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Showing posts from July, 2018

Airbnb Profitable For Two Years Straight As It Heads For Public Markets

Airbnb today announced a number of milestones which include being profitable for a second year on an EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) basis in 2018. This counts as a plus as the company heads for an IPO reported to be taking place this year.

It also says it's on track to hit 500 million guest arrivals on its platform by the end of Q1 this year. While specific figures are not provided, the company exceeded its 2017 projections with $93 million in profit on $2.6 billion in revenue, Bloomberg says with CEO Brian Chesky promising a public offering before 2020 when some employee stock grants expire.

This month, longtime Amazon executive Dave Stephenson joined the company as chief financial officer, a key role in preparation for an IPO after its previous CFO Laurence Tosi left last year amid a disagreement with Chesky.

“He (Dave Stephenson) will use his experience in growing large businesses quickly at scale to ensure we are investing for both gro…

Enterprise software startup Freshworks nabs $100 million in funding at $1.5 Billion Valuation

image credit : Freshworks

California headquartered enterprise and cloud based software startup Freshworks has now raised $100 million in a Series G funding round from Accel, Sequioa and Alphabet's CapitalG with the investment giving the 8 year old startup a valuation north of $1.5 Billion marking another entrant from the enterprise software space into the unicorn club with Freshworks now looking to expand its global footprint and further invest more into its Software-as-a-Service product ecosystem.

This valuation marks a double from the company's most previous $750 million valuation when its raised $55 million in a Series F funding round from Accel and Sequioa who returned to lead this round along with notable tech investor Tiger Global.





Freshworks now says it makes over $100 million in annual recurring revenue which represents a very remarkable milestone for the enterprise software startup which has already made 9 acquisitions since its start and offers several software produ…

Returns optimization tech company Optoro raises $75 million more for its service

Image credit : Optoro

Washington based logistics technology company Optoro has now raised $75 million from several firms consisting of Franklin Templeton, Generation Investment Management, Revolution Growth and Tenfore Holdings in a funding round which brings the total raised by the company which provides software for both online and offline retailers to manage the re-sale of returned inventory by customers to a figure of $200 million.

Optoro which was founded 8 years ago makes use of in-depth data analytics and online marketing via different channels to maximize recovery of items returned by customers with the company providing various methods of handling the returned goods which include taking them back to manufacturers, discount sales on its e-commerce website Blinq.com and several other methods.

Optoro's client list now include the likes of Groupon, Target, Staples, Home Depot, Best Buy, Jet.com, and several others some of which are not made public by the company which had rev…

WeWork gets biggest design deal yet from wealth management firm UBS

image credit : WeWork

Co-working startup WeWork has inked a design deal with wealth management giant UBS which will see WeWork refit its 30 year old office overlooking the Hudson River with this deal representing the largest yet for WeWork’s Powered by We service which was established last year to provide office management and design services to large companies and enterprises.

As reported by Bloomberg, WeWork presented a clear vision to UBS which consisted the need of "a juice bar, meditation room and a lot more greenery."

WeWork's shared workspaces has garnered a lot of users and positive reviews with the company since its establishment 8 years ago with the company now providing workspaces for the likes of Salesforce, Microsoft, Pinterest, Standard Chartered, General Electric, Bank of America, HSBC and several others.





Construction on the UBS space is set to begin mid-next year as WeWork takes on an important effort of providing a more suitable workspace for employees o…

Indian Health and Fitness start CureFit raises $120 million from Accel, IDG and others

image credit : CureFit

Bangalore based health and fitness startup CureFit has raised $120 million in Series C funding from notable tech investors Accel, IDG and Kalaari Capital who led the investment along with participation from Chiratae Ventures and Okatree Capital Management.

This round which brings the total raised by the 2 year old fitness startup to over $170 million counts as the second largest Series C funding ever in the Indian startup space only being beaten by ad-tech unicorn InMobi's $200 million Series C funding and also counts as a very notable investment marking the continuous growth in the Indian startup ecosystem.

CureFit is making use of this funding to development of its health technology with a focus on Artificial Intelligence for health planning in addition to launching into foreign markets and looking to produce its own fitness devices.





The Bangalore based startup was kicked off by popular Indian e-commerce service Myntra's co-founder Mukesh Bansal who le…

A new leak suggests the new iPad Pro to come with trimmed bezels and no headphone jack

According to a new report from Japanese supply chain blog Macotakara as reported by 9to5Mac, Apple could be making notable changes to its new line of iPad Pros which would reportedly include a slash in the size of its bezels, The elimination of its headphone jack and the use of its Face ID feature.
As stated by the report, The 10.5 inch models may come at 247.5mm x 178.7mm x 6mm in comparison with its current 250.6mm x 174.1mm x 6.1mm with Apple's 12.9 inch models said to come at 280 mm x 215 mm x 6.4 mm in comparison with its current 305.7 mm x 220.6mm x 6.9 mm dimension.

The ditch if the headphone jack was first made by Apple in 2016 with its iPhone 7 release and will now be reportedly repeated with its new iPad Pro models with this time coming with quite not too good news of Apple not including its Lightning to 3.5mm headphone adapter with the iPad Pro.





Apple

As several earlier reports indicated, The Face ID for the new iPad won't come with support for Landscape mode which com…

Tesla adds $1500 limited edition Carbon Fiber surfboard to its lineup

Tesla

EV maker Tesla has outed another merch not related to its main car business to its product lineup which comes this time in the form of a limited edition $1,500 surfboard designed by Tesla in collaboration with Lost Surfboards and World Surf League Championship surfboard shaper Matt “Mayhem” Biolos.

Only 200 of the surfboards will be produced as stated by Tesla who has already outsold its stock just hours after the product was put up for sale.

The boards are set to ship between 2-10 weeks to its buyers who would now have a hold of another unique product from the EV company known for its several vehicles as well as its fan merhandise which sell in huge numbers around the globe.





Tesla

An excerpt from the product page reads:


"Designed by the Tesla Design Studio in collaboration with Lost Surfboards and Matt “Mayhem” Biolos, surfboard shaper for World Surf League Championship athletes. The Limited Edition Tesla Surfboard features a mix of the same high-quality matte and gloss fini…

New York City Council moves to limit ride-hailing licenses as Uber and others oppose

Uber

New York's City Council has proposed for a yearlong cap on for-hire vehicle licenses in a move which aims to restrict the number of  for-hire vehicles permitted on the road whose explosive growth has been blamed for reduction in wages for yellow taxi drivers and an increase in congestion across the city.

This move would affect Uber and Lyft, The two major ride-hailing services in New York as the proposed pause to the issuance of new licenses in the ride-hailing market would lead to lesser number of drivers, higher prices and longer wait times with Uber recently voicing out in an e-mail to about 5 million New York users concerning the effort which would lead to adverse effects on its service.

In reaction, Several users have taken to social media to protest against the move with the hashtag #DontStrandNYC tweeted by thousands of New Yorkers in support of Uber.

Uber also made a video detailing its service assisting New York residents in commuting everyday voicing its own stand a…

Apple's Piazza Liberty new retail location launches in Milan

Apple

Apple has opened a new and notable retail location in the region of Milan bringing its latest and grand retail design to Italy for the first time as the brand new location dubbed the "Apple Piazza Liberty" located off Milan's popular Corso Vittorio Emanuele street kicks off.

The new retail location is now open 24hrs a day and is set to also host special Apple year-around events.

Apple has upped its retail location designs and feel in recent times with the company always being known for its design centrism hiring former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts in 2014 to lead its retail efforts as Senior Vice President of Retail.





Apple

“There’s no better expression of our vision for Apple stores serving as modern-day gathering places than Apple Piazza Liberty,” said Angela Ahrendts, “In a city with such rich history of art, entertainment and creativity, it's an honour to establish a space where anyone can be inspired to learn, create and connect with their neighbours.” 

App…

Ride-hailing company Grab defends its position concerning Uber deal to competition watchdogs

image credit : Grab

Singaporean based ride-hailing firm Grab has criticized the Singaporean anti-monopoly watchdog over its assessment that the merger between Grab and Uber's South East Asian operations has "substantially lessened competition" with the company terming the assessment as “one-sided”.

Just this year, Uber merged its South East Asian operators with Grab which stood as a major competitor in the area in exchange for a stake in Grab, A move which saw Grab increase its market share and operations in the region as Uber stood as the No 1 contender for the SE Asian ride-hailing market with Grab before the merger.

Early this month, Singapore's Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) scrutinized the deal stating it as being in violation of competition laws with the combined business controlling the lion share of the region's ride-hailing market which the organization says led to increased prices for consumers who have other limited options tha…

NBA Live 19 gamers would now be able to create Female characters for the first time

EA Sports
In what marks a new and notable addition to the diverse gaming ecosystem, Video game publisher Electronic Arts has just revealed its new NBA create-a-player tool which makes a plus to its last year's WNBA feature as gamers would now be able to create female characters for NBA Live 19's single player career mode which marks the first time ever players would get to use custom female characters in the video game.

Female gamers would also now be able to scan themselves into the video game through the use of an iOS or Android app which would enable them to kick off virtual careers in the video game due for release on the 7th of September.
 This feature stands as a very remarkable addition to the video gaming space as more females would get to embark on virtual careers modelled after their own custom imagination, stars and role models which would surely lead to more adoption of the video game by female players.
EA Sports
Coming as part of NBA's live feature mode "T…

IBM is awarded $83 million by Jury over patent dispute case with Groupon

image credit : Groupon

A recent patent dispute between e-commerce company Groupon and IBM which went to the jury has now ended up in a favor on IBM's side with the jury awarding the company $83 million to be paid by Groupon following a judgement for patent infringement for International Business Machines Corp which counts as the company with the most secured patents in the U.S. over the past 25 years.

In the lawsuit brought by IBM, The company's lawyers said Groupon developed its online coupon business on the foundation of IBM's e-commerce inventions, An allegation Groupon grossly denies with its spokesman Bill Roberts stating “We continue to believe that we do not infringe on any valid IBM patents, To the extent these patents have any value at all — which we believe they do not — the value is far less than what the jury awarded.”

IBM initially sought $167 million in damages saying it developed technology very crucial to the formation of the web with the patents involved i…

Amazon reports record quarterly profit as it tops Wall Street estimates on cloud computing and advertising soar

image credit : Flickr/Doc Searls 

Tech and e-commerce giant Amazon's shares are up about 4% hitting an all-time high as the company reported record Q2 profits of $2.5 Billion marking its most profitable quarter as a company thanks to bigger revenues from its higher-earning segment consisting mainly of its cloud computing and advertising unit.

Amazon always known to invest heavily in its e-commerce and logistics startups demonstrate quality business tactics to make up for its high expenses on package delivery and video streaming by building up higher profit reaping units and also controlling its expenses.

Amazon's cloud computing unit AWS has been the major leader in the cloud computing space since its start 12 years ago having grown to counting major companies as its customers including the likes of Airbnb, Adobe, Autodesk. BMW, Canon, NASA, General Electric and its video streaming competitor Netflix.





Amazon's advertising business has also been on the rise as more custome…

Jeffrey Katzenberg's Media startup NewTV closes on $1 Billion in funding for mobile videos

image credit : Flickr/Fortune Live Media

Media mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg well renowned for his stints at the likes of Disney, Paramount, Dreamworks and now WndrCO and being behind several movie hits including The Little Mermaid, Alladin, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King among others has now closed on $1 Billion in funding for his new media startup NewTV which stands as part of WndrCO and counts former eBay and HP CEO Meg Whitman as current CEO and is embarking on a journey to dish out short video clips made by A-list talent for consumers in what can be dubbed as a Netflix meets YouTube platform.

This $1 Billion funding round came from the likes of Warner Bros, Disney, 21st Century Fox and several institutional investors for NewTV which represents another major media initiative by Katzenberg who has been reported to be talking to several top Hollywood producers and directors about creating content for its platform which would be dished out to digital consumers.

Katzenberg is aimi…

Twitter primes on fixing platform over user growth as shares plunge following user base decline

image credit : Flickr/ JD Lasica

Social networking company Twitter just reported its Q2 results which although topped analyst estimates with revenues showed a dip in its user base as the company has prioritized fixing its platform which saw it take down millions of accounts as it aims to make its platform more suitable and desirable for users.

Twitter reported $711 million in revenue for the quarter topping analyst estimates of around $696 million while also disclosing 335 million users as opposed to analyst estimates of 338.5 million.

Twitter's shares went down as much as 18% following the Q2 report as investors spark concerns over usage numbers of its platform.

Twitter reported $100 million in net income for the quarter marking its third profitable quarter since its start and also under the leadership of CEO Jack Dorsey who runs the company along with major payments company Square.





 Quoting Dorsey “Our second quarter results reflect the work we’re doing to ensure more people get…

Fintech startup Flywire gets $100 million Series D investment from Temasek, Bain and F-Prime

image credit : Flywire

Boston based global payments provider Flywire has now raised $100 million in a Series D round led by Singaporean national wealth fund and major tech investor Temasek Holdings with participation also from Bain Capital and Massachusetts based VC firm F-Prime Capital.

Flywire is making use of this funding to accelerate its growth across the regions of North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and other markets as it aims to expand its share in the huge commercial payments and receivables space.

Flywire has processed over $8 Billion so far for over 1,400 clients since its inception and has now raised a total of $143 million in addition to this investment for the fintech company which focuses on foreign currency payments for businesses, colleges, hospitals and other institutions.

Flywire provides payment solutions for several institutions and began as a service dubbed peerTransfer which focused on providing easy payment solutions for students making payments for foreign un…

WeWork China gets $500 million funding round at a $5 Billion Valuation to expand its presence

image credit: WeWork

Co-working startup and decacorn ($10 Billion(+) valuation) WeWork's China subsidiary has now closed on $500 million in funding from several Asian investors which values the unit at $5 Billion as WeWork aims to expand and strengthen its presence in the Chinese region.

This marks another addition to the company's already huge total funding as WeWork is known to have raised well above $7 Billion in equity financing across several investment rounds.

This founding round for its Chinese subsidiary is led by Shanghai based private equity VC investor Trustbridge Partners with participation also from Temasek, Hony Capital, Softbank as a company and its behemoth investment entity Softbank Vision Fund which notably made a $4.4 Billion investment last year into WeWork's major business.

WeWork China has now raised a total of $1 Billion across two rounds after just two years in the market which it has expanded its presence across 2 Chinese cities and a major move wh…

British gaming and virtual world startup Improbable valued at $2 Billion with strategic NetEase investment

image credit : Improbable
Virtual world and gaming startup Improbable has now inked a $50 million strategic investment from Chinese game developer NetEase with the company purchasing both existing and new shares in the 6 year old startup behind the SpatialOS cloud based gaming platform which has now doubled its valuation to $2 Billion from the $1 Billion it got after a $502 million round led by Softbank into the company May last year.
The funding round represents a $50 million new equity investment along with a purchase of $50 million in already existing shares from the company's investors and employees.
This makes a very strategic investment and partnership as NetEase would make use of Improbable's platform for the development of future video games as Improbable also gets a Chinese presence with this notable funding round.
The partnership as stated by Improbable co-founder and CEO Herman Narula is very instrumental in taking the company's SpatialOS distributed computation…

Slack acquires competing HipChat and Stride intellectual property as Atlassian's users set to migrate to Slack

image credit : Slack

Enterprise messaging unicorn Slack has now partnered with main competitor and software company Atlassian whose competing HipChat and Stride services will now be acquired by Slack which would in turn migrate these users onto its own service as both companies team up to take on Microsoft whose teams service count more paying users although Slack has more than double the total number of organizations using its service.

Atlassian is getting a stake in Slack as part of this deal with Slack paying an undisclosed amount over a period of 3 years to fully acquire HipChat and Stride's suite and software stack as both companies collaborate to increase its share in the corporate communication software space.

Slack would also now offer better integration for Atlassian's software suite consisting of its Jira Server, Cloud, Trello, Bitbucket, Confluence and other of its software products with newly added functionalities and consolidations.

After 6 years in the messaging …

Lenovo outs first Google Assistant powered Smart Display

Lenovo

Lenovo has just launched the first Google Assistant smart display device which will start shipping this weekend in what stands as a very good smart device embedded with smart and intelligent features whose specs places it as a desirable device and good competitor for Amazon's Echo Show.

This device is the first among the smart displays showcased at this year's Consumer Electronics Show by Google with LG, Sony and JBL also expected to release their own versions.

Lenovo's new smart display comes in two sizes being the 8-inch and 10-inch full HD models costing $199 and $249 respectively. The smart speaker integrates well with Google's ecosystem and services providing a valuable tool for consumers who can make use of the device to perform various tasks including streaming live or recorded shows from the likes of YouTube TV, YouTube Music, HBO Now, Spotify, Google Play Music and Pandora and also listen to audiobooks and others among several other tasks.









Lenovo

The Len…

Huawei is upping its annual R&D budget to at least $15 Billion

image credit : Flickr/Kārlis Dambrāns

China based telecom and smartphone manufacturer Huawei how made known it would be increasing its spending on annual Research & Development to between $15-$20 Billion as it aims to be a global leader in the 5G technology space.

This increase moves up its ranks among the world's top R&D spenders as Huawei has put in more resources towards development of fast-pacing technology with the company spending $13.2 Billion last year amounting to 14.9% of its revenues on Research & Development.

Huawei is dedicating between 20-30% of the stated amount on basic science research which comes as at least double its previous prediction of 10% as stated by the company.





Almost 50% of Huawei's current staff work in R&D with the company aiming to innovate rapidly to keep up with fast-changing and newer technologies even as it has faced recent hassles in several countries notably in the U.S. over opposition of Huawei's telecom gear sales acr…

AMD posts record seven year net income amidst strong Q2 results

Semiconductor and chip manufacturer AMD definitely had an impressive Q2 as the Santa Clara based company posted record second quarter results beating analyst estimates with a 53% Q2 growth posting $1.76 Billion in revenue with net income of $116 million representing the company's highest quarterly net income in a seven year span as demand for new products have led to a boost in AMD's sales.

AMD's $1.76 Billion in revenue stands as very good growth in comparison with $1.115 Q1 revenue as AMD also forecasts Q3 revenue of between the same range with Q2 amounting to around $1.7 Billion.

AMD's enterprise business segment along with its computing and graphics products saw increase in sales being a main factor in revenue boost even as the company which is the 2nd largest maker of graphic processors for PC games reported of a decrease in its blockchain market where it posted less than expected revenue.





During Q2 last year, AMD reported a net loss of $42 million as opposed to …

GlaxoSmithKline takes $300 million stake in 23andMe and partners for drug development

23andMe
Biotech company 23andMe has now partnered with drug giant GlaxoSmithKline on a 4 year deal which will see both companies collaborate and work on finding new targets and developing remedies making use of genetic data and clinical studies of which 23andMe possesses in-depth and in very valuable quantity.

As part of this deal, GSK is investing $300 million into the company led by Anne Wojcicki notable in the tech industry as both a biotech leader, sister of YouTube CEO Anne Wojcicki and ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

This partnership also comes with an option to be extended for a fifth year with the proceeds and funding being split equally.

GSK and 23andMe is focusing on translating genetic and phenotypic data into Research & Development that will both improve target selection for precision medicines, support identification of patient subgroups who are more likely to respond to targeted treatments and allow for more effective identification of patients for clinical…

iRobot shares jump after earnings beat

Roomba
Shares of home robot manufacturer iRobot popped today as high as 21.4% over quarterly earnings beat with the Massachusetts based company's Q2 revenue beating analysts estimates with $226.3 million for the quarter as international sales fueled the revenue growth.
iRobot enjoyed growth across several regions with sales up 51% across Europe, Africa and the Middle East and a 15% jump in the U.S. which has also led the company to increase its full year revenue prediction to between $1.06-$1.08 Billion in comparison to $883.9 million revenue last year.
iRobot's most popular product, The Roomba enjoyed very high sales across several regions in part to being a featured product on Amazon's Prime Day sale along with other of its products including the Braava mopping robot whose sales climbed 50% during the quarter.




iRobot was founded 1990 by 3 MIT graduates who initially designed robots for space exploration and military use and now stands as a top consumer robot manufacturer…

China withdraws approval for Facebook subsidiary

image credit : Flickr/Quintano Media

Just immediately after Facebook won approval for a Chinese Subsidiary, The New York Times now reports of the approval being withdrawn as the official filing has gone off the Chinese Government database with references to the Facebook subsidiary being censored across Chinese media.

The New York Times states of this move which marks another of the company's hassles concerning getting into China being due to disagreements between Chinese authorities.

The registered subsidiary dubbed Lianshu Science & Technology was established to provide several IT services as well as serve as an incubator earmarked to make small investments and provide guidance to local Chinese startups.





According to the person familiar with the matter as reported by NY Times, This withdrawal makes of the success of the established subsidiary very less likely although it doesn't out-rightly eliminate Facebook's chance of establishing the subsidiary.

This marks another…

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Lenovo Unveils An $80 Smart Clock With The Google Assistant

Lenovo has unveiled a latest addition to its family of smart home devices, a new Smart Clock kit with the Google Assistant which supports voice and touch controls on a 4-inch IPS display screen. With the Google Assistant, users can set up sleep routines like dimming the lights and displaying their first calendar event with single commands.

It includes a full-range 6W speaker tuned with Dolby's latest background noise reduction technology and also works with Chromecast for streaming of shows and music on TVs and speakers with voice commands. The $80 device connects with over 10,000 products and 1,000 partners and brands, leaving a wide range of choices for users to control other devices from their smart clock.


Its specs include:
A Mediatek 8167S 1.5ghz processorBluetooth 5.01GB RAM8GB Flash (eMMC)WLAN : 2.4G/5G Dual Band, IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac328g weight
Inside the box, Buyers of the smart clock will get an adapter, a quick start guide and a  USB 2.0 Type-A cable for use. It'l…

Misty II Personal Robot Scheduled To Ship In April For $2,399

Misty II, a personal robot which non-technical owners can program using the Misty Blockly client, a visual block-based programming interface for creation of new skills for the robot to make it talk, roar, move, dance and more will be available for purchase April this year for $2,399, a four months delay from its initial proposed December 4 released date.

From April, customers can get their hands on the robot which would come installed with pre-set skills to get them started on use. Those with programming experience will be able to utilize JavaScript APIs to create more skills and mods such as integration with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Microsoft Cognitive Services and Cloud APIs.



Skills the Misty II can perform out of the box include:
Recognize facesCreate a 3D map of her surroundingsAutonomous movementReceive and respond to commandsLocate its charger to charge itselfDisplay emotive eyes and other emotional characteristics Perform seeing, hearing, and speaking capabilities

It has…

Ford Slashes Thousands Of Jobs In Europe To Improve Profitability

Automaker Ford has announced it's slashing thousands of jobs in its European operations as part of structural cost improvements to improve near-term financial performance. The company made this known in a statement issued to investors.

“Ford aims to achieve the labor cost reductions, as far as possible, through voluntary employee separations in Europe and will be working closely with social partners and other stakeholders to achieve this objective.” The company said in its statement.





These job cuts will affect both salaried and hourly workers across its operations in Europe. Ford is ending production at its plant in Bordeaux, France that manufactures small automatic transmissions by this year August and has began discussions to end production of the C-MAX and Grand C-MAX vehicles at its German facility.

It's also considering "significant restructuring options" for its Russian joint venture, Ford Sollers and plans to merge its UK headquarters and Ford Credit Europe’s…

Amazon Set To Take Stake In Warehouse Robotics Firm Balyo

Amazon has agreed to a deal with publicly traded French warehouse robotics firm Balyo that could see the e-commerce giant build up a nearly one-third stake in the company and also boost sales of its self-driving forklift trucks. Under deal terms, Amazon will receive free stock warrants of up to 29% of Balyo's capital that it can exercise depending on its orders of products enabled by the company's software.

The full 29% would be exercised if Amazon purchases up to 300 million euros ($346 million) worth of these products. Use of warehouse robots is a key factor in efforts by Amazon to decrease costs and speed up deliveries. It began using robots developed by Kiva Systems (a company it acquired in 2012 for $775 million) in 2014, Kiva which initially shipped to other warehouse operators put an end to this after the acquisition, dedicating its technology to Amazon alone.


“This agreement ... represents an unprecedented opportunity for Balyo to grow its business and supports the so…

Nissan Unveils New EV, The Leaf Plus

Nissan has unveiled a new electric vehicle, an addition to its Leaf lineup dubbed the Leaf Plus (or e+) which will become available for purchase at dealerships late this month. The Leaf Plus comes with improved range by 40% than its predecessor and is equipped with technologies including Nissan's ProPilot semi-autonomous driving system and e-Pedal mode for one-pedal driving.

Other notable features of the new vehicle includes:

Door-to-Door Navigation (syncs the vehicle's navigation system with a compatible smartphone for walking and driving directions).A larger full-color 8-inch display.A reprogrammed the e-Pedal software.458 km driving range.70 kW (100 kW peak) Quick Charging system.High-capacity battery (160 kilowatts of power and 340 Nm of torque) (288 cells).25% increase in energy density than that of predecessor (Nissan Leaf).16-inch wheels andBattery limited warranty of 8 years/160,000 km.


Pricing of the Nissan Leaf Plus in Japan starts at ¥4,162,320 ($38,240), Pricing in…

FedEx Agrees To $35 Million Settlement With N.Y. Over Cigarette Deliveries

FedEx has agreed to pay a $35 million settlement to the state of New York over illegal cigarette deliveries to its residents over a ten-year period, resolving three lawsuits alleging it partnered with cigarette trafficking businesses to illegally ship hundreds of thousands of untaxed cigarettes to New York residents.

The company will also implement internal reforms and hire an independent consultant that will oversee its compliance with the law and provide reports to the city and state. October last year, NY federal district judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that FedEx's conduct over many years for customers with such names as “Cigarettes Direct To You” violated a federal anti-cigarette trafficking statute, prompting FedEx to cease residential cigarette deliveries.


The reforms FedEx has agreed to as part of this agreement include ceasing domestic shipments of tobacco products, implementing company-wide communication and annual training concerning tobacco shipments and taking disciplinary…

Apple Reportedly Cuts Production Plans For New iPhones By 10%

According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, Apple is cutting current production plans for new iPhones by 10% signalling expectation of a further hit in iPhone sales for the year after it recently lowered revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter ending 29th of December 2018 due to lower iPhone sales.

Nikkei says Apple asked suppliers late last month to produce fewer of new iPhones for the January-March quarter of this year. This will be the second time in two months that the company has slashed production rate of the iPhone if this stands true.


Overall planned production volume will be reduced to 40 million to 43 million units for the January-March quarter from an earlier number of 43 million - 47 million units scheduled for production, Nikkei says.

Apple this previous week lowered revenue guidance for its fiscal 2019 first quarter to $84 billion for the period citing emerging market challenges and lower than anticipated iPhone revenue, primarily in Greater China. Th…

N26 Raises $300 Million Series D At $2.7 Billion Valuation

Berlin based fintech N26 has raised $300 million Series D funding led by New York based VC Insight Venture Partners with participation from Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, GIC and several existing investors. This rounds brings the total raised by the 5 year old company to more than $500 million and values it at $2.7 billion.

The $300 million round represents the largest private equity round for an European fintech company in recent years, shooting N26 operating in 24 markets across Europe with over 2.3 million customers into the unicorn club.



The company which says it has tripled its customer base in the last 12 months will make use of this investment to drive global expansion, starting with a launch of its mobile banking product in the U.S. in the first half of this year. It says it aims to reach over 100 million customers in the coming years.

“Around the world, millions of people still suffer from bad banking experiences and high fees. With Insight Venture Partners and GIC j…

Amazon Starts Shipping Echo Auto After More Than 1 Million Pre-orders

Amazon has began shipping the Echo Auto, part of the host of Alexa enabled devices announced last year September by the company which included a microwave, clock, security camera, smart plug, the Echo Sub, Echo Input and re-designed versions of already existing devices.

The company tells TechCrunch over 1 million pre-orders were placed by consumers signalling high interest in the device which connects Alexa to users' smartphone and then plays through car speakers, enabling tasks like playing music, opening the garage door, finding the nearest gas station and checking the news while on the go possible.


For now, the Echo Auto is only available on an invite-only basis with a few users having taken delivery in time for Christmas according to VP, Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Skills Steve Rabuchin. Why the device has stayed in pre-order status for so long is not clear but Bloomberg last month reported issues encountered by several Amazon retail stores in North America and Europe in ke…

Lenovo Unveils Three New PCs, Yoga A940,Yoga S940 and Yoga C730

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Leno has brought three new PCs it dubs as its smartest consumer computers yet, the Yoga A940,Yoga S940 and Yoga C730 which spots features like voice recognition for multiple virtual assistants, AI-powered attention-sensing software, facial recognition for security and powerful processors between them.

A new Lenovo Yoga Mouse with Laser Presenter (separate purchase) which goes for $70 and will be released this year June is also compatible with all three PCs. Key features of the three are listed below:


Yoga A940:
8th Generation Intel Core i7 ProcessorWindows 10 Home OSAMD Radeon RX 560 graphicsDDR4 : 32 GB / 16 GB / 8 GB memoryStorage : PCIe SSD : 512 GB / 256 GB / 128 GB, SATA HDD : 2 TB / 1 TBDolby Atmos Speaker SystemCortana with Far-Field MicrophonesInfrared cameraLenovo Smart Assist14.6 kg weight2 x 2 WiFi 802.11 ac WLAN connectivity


Yoga S940:
Up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processorWindows 10 Home OSIntel Integrated graphicsLPDDR3 : 16 GB / 8 …