Amazon plans to open more futuristic stores, Telegram is holding a secretive second pre-ICO sale and more news
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1) SpaceX Just Launched Its First High-Speed Internet Satellites Into Orbit
The goal, to create a constellation of more than 12,000 satellites, is part of a project called Starlink.
Another day, another SpaceX launch. On Thursday morning, after three delays earlier in the week, SpaceX successfully launched its latest Falcon 9 to drop off some low-earth-orbit satellites.
Along with the main payload of an imaging satellite to provide data for the Spanish Ministry of Defense, SpaceX also unloaded two smaller satellites that will test out technology for the company’s planned Starlink project: an internet infrastructure made out of thousands of low-earth satellites to bring high-speed internet to the most underserved corners of the planet.
Read more at Motherboard.vice.com
2) Amazon plans to open as many as six more cashierless Amazon Go stores this year
New futuristic convenience stores could appear in Seattle and Los Angeles.
Amazon’s much-heralded convenience store of the future, Amazon Go, may seem like a crazy experiment. But the company plans to open as many as six more of these storefronts this year, multiple people familiar with the company’s plans have told Recode.
Some of the new high-tech stores are likely to open in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, where the first location is based, as well as Los Angeles, these people said. It’s not clear if Amazon will open up Go stores in any other cities this year.
Read more at Recode.net
3) Elon Musk leaves board of AI safety group to avoid conflict of interest with Tesla
Tech billionaire Elon Musk is leaving the board of OpenAI, the nonprofit research group he co-founded with Y Combinator president Sam Altman to study the ethics and safety of artificial intelligence.
The move was announced in a short blog post, explaining that Musk is leaving in order to avoid a conflict of interest between OpenAI’s work and the machine learning research done by Telsa to develop autonomous driving. “As Tesla continues to become more focused on AI, this will eliminate a potential future conflict for Elon,” says the post. Musk will stay on as a donator to OpenAI and will continue to advise the group.
Read more at The Verge
4) Telegram is holding a secretive second pre-ICO sale
Over the past few months, the CEO of Telegram convinced 81 accredited investors, including Silicon Valley giants Sequoia Capital and Benchmark, to give him $850 million in a presale of his company’s cryptocurrency in advance of an initial coin offering, or ICO. Now he’s trying to raise even more money from accredited investors before the coin gets offered to the public in a secretive second presale.
This week, investors got an email explaining that Telegram is doing another private presale, four sources with knowledge of the deal told The Verge.
Read more at The Verge
5) Google launches enterprise Android device recommendation program, omits Samsung
Google’s Android Enterprise Recommended program includes a big chunk of the Android device field, but omits Samsung. Here’s a look at Google’s requirements.
Google is aiming to help Android’s prospects in the enterprise by recommending devices that met its requirements for enterprise use. One notable exclusion from the Android Enterprise Recommended program is Samsung.
The recommendation program from Google could be a boon for device makers included in the program, but Android is playing catch up in the enterprise.
Read more at ZDNET
6) Risks for Startups Taking Money From Amazon’s Alexa Fund
In mid-2016, Amazon.com made a $100 million offer to buy August Home, which makes locks that can be opened with an app, according to people familiar with the previously unreported offer. August had earlier released an app that worked with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. More importantly, its technology allowed delivery people to easily get into a home, ideal for Amazon’s e-commerce business.
But August turned Amazon down. So Amazon built its own product to compete with August. Last October, the e-commerce giant unveiled Amazon Key, an Alexa-powered system for giving delivery people access to homes. Around the same time, August sold itself to Swedish lock manufacturer Assa Abloy for $150 million. The sale allowed August’s investors to exit at a high price and avoid dealing with the competitive threat
Read more at The Information.com
7) Facebook’s plan to unite AR, VR and News Feed with 3D posts
What if you could digitally sculpt a 3D object and share it on Facebook, play with it in virtual reality or insert it into your world with augmented reality? Facebook is polishing up stages one and two today after debuting posts of interactive 3D models in News Feed in October that you can move and spin around.
Read more at TechCrunch
8) Israel Confirms It Will Tax Bitcoin as Property
Israel’s government confirmed Monday that it would treat bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a kind of property for tax purposes.
The notice confirms past indications that the Tax Authority will regard cryptocurrencies as “a property, not a currency”, making it therefore taxable as such. The Authority’s position was first detailed in a draft circular issued in January of this year.
The circular explains that profits from cryptocurrencies will be subject to capital gains tax at rates between twenty percent and twenty-five percent, while individuals mining or trading cryptocurrencies in connection with businesses must pay a seventeen percent value-added tax (VAT) in addition to capital gains tax.
Read more at Coindesk
9) Nokia starts review of digital health business, cuts jobs in Finland
Finnish network gear maker Nokia has started a strategic review of its digital health business and announced more than 400 job cuts in its home country.
Digital health, part of Nokia Technologies unit, is one of the areas where the company had been looking for growth opportunities amid a tough market for its mainstay telecom network gear business.
Nokia said in statement the review “may or may not result inany transaction or other changes”.
Read more at Reuters
10) HP’s Sales Top Estimates on Holiday Demand, Defying PC Doldrums
HP Inc., the world’s largest personal-computer maker, topped analysts’ revenue estimates with strong computer and printer sales during the holiday shopping quarter, maintaining its momentum even as the industry stagnates.
The Palo Alto, California-based company notched its sixth consecutive quarter of revenue growth, buoyed by higher sales across all product lines in the period that ended Jan. 31, according to a statement Thursday. Sales were $14.5 billion, a 14 percent jump from a year earlier. Analysts on average had estimated fiscal first-quarter revenue of $13.5 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The shares jumped as much as 9.3 percent in late trading.
Read more at Bloomberg