Fridges that talk, watches that listen and thermostats that learn your secret domestic habits: these are some of the most visible examples of the so-called “internet of things” (or “IoT” for aficionados).
Cisco, the global computing hardware group, is a big supporter of IoT. It announced yesterday that it was increasing its investment in early-stage companies in the sector to $250m over two to three years, up from the $100m it announced in January. It also unveiled three minority investments: in the enterprise start-up accelerator Alchemist Accelerator, as well two IoT software start-ups, Ayla Networks and Evrythng. 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
Sometimes it pays to be behind the times. Read more
While older industries still struggle with the digital transition, those one step ahead are toiling with the mobile one. Read more
Uber, the ambitious start-up best known for delivering people, now wants to deliver anything that can fit in a rucksack. The private driver and taxi-hailing app will on Tuesday add cycle couriers to its New York fleet with what it calls Uber Rush. Read more
Want to hear a Silicon Valley joke? Two geek billionaires walk into a coffee shop and nobody notices.
There’s no punchline. This actually happened a couple of weeks ago when I was in Mountain View and the co-founders of WhatsApp popped into their local for a brew. Despite being full of start-ups, nobody in the Red Rock Café seemed to recognise the pair who had just sold their app to Facebook for upwards of $16bn.
WhatsApp has almost 500m active users around the world but many in Silicon Valley’s elite only discovered the chat app when Mark Zuckerberg opened his chequebook. It’s entirely possible that, in the past year, more people here have tried Google Glass, the sci-fi headset that most outside Silicon Valley love to hate, than sent a message on WhatsApp. Read more
Samsung Galaxy S5 (Getty)
South Koreans consumers will be able to jump the global queue for Samsung Electronics’ new flagship smartphone, after mobile operators put it on sale two weeks ahead of the official launch date. Read more
Ray-Bans via Instagram
Google has been working hard lately to dampen the constant, rumbling criticism of Glass. First, it issued guidelines on etiquette for its pioneering wearable gadget, warning early adopters: “Don’t be a glasshole.”
Then last week, it decided that the people buying its $1,500 headset weren’t glassholes after all, trying to dispel ten “myths” about the prototype product: Glass really isn’t a “distraction from the real world” or “the perfect surveillance device”, it insisted in a blogpost.
The ground suitably prepared, Google has now made a much more meaningful step towards mainstream acceptance: it is partnering with the maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley frames to make Glass fashionable. Read more
Here are some figures to back up the mad race to monetise mobile by tech giants such as Google and Facebook. Read more
It would be easy to glance at Samsung’s new Milk Music service and dismiss it as another copycat. The personalised internet radio service for Galaxy smartphone owners that launches in the US on Friday is, in essence, pretty similar to Pandora or Apple’s iTunes Radio, which launched last year.
But while maintaining feature parity is an important if unglamorous part of the hypercompetitive smartphone market, Milk does bring something new to Samsung Galaxy: great software design. Read more