Category Archives: Gadgets

Helium launches $51M-funded “LongFi” IoT alternative to cellular

With 200X the range of WiFi at 1/1000th of the cost of a cellular modem, Helium’s “LongFi” wireless network debuts today. Its transmitters can help track stolen scooters, find missing dogs via IoT collars, and collect data from infrastructure sensors. The catch is that Helium’s tiny, extremely low-power, low-data transmission chips rely on connecting to P2P Helium Hotspots people can now buy for $495. Operating those hotspots earns owners a cryptocurrency token Helium promises will be valuable in the future… The potential of a new wireless standard […]

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Sense Photonics flashes onto the lidar scene with a new approach and $26M

Lidar is a critical part of many autonomous cars and robotic systems, but the technology is also evolving quickly. A new company called Sense Photonics just emerged from stealth mode today with a $26M A round, touting a whole new approach that allows for an ultra-wide field of view and (literally) flexible installation. Still in prototype phase but clearly enough to attract eight figures of investment, Sense Photonics’ lidar doesn’t look dramatically different from others at first, but the changes are both under the hood and, in […]

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Maker Faire halts operations and lays off all staff

Financial troubles have forced Maker Media, the company behind crafting publication MAKE: magazine as well as the science and art festival Maker Faire, to lay off its entire staff of 22 and pause all operations. TechCrunch was tipped off to Maker Media’s unfortunate situation which was then confirmed by the company’s founder and CEO Dale Dougherty. For 15 years, MAKE: guided adults and children through step-by-step do-it-yourself crafting and science projects, and it was central to the maker movement. Since 2006, Maker Faire’s 200 owned and licensed […]

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Weighing Peloton’s opportunity and risks ahead of IPO

Exercise tech company Peloton filed confidentially for IPO this week, and already the big question is whether their last private valuation at $4 billion might be too rich for the appetites of public market investors. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons leading up to the as-yet revealed market debut date. Risk factors The biggest thing to pay attention to when it comes time for Peloton to actually pull back the curtains and provide some more detailed info about its customers in its S-1. To date, […]

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Upsie nabs $5M to build a direct-to-consumer warranty service

Warranties for purchased products is a $40 billion annual market. But in their current form, they are considered by some to be one of the bigger scams in the world of retail because they cost so much and often return too little. Now there is an alternative emerging. A startup out of Minneapolis, Minn. called Upsie has decided to wage war on the old warranty, with more reasonable pricing (typically 70% lower than what the retailer offers) and a much more modern approach to selling and managing […]

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Indiegogo hires Reddit’s Andy Yang as new CEO

Indiegogo has a new chief. Andy Yang will take over for outgoing CEO David Mandelbrot who is stepping down. According to sources close to the company, several other Indiegogo employees are also leaving. Indiegogo has yet to confirm this claim or state the number or reason for their departure. Mandelbrot announced the move on LinkedIn, citing “personal reasons” as the reason he’s leaving. He was at Indiegogo for six years starting as SVP of Operations in August of 2013. Andy Yang comes to Indiegogo from Reddit where […]

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OnePlus CEO Pete Lau will discuss the future of mobile at Disrupt SF

Founded in late 2013, OnePlus did the impossible, coming seemingly out of nowhere to take on some of the biggest players in mobile. The company has made a name by embracing a fawning fanbase and offering premium smartphone features at budget pricing, even as the likes of Samsung and Apple routinely crack the $1,000 barrier on their own flagships. OnePlus’ history is awash with clever promotions and fan service, all while exceeding expectations in markets like the U.S., where fellow Chinese smartphone makers have run afoul of […]

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Takeaways from F8 and Facebook’s next phase

Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to tune into conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch writers you read every day. This week, TechCrunch’s Josh Constine and Frederic Lardinois discuss major announcements that came out of Facebook’s F8 conference and dig into how Facebook is trying to redefine itself for the future. Though touted as a developer-focused conference, Facebook spent much of F8 discussing privacy upgrades, how the company is improving its social impact, and a series of new initiatives on the consumer and enterprise side. […]

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Talk all things robotics and AI with TechCrunch writers

This Thursday, we’ll be hosting our third annual Robotics + AI TechCrunch Sessions event at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall. The day is packed start-to-finish with intimate discussions on the state of robotics and deep learning with key founders, investors, researchers and technologists. The event will dig into recent developments in robotics and AI, which startups and companies are driving the market’s growth and how the evolution of these technologies may ultimately play out. In preparation for our event, TechCrunch’s Brian Heater spent time over the last several […]

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Juul launches a pilot program that tracks how Juul devices get in the hands of minors

Juul Labs is today launching a pilot for its new Track & Trace program, which is meant to use data to identify exactly how Juul devices wind up in the hands of minors. Juul vaporizers all have a serial number down at the bottom, by the Juul logo. However, it wasn’t until recently that Juul had the capability to track those serial numbers through every step of the process, from manufacture to distribution to retail to sale. With Track & Trace, Juul is calling upon parents, teachers […]

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