Author: Lucas Matney

The key number to look out for when Apple drops its Q1 earnings report later today

Apple, the company formerly known by its trillion-dollar market cap, will be reporting its holiday quarter Q1 2019 earnings today and it may just have the health of the global markets riding on how the financials look. No pressure. Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a letter to investors, slashing Q1 guidance from a range of between $89 billion and $93 billion to just $84 billion. Given that the company revised its guidance just a few weeks ago, there isn’t much of a reason to expect a major revenue miss from the company though things could still...

Read More

Unity acquires Vivox, which powers voice chat in Fortnite and League of Legends

Game engine maker Unity believes voice communications are going to grow to become a critical part of gaming across platforms and it’s buying one of the top companies in the space to bolster what its customers can build on the its platform. Unity has acquired Vivox, a company that powers voice and text chat for the world’s most massive gaming titles from Fortnite to PUBG to League of Legends. The company’s positional voice chat enable gamers to hear other players chatting around them directionally in 3D space. The company also provides text-based chat. No details on deal terms. “We thought, I thought, that voice is just one of those things that we should offer our customers,” Unity CEO John Riccitiello tells TechCrunch. “There are just a lot of places to innovate there and I was excited by the roadmap of Vivox.” Unity plans to use its cross-platform support expertise to make it easier for developers on platforms traditionally underserved by voice chat tools, like mobile, to take advantage of the deeper communication that’s made possible by Vivox. As Unity looks towards new customers beyond gaming, this acquisition has broader reach as well. “We’re increasingly supporting industries like architecture, engineering, construction and the auto industry and they talk a lot about collaborating and communicating,” Riccitiello says. Vivox was originally founded in 2005 and raised over $22 million in venture funding...

Read More

5 years after its Oculus investment, A16Z leads a new VR startup’s $68M Series A

Sandbox’s magic happens in a largely empty room. The gear mounted onto the walls (VR headsets, PC backpacks, and tracked toy assault rifles) gives more than a little indication that there’s more afoot, but nothing really clicks until your team is strapped in and the headsets shove you into a fast-paced wave shooter. The startup, which has seven locations in Asia and North America, has brought plenty of people through the sweat-inducing experience including quite a few high-profile investors who are ready to buy into Sandbox’s vision for VR. Sandbox VR just closed a $68 million Series A round led by Andreessen Horowitz with further participation from Floodgate, Stanford University, TriplePoint Capital, CRCM and Alibaba, as reported by Business Insider. Andreessen Horowitz’s investment in Sandbox VR comes more that 5 years after the firm made a big bet on Oculus VR. At the time, Oculus helped stroke enthusiasm behind the idea that regular consumers would soon be strapping into their own VR gear. While the company has seen some major progress towards that vision beneath Facebook, it still hasn’t entirely kept pace with the white hot expectations that some investors had set towards that vision. In 2019, Andreessen Horowitz’s Andrew Chen still sees plenty of opportunity in the home, but is excited about what can be enabled when VR can break free of some of its constraints. “I think we’ve...

Read More

Intel shares drop 6% after rare revenue miss in Q4 earnings.

Intel shares are down 6 percent after-hours after the company announced a rare revenue miss in its Q4 earnings report. The company reported a Non-GAAP EPS of $1.28 on revenue of $18.66 billion (up 9 percent year-over-year). Wall street was expecting an EPS of $1.22 on revenue of $19.01 billion. Semiconductor companies are facing a lot of the same uncertainties as others in the broader tech industry as concerns grow that a slowing Chinese economy and possible trade war could compound longer tail factors facing chipmakers. As competition has heated up in the semiconductor space, Intel has been very...

Read More

Twitter testing ‘Original Tweeter’ tag to distinguish who started a thread

Twitter is testing a new tag that will make it easier to parse who started a thread. The new feature, which is starting to pop up for some users, makes it easier to find posts from the original tweeter within a thread, but may also help curb (some types of) abuse on the platform, making it easier to distinguish accounts that are masquerading as other tweeters, for instance. Twitter confirmed the experiment to TechCrunch, noting that the tag has been rolled out to a “small percentage” of iOS and Android users across markets. “Twitter’s purpose is to serve the...

Read More

Intel announces an inside-out tracking camera for robotics and AR/VR hardware

Intel is showing off a new RealSense camera with a specific focus on enabling hardware-makers to help their products understand where they are in the world. The RealSense Tracking Camera T265 is designed to easily present robotics and AR/VR hardware with inside-out tracking tech. The Tracking camera utilizes SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) tech to orient the device while producing a detailed spatial layout of whatever environment it is in traversing. The camera is unsurprisingly powered by the Movidius Myriad 2 computer vision chipset, which handles the data processing for the camera. Inside-out tracking has been getting less and...

Read More

Epic Games buys 3Lateral, maker of super-realistic ‘digital humans’

Epic Games announced this morning that they’ve acquired Serbia-based 3Lateral, a game studio focused on designing more realistic computer-generated human characters. The team of 60+ will be continuing their work with existing partners and maintaining their presence in Serbia. 3Lateral founder Vladimir Mastilovic will lead Epic Games’ worldwide digital humans efforts, the company says. No details on a price or specific deal terms were given. The non-digital human team behind 3Lateral Epic Games, which operates Fortnite as well as the Unreal Engine game development platform, has worked with 3Lateral in the past on projects to push the level of realism and detail that are possible with human avatars. Epic has open-sourced this work for developers, the acquisition will likely further expand the capabilities of Unreal Engine users to promote more detailed character design. “Real-time 3D experiences are reshaping the entire entertainment industry, and digital human technology is at the forefront. Fortnite shows that 200,000,000 people can experience a 3D world together. Reaching the next level requires capturing, personalizing, and conveying individual human faces and emotions,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in a...

Read More

Blippar finds life after death as former investor buys assets to relaunch AR startup

Blippar seems to have avoided a total collapse following its dramatic descent into administration after it failed to pull together an emergency funding deal. One of the AR startup’s main investors, Candy Ventures, has acquired the company’s assets in a patent sale and will be keeping the brand alive underneath the leadership of founder Ambarish Mitra and “many of Blippar’s original key engineers.” Blippar may have blown up in dramatic fashion, burning through over $130 million in funding for its dream of building an augmented reality empire, but it seems the new startup will continue to focus on its...

Read More

Right Now in Politics and Business