ACCUEIL > RSS > TECHNOLOGY > TechCrunch

R S S : TechCrunch


PageRank : 5 %

VoteRank :
(0 - 0 vote)





tagsTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


English

LECTEUR FLUX RSS



Daily Crunch: Trying on Apple’s watchOS 7

11 août, par Anthony Ha[ —]

The public beta of watchOS 7 is here, Amazon may be looking to turn malls into distribution centers and Skillshare raises $66 million. This is your Daily Crunch for August 10, 2020.

The big story: Trying on Apple’s watchOS 7

Brian Heater walks us through all the changes coming in watchOS 7. It sounds like the operating system isn’t getting a dramatic upgrade — particularly in comparison to MacOS — but there are still some important changes that should help Apple stay at the top of the smartwatch industry:

Updates include the new hand-washing featuring, cycling directions, new workouts and, most importantly, a number of sleep-tracking features. The last bit is, without question, the most requested addition to the watch — and equally important to Apple’s bottom line, a category the company had fallen behind on relative to the competition … The sleep tracking here works with the sensors already on-board existing devices and joins a number of third-party solutions.

The tech giants

Abandoned mall department stores may become Amazon’s next fulfillment centers — One of the largest owners of shopping mall real estate in the United Stages has been talking to Amazon about transforming its anchor department stores into distribution hubs, according to The Wall Street Journal.

iOS 14 redirects web links from News+ publishers directly to the Apple News app — If you click on a link to a paywalled story published by a News+ partner, iOS 14, iPadOS 14 and macOS Big Sur will take you straight to the article page in the News+ app, even when the link ostensibly points to the publisher’s own website.

Amazon relaunches Twitch Prime as Prime Gaming — In both its old and new incarnations, Twitch Prime/Prime Gaming offers free games, game content (like weapons and skins) and a free Twitch channel subscription, all as part of a standard Prime membership.

Startups, funding and venture capital

ByteDance valuation under huge pressure as TikTok sale nears — The company’s price tag is under tremendous pressure as it’s set to shed its prized asset TikTok, several investors told TechCrunch.

With a renewed focus on creative skills, online learning company Skillshare raises $66M — Skillshare CEO Matt Cooper said 2020 has been a year of rapid growth, even before the pandemic forced large swaths of the population to stay home and turn to online learning for entertainment and enrichment.

A Faraday Future prototype hits the auction block — Although Faraday Future never produced a production vehicle, the company managed to create several prototypes, and one of them will be available for sale soon.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

Seed funding tips and tricks from Uncork Capital founder Jeff Clavier — Clavier said that at the end of 2019, it was estimated there were more than 1,000 firms focusing on seed investing in the market, but by the end of this year, there will be about 2,000.

Unpacking Duck Creek Technologies’ IPO and hoped-for $2.7B valuation — Duck Creek Technologies is looking to go public on the back of growing SaaS revenues.

Three growth marketing experts share their best tools and strategies for 2020 — Recapping observations from our Early Stage virtual event from Graphite’s Ethan Smith, Sound Ventures’ Susan Su and Got Users’ Asher King-Abramson.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our subscription membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Trump administration announces major midband spectrum auction for 5G — Today, the midband of U.S. spectrum is heavily utilized by government services like the military.

Original Content podcast: ‘The Umbrella Academy’ returns for a messy-but-delightful second season — Not only did I cry during the finale, I also got sniffly while just describing the finale.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.


Y Combinator President Geoff Ralston shares actionable advice for startup founders

11 août, par Greg Kumparak[ —]

Running a startup accelerator comes with a number of occupational hazards, but “skepticism is the easiest thing to fall into when you’ve seen too many companies,” said Y Combinator President Geoff Ralston, “and it’s the thing you have to avoid the most.”

Ralston joined me last week for an hour-long Extra Crunch Live interview where we talked about several topics, including how YC has adapted its program during the pandemic, why he has “never stopped coding” and what he sees changing in tech.

“We try to not be too smart, because great founders often see things beyond what you’re seeing,” he said. “If you try to be too smart, you’ll miss the Airbnbs of the world. You’ll say ‘Airbeds in peoples houses? That’s stupid! I’m not going to invest in that,’ and you could’ve bought 10% of Airbnb for like nothing back then… 10% of that company… you can do your own math.”


Extra Crunch Live is our new virtual event series where we sit down with some of the top founders, investors and builders in tech to glean every bit of insight they care to share. We’ve recently been joined by folks like Hunter Walk, Kirsten Green and Mark Cuban.

To watch the entire interview with Geoff Ralston, sign up for ExtraCrunch — but once you’ve got that covered, you can find it (and a bunch of key excerpts from the chat!) below.


Advice for getting into YC

I prefer it when an Extra Crunch Live conversation starts out with actionable advice, so we kicked things off with any suggestions Ralston had for folks looking to apply to YC. And he had plenty! Such as:

  • Mind the deadline, but all hope is not lost if you miss it: “If you miss the deadline, it’s not the end of the world,” says Ralston. “Don’t tell anyone on the admissions team that I said this, but it’s a little bit of a soft deadline. We would never turn down the next epic company because you missed the deadline… although your odds go down of getting in if you don’t make it in by [the deadline]. Why shouldn’t your odds be as high as possible?”
  • Don’t change things up for YC’s sake: “Do whatever you can do to make your company as successful, as real as possible… but don’t try to like, pretty up your company for YC,” he says. “That’s never smart [to do] for an investor. Don’t make bad short-term decisions because you think there’s a deadline that you should do wrong things for. Instead, build your company for the long term, and do the best you can possibly do to find product market fit, to build the right product, to build the right technology, to build the right software or whatever it is you’re building.”

Later in the video (around the 40:55 mark), a question from the audience leads Ralston back to the topic, and he has a few more pieces of advice:

  • Stick to the instructions: “The instructions are fairly clear. It says: do a one-minute video, have all the founders there, and talk to us. That’s a good idea! Don’t give us some marketing video, we’re not interested in that. That’s not how we’re making our decision.”
  • Hone your pitch: “Think about expressing yourself concisely, with great clarity. It does not help to write a book in the application. Be kind to us! We’re reading, you know, hundreds of applications. Get your idea across as clearly as you can. That’s actually a really good signal to us, if you can describe what you’re doing with a minimum of words. That helps us a ton.”
  • Tell your story: “Do not skimp on talking about yourselves!” Ralston notes. “We are super interested in you, who you are, and why you’re doing what you’re doing.”


Shares of Uber, Lyft drift lower after California judge says that contract drivers are employees

11 août, par Alex Wilhelm[ —]

Shares of Uber and Lyft dipped modestly after a California judge granted a preliminary injunction that TechCrunch reports could force the two American ride-hailing companies to reclassify drivers as employees in the state.

Uber’s stock is off about 1.3% following the cessation of normal trading hours after dipping around 2% in regular trading. Lyft’s stock is down a sharper 2.1%, though its shares rose during regular trading, making the impact of its after-hours declines smaller in aggregate.

As TechCrunch noted in its coverage of the ruling, the costs associated with classifying current drivers as employees and not independent contractors could prove material. While the decision might be meaningful, investors seemed unmoved. Reading the Wall Street tea leaves can be an exercise in futility, but in this case the months of chatter and legal wrangling over the central question of whether drivers should be employees may have desensitized investors to any particular news item.

Both companies provided statements after the news broke, each stating that they will appeal the ruling. That legal posture could also help assuage investor concerns about short-term economic impacts regarding the injunction, which is currently set to take effect in 10 days.

Here’s what Lyft had to say:

Drivers do not want to be employees, full stop. We’ll immediately appeal this ruling and continue to fight for their independence. Ultimately, we believe this issue will be decided by California voters and that they will side with drivers.

And here are Uber notes:

The court’s ruling is stayed for a minimum of 10 days, and we plan to file an immediate emergency appeal on behalf of California drivers. The vast majority of drivers want to work independently, and we’ve already made significant changes to our app to ensure that remains the case under California law. When over 3 million Californians are without a job, our elected leaders should be focused on creating work, not trying to shut down an entire industry during an economic depression.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi published an op-ed in The New York Times today ahead of the ruling, arguing for a middle ground between the gig economy of today’s lack of worker support, and full employment.

To understand why shares of Uber and Lyft are not taking more fire from public investors in light of the news, TechCrunch turned to Uber’s most recent earnings filings. Lyft does not report Q2 earnings until this Wednesday, meaning we have less recent material from the company. Uber’s documents, however, are useful.

Filings

Uber reported earnings last week, showing stiff losses and a surging food-delivery business. The company’s ride-hailing operation was severely hampered by COVID-19 and its related impacts.

As part of its earnings cycle, Uber filed a 10-Q document. It included notes regarding the California legal situation from before the recent decision. The filing is dated August 7, 2020, or last Friday, making it about as fresh a comment from the company that we can expect regarding its pre-news perspective on the matter.

Here’s the first pertinent portion of its SEC filing, with our emphasis to help you parse it:

The Company has existing litigation, including class actions, PAGA lawsuits, arbitration claims, and governmental administrative and audit proceedings, asserting claims by or on behalf of Drivers that Drivers are misclassified as independent contractors. In connection with the enactment of California State Assembly Bill 5 (“AB5”), the Company has received and expects to continue to receive – in California and in other jurisdictions – an increased number of misclassification claims. With respect to the Company’s outstanding legal and regulatory matters, based on its current knowledge, the Company believes that the ultimate amount or range of reasonably possible loss will not, either individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial position, results of operations, or cash flows. The outcome of such legal matters is inherently unpredictable and subject to significant uncertainties. If one or more of these matters were resolved against the Company for amounts in excess of management’s expectations, the Company’s results of operations, financial condition or cash flows could be materially adversely affected.

A bit further down in the filing, Uber said the following, regarding its chances of success:

On August 6, 2020, following a hearing on the matter, the San Francisco Superior Court informed the parties that the Court would take the motions under submission and publish its order in the coming days.

The Company intends to vigorously defend itself with regard to these actions. The Company’s chances of success on the merits are still uncertain and any reasonably possible loss or range of loss cannot be estimated.

Welcome to the coming days.

Using their share price movement as a barometer, the immediate view from investors appears to be that the possible damage to Uber and Lyft from the decision could prove modest despite.

Uber and Lyft had made profit promises to their shareholders before COVID-19 arose, harming their business results. The California decision could add another layer of difficulty for each as they work to come out of the COVID era solvent, and once again on a path to adjusted profitability.


Reddit CEO defends allowing Trump ads ahead of presidential election

10 août, par Megan Rose Dickey[ —]

Reddit is gearing up to run ads for President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 presidential election despite concerns from employees, TechCrunch has learned. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman addressed some of these employee concerns during an all-hands meeting last week, viewed by TechCrunch.

“I know for many of you, [Trump] is simply a symbol of hate and there’s no getting around that — what he represents,” Huffman said. “And as a result, many of you have very real anger towards him or fear of where the country is going or sadness around where the country is going, and believe me, I share a lot of those emotions around the state of our country — the polarization of political discourse, the inflammatory rhetoric, the incompetence from our government. It feels like we are regressing.”

Still, Huffman spoke about how he struggles with trying to reconcile his personal beliefs with his duty as the CEO of Reddit. He pointed to Reddit’s long history with Trump, beginning in the 2016 election with r/The_Donald .

“Most of our content policy updates have been related to them in some form or fashion, including the most recent one,” Huffman said.

The decision to allow Trump ads comes within months of Huffman saying Reddit does not tolerate “hate, racism, and violence, and while we have work to do to fight these on our platform, our values are clear.”

“When I think about Reddit’s role moving forward and the role we can play in the world, I think the best way to address many of these issues is actually through the upcoming election,” Huffman said. “There’s a number of things we can do and are doing on that end to ensuring a fair election and I think we have a very important role to play. As I mentioned in my email about Black Lives Matter two months ago, that we later shared, I think in the election — this is one of the areas where Reddit can really lean in and make a difference. […] I know you might not agree with me on some of these points or follow the logic and I can’t take that away from you and I’m not trying to diminish that in any way. What I’m trying to do with Reddit is try to reconcile our beliefs with our platform and see if we can be the best participant possible in the upcoming election.”

And that means allowing political ads. The ads will likely take the form of a homepage takeover, which is the top link on the site, but not the display ads on the sidebar, Huffman explained. Additionally, Reddit will allow reserved buys, which will require the Trump campaign to work directly with the sales team. These ads will feature comments to enable users to engage with the ad.

“My hope is that this would shift the conversation or make the conversation more effective — not just let these ads be a one-way broadcasting mechanism as advertising is elsewhere on the internet but more of a two-way conversation,” Huffman said.

What Reddit won’t allow, however, are auctions, which have previously resulted in advertisers essentially bombing the entire site with their ads.

“We debated having no political ads at all on Reddit and I certainly think there’s a compelling argument for that but I think that Reddit has the opportunity to elevate the discussion around political ads and a duty to play in the political process,” Huffman said. “And I say all of this knowing that this may simply be unacceptable to some of you and I understand why. And in some areas, I can relate to why and in others I can see and hear the pain. There’s an opportunity for this to go well and a risk for this not to go well. And I think that’s a risk we accept and we will do our best to mitigate the challenges that we can foresee.”

Back in April, Reddit announced an update to its political advertising policy that requires campaigns to leave comments open on ads for the first 24 hours. What Reddit is working on now is a bit different. Currently, Reddit allows advertisers to moderate those comments, but Huffman said that’s probably not the right move in this context.

“They’ll either moderate too much or too little and that will create controversy either way,” he said. “And it could be the case that the advertiser wants that, and that controversy would come directly at our expense. So that’s not a workable solution.”

Another option is for Reddit to do comment moderation, but that also poses its risk for controversy. Huffman spoke about how Reddit may then be accused of moderating too much or too little.

“But maybe we can try this other approach, so the other approach would be no direct comments on the ads,” Huffman said. “Instead, we would have a sticky comment with a link encouraging users to submit that ad to a specific community for commentary.”

The vision, Huffman said, is people would be able to discuss the ad in specific communities on Reddit. Those discussions would then be moderated by the specific community. This feature, however, has yet to be built.

The plan is to start running political ads toward the end of September, with the goal to start testing this new feature in early September to see if it works.

“And we are willing to walk away from this deal if that’s not possible — if we can’t hit that bar, if we can’t build this in time,” Huffman said.

Huffman seemed optimistic about being able to get this done, saying it’s not “prohibitively disruptive” to any team’s road maps. Still, he recognized there are other decisions to be made around the election, such as which dates they will allow and won’t allow campaigns to advertise.

“Far and away, I think the most common question I’ve been asked about the ads themselves is, ‘why are we doing this at all?’ Like, ‘why don’t we just say no? It’s a ton of work. It’s a huge distraction,’ ” he said. “[…] I’ve shared with you the challenge about separating my personal views from, I think, my and our work at Reddit, the platform. But even when you now look at just kind of the practical decisions we have to make, that’s a very persuasive argument. At the end of the day, I think that Reddit and politics are deeply intertwined. We will have a role to play in this election no matter what. And political ads are a part of the political process. And if there’s a chance that Reddit can show another more healthy, more effective way, or add to the political conversation I think we should take it. That is what Reddit does. It’s not a sure thing and I think there are a variety of ways for this to go wrong, which we are documenting now, and we will do our best to address.”

TechCrunch has reached out to Reddit and will update this story if we hear back.


CA judge grants preliminary injunction forcing Uber and Lyft to reclassify drivers as employees

10 août, par Megan Rose Dickey[ —]

California Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman has granted a preliminary injunction forcing Uber and Lyft to reclassify its drivers as employees. This order is set to go into effect in 10 days.

“The Court is under no illusion that implementation of its injunction will be costly,” Judge Schulman wrote in the order. “There can be no question that in order for Defendants to comply with A.B. 5, they will have to change the nature of their business practices in significant ways, such as by hiring human resources staff to hire and manage their driver workforces.”

Given that the order won’t go into effect for another 10 days, Uber plans to file an immediate emergency appeal, an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch.

“The vast majority of drivers want to work independently, and we’ve already made significant changes to our app to ensure that remains the case under California law,” an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. “When over 3 million Californians are without a job, our elected leaders should be focused on creating work, not trying to shut down an entire industry during an economic depression.”

The decision comes after Judge Schulman heard arguments in court last week. The hearing was the result of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with city attorneys from Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, filing a preliminary injunction in an attempt to force Uber and Lyft to comply with AB 5 and immediately stop classifying their drivers as independent contractors.

“Drivers do not want to be employees, full stop,” a Lyft spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We’ll immediately appeal this ruling and continue to fight for their independence. Ultimately, we believe this issue will be decided by California voters and that they will side with drivers.”

In the order, Judge Schulman says the plaintiffs are likely to prevail on the argument that Uber and Lyft are violating AB 5. AB 5 codifies the 2018 ruling established in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v Superior Court of Los Angeles. In that case, the court applied the ABC test and decided Dynamex wrongfully classified its workers as independent contractors based on the presumption that “a worker who performs services for a hirer is an employee for purposes of claims for wages and benefits…”

According to the ABC test, in order for a hiring entity to legally classify a worker as an independent contractor, it must prove (A) the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring entity, (B) performs work outside the scope of the entity’s business and (C) is regularly engaged in an “independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed.”

The motion for a preliminary junction was filed as part of the suit filed in May, which asserted Uber and Lyft gain an unfair and unlawful competitive advantage by misclassifying workers as independent contractors. The suit argues Uber and Lyft are depriving workers of the right to minimum wage, overtime, access to paid sick leave, disability insurance and unemployment insurance. The lawsuit, filed in the Superior Court of San Francisco, seeks $2,500 in penalties for each violation, possibly per driver, under the California Unfair Competition Law, and another $2,500 for violations against senior citizens or people with disabilities.

“For years, workers have been organizing and speaking out against our mistreatment by billion-dollar gig companies who have refused to obey the law,” Uber driver and member of Gig Workers Rising Edan Alva said in a statement. “It is because of the fearlessness of workers that the Attorney General has been able to argue that the mistreatment we face is so severe that justice can no longer wait. Today, the court sided with workers and not corporations. Thousands of misclassified gig workers will receive the wages, benefits, protections and employee status they are legally owed. It is abundantly clear that Uber and Lyft now must comply with the law. We are steadfast in our demand that the gig companies drop their $110 million ballot initiative, Proposition 22, and reinvest those funds into treating their workers with dignity and respect.”


SpaceX reveals plans for a Texas spaceport resort in new job ad

10 août, par Darrell Etherington[ —]

SpaceX has big plans for its Boca Chica, Texas site – where it’s currently building and testing Starship, the company’s next-generation passenger and cargo spacecraft. A new job posting spotted by CNBC’s Micheal Sheetz seeks a “Resort Development Manager” to be based out of Brownsville, the nearest neighboring town to the small Boca Chica area where SpaceX has built out its existing test and development site.

The job posting seeks a manger to “oversee the development of SpaceX’s first resort from inception to completion,” with the ultimate aim of turning Boca Chica into a “21st century Spaceport.” That would include overseeing the entire design and construction process, as well as getting all necessary work permits and regulatory approvals, and completing the ultimate build of the facility.

SpaceX has provided some concept designs of what its ideal spaceports might look like, and CEO Elon Musk shared his intent to build floating spaceports for both interstellar and point-to-point Earth travel back in June, when the company announced it was seeking Offshore Operations Engineers, also to be located in Brownsville.

This new posting suggests that SpaceX will seek to create an end-to-end experience out of spaceflight, perhaps more in line with what Virgin Galactic is building at its Spaceport America site in New Mexico. Virgin has placed a lot of emphasis on the customer experience it is providing for its private space tourists, both in terms of its passenger space vehicle cabin, and the amenities available on the ground at the launch site.

SpaceX is readying its own vehicles for private astronaut launches, with announced plans to offer orbital return flights to paying customers using Dragon, which is now closer than ever to human flight certification thanks to having completed a return trip to Earth with NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on board. That demonstration mission is the final requirement in its certification process, and SpaceX now looks on track to potentially fly private spacefarers as early as its target window of sometime next year.


DoubleVerify says ad fraudsters are using public domain content to create fake TV apps

10 août, par Anthony Ha[ —]

The team at DoubleVerify, a company that helps advertisers eliminate fraud and ensure brand safety, said that it’s recently identified a new tactic used by ad fraudsters seeking to make money on internet-connected TVs.

Senior Vice President of Product Management Roy Rosenfeld said that it’s harder for those fraudsters to create a legitimate-looking TV app — at least compared to the web and mobile, where “you can just put up a site [or app] to generate content.” For a connected TV app, you need lots of video, which can be costly and time-consuming to produce.

“What these guys have started to do is take old content that’s in the public domain and package that in fancy-looking CTV apps that they submit to the platform,” Rosenfeld said. “But at the end of the day, no one is really watching the old westerns or anything like that. This is just a vehicle to get into the app stores.”

As noted in a new report from the company (which will soon be available online), DoubleVerify said it has identified more than 1,300 fraudulent CTV apps in the past 18 months, with more than half of that coming in 2020.

The report outlined a process by which fraudsters create an app from this content (often old TV and movies from the ’50s and ’60s that has fallen into the public domain); submit the app for approval from Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV; then, with the additional legitimacy of an app store ID, generate fake traffic and impressions.

Rosenfeld compared this to a previous boom in flashlight apps for smartphones: “Are there legit flashlight apps? Absolutely. But most of them were not.” In the same way, he argued, “This is not a testament about public domain content overall, it’s not to say that there aren’t legit channels and apps out there that people are consuming and enjoying” — it’s just that many of the public domain apps being submitted are used for ad fraud.

To avoid paying for fake impressions, DoubleVerify recommends that advertisers advocate for transparency standards, buy from platforms that support third-party verification and, of course, buy through ad platforms certified by DoubleVerify.


Trump administration announces major midband spectrum auction for 5G

10 août, par Danny Crichton[ —]

5G is increasingly coming into focus as a set of technologies that has the potential to dramatically expand the quality, bandwidth and range of wireless connectivity. One of the major blocks to actually rolling out these technologies though is simply spectrum: there just isn’t enough of it available for private use. 5G needs spectrum at very low frequencies to penetrate buildings and increase range, and it also needs high frequencies to support the huge bandwidth that future applications will require.

The crux though is in the midband — frequencies that can support a mix of range, latency and bandwidth that could become a mainstay of 5G technologies, particularly as a bridge for legacy infrastructure and devices.

Today, the midband of U.S. spectrum is heavily utilized by government services like the military, which uses the spectrum for everything from conflict operations to satellite connectivity. That has prevented commercial operators from accessing that spectrum and moving forward with wider 5G deployments.

That’s why it is notable today that the White House announced that the 3450 Mhz to 3550 Mhz spectrum will officially be handed off to the FCC for an auction that will allow private operators to access midband spectrum. Given the legal process involved, that auction is expected to take place in December 2021, with private operation of services likely beginning in 2022. Usage of the band is expected to follow the spectrum sharing rules of AWS-3, according to a senior Trump administration official.

According to the White House, a committee of 180 experts was assembled from all the armed services and the Defense Secretary’s office to look at where a segment of the DoD’s spectrum could be freed up and moved to private usage to back 5G.

Such efforts are in line with the MOBILE NOW Act of 2017, which Congress passed in order to spur government agencies to speed up the process of allocating spectrum for 5G uses. That act encouraged NTIA, an agency which advises on telecom issues for the U.S. government, to identify the 3450 Mhz to 3550 Mhz band as a major area of study back in 2018, and earlier this year in January the agency found “viable options” for converting the band to private use.

It’s the latest positive step in the long transition of wireless to 5G services, which demands changes in technology (such as the wireless chips in cell phones), spectrum allocation, policy development and infrastructure buildout in order to come to fruition.

Ted S. Rappaport, a professor of electrical engineering and the founding director of NYU WIRELESS, an academic research center focused on advanced wireless technologies, said that “It’s great news for America … and a terrific move for U.S. consumers and for the U.S. wireless industry.”

He noted that the particular frequency was valuable, given existing knowledge and research in the industry. “It’s not that far from existing 4G spectrum where engineers and technicians already have good understanding of the propagation. And it’s also at a spectrum where the electronics are very low cost and very easy to make.”

There has been growing pressure on U.S. government leaders in recent years over the plodding 5G transition, which has fallen behind peer countries like China and South Korea. Korea in particular has been a world leader, with more than two million 5G subscribers already in the country thanks to an aggressive industrial policy by Seoul to invest in the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and take a lead in this new wireless transition.

The U.S. has been faster at moving ahead in millimeter (high frequency) spectrum for 5G that will have the greatest bandwidth, but it has lagged in midband spectrum allocation. While the announcements today is notable, there will also be concerns whether 100 Mhz of spectrum is sufficient to support the widest variety of 5G devices, and thus, this allocation may well be just the first in a series.

Nonetheless, additional midband spectrum for 5G will help move the transition forward, and will also help device and chip manufacturers begin to focus their efforts on the specific bands they need to support in their products. While it may be a couple of more years until 5G devices are widely available (and useful) in the United States, spectrum has been a key gating factor to reaching the next-generation of wireless, and a gate that is finally opening up.


Max Q: SpaceX takes a big hop forward in Starship development

10 août, par Darrell Etherington[ —]

Max Q is a weekly newsletter all about space. Sign up here to receive it weekly on Sundays in your inbox.

It wasn’t the busiest week in space tech news — much like a lot of the industry, it feels like we’re entering into a bit of a summer doldrums period, when things slow down considerably. That’s probably especially true right now, with a lot of companies coming off some Herculean efforts and big successes.

This down time will lead to big developments to come, including the first official International Space Station crew mission for SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, which is scheduled to take place toward the end of September. We might also see Blue Origin’s first sub-orbital launch of the year in the same month.

SpaceX launches more Starlink satellites

Image Credits: SpaceX

SpaceX had a successful launch of a batch of 57 more Stalrink satellites for its broadband internet satellite constellation, which is coming together nicely ahead of the planned beta launch this summer. SpaceX has been gearing up for that, and the details we’ve found reveal that it should be getting underway anytime — though we’re unlikely to hear much about how the actual service works, as participation includes agreeing to an NDA.

SpaceX hops its Starship for a good first flight test

Image Credits: SpaceX

SpaceX has flown a full-scale prototype of its Starship for the first time, hopping a long fuselage (with a simulated weight instead of its eventual dome cap, and temp legs) to a height of around 500 feet. The hop included a flight up and then a controlled descent and landing, all of which appeared to have gone very smoothly. This is the first significant forward progress the Starship development program has had this year, really, after a series of (likely very educational) failures.

Rocket Lab boosts payload capacity

Image Credits: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab has increased the payload capacity of its Electron launch vehicle by a third, bumping the total weight it can carry to orbit up to 660 lbs. That should open up a lot of new potential market for the company, and make it possible for small satellite makers to build additional functionality into the spacecraft they’re putting up with the rocket. The company did this mid-product generation thanks to optimizations of the battery tech that powers some of its thrusters, along with some other tweaks.

Netflix has a new space show premiering September 4

AWAY (L to R) RAY PANTHAKI as RAM ARYA and HILARY SWANK as EMMA GREEN, in episode 109 of AWAY. Cr. DIYAH PERA/NETFLIX © 2020

Netflix’s new show “Away” stars Hilary Swank as an astronaut on a mission to Mars, and seems to focus on the family challenges she encounters between her crucial mission and the people she left behind back on Earth. Looks like more “This Is Us” and less “The Martian,” but it could be great.


Amazon tops 1 million Prime subscribers in India; reports record seller participation in Prime Day

10 août, par Manish Singh[ —]

Amazon has amassed at least 1 million subscribers for its Prime loyalty program in India, the e-commerce giant revealed today in a long rundown of how its platform fared during last week’s Prime Day in the world’s second largest internet market.

More than a million Prime subscribers in India shopped from small businesses in the two weeks leading up to the 48-hour Prime Day event last week, the company said in a blog post. Factoring in the ongoing global pandemic, Amazon last month chose India as the first market for Prime Day this year.

This is the first time Amazon has even vaguely disclosed how many of its users in India have signed up for the Prime subscription that costs $13.30 a year in the country (compared to $119 in the U.S.) and bundles Prime Video and Prime Music services. Amazon launched Prime in India four years ago. Globally, Amazon has more than 150 million Prime subscribers.

More than 91,000 small businesses (sellers) in India — a record for the company — participated in the local Prime Day, and sold to customers living in 5,900 ZIP codes (covering more than 97% of the country). Over 4,000 of these businesses clocked sales of more than $13,350 (slightly below 4,500 businesses during last year’s Prime Day), and overall 31,000 sellers reported the two-day period last week as their best selling on the platform.

Chinese firms Xiaomi and OnePlus continued to command dominance in the smartphone category, one of the top three selling categories on Amazon, during Prime Day, and also attracted customers to their accessories, laptops and television sets, Amazon disclosed. The reception stands in contrast with the all-time high anti-China sentiments swirling across India in recent months.

Amit Agarwal, SVP and Country Manager of Amazon India, said in a televised interview that last week’s Prime Day also illustrated an “increasing trend of local Indian sellers use Amazon as a starting point to launch products and reach customers globally” but he declined to share any figures.

“This Prime Day was dedicated to our small business (SMB) partners, who have been increasingly looking to Amazon to keep their businesses running. We are humbled that we were able to help as this was our biggest Prime Day ever for small businesses,” he said in a statement.

Prime Day is one of the biggest sales events for Amazon globally. In India, the e-commerce giant has historically sold more goods during sales events scheduled around the festival of Diwali, which is when local residents peak their spendings.

But the participation of 91,000 sellers in last week’s Prime Day is the highest Amazon has ever witnessed during any sales period in India. During the sale around Diwali last year, for instance, the company had reported the participation of 65,000 sellers.

Amazon, which competes with Walmart’s Flipkart in India, has visibly rushed to expand its base of sellers in the country in recent quarters. Earlier this year, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said the company would invest $1 billion in India to help digitize local small businesses and increase their cumulative exports on Amazon to $10 billion by 2025.

The company revealed today that it has amassed 650,000 sellers in India, up from 500,000 it disclosed in January this year.

Amazon has also been focusing on tie-ups with neighborhood stores across the country, leveraging their vast reach to drive more people to shop online. The company said over a thousand such shops from more than 100 cities made their debut on Prime Day last week.

Amazon also claimed that during Prime Day, the number of requests people made to Alexa exceeded one million. The company also shared a wide-range of other stats such as a claim that twice as many customers signed up for a Prime membership during last week’s Prime Day compared to last year’s. But without any concrete figures, these numbers are bereft of meaning.


0 | 10










mirPod.com is the best way to tune in to the Web.

Chercher, découvrir, news, podcast francais, radios, webtv, videos. Vous trouverez du contenu du Monde entier et de la France. Vous pourrez créer votre propre contenu et le partager avec vos amis.


ACCEUIL add podcastAjouter votre Podcast FORUM By Jordi Mir & mirPod since April 2005....
A PROPOS Supporter lequipe mirPod Terms of Use BLOG OnlyFamousPeople MIRTWITTER