Motiv’s activity tracking ring now works with Android and Alexa

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Motiv is making good on promises of widening support for its fitness tracking ring. To start, Android support is finally here in an early form. If you have one of a handful of phones (one of the Google Pixel series, the Galaxy S7 through S8+ and th…
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Chinese customs officials bust $80M drone-based iPhone smuggling ring

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A smartphone smuggling ring has been broken up by Chinese customs officials, one where a gang used a fleet of drones to transport approximately 500 million yuan ($ 79.8 million) worth of refurbished iPhones across the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen.
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Grovermade’s new HomePod stand helps you avoid white ring woes

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Afraid of your new HomePod leaving unsightly rings on your wooden furniture? Grovermade’s new accessory may be the solution you seek.

Today, Oregon-based tech accessory manufacturer Grovermade launched the latest addition to its line of beautifully designed desktop solutions. Called the HomePod Stand, it’s essentially a base that sits underneath your shiny new HomePod, keeping the silicone away from your finished wood while also displaying it securely and attractively.

The stand sits underneath your HomePod like a coaster would, but don’t be mistaken — it isn’t a coaster, at least according to Grovermade:

The problem was straightforward: Apple has admitted the HomePod leaves a white ring on naturally finished wood, the same type of finish on our wood products. There are some easy fixes. You could use a wool felt pad, basically a glorified coaster, to solve the problem. But it didn’t sit right with our team. It was too easy. It felt more like a bandage than a real solution. And, it looked ugly. We didn’t want to just protect the table, we wanted to make the HomePod better!

And better it is. Aesthetically, each stand is minimal and tidy, and made of precision-machined and hand-finished aluminum, hardwood, or cork. That way, you can select whichever finish would fit best in your home and add to the beauty of your speaker, not detract from it. You can even choose between two different woods (walnut and maple), two different cork colors (dark and light), and two different metal finishes (black and silver). In addition, to further protect your pristine tabletop, every stand come with a layer of microsuede on its underside.

If you’d like an alternative to using decorative scissors to cut out a piece of felt to stick underneath your HomePod (not that there’s anything wrong with that), you can get Grovemade’s HomePod Stand for yourself starting at $ 20. If I were you, I’d order one ASAP, because there’s currently a 2-4 week wait for delivery.

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Are you considering the HomePod stand for your HomePod? Let me know in the comments!

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‘Wave’ ring is the latest to turn your hands into MIDI controllers

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Ring-shaped music controllers aren't anything new. IK Multimedia released the iRing back in 2014, and the Enhancia made its debut at CES this year. Now we've got the Wave, an adjustable MIDI controller ring that can adjust sounds and effects with ges…
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Wave is another MIDI controller ring, but this one has buttons

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

I’ve been bitten by the music production bug recently. The gear is so good these days, how could I fail to make something amazing? All I need is a $ 699 Roland TR-8S, a $ 1,349 Elektron Octatrack MKII, and maybe a $ 119 Arturia KeyStep, and then just a guitar and…

Well, now I’m poor.

For someone who has a setup they like but wants a novel way to tweak parameters with hand motions and maybe trigger a drum pad or two, the Wave wearable MIDI controller from Genki Instruments is an interesting option.

Wave’s built-in motion sensing gives you a few different control axes, which can be mapped to any property in your software setup you wish to tweak. There are three main motions: pan, tilt, and roll. Additionally, there are buttons on the ring…

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Amazon’s Ring buy gives it the same number of acquisitions this year as Apple or Google

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The online retailer’s acquisitions by the numbers.

Earlier this week, Amazon bought smart doorbell company Ring, bringing its total number of acquisitions in the first two months of 2018 to two — the same as Apple or Google.

Depending on its final valuation — which is expected to be over $ 1 billion — Ring could be Amazon’s second-biggest acquisition ever. Amazon made its biggest acquisition, the $ 13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods, last year. The Ring buy could unseat the ranking of Amazon’s 2009 purchase of online shoe company Zappos.

Here’s Amazon’s biggest acquisitions:

Amazon made its first buy of the year in January, when its cloud business acquired cybersecurity startup Sqrrl. While two acquisitions so far in 2018 is competitive with Apple and Google, it’s too early to know how Amazon’s acquisition strategy will play out over the year.

Last year, Amazon had a relatively aggressive M&A strategy, buying 10 companies, according to venture capital database CB Insights.

Over its whole history, Amazon has rarely made more than two purchases each quarter — fewer than other big tech companies. In three of the last five years, Amazon has made fewer acquisitions than Google, Apple, Facebook or Microsoft.

What will Amazon buy next? Take a look at some predictions Recode’s Jason Del Rey made at the beginning of this year.

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Here’s how a lawsuit against Ring scuttled one deal a few months before Amazon bought it

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Did a private equity firm lose out on a quick dollar because it got spooked?

An injunction against Ring scuttled one fundraising deal it had planned just a few months before Amazon’s billion-dollar purchase of the smart-home security company, according to sources.

Ring did end up raising $ 100 million anyway this winter before the sale. But it experienced a series of unusual back-and-forth fundraising and legal events that offers a window into how deals can abruptly fall apart, how investors can miss out on a quick buck, and most intriguingly, how Amazon history could perhaps have played out differently if a judge had made a different decision.

Here’s what happened.

Ring saw an earlier planned financing round canceled after an investor got spooked by an intellectual property lawsuit filed by ADT, a competitor to Ring in the home security world. If the lead investor, Valor Equity Partners, had stuck around, the firm would’ve made a small payday in just a few months.

Ring authorized a fundraising round last August that would’ve valued the company at around $ 1 billion, albeit with heavy protection for investors. That financing was going to be in a round led by Valor, according to people with knowledge of the situation. A term sheet was signed and an updated certificate of incorporation — authorizing a new round of fundraising — had been filed with the State of Delaware.

But the deal broke down after the private equity firm grew concerned about the lawsuit. The suit was filed in the spring, so Valor knew the company was in a fight. But then a judge in November issued a preliminary injunction that forced Ring to stop selling its Ring Protect system. ADT had claimed Ring had stolen some of ADT’s software when Ring acquired a company called Zonoff, in which ADT itself had invested.

It was a setback. That injunction, according to the people, spooked Valor, a Chicago-based firm most well-known for its investments in SpaceX and Tesla. (Private equity investors are typically more risk-averse than venture investors.) The injunction came at the worst possible moment — Valor needed time to figure out if this investment was still worth it, the people say, and Ring wanted a decision.

So the deal fell through — it’s unclear who walked from whom — and Valor didn’t pay.

Would Amazon have acquired Ring if Valor hadn’t left the picture? It’s impossible to know. But let’s play it out.

The ‘no’ argument: If Ring had been fully funded as an independent company in the late summer or early fall, it may not have felt the financial need to sell in the winter. Maybe the conversations don’t even happen: Sources say the Amazon talks only got serious several months later, in the winter.

And even if they did, Valor could have tried to block the sale if their return was seen as too small and pushed Amazon for a higher price. Maybe Amazon balks.

The ‘yes’ argument: Ring did end up raising money around December before Amazon came calling — so they had the same sell-or-raise choice and made the ‘sell’ decision.

And while the talks certainly accelerated in the winter, Ring and Amazon, a Ring investor, had been speaking for a while — startups these days commonly will at least explore an acquisition and a funding round simultaneously, known as a dual-track process. So it’s certainly possible Valor could have invested and then just a few months later taken home a profit when Amazon completed the purchase.

Amazon and Ring declined to comment. Valor did not respond to requests for comment.

Ring and ADT would end up settling the suit for $ 25 million. But that settlement — maybe due to the bad taste in Ring investors’ mouths after the suddenly-dropped deal — did not ignite a new round of talks between Ring and Valor.

What Ring did need, though, was a new plan. The company, which sources say did more than $ 400 million in revenue in 2017, hadn’t raised money since December 2016 and wanted cash. That’s when a group of existing investors orchestrated a quickly-executed round of financing — about $ 200 million at the same $ 1 billion valuation.

Ring had to, again, send off a new Delaware filing. And again budget for a new investment.

But, even then, things did not go according to plan.

About half — not all — of the $ 200 million had been wired to Ring after the round’s first close. But then with the ADT suit settled, talks with Amazon heated up. And so the company halted the fundraising process between the first and second close, the people say, meaning that some existing investors got additional stakes in Ring but the second tranche of people who had yet to wire money did not.

Those who did were lucky. Amazon came with an offer that valued the company at more than the $ 1 billion that Valor felt the company was worth.

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9to5Toys Lunch Break: Ring Doorbell Pro $185, August HomeKit Smart Lock $100, Monoprice 27-inch 4K Monitor $250, more

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Apple Watch Now Tracks Skiing & Snowboarding Activities, First iPhone X Plus Component Leaks, Amazon Acquires Ring

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

It’s been a slightly hectic week as far as current technology companies, potential future tech, and upgrades to existing platforms are concerned. We have only just got into March, and already 2018 has given us an interesting insight into what’s potentially going to come during the next 9 months. However, in some true fashion, we are seeing a huge money deal for Ring, iPhone X “Plus” leaks, and an upgrade to Apple Watch Series 3 which will directly benefit those focused on health and fitness.

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Amazon acquires smart home startup Ring, continues to pledge HomeKit support

How Complete Beginners are using an ‘Untapped’ Google Network to create Passive Income ON DEMAND

Seemingly out of nowhere, Amazon looks set to acquire Ring…. Read the rest of this post here

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