Technology

Technology

Yesojo’s Nintendo Switch projector dock is a dream accessory

[embedded content] The Yesojo Nintendo Switch projector dock got a lot of attention when we covered the launch of its crowdfunding campaign last year, but at CES, it was on display and working, with the company ready to ship to its early backers. We got to spend some time with the portable projector, which gives your Switch a high-resolution screen you can take with you anywhere – and we came away very impressed. The Yesojo is barely larger than the official Nintendo Switch dock itself, and very similar in terms of how the actual dock component works, so there’s no learning curve. It has a 200 lumen digital projector built-in, which is roughly equivalent to around 2,000 lumen with a lamp-powered home unit in terms of brightness. Even in the CES hall lights, it was perfectly playable, and y...

Larry Page-backed asteroid mining company launches cube-sat with experimental water detection tech

Planetary Resources, the space mining company backed by Google’s Larry Page and Braintree founder Bryan Johnson, has taken another step in its quest to actually mine resources from asteroids and other planetary bodies. The company successfully launched its Akryd-6 cubesat, which is holding an experimental technology designed to detect water resources in space. Planetary Resources is already receiving telemetry from the spacecraft, and the company believes that the experimental technology is a critical stepping-stone for it to develop its next spacecraft platform the Arkyd-301. That technology is what Planetary Resources will use to launch its space resource exploration in earnest the company said. The company’s plans for space mining have been met with skepticism (and some amount of ridicu...

Facebook stock dips after the platform deprioritizes publishers

Facebook shares fell around 5% on Friday following the news that the company would retool its News Feed to boost social interactions over stories from publishers. Mark Zuckerberg announced the news on Thursday evening in a post on his own Facebook page to expected investor skittishness. “I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down,” Zuckerberg admitted. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.” Shares opened on Friday around $178, a sharp fall from the previous day’s high of around $188. Shares had perked back up to $181 at the time of writing. While th...

Cortana had a crappy CES

Cortana gets no respect. Microsoft’s smart assistant is actually pretty solid, all things told, but it rarely gets mentioned in the same breath as Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. Maybe it’s a problem of marketing —the company was quick to point at Build in May that its smart assistant now has 141 million monthly users. More likely though, it’s a problem with Microsoft’s hardware strategy. The company knew as well as the rest of us that CES 2018 was going to be a smart assistant battleground, but Cortana barely entered into the conversation. Google’s Assistant dominated the show’s headlines through sheer brute force of product announced and an over the top ad campaign that found everything from the monorails to the signage at the Westgate emblazoned with the words “Hello Google.” Amazon’s ...

Waymo’s self-driving Chrysler Pacifica begins testing in San Francisco

Waymo is bringing its self-driving cars back to San Francisco streets for testing. TechCrunch has obtained pictures of the Waymo Chrysler Pacifica autonomous test vehicle on SF city roads, and Waymo confirmed that it is indeed bringing test vehicles back to one of the first spots where it ever tested AVs in the first place. A Waymo spokesperson provided the following statement about its latest-generation test vehicle arriving in San Francisco: San Francisco was one of the first cities where we tested our self-driving cars, dating back to 2009 when we traveled everything from Lombard Street to the Golden Gate Bridge. Now that we have the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving cars running in Arizona, the hilly and foggy streets of San Francisco will give our cars even more practice in di...

IBM may be prepping for massive changes at Global Technology Services group

IBM has been a company adrift for the last several years with 22 straight quarters of declining revenue. Against that backdrop, The Register published an article yesterday suggesting there could be massive changes afoot for the company’s Global Technology Services group. Global Technology Services is the business consulting arm of IBM that deals with infrastructure support and hardware consulting. As the company has shifted its emphasis to the cloud, GTS’s hardware focus is an area that will have less significance for the company moving forward. This change would need to be seen against the changing backdrop of IT in general. The fact is that companies are moving away from running their own data centers and shifting to public cloud services. Having 100,000 employees focused on hardware dep...

US Senate in Russian hackers’ crosshairs: Cybersecurity firms

The same Russian government-aligned hackers who penetrated the Democratic Party have spent the past few months laying the groundwork for an espionage campaign against the U.S. Senate, a cybersecurity firm said Friday. The revelation suggests the group often nicknamed Fancy Bear, whose hacking campaign scrambled the 2016 U.S. electoral contest, is still busy trying to gather the emails of America’s political elite. “They’re still very active — in making preparations at least — to influence public opinion again,” said Feike Hacquebord, a security researcher at Trend Micro Inc., which published the report . “They are looking for information they might leak later.” The Senate Sergeant at Arms office, which is responsible for the upper house’s security,...

Equity podcast: 2017’s top tech acquisitions and what’s in store for 2018

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This week we took a look back at the year’s M&A market, which brought some big wins and some low lights. Equity this week was Katie Roof, Alex Wilhelm, and Jamie Leigh, a partner at Cooley, who joined us to go over the year’s receipts. What to look for ahead? Leigh mentioned big box stores, Roof brought up automakers, and we also kicked over the idea of non-tech companies buying smaller firms that are not merely talent plays. (Instead, this about investments in long-term efforts to build in-house innovation instead of stapling on a startup to one division or another.) Also: How many deals didn’t get done in 2017 that got close to being done? More than you mig...

New bill bans US government agencies using contractors with Huawei or ZTE tech

There’s more misery ahead for Huawei, which just saw AT&T pull out of a deal to carry its first smartphone, and fellow Chinese tech firm ZTE. The duo are well known for their growing smartphone businesses worldwide, but it is their more established telecom networking and equipment units that are again under fire in Washington. A new bill introduced to Congress proposes a ban preventing branches of the U.S. government from working with service providers that use any equipment from either company for security reasons. The bill is sponsored by Texas-based Republican Michael Conaway, who is leading the investigation into Russia’s alleged election interference. It builds on past action against Huawei (the world’s top seller of telecom equipment) and ZTE (ranked fifth), which included a ban ...

Facing critics, Facebook wants feeds to be more ‘meaningful’

Facebook is tweaking what people see to make their time on it more “meaningful” in a move that could hurt publishers and news organizations that rely on it to spread their content. Facebook has said before that it will emphasize personal connections over business pages and celebrities that people follow. But the latest move represents a major shift, one intended to highlight the posts users are most likely to engage with rather than passively consume. The company says people will likely spend less time on Facebook as a result. The changes come as the company faces criticism that social media can make people feel depressed and isolated. There will be fewer posts from brands, pages and media companies and more from people. There will be fewer videos, which Facebook considers R...

This AR headset won’t win any style points, but it fills the world with fish

Hong Kong-based RealMax came to CES with an augmented reality headset they want to get on to everyone’s faces. The prototype is a little rough around the edges, but it fills more of the world with digital images than any AR device I’ve ever seen. The prototype bests the field-of-view on just about every AR headset. While Microsoft’s HoloLens is stuck with a field-of-view estimated to be less than 40 degrees, RealMax is building something that fills more than 100 degrees of your vision. The prototype’s optics aren’t utilizing the most advanced technologies and definitely could be a crisper resolution, but when it comes to supplying a wide field-of-view on a system that is all-in-one powered, the RealMax is definitely capable. I demoed the headset for several minutes and was plunged into an ...

XPRIZE finalist Cloud DX’s Vitaliti is a serious health wearable

Plenty of wearables companies make health claims that are dubious at best. It’s true that companies like Fitbit and Apple are getting a bit more serious about the whole thing, participating in university studies and working with insurance companies, but on a whole, I certainly wouldn’t trust my own well-being to any of them. An outgrowth of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, Vitaliti is designed to work on patients recently released from the hospital, so their attending physician can continue to monitor them remotely. The device sits around the collar, a bit like a yoke that rests on your neck, with two electrodes that attach to the skin and a sensor that sits in the ear. It’s not the most comfortable or visually appealing gadget, but you can wear it for long stretches. Cloud DX founder/CEO Ro...