LG Tips 128GB G6 Plus, New Features for G6

The new G6 features will arrive via a software update, but LG did not reveal a launch date.

Clever looks to give teachers and students an easy-to-track progress report

The classic problem of how teachers should devote resources to their students, such as helping students that are struggling in specific areas, is one that’s still ever-present — but it needs a deceptively-simple approach to making that more manageable, even if it’s just a colored progress bar if Clever CEO Tyler Bosmeny gets his way. That’s why Clever, a portal for… Read More

Apple in good cheer over a billion-dollar Christmas and New Year’s on the App...

The week after Christmas is a lazy one, but the App Store was working overtime. Apple triumphantly announced today that the late holiday season brought in more than a billion dollars in purchases on its mobile marketplace. Read More

LG V30

LG's big-screen V30 phone ditches a distinctive design, but keeps its unique ultra-wide camera while potentially bringing support for new network technology to the table.

How Chrome’s built-in ad blocker will work when it goes live tomorrow

Chrome’s built-in ad blocker will go live tomorrow. It’s the first time Google will automatically block some ads in Chrome, but while quite a few online publishers are fretting about this move, as a regular user, you may not even notice it. Read More

Haltian Can Save Your Kickstarter Hardware Disaster

When hardware Kickstarters go off the rails, this crew of Finns throw them a life preserver.

Wayfair’s Android app now lets you shop for furniture using augmented reality

AR-enabled shopping is expanding again today. This time, online furniture retailer Wayfair is introducing an augmented reality feature in its mobile app for Android that will allow customers to visualize furniture in their own home ahead of purchase, just by holding up their smartphone. The feature, called “View in Room 3D,” was previously available on iOS, leveraging Apple’s AR platform ARKit. Now, Wayfair is taking advantage of Google’s ARCore to offer the same option to Android users. ARCore, Google’s answer to Apple’s AR platform, was publicly released last month, giving developers a way to integrate AR technology into their Android applications, where they can reach a potential audience of over 100 million Android devices. Wayfair is not the only shopping site to quickly roll out ARCore support now that it’s available – eBay yesterday launched a feature for sellers that helps them find the right shipping box using AR technology, and promised other AR-enabled features this year. IKEA also just released an Android version of its AR app IKEA Place this week. Other retailers have been experimenting with AR, as well, including Amazon and Target. Retailers’ interest in AR is not just because it’s new and trendy – it can help them address the real issue that online shoppers face, when trying to buy furniture from a website, instead of in person. It’s often difficult for non-designers to really get a sense of what a piece of furniture will look like when placed in the room. Will the new sofa go well with the existing curtains, carpet, and other furniture? Will it fit in the space? Wayfair’s app helps with those questions, as it projects the furniture or décor in 3D at full-scale, and anchors them to the floor. This lets shoppers see if the object in question fits in the room – without needing to break out their measuring tape. It also helps them get a visual sense of what the room will look like with the new furniture added. And because the image is in 3D, you can walk around it to see it from different sides – which also helps with consumers’ buying decisions. “Leveraging augmented reality, the Wayfair app allows shoppers to transform their homes into virtual showrooms, allowing them to see their favorite products up close and at every angle – all in their very own space,” said Steve Conine, co-founder and co-chairman, Wayfair, in statement about the AR feature’s release. “We knew early on that augmented reality had the potential to completely transform the way people shop for their homes, and as it’s quickly moved toward mainstream adoption, we’re excited to have played an integral role in shaping the experience for millions of shoppers,” he added. Furniture has been one of the more difficult businesses to transition online, not only because of shipping costs for heavy items, but also because consumers still often want to see the products in real life. They want to touch the fabric, try out a chair’s cushions for comfort, and see the true colors – not just an online photo. But things are changing, as more commerce shifts online – the channel that’s prefered by millennial shoppers, who are now the largest demographic (37%) of the furniture-buying market. Wayfair is one of the companies capitalizing on this shift, to the tune of $4.7 billion in net revenue in 2017. And with the elimination of the furniture showroom, it’s also been quick to jump on new technologies to help its customers better shop, including web-based clipboards, visual search, mobile messaging, and now, AR – all which give it a competitive advantage versus traditional retailers with more static sites. The company also recently updated the AR feature in the iOS app that lets customers now record a video of the item in AR, instead of just taking a photo. This feature has a Snapchat-like feel, as you just press and hold the record button to make the recording. You can then walk around the furniture in the video, in order to capture it in 3D then share with friends and family. This feature will arrive in the Android version soon, we understand. In the meantime, the Wayfair app for Android is available here.

Stock trade app Robinhood raising at $5B+, up 4X in a year

By adding a cryptocurrency exchange, a web version, and stock option trading, Robinhood has managed to quadruple its valuation in a year, according to a source familiar with a new round the startup is raising. Robinhood is closing in on around $350 million in Series D funding led by Russian firm DST Global, the source says. That’s just 11 months after Robinhood confirmed TechCrunch’s scoop that the zero-fee stock trading app had raised an $110 million Series C at a $1.3 billion valuation. The new raise would bring Robinhood to $526 million in funding. Details of the Series D were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The astronomical value growth shows that investors see Robinhood as a core part of the mobile finance tools the next generation will rely upon. The startup also just proved its ability to nimbly adapt to trends by building its cryptocurrency trading feature in less than two months to make sure it wouldn’t miss the next big economic shift. One million users waitlisted for access in just the five days after Robinhood Crypto was announced. The launch completed a trio of product debuts. The mobile app finally launched a website version for tracking and trading stocks without a commission in November. In December it opened options trading, making it a more robust alternative to brokers like E*Trade and Scottrade. They often charge $7 or more per stock trade compared to zero with Robinhood, but also give away features that are reserved for Robinhood’s premium Gold subscription tier. Robinhood won’t say how many people have signed up for its $6 to $200 per month Gold service that lets people trade on margin, with higher prices netting them more borrowing power. That and earning interest on money stored in Robinhood accounts are the startup’s primary revenue sources. Rapid product iteration and skyrocketing value surely helped recruit Josh Elman, who Robinhood announced yesterday has joined as VP of product as he transitions to a part-time roll at Greylock Partners. He could help the company build a platform business as a backbone for other fintech apps, they way he helped Facebook build its identity platform. In effect, Robinhood has figured out how to make stock trading freemium. Rather than charge per trade with bonus features included, Robinhood gives away the bare-bones trades and charges for everything else. That could give it a steady, scalable business model akin to Dropbox, which grew by offering small amounts of free storage and then charging for extras and enterprise accounts. From a start with free trades, Robinhood could blossom into a hub for your mobile finance life.

Prodigy raises $5.4M to unify the in-store and online car-buying experience

If you’ve ever tried to buy a car, there’s a good chance that a lot of your research has shifted online as it’s become easier and easier to figure out exactly the kind of car you want — and less of it is about going to a dealership. At least, that’s what Michia Rohrssen is baking on. He and his co-founders started Prodigy, a company based on extending that same… Read More

These will be the first cities getting 5G from Sprint and T-Mobile

Just last week, AT&T announced the first handful of cities where it’ll roll out its 5G network later this year. Today at Mobile World Congress, T-Mobile and Sprint did the same. Sprint’s first 5G networks will go live in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington, DC and Houston. T-Mobile will fire up 5G in New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Dallas first. Read More

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