Square Off is a product that impressed the crowd at our #CES2019 meetup and walked away the winner of our hardware pitch-off.
The company’s first product looks like your run of the mill wooden chess board. And that’s part of the charm. Turn it on with the single button, and the system goes to work, tapping into chess AI software built by Stockfish and moving opposing pieces accordingly with an electromagnet attached to a robotic arm hidden under the board. It's like playing chess with a ghost.
Instagram has been earning money from businesses flooding its social network with spam notifications. The company hypocritically continues to sell ad space to services that charge clients for fake followers or that automatically follow/unfollow other people to get them to follow the client back. This is despite Instagram reiterating a ban on these businesses in November and threatening the accounts of people who employ them. A TechCrunch investigation in November initially found 17 services selling fake followers or automated notification. In response, Instagram told TechCrunch it removed all the and disabled the Facebook pages of the services we reported. However, a day later TechCrunch still found ads from two of these services on Instagram, and discovered five more companies paying to promote policy-violating follower growth. This raises a big question about whether Instagram properly protects its community from spammers. Read the full story on Techcrunch.com
Nike just debuted the second iteration of its self-lacing shoe, the Adapt BB. The company is claiming its new Adapt platform provides athletes with its most advanced fit to date by combining its power-lacing system with a mobile app to create a truly customizable fit. Unlike $720 debut verison, the Adapt BB runs at a more manageable $350 and will be available next month.
It’s been over a year since Apple announced AirPower. However, a new rumor has breathed life into the hopes for a wireless Apple charging station. Hong Kong website ChargerLAB shared a credible source in the supply chain said Luxshare Precision (the same manufacturer that builds AirPods) has started production on the AirPower charging pad. Others have speculated that AirPower could be here as soon as Q1 of this year. Are you dying to get your hands on AirPower?
If you think times are bad at Apple, spare a thought for HTC. The Taiwanese smartphone company, which offloaded a portion of its business to Google for $1.1 billion and is pivoting to VR, laid off more staff in 2018 and had its worst year of sales ever. According to tis own figures, the company brought in just 23.74 billion TWD ($770 million) in revenue over the entire year. That’s the first time it has grossed less than $1 billion during a year as a public company. That figure represents a massive 62 percent drop on HTC’s paltry revenue for 2017 — 62.12 billion TWD, around $2 billion — which was its poorest year since 2005. HTC’s 2018 total was so bad that it actually made more money during a single month a few years ago. Its total revenue during May 2013, back when phones like the One M7, One Mini and One Max made it one of the best smartphone companies on the planet, came in at 29 billion TWD.
The State of Texas has indicted Cody Wilson, a 3D-printed gun rights activist who fought to allow makers to post and print guns, of sexual assault after he had sex with a 17-year-old girl. The affidavit noted that he met the girl on a website for finding “sugar daddies.” The indictment, posted on Ars, notes that he faces “four counts of sexual assault of a child, two charges of indecency with a child by contact, and two charges of indecency with a child by exposure.” The charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
It’s not Lunar New Year yet, but there is something new on the moon. In a major milestone for space exploration, China announced that its lunar program has successfully soft-landed a probe on the far side of the moon, making it the first country to do so. 🚀
Named after the Chinese moon goddess, Chang’e 4 will be used for “astronomical observation using low-frequency radio, surveying the terrain and landforms, detecting the mineral composition and shallow lunar surface structure, and measuring neutron radiation and neutral atoms,” according to the South China Morning Post. The successful soft-landing is important for space exploration because there is relatively little information about the far side of the moon compared to the side closest to Earth, which has been explored and surveyed by previous missions. 🛰