in a Surface Pen, though the new $100 add-on version is more accurate and less laggy.

The new Surface Pro will ship in mid-June, starting at $800, plus $160 for a "Signature" keyboard cover.

05.23.17 | 4:31 pm

Mobile augmented reality predicted to be a $60 billion, billion-plus user industry by 2021

It's coming. Everybody knows it. Whether it's on the next iPhone (or the one after that) or via the camera in Facebook's apps, it's coming. Augmented reality for the masses, that is. And it's going to be big time.

That's according to the analysts at Digi-Capital, who today put out a report predicting that the mobile AR industry will be worth $60 billion a year by 2021, and will have, at a minimum, a billion users. It could be way more, if mobile AR is included in a future iPhone, or if the masses adopt it via Facebook's apps. And that's not to mention tools from the likes of Google, Snap, Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, Huawei, Samsung, and others. Essentially, the message of the report is that this is a technology that's coming fast, that it's going to take users far beyond Pokémon Go. In fact, Digi-Capital argues that while games may have brought AR to many people's attention, "the bulk of mobile AR revenue could be in sectors other than games. Over 80% of mobile AR revenue could come from mobile network data, e-commerce sales, advertising, consumer (non-games) apps and enterprise/B2B sales."