French startup Fairjungle wants to make it easier to book a flight or a hotel room for corporate purposes. The company just raised a $2 million funding round (€1.8 million) from Thibaud Elzière, Eduardo Ronzano, Bertrand Mabille and Whitestones Ventures.
If you work for a big company, chances are you book corporate flights through GBT, CWT or BCD Travel. And let’s be honest, the web interface usually sucks. It’s often hard to compare flights, change dates or even get a fair price.
Fairjungle is betting on a modern user experience and a software-as-a-service business model to change this industry. The idea is to make it feel more like you’re using a flight comparison service instead of a travel agency with a website.
“The value proposition [of legacy competitors] was historically around finding the best travel options for the business traveler, which has become obsolete today when you have tools like Skyscanner and Google Flights,” co-founder and CEO Saad Berrada told me.
In order to modernize that industry, the startup is leveraging the inventory of Skyscanner, Booking.com, Amadeus, Travelfusion and Hotelbeds. This way, you can book flights on 400 airlines and reserve hotel rooms in one million hotels.
After searching for a flight or a hotel room, you can book directly from Fairjungle. This way, employees don’t have to download invoices and file expense reports on a separate platform every time they travel. Companies can set up different rules to keep costs down. For instance, a flight that is unusually expensive requires approval from a manager.
Instead of charging per transaction, Fairjungle has opted for a SaaS model with a subscription of €5 per monthly active user.
Fairjungle currently focuses on small and mid-sized companies. The company has attracted 20 clients so far, including OVH. And it expects to generate $3.4 million (€3 million) in gross bookings by the end of the year.
Wacom is releasing a new stylus for pen-enabled Windows 10 PCs that adds tilt support and a rechargeable battery. The new stylus, the Bamboo Ink Plus, supports both the Microsoft Pen Protocol (MPP) and the Wacom Active ElectroStatic (AES) protocol, meaning the stylus is compatible with devices from the MPP-supported Microsoft Surface laptops to the AES-supported Lenovo Thinkpad series of tablets. Users can switch to different protocols easily by holding both side buttons.
Unlike the previous Bamboo Ink, which required hard-to-find AAAA batteries, the Ink Plus is rechargeable via USB. Like the previous model, the Plus also has three different fine nibs (soft, medium, and firm), and has a triangular barrel which some artists find more ergonomic.
The Bamboo Ink Plus retails for $99.95, and is available now at Best Buy, Microsoft stores, and wacom.com.
Following in the footsteps of AT&T and Verizon*, Sprint is now offering an LTE tracker. The matchbook-sized device, simply called Tracker, provides real-time location tracking on Safe + Found app.
Sprint’s new Tracker
The Tracker competes with Tile, but instead of Bluetooth, Sprint’s device uses 4G LTE, GPS and Wi-Fi location services, so it can be used to track things, people or pets that might travel a significant distance away, compared to a range of 100 ft to 300 ft for Tile (depending on the version). The Tracker is manufactured by Coolpad and users need to pay $2.50 per month for 24 months to cover the cost of the device, plus an additional $5 per month to connect it.
AT&T and Verizon both launched LTE trackers over the past year and Apple is also rumored to be working on a tracking device that connects to iPhones, based on an asset package for pairing devices by proximity spotted in the first beta of iOS 13 by 9to5Mac.
*Disclosure: TechCrunch is part of Verizon Media, a subsidiary of Verizon Communications.
Nintendo has announced the release date for its latest mobile game. Dr. Mario World will be available for iOS and Android on July 10th, with pre-registration now open on the iOS App Store and Google Play. The title was first revealed in January.
A new trailer posted today gives the first real look at the game, which appears to be pretty different from other versions of Dr. Mario. Instead of managing capsules as they fall down the screen Tetris-style, Dr. Mario World sees you drag them directly onto the pre-arranged play field.
The game also has typical free-to-play mobile trappings like countdown timers and multiple currencies, but a puzzle game like Dr. Mario might at least be a better fit for that sort of thing than Mario Kart, which has had a somewhat controversial beta period on Android.
There are more than 186 million Snapchat users around the world. While you may not follow even a tiny fraction of that amount, those people you do follow are important to you. You probably get frustrated when you’re trying to look at a friend’s Snap or Story and it disappears. Your aggravated cries have been heard. Here’s how to replay a Snapchat Snap or Story so you can take your time absorbing the snappy goodness.
Replaying a Snap
When a friend sends you a message, that’s a Snap. Unfortunately, photo messages can only be seen if you tap on them. When you go back to the chat, the photo closes and you need to open it again to look at it. To reopen the photo you’ll need to hold your finger down on the red square in the chat and then tap the square to replay the photo.
Beware, after you replay the photo Snap once, you won’t be able to look at it again and if you leave the Friends screen before taking a second look, you won’t be able to replay the Snap, either. You’ll need to take a screenshot it if you want to keep it long-term. If you do screenshot it, a message will be sent to your friend so they know that you took a screenshot. There’s no way to be sneaky with Snapchat!
How to replay a Story
Stories are fun peeks into your friend’s lives, but like life, sometimes they go too fast. Thankfully, Stories have sort of a built-in remote that can allow you to rewind and replay. You can’t see the control buttons, though, so it can be a bit confusing.
To go back and view the last photo you looked at in the Story, just tap on the left side of the screen and the Story will essentially rewind to the last photo you looked at. If you’re at the end of a Story and want to start it over, swipe right on the screen. You can also go to the Stories screen again and tap your friend’s Story to watch it from the beginning.
Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is the most trusted source of Apple rumors — once predicting that that the company would sell three different iPhones well over a year before that came true. Now, he’s betting that we’ll see the first 5G iPhones in 2020, despite the fact that Apple’s original 5G modem supplier is no longer making them anymore, according to MacRumors and 9to5Mac.
If Kuo’s right, the answer is: “Right on schedule.” Both a new, smaller 5.4-inch iPhone and a even larger 6.7-inch one will have 5G support in 2020, according to Kuo’s prediction. (Sounds like the XS is getting smaller and the Max is getting bigger, based on those screen sizes.) And he says all three of Apple’s 2020 iPhones — including a low-cost 6.1-inch iPhone XR successor that’ll stay on LTE for now — will feature the vibrant colors and inky blacks of OLED screens, as opposed to the cheaper LCD panel you see in today’s XR and that will reportedly stick around for the 2019 model.
That means every iPhone will theoretically have an OLED panel in 2020. Kuo expects all of them will have 5G support in 2021, with Apple having the opportunity to switch from Qualcomm radios to its own in-house modems in 2022 or 2023.
Bad Robot Pictures and Abrams, which have produced television shows under the Warner Bros. TV label since 2006, were being courted by nearly every major player in the entertainment space over the last six months. Apple, Comcast, Netflix, Sony Entertainment and Amazon all reportedly held deals with Abrams, according to the Reporter. Aspects of the deal are still uncertain — including whether or not Abrams will be allowed to direct films for competitors, which was a clause in his previous deal. That’s why he could return to direct Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker for Disney, out this year.
What the deal will give AT&T and WarnerMedia is a first look deal at anything Bad Robot produces, according to The New York Times. The deal covers “movies, television shows, video games, consumer products, music and digital content for a WarnerMedia streaming service set to arrive early next year,” the Times reports. WarnerMedia is also in the process of taking over Bad Robot’s exclusive film contract with Paramount Pictures (where Abrams produced and directed several Star Trek films).
Abrams’ $500 million deal is just a sign of where many companies, including predominantly streaming services, are heading as the “streaming wars” gear up. Netflix paid handsomely for multi-year deals with Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy at $100 million and $300 million respectively. Warner Bros. TV also paid $400 million to Greg Berlanti, the man who concocted the Arrow Universe for The CW, to keep his contract exclusive.
As more shows and films enter the playing field, more streaming services are going to seek out their own version of a Game of Thrones or Stranger Things — one major show to pull in subscribers. Abrams’ Bad Robot is currently working on the third season of HBO’s Westworld (HBO is a subsidiary of WarnerMedia), and it’s fair to assume that will continue under the agreement because it’s a WarnerMedia property.
Another question is whether this move will make AT&T shareholders happy, which could affect the company’s ability to make other such deals and purchases. Multiple reports about investor concerns over AT&T’s WarnerMedia plan have come out over the last several months, as analysts worry about AT&T having too many balls to juggle. The company is currently $171 billion in debt, which CEO Randall Stephenson says will return to normal levels by 2022. Wells Fargo lead analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in a 2018 report that “we remain somewhat concerned about how AT&T will prioritize its near-term uses of cash.”
Other analysts are concerned about WarnerMedia’s ability to create original content that will bring subscribers in — and keep them. WarnerMedia has an extensive catalogue of movies and shows, including Friends, a show that Netflix paid $100 million to keep for one year, but there’s concern over WarnerMedia’s ability to produce that original content.
Investing $500 million into Bad Robot and Abrams may be one way to quell those concerns, but it’s a large number — more than any of the aforementioned companies has paid for a single creative individual at this point. The company also recently signed lucrative deals with Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project) and Ava DuVernay (When They See Us). The company is reportedly trying to secure a new deal for Big Bang Theory creator Chuck Lorre, whose deal with Warner Bros. TV ends in 2020.
WarnerMedia is expected to launch its subscription streaming service this fall, and “keeping Abrams in the fold was considered a high priority for the independent studio,” according to the Reporter. Although there isn’t any confirmed launch date or pricing, it’s expected to cost between $16 and $17 a month. That puts it on the higher end of streaming service costs, but it will include a subscription to HBO Now, which is currently $15.
Apple seemingly left one new, upcoming tvOS feature out of the company’s WWDC keynote earlier this month: picture-in-picture. 9to5Mac reports that today’s developer beta of tvOS 13 allows Apple TV users to shrink down any video playing in the Apple TV app to a corner of the screen and continue browsing through other content and menus — while still watching whatever video was originally playing. Unfortunately a public beta for tvOS 13 isn’t yet available and is expected in July.
For now, picture-in-picture is said to be limited to the Apple TV app, but hopefully the same functionality comes to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and other popular streaming services. If nothing else, it’d allow you to start watching something “eh” and dig through the selection of other apps in hopes of finding a better pick. Or maybe you’d be able to keep tabs on a sports game while playing an Apple Arcade title. Some third-party apps like PlayStation Vue already have their own picture-in-picture solutions; you can watch four live channels simultaneously with Sony’s TV service.
If you’ve ever used picture-in-picture mode on an iPad, this basically looks the same. Inside the smaller video window you’ll see options to maximize it back to full screen or exit out of the content entirely.
There’s the possibility that PIP might not make it into the final tvOS update this fall — especially since it didn’t get a mention from Apple onstage — but it’s a pretty straightforward feature and nice complement to the other tvOS 13 additions like multi-user support.
On Monday, the self-driving company Nuro announced a partnership with Domino’s Pizza in Houston. Nuro has been dropping off Kroger groceries in the Texas city since earlier this year. Kroger uses the self-driving vehicles to haul grocery bags to online shoppers in other cities like Phoenix.
Now Houston residents can order a pizza through the Domino’s app and then track the pizza as it makes its way to their home without a driver in sight. Once someone makes an order, they’re given a PIN code to unlock the compartment on the Nuro vehicle and retrieve their pizza from the vehicle. Remember, there’s no delivery person to bring it to the doorway.
The pizza will arrive in Nuro’s R2 vehicle, a custom-built autonomous vehicle designed for delivering food and other items. This isn’t a passenger car with a modified back seat — this vehicle was made with autonomous deliveries in mind.
The pilot program and testing is expected to kick off with “select customers” later this year. Domino’s has been testing autonomous pizza deliveries in Miami with Ford’s Argo AI self-driving cars. But that program involves safety drivers and humans still in the car.
This is a true driverless pizza delivery experience. Eat up.
OSIRIS-REx took this up-close picture on June 13th, right after the spacecraft inserted itself into orbit around Bennu for the second time. The vehicle first got into Bennu’s orbit on December 31st, 2018, flying about a mile away from the asteroid’s surface. From that path, OSIRIS-REx mapped Bennu’s surface in intricate detail, and also observed some interesting things from this vantage point, including rocks spewing from Bennu’s surface.
OSIRIS-REx is still mapping Bennu, and last week, its mission team maneuvered the spacecraft even closer to the asteroid. Now, OSIRIS-REx is orbiting within just 0.4 miles of Bennu’s surface, which is less than the height of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. That’s the closest orbit that any spacecraft has ever achieved around another space object. And that makes the picture that OSIRIS-REx snapped above the closest image ever taken of an orbiting spacecraft.
OSIRIS-REx will stay in its tight orbit until the second week of August and will continue to figure out which sites would be best for grabbing a sample next year. It’s going to be tough, though, since OSIRIS-REx has found that Bennu is a particularly rocky place. The mission team wants the spacecraft’s sample site to be clear of debris and rocks, in order to make scooping up materials an easier process. Hopefully, this tighter orbit will allow OSIRIS-REx to get an even better view of Bennu, helping scientists figure out the best place for a sample grab by summer of 2020.