By Aliya Ram
Do you think you’re real? Do you think I’m real? Tell me, tin soldier, do you have a heart? As I rack my brains for questions to ask a robot that will probably one day take my job and befriend my child, a colleague tells me that Pepper is like a nine-year-old. You can ask it questions, he says, but you don’t want to freak it out. He means to defuse my excitement, but instead adds to it. A robot as smart as a nine-year-old? Woah. Read more
Given the theme of this year’s World Economic Forum was the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it was natural that Silicon Valley’s tech entrepreneurs were publicly lionised as creative disrupters, writes John Thornhill.
But that didn’t stop some traditional companies, which are being disrupted, privately grumbling that the tech upstarts sometimes appeared to play by different rules. Read more
By Helen Barrett
Before setting up her high-tech fine jewellery company, Kate Unsworth interviewed 350 women about their hyperconnected lives. She discovered an insight that seems to contradict received wisdom about what consumers want from wearable technology.
“This segment of the market wanted to find a way to disconnect – but they needed to be contactable at the same time,” she says.
As the luxury industry rushes to embrace wearable technology, many brands are seeking to emulate smart watches like the Apple Watch, which are chock-full of functions to immerse their wearers further into the digital world. But Ms Unsworth believes consumers want less information, not more. Read more
By Jonathan Soble and Lindsay Whipp
OK, so you know selfies are a thing – who doesn’t? But what about encasing that selfie-taking mobile phone in a case shaped like a Chanel perfume bottle?
Meet the Smelfie (Perfume + Selfie) – a thing, apparently, among women in China. And it hasn’t escaped the notice of product designers at Sony. Read more
By Matthew Garrahan, FT global media editor
Thomas Lesinski, the former head of digital production at Paramount Pictures, has launched a new company to produce content for television and online channels, striking a deal with Legendary Entertainment, which will have first option to release its programming. Read more
Just four years old, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has shot up sales rankings to become the top smartphone seller in China, the world’s largest smartphone market, according to data by Canalys, the technology research company.
In a report released this week the company said Xiaomi’s shipments in China grew 240 percent year on year, to 15.1m in the second quarter, write Charles Clover. Read more
Anthony Noto, the ex-Goldman Sachs investment banker, has just been named as Twitter’s new chief financial officer. Here are five key things to know about him, writes Arash Massoudi: Read more
Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, admitted on Sunday that he had never once used Taobao, the ebay-like flagship website for the ecommerce company he will be taking public later this year, writes Charles Clover and Ma Fangjing.
The odd sounding admission came in the middle of a rambling commencement speech to graduates of Tsinghua University on Sunday, in which he highlighted his humble origins and lack of professional experience. He needs to keep his emotional distance from his products, he said, so that he can make decisions about them objectively. And that apparently means not knowing how they work. Read more
From interfaces operated by gestures to digital ads that target the viewer, plenty of innovations were prophesied in ‘Minority Report’, writes Jeevan Vasagar in Berlin.
Rather fewer gee-whiz novelties were on view in the final scene, when three of the central characters were shown reading books in a cabin with smoke curling from the chimney. When Berlin-based audio site SoundCloud moves to its new offices, officially opened today, one of the rooms will take a leaf out of that final, low-tech image from the Steven Spielberg film. Read more
By Gautam Malkani
Jimmy Iovine, Tim Cook, Dr. Dre and Eddy Cue at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California. (Photo by Paul Sakuma Photography)
It was the geeks who made commerce cool. Or at least that’s the popular assumption. Silicon Valley’s tech scene supposedly did for business and entrepreneurism what James Dean did for denim.
Start-up founders became superstars and VC morphed into modern-day A&R. San Francisco’s earlier incarnations as the home of beat writers, hippies and counterculture in general merely reinforced this view.
Apple’s acquisition of Beats by Dr Dre may look like another case in point. But it isn’t. Instead it reminds us that, tech schmeck, business became hip because of hip-hop. Read more
Alibaba is taking a minority stake in China’s largest online video site, Youko Tudou, as it prepares for its own blockbuster initial public offering in the US.
Youko Tudou said on Monday that the Chinese e-commerce group, together with its founder Jack Ma’s Yunfeng Capital, would jointly invest $1.2bn in the video site.
Alibaba will hold 16.5 per cent stake in Youku after the deal, with Yunfeng holding 2 per cent. Read more
In a handy coincidence of scheduling, Apple and Facebook will both report earnings after the market closes on Wednesday.
The two Silicon Valley giants will give Wall Street a fast look at the state of the mobile and online advertising markets, at a time when tech valuations are facing growing questions from investors like David Einhorn. Read more
The Heartbleed bug, a flaw discovered on encryption software used on about two-thirds of all websites, was created unintentionally, the programmer responsible has said.
Robin Seggelmann, a German programmer, described the flaw as the consequence of a “trivial” error in an update to OpenSSL, the software widely used to enable secure connections, writes Jeevan Vasagar. Read more
by Barney Jopson
Frustrated by not being able to dictate your shopping list to Amazon? Well, even if you weren’t, Jeff Bezos’s company has come up with a solution to the problem you never had.
The Seattle-based online retailer on Friday unveiled a new stapler-sized device called Dash that let’s you speak a list of groceries to your Amazon account, to which it is linked via Wi-Fi. Read more
By Adam Palin in London
Education technology company 2U appears to have passed its entry exam, with shares up 7 per cent at noon on its Nasdaq debut.
At a share price of $13.91, the Maryland-based company – which develops cloud-based degrees with universities – is valued at $544m. Not a bad start as a listed company for one that has yet to turn a profit.