JD.com’s drones take flight to Japan in partnership with Rakuten

Chinese e-commerce company JD.com is taking its drone delivery system to Japan.

Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce giant, just announced a partnership with JD that will see its drones and unmanned vehicles become a part of Rakuten’s own unmanned delivery service efforts.

JD has been operating drones in its native China for a number of years, and it has wider expansion plans having recently gained a regional-level operating license. Its other human-less tech includes self-operating trucks, automated warehouses and unmanned stores, and it recently picked Indonesia for its first overseas drone pilot.

Rakuten has been offering drone delivery in Japan since 2016 and unmanned vehicle trials since 2018. It said that working with JD — which claims to have racked up 400,000 minutes of delivery flight time — will “accelerate the development and commercialization” of its human-free last mile delivery efforts.

social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #techcrunch [...]  read more

Xiaomi Mi 9 scores 107 on DxOMark, beats iPhone XS Max and Galaxy Note 9

DxOMark has published a detailed camera analysis and review of the newly launched Xiaomi Mi 9. The flagship smartphone has scored 112 in photo test and 99 in the video category. With a combined score of 107, it ranks number three on the best-rated smartphone camera list by DxO. The top two phones are Huawei’s Mate 20 Pro and P20 Pro with a score of 109.

As per the DxOMark ratings, the Mi 9 beats the most premium flagship handsets in the market including iPhone XS Max, Google Pixel 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 9

The score of 107 is an average between the photo and video score. The scores are given based on individual scores on different camera features. Xiaomi Mi 9’s rear camera did well in exposure, autofocus, color, stability and flash for both photos and videos. 

The Mi 9 has three cameras, but the score didn’t count the wide-angle camera in the scores. The highlight here is the video score of 99, which is also the highest on any smartphone camera on the list. Even the Mate 20 [...]  read more

Samsung Galaxy Fold: Price, Specs, Release Date

When Samsung first teased its foldable smartphone in November, it mostly left the details to the imagination. At its Unpacked event on Wednesday, the company began sketching a fuller picture. The wild concept is now officially real, and it has the name, price, and release date prove it: Galaxy Fold, $1,980, April 26.

Samsung’s not the first company to sell a folding phone. Many have tried hinges in the past, and a Chinese company called Royole showed off a working model of its own bendy display before Samsung even teased the Galaxy Fold. And more foldable phones will follow close behind, especially given recent materials breakthroughs and a broader Android push to support them. But Samsung is the first company with real clout—and the technological know-how to make one that might actually work.

You could see signs of that in Samsung’s presentation Wednesday, which focused as much on the physical curiosity of the Galaxy Fold as it did the software that will attempt to make it useful.

 [...]  read more

Clutter confirms SoftBank-led $200M investment for its on-demand storage service

There’s plenty of speculation right now around apparently disgruntled investors in SoftBank’s Vision Fund, but the drum continues to beat and the checks continue to be written. The latest deal for the $100 billion mega-fund is Clutter, an on-demand storage company that pulled in $200 million in new financing for growth.

Eagled-eyed viewers will recall that TechCrunch broke news of an impending SoftBank-led round of that size back in January, and now it is official.

The startup is one of a number of companies that provide storage options for consumers who don’t want to part with items but equally don’t have the capacity to keep it where they live. The service is based around an app that is used to summon Clutter staff to pack up, take away, store and (later) return possessions, but it can also be used for regular house moving, too. Competitors in the space include MakeSpaceOmniTroveLivible, and Closetbox.

Joining  [...]  read more

Samsung’s new Galaxy Fit and Fit E are cheap, but basic, fitness trackers

Samsung has decided fitness trackers aren’t far from dead – the new Samsung Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit E bring new features to your wrist, to help you stay healthy.

In many ways they seem pretty similar to the Samsung Gear Fit 2, but are shorn of some of the key features and specs of that model.

Update: We’ve had more information through on the Galaxy Fit, as well as confirming the existence of the Gear Fit E.

The new Gear Fit is only 23g (as light as a strawberry, Samsung tells us) which means it’ll be pretty comfortable to wear… but it doesn’t pack much in the way of innovation.

The Gear Fit E is even lighter at 14g, but packs a smaller screen and a smaller battery to help it hit that air-like level.

Like the newly-announced Galaxy Watch Active, the Galaxy Fit and Fit E are water resistant (to 5ATM for enhance swimming) and can track your steps and heart rate on the go.

There’s a slim Super AMOLED screen that you can swipe through on the Gear Fit, [...]  read more

5G? 5 Bars? What the Signal Icons on Your Phone Actually Mean

Some AT&T customers noticed a strange phenomenon earlier this year. The upper left corner of their smartphones began displaying “5GE,” ostensibly indicating their phones were using 5G technology. And while Samsung announced Wednesday that it will soon release a 5G-compatible phone, actual 5G networks in the US are still in their nascent stages.

AT&T is engaging in a marketing ploy—one it has used in the past. The 5GE symbol really means a phone is using advanced LTE technology, which is available on other carriers and is slower than the 10-gigabyte speeds 5G promises. When the company introduces actual 5G tech, it plans to call it 5G+ instead. Sprint is suing AT&T over the nomenclature, alleging it constitutes deceptive advertising.

Even beyond 5GE, there’s a lot of confusion about what the letters, bars, and other symbols on your phone actually mean. Experts say interpreting them may only become more complicated as 5G rolls out in the coming years. [...]  read more

Companies including Nestle, Epic and reportedly Disney suspend YouTube ads over child exploitation concerns

Days after a YouTube creator accused the platform of enabling a “soft-core pedophilia ring,” several companies have suspended advertising on the platform, including Nestle, Epic, and reportedly Disney and McDonald’s.

Nestle told CNBC that all of its companies in the U.S. have paused advertising on YouTube, while a spokesperson for Epic, maker of the massively popular game Fortnite, said it has suspended all pre-roll advertising. Other companies that confirmed publicly they are pausing YouTube advertising include Purina, GNC, Fairlife, Canada Goose, and Vitacost. Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal report that Walt Disney Co. and McDonald’s, respectively, have pulled advertising, too.

Other advertisers, including Peloton and Grammarly, said they are calling on YouTube to resolve the issue.

The latest scandal over YouTube’s content moderation problems took off on Sunday when YouTube creator Matt Watson posted a video and [...]  read more

The Samsung Galaxy Fold just changed the future of smartphones

“Buckle your seatbelt, the future is about to begin.”

Those were the words of Samsung’s CEO DJ Koh on stage at Samsung Unpacked, the launch event for a phone that’s going to shape the way we use smartphones for the next decade.

Koh was actually talking about the new Galaxy S10 range when he said the above, but it’s far more pertinent to today’s real showstopper: the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

It might sound overzealous, but the Fold is going to be one of the iconic devices of the next 10 years, something that sets the tone for not just phones but portable electronics in general. 

Koh alluded to the problem on stage tonight: that there’s a belief there’s nothing left in the smartphone world to inspire users. That’s probably true with the current form factor.

There’s no magical, pinch-and-zoom interface that the iPhone brought. There’s no incredible battery life or awe-inspiring camera. Everything is the much-maligned black rectangle.

But what we saw on stage tonight [...]  read more

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 provides a sneak peek at WiFi’s future

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and S10+ have a lot going for them; their luscious OLED displays, the in-screen fingerprint reader, and they each have three rear-facing camera lenses. Another interesting feature on both these phones (as well as on the lower-end S10e), is the support for WiFi 6, the very latest in WiFi standards. In fact, Samsung claims that the S10 series of handsets will be the first-ever to adopt WiFi 6. I had a chance to test this out following the Galaxy Unpacked event earlier today, and though there are a few significant caveats, I did think it was a lot faster than I expected.

To recap, WiFi 6 is another way of saying 802.11ax, and will be the WiFi standard of the not-too-distant future. It promises over 10Gbps speeds under ideal conditions, but more importantly, it will supposedly allow double the amount of data streams, which will help limit congestion. That means more simultaneous 4K streams, gaming and file-downloading than ever before. It also promises something [...]  read more

On-demand logistics startup Lalamove raises $300M for Asia growth and becomes a unicorn

Lalamove, a Hong Kong-based on-demand logistics startup, has closed a $300 million Series D round as it seeks expansion across Asia. In doing so, the company has officially entered the unicorn club.

Founded in 2013 by Stanford graduate Shing Chow, Lalamove provides logistics and delivery services in a similar style to ride-hailing apps like Uber but it is primarily focused on business and corporate customers. That gives it more favorable economics and a more loyal customer base than its consumer-focused peers, who face discount wars to woo fickle consumers.

This new round is split into two, Lalamove said, with Hillhouse Capital leading the ‘D1’ tranche and Sequoia China heading up the ‘D2’ portion. The company didn’t reveal the size of the two pieces of the round. Other investors that took part included new backers Eastern Bell Venture Capital and PV Capital and returning investors ShunWei Capital — the firm founded by Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun — Xiang He Capital and  [...]  read more