Author: Kirsten Korosec

Samsung is ditching plastic packaging

Samsung Electronics said Sunday it will replace plastic packaging used for its bevy of products from mobile phones and tablets to home appliances and wearables with paper and other environmentally sustainable materials like recycled/bio-based plastics. Samsung will start making the switch in the first half of the year. The company aims to only use paper packaging materials certified by forestry initiatives by next year. By 2030, Samsung says it plans to use 500,000 tons of recycled plastics and collect 7.5 million tons of discarded products (both cumulative from 2009). The company said it’s formed an internal task force to come up...

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BMW, Porsche, Jaguar Land Rover invest in roadside assistance startup Urgently

Urgently, the roadside assistance startup that connects car owners who need help with tow truck and other services, has raised $21 million in a Series B round that includes the venture arms of BMW, Porsche and Jaguar Land Rover. BMW has also signed Urgently as a vendor partner for its own roadside assistance platform (known as BMW Assist) to provide roadside assistance and extended mobility services to owners of all four of its brands in the U.S, including BMW, BMW Motorrad, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Urgently, founded by Chris Spanos, Surendra Goel, and Luke Kathol, doesn’t charge annual membership...

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Lightening Motorcycles is taking reservations for its $12,998 electric motorcycle

A teaser image of headlights plus a few details about the upcoming electric Strike motorcycle from Lightening Motorcycles was apparently too much for some to bear. The company, prompted by an unexpectedly high number of customer requests, has now opened reservations for U.S. customers. Customers will still have to wait until March to see what the Strike electric motorcycle looks like. No early peeks, even for reservations holders. Two versions of Strike reservations are available: a carbon edition and standard version. Customers can put down a $500 fully refundable reservation deposit for the standard model, which starts at $12,998. For those who want...

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Facebook is shutting down Moments. Here’s how to save all your photos

Facebook Moments, the standalone mobile app designed to let users privately share photos and videos, is shutting down next month. Facebook confirmed that app’s services will end February 25. Facebook decided to end support for app, which hasn’t been updated in some time, because people weren’t using it. “We’re ending support for the Moments app, which we originally launched as a place for people to save their photos. We know the photos people share are important to them so we will continue offering ways to save memories within the Facebook app,” Rushabh Doshi, dorector of product management said in a statement. Moments users should see a message warning them of the imminent end of the app. Below the message is an option to export photos and videos.  There are two export options for users, which people can access on the website version of the Moments app. One will create a private album on their Facebook account; the other option downloads everything to their device. People can export their photos and videos from the Moments website through May 2019, according to Facebook. Users can start their export from any device. If the user creates private Facebook albums, they’ll see a link next to each moment below that’s ready to view as an album on Facebook. For folks who opt to download the file, they’ll need to enter their Facebook password when prompted....

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Elon Musk says Tesla vehicles will soon get a ‘Sentry Mode’

Tesla owners may soon have a way to see (and record) damage that happens to their vehicles when they’re unattended. Tesla will roll out “Tesla Sentry Mode” for all cars with Enhanced Autopilot, CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet Tuesday. Musk didn’t provide anymore information about when this feature might be available and how it might work. TechCrunch has reached out to Tesla for more details. The name suggests that this feature would stand guard, so to speak by either keeping the dash cam on while parked or having it automatically turn on if the car is hit or being tampered with. It could operate similar to aftermarket product Owl security camera; although, again, details are scant except that “regulators just approved.” Almost ready to roll out. Regulators just approved. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 22, 2019 In October, Tesla released version 9.0 of its software, which featured a number of updates including a new UI on the center display and the ability to the use the built-in forward-facing cameras as a dash cam. The dash cam feature is available only in Tesla vehicles built after August 2017. The dash cam feature currently lets owners record and store video footage captured by their car’s forward-facing camera onto a USB flash drive. Owners first must configure a USB flash drive in Windows or MS-DOS file architecture and add a base-level folder in...

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Waymo plans to open a self-driving car factory in Michigan

Waymo and Magna plan to build thousands of self-driving cars at a factory in southeast Michigan, including autonomous versions of the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. Waymo, the former Google self-driving project that spun out to become a business under Alphabet, announced Tuesday that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation voted to approve the company’s plan to set up a manufacturing facility in the state to build its self-driving vehicles. The MEDC approved an $8 million grant for the project. The announcement is the latest signal that the startup is preparing to scale up its commercial operations....

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Sony venture arm invests in geocoding startup what3words

Sony’s venture capital arm has invested in what3words, the startup that has divided the entire world into 57 trillion 3-by-3 meter squares and assigned a three-word address to each one. Financial details were not disclosed. The startup’s novel addressing system isn’t the whole story. The ability to integrate what3words into voice assistants is what has piqued the interest and investment from Sony and others. “what3words have solved the considerable problem of entering a precise location into a machine by voice. The dramatic rise in voice-activated systems calls for a simple voice geocoder that works across all digital platforms and...

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Veteran Googler heads to Lyft to lead 1,000-plus person engineering team

Eisar Lipkovitz, a veteran Google executive who most recently led the video and display advertising team there, is leaving the company to head up engineering efforts at Lyft. As executive vice president of engineering, Lipkovitz will be leading Lyft’s engineering team, which now eclipses 1,000 people. Eisar’s hiring comes on the heels of massive growth at Lyft, specifically its engineering team. The ride-hailing company’s engineering team, doubled in size in the last year. It also follows the hiring of another Google engineering veteran Manish Gupta, who joined Lyft in August as vice president of engineering to build out the ride-hailing company’s...

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