The Battle Is For The Customer Interface

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middleman In 2015 Uber, the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles, Facebook the world’s most popular media owner creates no content, Alibaba, the most valuable retailer has no inventory and Airbnb the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening. Since the industrial revolution the world has developed complex supply chains,… Read More

Sony Will Ship Its Project Morpheus VR Headset In The First Half Of 2016

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DSC_0011 We’re live in a rather humble little room at the W hotel in San Francisco, where Sony is showing off the latest prototype of their Project Morpheus VR headset to a handful of reporters. Externally, the latest prototype looks… about the same. At this point, though, it’s what’s on the inside of a VR headset that counts, though. Without beefy hardware inside, that sense… Read More

Political cartoonists need to do some serious research on net neutrality

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Political cartoonists, as satirists, routinely offer some of the most incisive commentary on the issues of the day with just a few words. Of course, it all falls apart if there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of the subject being satirized. Like how net neutrality isn’t actually the government, drunk with power, stomping on the free internet all to stop you from enjoying your cat videos. (Sorry, Mike Lester, but it’s not!) So many cartoonists were confused, though, that this Tumblr finally had to step in to mock the mockers. This is commentary done right. But, just in case anyone is confused, here’s a primer so we’re all on the same page.

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Google Contacts Gets A New Look

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2015-03-03_1339 Google Contacts is getting an update. Contacts sits at the core of services like Gmail, Google+, Hangouts and others, but it never felt like Google was putting a lot of resources into this service. Now, it’s not only getting a new look, but also a couple of new features that will make using it a bit easier. The new look takes its cues from Google’s other services that have adopted… Read More

Pebble’s CEO Discusses The Company’s Second Product Launch

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Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky As other manufacturers look to bring devices for your wrist to market bearing marked similarity to their phones, Pebble has gone in the other direction, focusing on its seven-day battery life and a simple interface. Last week, we stopped by Pebble’s Menlo Park office to chat with CEO Eric Migicovsky about the thinking that went into the new watch. Read More

Google is completely overhauling its old, embarrassing contacts manager

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Sure, Gmail is great — but its contacts manager is far from a best-in-class web app. Many people have had to suffer through de-duping a messy system that pulls in everyone you’ve ever emailed, anyone you may have dropped in a Google+ circle, and the actual, fully-fleshed out contact cards you may have added over the years. Thankfully that’s all changing: Google just announced that it is launching a completely revamped contacts interface, and you can jump into a preview of the new app now.

Aside from a sweeping, Material Design visual overhaul (the Contacts page feels much more like the new Inbox email system than the old Gmail interface), the biggest new feature is a much improved duplicate finding feature. When you first log on to the…

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Instrument 1 is every instrument in one and just got funded on Kickstarter

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Artiphon wowed us two years ago when it brought the Instrument 1 to CES, and today — after a long wait — it’s starting to bring the device to the public. It’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the Instrument 1, an electronic instrument that can sound and be played like a guitar, piano, violin, or bass. The Instrument 1 can actually sound like a lot more than that: it hooks up to iPhones, iPads, Macs, and PCs and will output sounds based on whatever MIDI app is running. The actual device is largely just a fret board, with a small head on top and a “body” containing a bridge, speaker, volume knob, and instrument presets.

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42Floors Lays Off Half Of Staff As It Cuts Brokerage Team, Refocuses On Search

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42floors1 42Floors, the startup that’s built a platform for finding and leasing commercial office space, has laid off around half of its staff as part of a plan to refocus on its core search business, TechCrunch has learned. A total of 14 people across 42Floors’ San Francisco and New York offices were let go today, we’re told. That’s around half of 42Floors’ workforce.… Read More

Curious About Apple Watch Apps? WatchAware Provides Interactive Previews

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apple-watch-gif Apple’s first wearable is right around the corner, and the Apple Watch will likely debut along a very healthy selection of third-party apps. It might be hard to envision just how those apps will work, however, especially for potential buyers who don’t have the luxury of being able to wander over to an Apple Store and check one out in person. WatchAware, a new site from the… Read More

Microsoft Turns To Software To Move Hardware

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Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 12.55.21 PM Microsoft announced two new phones yesterday, the Lumia 640 and the Lumia 640 XL. The inexpensive devices are designed to handle global communications, built with dual-SIM slots and the like. They also included something curious: Free Office 365 for a year. The company currently offers a Surface bundle that includes Office 365, and a cheap HP laptop recently shipped with the same. I confirmed… Read More

Android Lollipop won’t use default disk encryption due to performance issues

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Google has backed away from an early promise to enable full-disk encryption by default on all Lollipop devices. Android users can still switch on disk encryption in the settings menu, but contrary to what Google said when Lollipop was first released, it won’t be the default setting. According to an official statement, the issue seems to be device performance. “Due to performance issues on some Android partner devices, we are not yet at encryption by default on every new Lollipop device,” Google said in a statement to Engadget. “We remain firmly committed to encryption because it helps keep users safe and secure on the web.”

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Ferguson police showed patterns of racial bias for years, says Justice Department

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The Ferguson Police Department violated the constitutional rights of the city’s black residents for years, says a Department of Justice report expected to be released tomorrow. Federal investigators found that, well before the shooting death of Michael Brown last year, police activity in Ferguson, Missouri, was fueled by racial discrimination against the predominantly black population, resulting in unjustified traffic stops, arrests without probable cause, and the use of excessive force.

Investigators in Ferguson conducted hundreds of interviews and reviewed 35,000 pages of police data to determine definitively if racial bias was at the root of the tensions between officers and the black community. The findings show that, despite…

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NBC plans to bundle SNL and Tonight Show in new service for cord cutters

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NBC has plans to launch a premium, comedy-focused video subscription service. A new report from The Wall Street Journal says the video offering would bundle new episodes of the network’s comedy staples Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show. Both shows are already free to watch for cable subscribers and TV owners with an antenna, but NBC also wants to invest in original shows for the service and produce exclusive snippets as a showcase for its biggest stars like Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and actors across NBC’s roster of current shows. Pricing could be as low as $2.50 to $3.50 per month, making this — like Netflix and Hulu Plus — a viable add-on for Sling TV customers. A launch could come later this year. The new service would be…

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From Pakistan To Y Combinator, Gradberry Vets Technical Talent

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gradberry Gradberry is launching today out of Y Combinator to connect companies with vetted technical talent. Candidates quickly build a talent profile, connecting their GitHub, online portfolios and projects, and LinkedIn account. The talent profile is then vetted by the Gradberry team and approved candidates are passed along to specific employers. Read More

HTC’s chief designer explains why the One M9 looks just like the One M8

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This year, Samsung went for a transformative new device with its Galaxy S6. It brought out new materials, a dual-edge variant, and even a few changes in philosophy, including the integration of a non-removable battery. The other big MWC debutant, HTC’s One M9, went the other way by staying true to a design that is now two years old. Having the pedigree of 2013’s One M7 and 2014’s M8 to fall back on, HTC has refrained from trying to reinvent the wheel and instead aimed to combine its two best phones for an even better one for this year.

I spoke with the company’s industrial design chief, Claude Zellweger, here at Mobile World Congress about the thinking behind the One M9’s design and the company’s future strategy. We also talked about…

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