Inspirations

  • Chinese EV startup Xpeng Motors raises $400 million, takes on Xiaomi as strategic investor

    Xpeng Motors, the Chinese electric vehicle startup backed by Alibaba and Foxconn, has raised a fresh injection of $400 million in capital and has taken on Xiaomi as a strategic investor, the company announced. The Series C includes an unidentified group of strategic and institutional investors. XPeng Motors Chairman and CEO He Xiaopeng, who also participated in the Series C, said the received strong support from many of its current shareholders. Xiaomi founder and CEO Lei Jun previously invested in the company. “Xiaomi Corporation and Xpeng Motors have achieved significant progress through in-depth collaboration in developing technologies connecting smart phones and smart cars,” Xiaomi’s Jun said in a statement. “We believe that this strategic investment will further deepen our partnership with Xpeng in advancing innovation for intelligent hardware and the Internet of Things.” The company didn’t disclose what its post-money valuation is now. However...

  • Minecraft Earth is live, so get tapping

    Microsoft’s big experiment in real-world augmented reality gaming, Minecraft Earth, is live now for players in North America, the U.K. and a number of other areas. The pocket-size AR game lets you collect blocks and critters wherever you go, undertake little adventures with friends and, of course, build sweet castles. I played an early version of Minecraft Earth earlier this year, and found it entertaining and the AR aspect surprisingly seamless. The gameplay many were first introduced to in Pokémon GO is adapted here in a more creative and collaborative way. You still walk around your neighborhood, rendered in this case charmingly like a Minecraft world, and tap little icons that pop up around your character. These may be blocks you can use to build, animals you can collect or events like combat encounters that you can do alone or with friends for rewards. Minecraft Earth makes the whole real world your very own blocky realm Ultimately all this is in service of building stuf...

  • Twitch publicly launches its free broadcasting software, Twitch Studio

    Twitch today publicly launched Twitch Studio, its new software designed to help new streamers get started broadcasting. The idea behind the app is to make it simple for someone new to the space to get started, by offering a quick setup process and other tools to make the stream both look and sound more professional — even if the streamer doesn’t have broadcasting experience. The software, which was only available in closed beta until today, will detect the user’s mic, webcam, monitor resolution, bitrate and more through a guided setup process. Streamers can then choose from a variety of starter layouts and overlays that will help them personalize their stream’s look-and-feel. Once live on Twitch, the software will also help streamers interact with the online community and viewers, including by way of built-in alerts, an activity feed and integrated Twitch chat. As the company previously explained, many people have thought about streaming but gave up on doing s...

  • HBO’s former CEO said to be in talks with Apple TV+ for an exclusive production deal

    The man who oversaw the creation of some of HBO’s most highly praised “prestige TV” could soon be making shows for Apple TV+, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. Richard Plepler, who was HBO’s chairman and CEO up until he parted ways with the company last February following its acquisition by AT&T, is nearing an exclusive production deal with Apple’s new original content streaming service, the report says. Plepler, who spent almost 30 years at HBO, including six as its CEO during which the media company aired some of its biggest hits, including “Game of Thrones,” would definitely bring some big-name industry influence to Apple’s efforts. Not that Apple TV+ lacks for that in its early offing, either: The premiere slate of original shows include Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon-led “The Morning Show,” and a show centerd around Oprah’s Book Club, just to name a couple of examples. The deal, ...

  • A US federal court finds suspicionless searches of phones at the border is illegal

    A federal court in Boston has ruled that the government is not allowed to search travelers’ phones or other electronic devices at the U.S. border without first having reasonable suspicion of a crime. That’s a significant victory for civil liberties advocates, who say the government’s own rules allowing its border agents to search electronic devices at the border without a warrant are unconstitutional. The court said the government’s policies on warrantless searches of devices without reasonable suspicion “violate the Fourth Amendment,” which provides constitutional protections against warrantless searches and seizures. The case was brought by 11 travelers — 10 of whom are U.S. citizens — with support from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who said border agents searched their smartphones and laptops without a warrant or any suspicion of wrongdoing or criminal activity. The border remains a bizarre legal gr...