Richard Waters

Even by the standards of today’s rapidly ascending start-up valuations, Docker has reached unicorn status remarkably quickly.

Barely two years after releasing its software to the world, the open source company has raised a $95m funding round that one source says puts it either at – or very close to – a $1bn valuation. With open source once more the flavour of the month among venture capitalists, this will be one of the more conspicuous tests of whether giving away software can be the route to a seriously large business.

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Tim Bradshaw

The first wave of Apple Watch reviews are out and their conclusion is mixed. While there is consensus that Apple has made the best smartwatch out there, many see niggles that make it equally clear this is still very much a “version one” product.

That chimes with my experience trying the device at its two launch events. But after reading all the reviews, two unexpected observations stood out. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Alternative lenders such as Lending Club are now well known for having created new kinds of securities for investors looking for high yields. But it’s not just Silicon Valley’s larger start-ups courting hedge funds with new financial instruments.

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Tim Bradshaw

  © Tesla

April Fools’ Day has become a grand tradition in the tech world, with Google in particular pulling out all the stops to show how they don’t take themselves too seriously, no really haha.

But this is 2015, a time of self-driving cars, kickable robots, interplanetary internets and a Cambrian explosion of connected devices. It’s getting tricky for us poor journalists to separate reality from science fiction at the best of times.

So forgive us if some of us were left a little confused when some of this year’s April Fools were just too close to call. Read more

Richard Waters

He’s at it again. With 1.86m followers on Twitter, Elon Musk is a one-man publicity machine – as he showed on Monday, with the promise of big Tesla news to come next month.

The Tesla and SpaceX boss has been wielding the tweet megaphone with increasing effectiveness over the past couple of years. Now, he just needs to show a little more control over the messaging. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer  © Facebook

When will the consumer version of the much-anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality headset ship? With competition looming from Sony PlayStation’s Project Morpheus and the Vive headset announced by Valve and HTC a month ago, Oculus’ early lead in VR suddenly looks like it could be under threat.

After launching two prototype headsets for developers and an “innovator edition” of its Samsung Gear mobile VR device, executives at Facebook-owned Oculus have been tight-lipped about when consumers will be able to buy the PC-based Rift.

But at the F8 developer event in San Francisco, one Facebook executive’s lips were a somewhat looser. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

After its original unveiling in September, the Apple Watch is nearly out. Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, is expected to take to the stage at the Yerba Buena centre in San Francisco to detail new features, apps, pricing and its retail strategy. Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters bring live updates when the show begins at 10am PST (5pm GMT).

 

Meerkat allows you to broadcast a live video stream from your phone, sending a link to all your Twitter followers, who can then use the 140-character messaging site to chat with you as you film. Its creators describe it as a “live video button for Twitter” but say “no reruns”: every video can only be watched live. Read more

It was probably best that I died, my computer companion told me sadly. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Michael Ginty, former head of global security for Uber, used to spend his days thinking about how to keep the ride-hailing company’s facilities and staff safe as it opened new offices and angered taxi drivers in hundreds of cities around the world.

This week, the former military special agent is starting a new job protecting far smaller charges. He has left Uber to figure out how to protect primary school children at Altschool, a venture-capital backed start-up opening new schools in the San Francisco area that integrate technology into the curriculum.

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Richard Waters

Silicon Valley’s super-rich tech companies have found a new way to compete: which of them can come up with the coolest new headquarters?

With the unveiling of a new, adaptive building style that it says will have the capacity to evolve over decades, Google on Friday made its own bid for architectural immortality, following Apple and Facebook.

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This post on BuzzFeed is getting a lot of traffic – 26m 27.6m page views (and counting) since Thursday. It’s important to work out why otherwise we will all feel very old.

The basic attraction is working out what colour the dress is. “Currently, 74% of readers see a white and gold dress. Only 26% see black and blue,” BuzzFeed explains.

But to put its popularity in perspective – last year the Guardian said that its most popular article ever was a piece revealing Edward Snowden as a whistleblower. That had nearly 4m page views.

So let’s settle this: why do you think BuzzFeed’s post went viral? Read more

Richard Waters

Google’s Play Store is taking off. It has handed out more than $7bn to app developers in the last 12 months. And after an apparent slow-down at Apple, it looks like it may be closing the gap with the App Store:

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Better known for slick and glossy ads, LG Electronics on Monday uploaded 9 minutes of grainy footage to YouTube showing one of its top executives innocently looking at a washing machine.

The bizarre move was the latest salvo in the decidedly un-high tech washing machine wars. Tech may be an industry famed for its multi-billion-dollar patent lawsuits and occasional (careful) corporate espionage, but South Korea’s two tech wunderkinds are clashing over claims of old-fashioned vandalising a very domestic appliance. Read more

Richard Waters

What is Slack? Even for Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of the online collaboration tool of the moment, it isn’t an easy question to answer.

“We’re working on a tight articulation of that,” he says “It’s a new category.” Whatever you call it, though, Slack’s first year has been impressive. Read more

Cheap remote-controlled quadcopters from Syma and Hubsan bring aerial photography within reach of a much bigger audience.  Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Expectations are high for Apple as it publishes its first-quarter earnings, with analysts forecasting that it sold more than 65m iPhones in the three months to December. With the impact of China looming large but the iPad still looking weak, Tim Bradshaw and Sarah Mishkin bring the news, live updates and analyst reaction from San Francisco.  

Tim Bradshaw

When the Oculus Rift VR headset raised $2.4m on Kickstarter in 2012, its crowdfunding was squarely pitched at the videogaming crowd, with its invitation to “step into the game”.

Now Oculus wants audiences to step into the silver screen too, as it unveils its in-house filmmaking team, Story Studio. Hired over the last year from the likes of Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic, Story Studio will be showing its first short at the Sundance Film Festival this week. Read more

“Cardboard” is a funny thing to call a teleportation machine. But when paired with a smartphone and a willing suspension of disbelief, Google’s low-cost design for a virtual reality headset becomes just that. Read more

Richard Waters

You’re standing on the surface of Mars. You look down and marvel at the detail, then up to the horizon, following the ridge of mountains around to your left. You jump: the Mars Rover is right behind your left shoulder, taller than you are, one of its cameras slanted to the side and looking like a pet robot waiting for an order.

This isn’t some gamer version of Mars. It’s the real thing. Every rock, in clear 3D. In front of you stands the bronze avatar of a scientist ready to talk about the experiments you’re going to perform.

Microsoft has lacked the “wow” factor for some time. It’s been left to Google, Apple and Facebook, with its acquisition of virtual reality company Oculus, to set the standards in technical daring and creative ambition.

Not any more. With HoloLens, the “mixed reality” headset it unveiled on Wednesday, Microsoft is suddenly a contender in one of the most exciting races in the tech world: to mix the real and virtual worlds in ways that transform both.

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