Tech News Today for December 1, 2016
Tech News for Thursday December 1, 2016
Pebble -- so much promise, not a lot of payoff. Sources at The Information say that the troubled smartwatch maker might soon be acquired by FitBit for somewhere between 34 and 40 million dollars. A good price, but not as good as previous offers, including $740 million from watch maker Citizen in 2015 and $70 million from Intel earlier in 2016. The company has already shown signs of struggle after laying off 25 percent of its 160-person workforce. This seems not only a sad story for the company, but for the world of independent wearables and for companies that are backed by Kickstarter campaigns. Read more at theinformation.com.
If we had any questions about the health of the smartwatch trend, we're obviously starting to get definitive answers. Motorola had one of the first and arguably most buzzworthy Android Wear watches with the Moto 360 when the platform first launched a few years ago. But Shakil Barkat, head of global product development, told the Verge that Lenovo Motorola isn’t planning on releasing a new smartwatch anytime soon, saying “Wearables do not have broad enough appeal for us to continue to build on it year after year.” Read more at theverge.com.
A differentiator of the Moto Z line of smartphones is the ability to snap add-ons called Moto Mods to the phone, bringing new functionality to the phone. At an event in Chicago, president of Motorola Mobility Aymar de Lencquesaing let loose that there might someday soon be a Project Tango module. This would bring Tango’s extra sensor and camera technology to the device, allowing for depth sensing that makes advanced augmented reality possible on a smartphone. Read more at engadget.com.
Get ready for the triumphant return of Nokia. Earlier this year the company announced that they would bounce back from their disastrous partnership with Microsoft and now The Verge says to expect new Nokia headsets in 2017 running Android. The Nokia website shows photos of their feature phones complete with physical keyboards, tiny screens and all the Nokia nostalgia you could ever want. The company has a 10 year licensing deal with HMD Global. Read more at theverge.com.
Apple has been slowly improving its Maps service over the years, but they have ambitions to take it even further. Mark Gurman and Alan Levin at Bloomberg have the scoop that Apple is assembling a robotics and data analysis team to utilize drones for outdoor mapping. The goal is to keep map data updated rapidly in ways that traditional mapping vehicles aren’t capable of currently. Apple is also working to map indoors as well as make improvements to its navigation features. Read more at bloomberg.com.
App and stuff search engine Product Hunt was just acquired by AngelList, a company dedicated to helping startups with fundraising and recruiting. Kurt Wagner at Re/Code says the deal was worth around 20 million dollars and that Product Hunt will continue to operate as its own brand under the AngelList umbrella. It seems like a likely combo since Product Hunt founder and general nice guy Ryan Hoover seems gifted at giving startup founders a helping hand. Read more at medium.com/product-hunt.