Posts Tagged ‘Startup’

Cyanogen and a startup made up of veterans from Google, Amazon and HTC are building ‘something really cool’

Is your Tuesday evening missing a sense of ambiguous mystery? We’ve got something for you: Cyanogen and a start-up named Nextbit are working on “something really cool” for mobile devices, but won’t say a word about what it actually is. Nextbit has…

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Parking spot startup vows to fight San Francisco’s plan to shut it down

An Italian startup that lets people buy and sell city-owned parking spots to one another plans to ignore efforts to crack down on its business and those who use it. Monkey Parking today said will keep offering a way for people in public spots to “sell” their spot to another user of the service before vacating it, something that has typically been an open market for any nearby driver who happens upon it. Earlier this week, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera sent out cease-and-desist letters to Monkey Parking and two local startups, warning them that that handoff between drivers was illegal and could net up to a $ 300 ticket. Herrera also warned that the company could be subject to $ 2,500 fine for each of those violation as part of…

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A Satellite Startup Could Be Google’s Next Purchase

According to a report, Google is interested in buying Skybox Imaging, a California-based startup that builds high-resolution imaging microsatellites and provides a platform to view the data. Because apparently Google needs satellites now that Facebook has drones. Read More

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The Lean Hardware Startup: Investing in Hardware Startups

Editor’s note: Cyril Ebersweiler is the founder of the pioneering hardware startup accelerator HAXLR8R (which is now looking for applicants) and Partner at SOSVentures. Benjamin Joffe is an expert on startup ecosystems, angel investor and Advisor at HAXLR8R. Both invest in companies around the world and spent over a decade in China and Japan. This is the fourth part of a series on Lean… Read More

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Samsung Working With Startup Partners To Add Gesture-Based Smart Home Control To TVs

Samsung is reportedly (via WSJ) preparing for a smart home control interface that uses your smart TV to recognize basic hand gestures, directed at the objects you actually want to control. So, for example, it would allow you to point at a lamp to turn it off or on, or to other nearby objects to affect them in different ways. The shift is a bit of an extension of what Samsung already offers, which… Read More

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Rumor: Brainwave-Sensing Startup InteraXon Was Approached By Google About An Acquisition

Toronto-based startup InteraXon, maker of the Muse brainwave-sensing headband, had a very interesting potential suitor, according to a source close to the startup speaking to TechCrunch. Specifically, Google came calling, but InteraXon isn’t necessarily interested in being acquired by the search giant, our source reports. A recent profile of InteraXon from the Financial Post provides a… Read More

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Oculus Rift Takes Home The Crunchie For Best Hardware Startup

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It’s hard for me to imagine a hardware startup that is more exciting, more fascinating, and that has more potential to ripple out into a million amazing things than Oculus and their Rift virtual reality headset.

Many of you, it seems, would agree. After weeks of voting, our readers and this community have chosen Oculus VR as the Best Hardware Startup of the year.

As has been said many a time, Hardware is hard. Though the barrier to entry is lower than it’s ever been, the creation of new hardware is still a field that most don’t enter.

It makes sense, then, that the competition here was incredibly fierce. Oculus’ fellow nominees in the category:

  • 3D Robotics, a company that wants to make aerial drones accessible to businesses of all sizes.
  • SmartThings, which is building a platform to allow any electronic device — be it your toaster or a ceiling fan — to become an Internet-connected “smart device”
  • Sonos, the remarkably simple wireless speakers that let you bring sound to every room in your house in just a few taps.
  • Square, creators of the dongle that lets anybody — be it your buddy who’s having a garage sale, or a major coffee chain — accept credit card payments in just a few minutes.

While Oculus shipped an early, developers-only version of their headset last year, they’ve yet to release a consumer-ready version (or even announce an official date for one). And that’s just fine. This is a case where “Screw it, Ship It” simply does not apply; where it’s not just acceptable to hold the product close until it’s at a point of perfection, but where that is the only right decision. The reason they haven’t released a retail product is not for lack of talent, interest, or funding. It’s because they must get it right the first time, and they know it.

This concept — virtual reality in the home — is one that science fiction has promised us for decades. The available technology is finally reaching a point where it’s becoming feasible — and when it does, Oculus is positioned to pave the way. Industry legends are leaving their post at companies they created to be a part of it. The most adored company in the gaming world has pledged their R&D resources to them. Developers around the world are already building apps and concept demos for the device, knowing full well that consumers won’t have their hands on it for months to years. If Oculus can’t pull this off, I’m not sure anyone can.

Congratulations, Oculus. We’re all excited for the next few years.

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Startup claims the US military is testing its computer-guided ‘smart’ rifles

Not all soldiers are crack shots, but the U.S. military is reportedly hoping to make that happen — with a little help from “smart” rifles, that is. According to a startup called TrackingPoint, the military bought six of its precision-guided firearms …

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Startup designs drones to protect endangered animals from poachers

The plains of Africa contain some of the world’s most wondrous beasts. Unfortunately, many of them have been hunted to near-extinction by poachers, which is why a permit to shoot a single black rhino can fetch as much as $ 350,000.

Today, the San Francisco startup Airware announced the results of a successful field trial it ran at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, home to many endangered black and white rhino. Airware partnered with the conservancy to use specialized drones which can monitor huge swaths of land to protect rhinos against poachers.

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Cyanogen Partners With Ex-Oppo VP’s Startup, OnePlus, For Custom CyanogenMod Phones

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Cyanogen Inc., the makers of an alternative Android ROM that last year raised $ 30 million (in two chunks) in VC funding, from Benchmark Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, to try to turn what has generally been a geek project into something with more mainstream appeal, has named an official hardware partner for its endeavour.

Fittingly enough, this partner, OnePlus, is itself a startup — albeit, one founded by a person with experience of putting CyanogenMod on phones. Namely, former Oppo VP Pete Lau, who had been involved in bringing CyanogenMod to Chinese OEM Oppo’s N1 smartphone.

Lau has clearly decided to take that experience and apply it wholesale, in a new setting — where the effort isn’t an adjunct to business-as-usual Android handsets.

In a blog post announcing the news, OnePlus said: “The CyanogenMod team will work in tandem with us to combine the best hardware with the best software. They are developing a custom version of CyanogenMod with special features and tweaks.”

The first fruit of the partnership is going to be called the rather tongue-twisting OnePlus One. There’s precious little detail at this point about how the phone is going to differ from the N1 running CyanogenMod — not to mention stand out from the more-vanilla-Android crowd. But it doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a mid-range device, with a pledge of “the latest and highest spec hardware” for the OnePlus One.

Other descriptors used are “fast, clean and beautiful”, which is all terribly non-specific so it’s a case of wait and see what the partnership delivers. The biggest trick the pair will have to pull off is making CyanogenMod attractive to a more mainstream user than has generally been the case thus far.

The OnePlus One is due to debut in the first half of this year, with a limited launch in “selected markets” initially, but with the aim of broadening availability down the line.

H/t to @whatthebit

[Image by Johan Larsson via Flickr]

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