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07.14.16 | 5:56 am

Pokémon “Oh, no!” The game will soon have ads

Your ad-free experience of Pokémon Go will soon be changing. Niantic, the game developer behind Nintendo's hit, is bringing in-game advertising to Pokémon Go's augmented reality world, reports Campaign. But fear not, the advertising won't be in the form of tacky banners. Instead Niantic is allowing retailers and restaurants to become sponsored Pokémon Go locations. That sort of advertising could be highly lucrative for brick-and-mortar outfits as they could literally attract players into their stores with the promise of finding imaginary creatures.

[Image: Nintendo/Niantic]

10.26.16 | 32 minutes ago

What’s Up With Microsoft’s New $299 standalone VR Headset?

Facebook's Oculus, HTC, Sony, Samsung, and Google–time to get a little nervous.

At an event in New York today, the tech giant said it and its partners–Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo, and Asus–will be releasing an as-yet unnamed line of standalone virtual reality headsets meant to leverage Windows 10's VR and holographic features.

The headsets will have some of the features of high-end VR systems–including the ability to track users' positions in physical space, and will do so without any external sensors, The Verge reports. In that sense, the headsets will be similar to Oculus's Santa Cruz prototype, which can track users without wires, and without an attached smartphone or PC.

10.26.16 | 37 minutes ago

Verizon is still buying Yahoo (probably)

Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, the session with Verizon's Marni Walden, who runs the company's media business, is titled "Yes, We're Buying Verizon, and Here's Why." But the revelation of Yahoo Mail's massive security breach has left a cloud over the wireless company's plan to bolster its role in online advertising by melding Yahoo with its first big media acquisition, AOL.

"Stragically, the deal still makes a lot of sense for us," said Walden, who said that Verizon hopes to resolve any issues related to the Yahoo breach within the next 60 days. But she left herself a loophole: When the Journal's Jason Anders asked her if there were any scenarios in which the acquisition might not happen, she cheerfully said "Why don't we move onto your next question?"

10.26.16 | an hour ago

Microsoft takes a left turn to the desktop with the new Surface Studio all-in-one

The new Surface Studio PC is aimed at designers, architects, illustrators and other creative types. It's meant to put all the tools that creatives need in one place on the desktop so they can stay engrossed in their work. The Studio's touch screen can be moved down into a drawing board-like position on the desktop. 

The computer comes in three types:

• The bottom of the line ($2,999) has an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX965m GPU (2GB), and 1TB of storage.

• The middle of the line ($3,499) has an Intel Core i7 processor inside, 16GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX965m GPU (2GB), and 1TB of storage.

• The top of the line ($4,199) has an Intel Core i7 processor inside, 32GB of RAM, Nvidia GeForce GTX980m GPU (4GB), and 2TB of storage.

The Studio is available for pre-order starting today at Microsoft Stores and at Microsoft says it'll be shipping Surface Studio in limited quantities this holiday with broad availability at Microsoft Stores and select Best Buy locations in early 2017.

See the full story of how Microsoft built the Surface Studio here

10.26.16 | an hour ago

It’s good to be Adobe right now

It's always good to be Adobe, maker of arguably the best creative design tools out there. That's especially true in an environment where hardware makers like Apple and Microsoft are focused on making products that allow for really detailed, complex digital illustration. This year Microsoft bestowed on creatives a faster Surface Pro 4 while Apple gave us the iPad Pro and pressure-sensitive stylus Pencil. Now Microsoft has launched the equivalent of an artist's easel with its Surface Studio. That means even more places to get your creative juices flowing with Adobe's signature software.

10.26.16 | 2 hours ago

1Atelier comes out of beta, aims to disrupt the luxury handbag market

Over the summer, I reported on 1Atelier, a brand that is trying to change the bespoke luxury market with a website that allows customers to design every aspect of a bag from scratch and receive their handmade product in 21 days. The platform allows it to offer 5,365,902,467,368,128 different bag combinations, ensuring that every person who shops on the site will get a one-of-a-kind product. Prices range from $295-$7,380.

When I was writing the story, the company was still putting the finishing touches on the technology and website, but today it comes out of beta. Its early customers have offered feedback, but over 25% enjoyed the product so much that they became repeat customers. 

1Atelier recently received $1.5 million in angel funding with the goal of refining the technology. It plans to launch men's products shortly and has already created a unisex backpack. It is also introducing new materials, including Nappa leather, to its existing collection of skins.

10.26.16 | 2 hours ago

Microsoft Windows 10 Update focuses on blending real life and virtual environments

"Our content is no longer confined to a digital or physical form" says Megan Saunders, a Microsoft Windows program manager. That was one of the main themes behind Microsoft's Windows 10 Creators Update event in New York. The company introduced a lot of tools for augmented reality and virtual reality, all of which will slowly but surely push users from the PC desktop to the HoloLens's virtual work environment. Here's a list of some of the highlights of the new OS. 

• Microsoft made a major update to the long stagnant app Paint. You can now build 3D objects in Paint, which can be exported to a virtual environment inside Hololens.

• In the Windows 10 update, content created on the PC will be easily accessible on Window's other devices. The company is trying to further blend the space between real life and virtual worlds.

Standalone virtual reality headsets will start at $299. Six-degree tracking means you don't need a special room to use them, but they are still wired.

Gamers out there get a special broadcasting and social update. Through an integration with Beam, gamers will be able to instantly broadcast as they're playing on either Xbox or PC. You'll also be able to create tournaments. 

10.26.16 | 4 hours ago

Purple Carrot’s boxed meals are now available at Whole Foods

Last week, our Sarah Kessler wrote about how meal kit companies like Blue Apron and Plated are having trouble retaining customers. Recent data shows that 50% of customers stick around after their second week, and six months later, only 10% are still signed on. 

Today, Purple Carrot, a plant-based meal kit delivery service, is partnering with Whole Foods to sell the boxes in stores. It might be one strategy to curb the "dine and dash" problem in the industry because customers won't feel trapped by a subscription and might be compelled by the convenience of the full set of pre-measured ingredients as they are loading up their shopping carts. 

The first kits will be available at Whole Foods' flagship store in Dedham, MA and a three-meal kit will cost $19.99. 

[Image via Purple Carrot]

10.26.16 | 9:11 am

Bandier and Hatch collaborate on maternity activewear

During and after pregnancy, doctors encourage women to exercise. But it can be hard to stay fit for many reasons, including the fact that many gym activities are not encouraged for pregnant women. 

Today, Bandier and Hatch are releasing a six-piece capsule collection of performance activewear for pregnant and postpartum women. Along with outfits tailored to women's bodies during pregnancy, the brands using the launch to discuss wellness and self-care during this period of life, offering free prenatal fitness classes and panel discussions that demystify fitness and pregnancy. 

[Image via Bandier]

10.26.16 | 9:00 am

Lively snags $4 million to take on Victoria’s Secret

Earlier this year, I wrote an in-depth story about the online underwear market, documenting how brands like Lively are taking on the giants of the industry—Victoria's Secret and Hanes—with high-tech products and less sex-heavy marketing. 

This week, a direct-to-consumer brand started by a former Victoria's Secret exec, Michelle Grant, just landed $4 million in seed funding. One investor in this round was Leandra Medine, founder of the website Man Repeller

This brings Lively's total funding to date to $5.5 million, which is still small change in the $13 billion intimates industry. Victoria's Secret brings in upwards of $1 billion in revenues annually, although the brand's sales have slowed this year and it recently slashed 200 jobs. Lively is arming itself for the fight ahead.  

[Image via Bandier]

10.26.16 | 8:35 am

Morning intel: Snapchat Story views are down, Toyota recalls 5.8 million cars

• Facebook is reportedly looking into creating a product for broadcasters modeled after Instant Articles—an approach that could help assuage concerns about monetization. 

• Google Fiber, Alphabet's attempt to expand internet access, is downsizing. The division is laying off about 130 employees (9% of its staff) and pulling back from eight cities. 

Snapchat Story views have been on the decline ever since the company nixed its Autoplay feature, which would automatically play the next Story when one ended. According to Digiday, view counts have decreased by 15% since the change was made. 

• Delta's updated app allows you to track your bags as soon as you check them in, based on when the bag's RFID tag is scanned. 

• Toyota is recalling a total of 5.8 million cars across Japan, China, and Europe due to faulty Takata airbags. 

• Coming up today: Tesla and Samsung earnings. We're watching for updates on the SolarCity acquisition, Model 3 production, and Gigafactory operations.

10.26.16 | 7:40 am

Report: Google Fiber to lay off 9% of its staff, pull back from 8 different cities

Google parent Alphabet is dramatically cutting back on its ambitious plans to expand its Fiber internet service nationwide and disrupt the entire broadband market. It is letting go about 9% of staff (or roughly 130 employees), and top exec Craig Barratt, who leads the Access unit that includes Google Fiber, is leaving, reports Bloomberg. In a blog post, Barratt wrote that it is pulling back from eight different cities, including Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. "I suspect the sheer economics of broad-scale access deployments finally became too much for them," Jan Dawson, an analyst with Jackdaw Research, told Bloomberg.

10.26.16 | 7:18 am

This video shows Uber’s robot truck delivering 45,000 cans of Budweiser

In what's being called the first-ever autonomous delivery, Uber's self-driving truck startup Otto just delivered 45,000 cans of beer for Budweiser. The robot truck drove the precious cargo on I-25 from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, Colorado. "The driver was out of the driver's seat during the entire 120-mile stretch of highway," notes the video. Uber acquired Otto in August for $700 million, and the company is set to launch UberFreight, a service matching truck drivers and fleet managers with freight waiting to be shipped.