Google Maps and Lyft could soon be waaay more accurate thanks to this new GPS chip

Image: NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tired of your Lyft driver not knowing exactly where you are? A new extremely accurate GPS chip could help solve that problem — all while consuming half the power of current chips.

Broadcom’s BCM47755 chip will allow smartphones to be accurate within 30 centimeters, the company said at a conference in Portland, according to IEEE Spectrum. That’s compared to the current standard of 3 to 5 meters, the company said. Broadcom also said the BCM47755 would be more effective in cities than older chips. 

All of this would make them very useful for location-based apps. 

“For example, lane-level knowledge of the vehicle’s location vastly improves the turn-by-turn navigation performance,” Broadcam said in a statement.

“Further, combining this accurate location with the lane’s traffic pattern gives consumers a significantly better estimate of arrival times. In the same vein, ride hailing applications can be enhanced to more precisely pinpoint driver and client location.”

The chip has been included in the design of “some” smartphones slated for release next year, IEEE Spectrum reports, but Broadcom has not disclosed specifics.  

The increased accuracy of BCM47755 is due to its use of a more complex satellite signal, broadcast only by the newest generation of satellites. 

All global navigation satellite systems (GNSSs) currently broadcast their location with a signal called L1. New systems broadcast, in addition, a more complex and accurate signal called L5. 

BCM47755 is the first mass-market chip that uses both signals to orient itself. It locks onto satellites with L1, and then refines its position with L5. 

L5 is also less vulnerable to distortion by bouncing off buildings and other obstacles, meaning the signal holds up in urban environments.

Broadcom is far from the first developer to recognize a demand for GPS accuracy, but it is the first to release a chip with this potential. The Indian Space Research Association released GAGAN in September to streamline their GPS systems, but only for airplanes. And a European joint venture called Sapcorda, established in August, aims to provide centimeter-level GPS accuracy, but has yet to unveil a product. 

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Chroma keying and layering comes to mobile video editing with Videoleap

Why it matters to you

Videoleap is promising more advanced video edits than previous apps have been able to offer.

Video-editing apps designed for mobile need to pare down the features in order to run on the smaller hardware — but Lightricks, the developer behind the photo apps FacetuneEnlight, and Enlight Quickshot says its new video app brings more desktop editing features to mobile than any other app. Today, September 25, Lightricks announced the launch of Videoleap, an iOS mobile video editor with several advanced tools.

Videoleap brings several features common in advanced desktop software into a mobile platform. A chroma key function allows video editors to remove solid colored backgrounds. Like the traditional chroma key technology, this feature removes the background so that it can be replaced with a different scene. Unlike chroma key, this feature doesn’t require a green screen but can use any solid-colored background. Artificial intelligence finds the edges of the subject, allowing for the background to be removed.

Layer functionality allows editors to overlap text, images, video, and effects for more precise editing. Blending and masking options allow users to superimpose videos, images, and text within those layers. Options for feathering and applying adjustments with brushes are also included.

The app also includes keyframe animations — a feature that allows users to create precise animations. Lightricks says that the tool allows users to control the position of the objects in each frame for more control over the final results.

The new video app also takes several nods from the company’s imaging apps. Videoleap contains similar color-adjustment capabilities as Enlight, the company says, with a similar workflow as well. While the app includes several more advanced features, the company says that the user interface is designed to keep the program easy to use.

“Nothing like Videoleap exists on the market – this is the first true video-editing app for mobile,” Zeev Farbman, co-founder and CEO of Lightricks, said in a press release. “Essentially, we are providing users with a mobile video production studio – yet we’ve simplified it for the mobile experience so that our users can make Hollywood-style edits in just a few minutes. Videoleap lets users cut down typical editing times on desktop from hours to minutes.”

Like Enlight Photofox and FaceTune 2, Videoleap is available in a free version or with more features as part of a subscription. The app is now available for download from the App Store.

Apple Watch Series 3 review

The Apple Watch is the world’s best selling watch. Think about that for a moment. Not the best selling smartwatch; but the best selling watch overall. Despite many questions about whether people need smartwatches, or the usefulness of them in the first place; Apple sells more watches than Casio, Fossil, Swatch, Rolex, or anyone else.

The Apple Watch Series 3 promises to be an even bigger seller, because it apparently does something many have wanted from the start — it can potentially replace your phone. Our Apple Watch Series 3 review reveals that this still isn’t possible at the moment, but that the situation is highly likely to change in the future, once developers and app makers get started.

Does that mean it should be ignored? Forgotten? No. This is the best selling watch for a reason — it’s the best smartwatch you can buy, by far.

Design

Have you seen the Apple Watch Series 1, and the Apple Watch Series  2? Then you’ve seen the Apple Watch Series 3. It’s identical in shape and design; the only hint that you’re wearing the latest model with 4G LTE is a colored dot on the Digital Crown. We imagine that’s the only reason it’s there, and would actually rather it wasn’t. It adds nothing to the watch’s style. The underside of the Apple Watch Series 3 is a sliver thicker than the old models, but you’ll never notice.

Apple has introduced new straps with the Series 3 Watch, a series called Sport Loop. It’s like posh Velcro, and uses the same hook-and-eye system to secure it around your wrist. It’s certainly very comfortable, and due to its fitting, is suitable for all wrist sizes. The hardware attaching the strap to the watch is plastic, however, and looks cheap. Metal hardware would be much more preferable. Luckily there are hundreds of aftermarket strap options.

The OLED screen is the same as before. It’s beautifully bright and colorful, but it works best with a black watch face, because the screen seamlessly becomes one with the bezel, giving the impression that the entire front of the watch is a single screen. It looks wonderful. The Digital Crown rotates to navigate through messages and lists, a press selects or enters the helicopter view of all the installed apps, while the primary button underneath goes back a step or opens a list of recently used apps. Otherwise, all interactions with the watch are carried out using the touchscreen, which is responsive, precise, and a joy to use.

There’s a definite slickness and tactile pleasure from the Apple Watch’s screen that you don’t get with screens on most Android Wear watches. It feels more expensive, and encourages you to work with it. The lack of a raised body around it helps, as does the curved glass. We’ve been testing the aluminum bodied version, but stainless steel and ceramic are also available, if you’re willing to pay more. All have water resistance to a depth of 50 meters, and can be used when swimming.

The Apple Watch Series 3 may be more of the same, but it’s still ahead of the competition.

No phone needed

If you choose the Apple Watch Series 3 with 4G LTE — and there is a slightly cheaper model just with GPS — you’ll get a watch with a built-in eSIM , ready to connect to a cellular network and enable operation without your phone. Essentially, it becomes your phone. There’s no physical SIM inside, it’s a virtual one that uses the same number as your phone, so all the usual phone-based activity is replicated on your wrist.

The Apple Watch Series 3 is, by a massive distance, the best smartwatch you can buy

This isn’t a free service. You have to pay extra for the pleasure of not using your phone. The best way to think about it is like an add-on data plan for a tablet. You retain your phone plan and pay a little extra for another device. In the United States, all four major networks support the Apple Watch Series 3’s eSIM, provided you are a monthly subscriber, and charge what works out to be $10 extra per month, after various deals have been applied. In the United Kingdom, there is less choice. Only EE supports the eSIM at the moment, and it costs five British pounds extra on top of your monthly contract price to add the Apple Watch.

What’s it like? That depends. Do you spend a lot of time with access to Wi-Fi? If so, then your Watch will use that, and not the cellular network. Also, there’s no way to turn off Wi-Fi, so if the network’s slow, tough luck, you can’t switch. The Watch also gets confused with public Wi-Fi networks, due to conflicting security recommendations from your other Apple devices, often resulting in no connectivity at all. Apple will release a fix for this bug soon. You can tell what it’s connected to by swiping up to the Control Center and looking for the connectivity dots, a Wi-Fi icon, or a phone icon in the top left of the screen.

Making a phone call is straightforward enough, but hearing the caller when outside is a challenge as the speaker isn’t very loud. You have to raise the watch closer to your ear, which is awkward and makes you look silly. Callers appear to hear you well though, in our early tests. The Apple Watch has Bluetooth, so you can connect a set of headphones or an earpiece to it. Annoyingly, there’s no way to make FaceTime Audio calls.

Messages and iMessages can be sent and replied to, using canned replies or the “scribble” system — where each letter is traced on the touchscreen to form words in your messages — or simply using your voice. Scribbles and canned responses are fine if you’re in a hurry, but not for longer messages. Voice actually works very well, and the Watch transcribed our conversational test messages perfectly each time, even in a noisy cafe. You could easily have a long text conversation using this system, if you don’t mind talking to your watch.

Siri will also help out with hands-free operation, such as replying to messages and making calls. We streamed music purchased from iTunes, which worked well, and there’s storage space for other music files on the Watch. To sync tracks you select playlists in the Watch app, which are transferred when the Watch is on charge. It’s a slow process. Oddly, Apple Music integration isn’t available now, and will be added in the near future. Other iOS apps, such as Mail and Weather, also work across the cellular network.

Use apps outside Apple’s ecosystem and problems start to emerge, however. Even apps with Apple Watch versions, like Twitter, Line, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat, all require the phone to be connected to the watch to operate. WhatsApp, a messaging app used by more than a billion people globally, doesn’t have an Apple Watch app at all. This means if you regularly receive messages through these apps, you won’t get them on your Apple Watch Series 3 if it’s not connected to your phone. Facebook Messenger and Slack worked some of the time, but not directly through the app itself. It was possible to respond to a Messenger message through a notification, but the conversation couldn’t be viewed or interacted with in the app. Line provides notifications when away from your phone, but the app hangs when you try to read them.

All these apps and others may receive updates to change this situation in the near future. But for now, the Apple Watch Series 3 is slightly hobbled when disconnected from your phone. It’s a halfway house, essentially: Great if you use Apple’s services, poor if you rely on others. Ultimately though, you can leave your phone behind and use only the Apple Watch Series 3, provided the restrictions don’t bother you.

Performance, battery, and software

The Apple Watch Series 3 has a new dual-core processor and the new model is undeniably faster than ever. If you’re used to the Apple Watch Series 1, it’ll be a revelation. It’s smoother and faster to respond, and it zips through multiple apps. It’s no longer the frustrating experience it once was.

WatchOS 4 comes installed on the Apple Watch Series 3, and it’s almost the same as earlier versions of the OS, with a few style changes. The Dock, which replaced Glances last year, shows your recently used open apps in a vertically scrolling list; access it with a press of the large side button and sift through by touch or the Digital Crown. Swipe left on an app and the option to close it pops up.

The Watch transcribed our conversational test messages perfectly each time

There are several new watch faces. Woody, Jessie, and Buzz from Toy Story join Mickey and Minnie, along with a psychedelic kaleidoscope face; more helpful is the face that incorporates a Siri complication, a news feed, and a Breathe reminder. WatchOS 4 is available for all Apple Watches, indicating the Watch Series 3 will be supported for several years to come. It seems Apple is doing its best to make the Watch a tech product that will last a good while, just as a watch should.

Battery life is great, if your use is varied. We’re three full days into using the Watch and have only needed to charge the battery once. It spent its time being used as a standalone device, and connected to the phone, which is key to preserving its standby time. Finding and holding a cellular signal is power-intensive, and like your phone, when reception is low the battery life decreases as it searches for a signal. The battery percentage meter definitely decreased faster when not connected to the phone, as expected. But after an hour in the gym with the Watch using its own data service, tracking our workout, and streaming Bluetooth music, it only dropped by seven percent. Also, keeping the new continuous heart rate monitoring system on doesn’t seem to negatively affect battery life either.

At the end of the day, it’s no worse than previous Apple Watch models for battery life; but no better either.

Fitness

The Apple Watch is a superb fitness, health, and lifestyle tracker. It’s clear, concise, informative, and encouraging, and with many different modes to suit the majority of people. If you just want to know steps and calories burned, the “three-ring” system works brilliantly. It’s obvious how close you are to a goal, and you get a cool animation when you complete one. Adding heart-rate monitoring is easy, and there are varied tracking options for walking, running, cycling, swimming, and more. Everything gets collated in the Activity app on your phone, where it’s laid out in an easy to understand way.

That’s before you start to enjoy the benefits of reminders to move, heart-rate tracking through the day, the Breathe mindfulness feature, and the many third-party fitness and health apps. It’s incredibly comprehensive.

After using the Huawei Watch 2 in the gym for several months, which performs well, the speed of the Apple Watch Series 3 was immediately obvious and genuinely impressive. Menu access was instant, the Bluetooth connection to our headphones was faultless, and it was considerably easier to just select a workout and get going. It’s an altogether more cohesive and logically thought-out approach to fitness tracking than almost every other product this reviewer has tried.

Price, warranty, and availability

There are several different Apple Watch models. A basic aluminum Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS only, and a regular Sport Band costs $330. The Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS and cellular, with the Sport Band or new Sport Loop, is $400. These prices are for the 38mm model, so add another $30 to the price if you need the larger 42mm model. Choose the stainless-steel version with sapphire crystal over the screen and the price starts at $600. The ceramic case model starts at $1,300 and is available only with cellular.

Apple provides a one-year warranty with the Watch Series 3, which covers the device if it suffers from problems due to manufacturing errors. If you want accidental damage cover, you’ll have to pay for AppleCare+ insurance, which costs $50 for two years of coverage and telephone support. AppleCare+ for the ceramic Apple Watch Series 3 costs $100 for two years.

The Apple Watch Series 3 is available through the Apple Store online, its retail stores, and other retailers now.

Apple Watch Series 3 Compared To

Our Take

The one major new feature to the Apple Watch Series 3 — cellular connectivity — isn’t a reason to buy it, at least, not yet. But Apple’s Watch was already the best smartwatch you could buy, and the strong performance and sensible software enhancements have ensured it easily retains that title for the near future.

Is there a better alternative?

If you own an iPhone, no, there isn’t a better alternative smartwatch to the Apple Watch. You may want to think twice about purchasing the model with 4G LTE, however. It cannot replace your phone at the moment, unless all you ever use are Apple apps to communicate with people. It also costs extra every month on top of your existing phone plan.

The faster chip inside is a big bonus, and we’d suggest thinking very seriously about buying the Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS only to and save yourself money. You’ll get all the power benefits without the not-quite-finished phone aspect. This should change in the future as apps are updated and released, but there’s no guarantee when developers will do so.

How long will it last?

The Apple Watch Series 1 came out two-and-a-half years ago and has been updated to the latest software, and it’s still sold by Apple now. This tells us the Apple Watch Series 3 should have a three-year lifetime at an absolute minimum, from a software point of view. (Being outdated by software is incredibly frustrating, isn’t it?) The new watch is faster and more durable than ever before, plus because the design hasn’t changed, it’ll remain visually fresh. It’s reasonable to think the Apple Watch will be usable, battery dependent, for four years or more.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Apple Watch Series 3 is, by a massive distance, the best smartwatch you can buy. WatchOS easily eclipses Android Wear, from the fitness features to the neatness with which the cellular connectivity has been integrated, and it’s lightning fast in comparison. Even set up is easier, and that’s before we take into account the extensive range of straps and Watch accessories to personalize it later on. Simply put, if you have an iPhone, want a smartwatch, and don’t buy an Apple Watch, you’re making the wrong decision.

That’s not the end of the conversation though. Despite adding cellular connectivity, the Apple Watch still can’t replace your phone, and therefore isn’t an essential piece of kit. It remains an expensive add-on to your smartphone that isn’t particularly necessary. We wouldn’t be rushing to upgrade from a Series 2 Watch, but Series 1 owners should consider it for the speed benefits alone.

We do find the Apple Watch useful, though mostly for the basics like notifications, and the style has continued to grow on us over the past few years. Think twice about buying the Apple Watch Series 3 with cellular though, as it hasn’t achieved the dream of becoming a phone replacement just yet.

Package delivery startup Doorman is shutting down


Doorman, a startup delivering packages when you schedule them will be no more after October 6th, 2017.

The startup sent a letter over the weekend letting customers know it would no longer be in business in two weeks, saying it was “joining forces with a larger team.”

We’re not sure if this joining of forces means Doorman has been acquired or if it’s some other structure. We’ve reached out to Doorman for more details but have so far not heard back.

The startup popped up in 2015 and even enjoyed an appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank” to tout its plan to drop off your online shopping items when you wanted them, not when the delivery person decided to drop them off. It was a model that resonated with those who couldn’t wait around all day for a package delivery, myself included.

But, Doorman admitted nearly one year ago the model was so popular it was losing money and had to change tack.

“We didn’t expect that Doorman would completely change peoples’ shopping behavior,” the company’s founder and CEO, Zander Adell, told TechCrunch at the time. “We now know that Doorman customers shop online twice as much within 6 months of signing up. Unfortunately, that means our original $19 and $29 per month plans stopped making sense, and we’re in effect losing a lot of money on some of our customers.”

The monthly delivery price jumped to a whopping $89 for the premium subscription, with an additional fee per package.

We don’t know if the price jump caused a mass cancellation but anecdotally I’ve heard from a handful of people who stopped using the service after that.

Unfortunately, it seems the price jump also wasn’t enough to save the company. Doorman says it will no longer accept incoming shipments after September 29th and that those who use their Doorman address for online shipments should update their information.

“We deeply apologize for all the inconvenience this causes you,” the letter says. “It has been an honor to work with you in helping us build and improve the Doorman experience and it has been a privilege to serve you.”

Featured Image: Doorman

Game Publishers and SAG-AFTRA reach agreement to end video game strike

Why it matters to you

Voice actors bring the video game characters we love to life. With this tentative agreement, members of SAG-AFTRA finally get benefits they deserve.

Nearly one year ago, voice actors within the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) began their strike against numerous video game publishers in an effort to improve safety and monetary compensation. Eleven months later, they reached a tentative agreement to end the video game strike.

The terms of the agreement were reached early Saturday morning and include a new bonus structure that provides extra payment for performers. Additional payment is based on the number of voicing sessions worked during a games development. The first session begins with a $75 payment and moves along toward $2,100 after 10 sessions. This bonus payment is due no later than the release date of the game.

“This is an important advance in this critical industry space. We secured a number of gains including for the first time, a secondary payment structure which was one of the members’ key concerns,” SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris said in a statement. “The courage of our members and their fortitude these many months has been admirable and I salute them. We are always stronger together.”

Before the strike, voice actors may not have known what game they were voicing until the game was released. New transparency provisions require companies to disclose the code name of the project, its genre, whether the game is based on previously published intellectual property, and whether the performer is reprising a prior role. Members of SAG-AFTRA must also be told whether they must use unusual terminology, profanity, or racial slurs. Content of a sexual or violent nature and whether stunts will be required must also be disclosed.

In addition to the bonus and transparency, the deal also contains an employer agreement to continue working with SAG-AFTRA on the issue of vocal stress. Notable absences in the agreement are several proposals sought by management such as fining performers for being late or distracted at a session. Another would have forced agents to submit voice actors for low-paying “atmospheric voice” sessions or face lines.

The SAG-AFTRA video game strike began on October 21, 2016 and it had most noticeably affected the recent release of Life is Strange: Before the Storm. The tentative contract will next be reviewed by the SAG-AFTRA National Board during its upcoming October meeting.

Everything you need to know about the OnePlus 5

Why it matters to you

The OnePlus 5 boasts top-tier specs at an affordable price. If you’re looking for a new flagship phone, it might be the device for you.

OnePlus has taken the wraps off of the OnePlus 5 — the follow-up to last year’s OnePlus 3T. OnePlus has long been known as a company that offers high-end specifications at a very reasonable price, and it’s no different this year with the OnePlus 5.

“The OnePlus 5 showcases our obsessive attention to detail and our focus on delivering the best user experience possible,” OnePlus founder and CEO Pete Lau said in a statement.

Here’s everything you need to know about the OnePlus 5, including specs, pricing, availability, and ongoing promotions. For our full impressions, read our review of the OnePlus 5.

How to buy the OnePlus 5

The OnePlus 5 is a monster of a phone, and it’s thankfully pretty easy to get — but you may have to switch carriers if you want to use it. The OnePlus 5 is GSM-only, so in the U.S., it only works on AT&T and T-Mobile networks. That’s bad news if you’re on Verizon or Sprint.

The slate gray version of the OnePlus 5, which has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, costs $480. The midnight black model, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, is priced $60 higher at $540.

For a limited time, OnePlus is throwing in a free pair of Bullets V2 earbuds (a $20 value) and discounted priority shipping for customers who reserve a 128GB OnePlus 5. The promotion ends September 30.

You can head to the OnePlus website to order the OnePlus 5. Unlike other flagship phones, you can’t get the device from your carrier — meaning you’ll have to shell out the full price of the phone to get your hands on it.

Software updates

In a recent interview with Digital Trends, OnePlus said changes to its software department would mean faster updates for its phones, and it’s already putting this into action with the OnePlus 5. The phone now ships with version 4.5.10 of the OxygenOS operating system (based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat), which has new features and crucial fixes.

The most notable addition is electronic image stabilization (EIS) when shooting 4K video, which promises to make high-resolution videos less shaky. Other changes include an update to the Android security patch level, a new font called OnePlus Slate, several system changes to increase battery life, and improved Wi-Fi connectivity.

OnePlus 5 specs

You might be wondering what happened to the OnePlus 4 — after all, the last OnePlus phone to launch was the OnePlus 3T. OnePlus decided to skip the number 4 because it’s considered unlucky in China — in Mandarin, it sounds a lot like the word for “death.”

OnePlus is known for offering top-notch specs in its phones, and the OnePlus 5 continues that trend. For starters, you’ll find the latest and greatest Qualcomm chip and the Snapdragon 835 processor under the hood.

On the back of the phone, there’s a dual-camera setup with a 16-megapixel main camera, along with a 20-megapixel telephoto lens, which helps add depth to images in a new Portrait mode. The large f/1.7 aperture will help take both faster photos and better low-light images, and a “Pro” mode gives you manual control over things like white balance, shutter speed, and more.

The OnePlus 5 battery has a 3,300mAh capacity, and it charges with OnePlus’ proprietary Dash Charge technology through the USB Type-C port. OnePlus claims Dash Charge gets you a full day of battery life in 30 minutes of charging.

The 5.5-inch display is a little less impressive than some of the other specs, but for many it may not matter. It sits in at 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is around 401 pixels per inch. That’s a little less than some other flagship devices, but for those who don’t use their phone for virtual reality (VR), it shouldn’t be an issue. There’s also Bluetooth 5.0 technology, and NFC for Android Pay. You’ll also find a headphone jack on the bottom.

The OnePlus 5 is a nice-looking device, though some may say it looks a little like a certain Apple product.

Update: From September 25 to September 30, the OnePlus 5 comes with a free pair of Bullets V2 earbuds and discounted priority shipping. 

Zuck and Bezos back seed stage scout fund Village Global


Product Hunt’s first employee Erik Torenberg is ready to fund fresh new startups, not just reveal them to the world. Today is the soft launch of Village Global, a seed and pre-seed early stage venture capital fund looking to connect entrepreneurs to cash as well as all-star mentors. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, and Microsoft’s Bill Gates are amongst the LPs putting money and advisorship into Village Global.

Village Global partner Erik Torenberg

Torenberg declined to comment on this article, as VCs can’t legally discuss ongoing fundraising legally due to SEC rules. While the firm doesn’t list how big its fund plans to be, TechCrunch has discovered an SEC regulatory filing from June showing Village Global was targeting a $50 million fundraise. It’s unclear how much exactly it will pull in, though, as fundraising is ongoing .

So why are luminaries like former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, VMWare founder Diane Greene, or Disney CEO Bob Iger willing to get involved, especially when most are already outrageously wealthy? “These innovators haven’t lost their love of the startup game” Village Global wrote in its launch post. “In fact, they have a lot of wisdom to share about their entrepreneurial journeys, and insight to gain from interacting with the next generation of innovators.”

These tech titans may trust Village Global because of Torenberg’s grass-roots affiliation with that next generation through his work at Product Hunt. He could help CEOs far-removed from the startup trenches glean learnings about budding tech trends and business practices from Village Global’s portfolio founders.

The Village Global team also includes Ben Casnocha, who co-authored entrepreneurship strategy book The Startup Of You with Hoffman before becoming his chief of staff at LinkedIn. Other partners at Village Global include former IAC biz dev exec, 500 Startups head of investor relations, and Queensbridge partner Adam Corey; Chegg chief business officer and Harvard Business School entrepreneur-in-residence Anne Dwane; and SuccessFactors VP and Canaan partner Ross Fubini.

Focusing on very early stage startups could allow Village Global to make an impact without raising an exceptionally huge fund, or offering expansive service arms like Andreessen Horowitz or GV (formerly Google Ventures) do in recruiting, design, and other areas. Instead, Village Global could dangle access to its network of famous advisors, roping in founders with its star power.

“Networks are known for speed and adaptability. These are good attributes for founders” Village Global writes. The firm says it’s geography and vertical agnostic, and will do follow-on rounds, giving it plenty of flexibility to find who’s building the future.

Village Global’s opportunity lies in keeping its ear to the street and sniffing out high potential founders and startups before more established funds and angel investors do. At this moment, a small investment can equal a substantial equity stake.

“One of the unique ways we operate is that we entrust successful angel investors and inspirational founders with capital to invest on behalf of Village” the firm explains. “Village network leaders— representing different backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, geographies, and sectors — have proximity to founders, including those who might go underestimated.”

Rather than having all deal flow and decision making go through its small core team, Village Global will develop a wider scouting network of the kind of people founders already look to for advice and first checks. These “network leaders” include YouTube’s VR lead Erin Teague, Quora vice president Sarah Smith, Dropbox’s first employee Aston Motes, and board director for Target, Hilton and [TechCrunch parent company] Verizon Mel Healey.

It’s a model that acknowledges that startup returns are binary — they either become failures or huge successes with little in between that’s meaningful to investors. By being generous with how it distributes rights to the returns on its investments to scouts, Village Global could gain access to these breakout deals that can pay back an entire fund.

With so many post-exit founders and wealthy individuals flooding into the early-stage investment field, competition is fierce. But if Village Global can cast a wide net, and reel in future unicorns with the promise of being mentored by tech heroes, it could see a strong community of startups cluster around it.

How to find a lost phone whether it’s Android, iPhone, or any other smartphone

So you’ve lost your phone. We’ve all been there. It was just in your pocket a minute ago — and now it’s gone, lost to the phone fairies, forgotten between the seats of your couch, or misplaced somewhere during your busy day. Maybe it’s just in your other coat, or maybe it’s already in the hands of someone who found it on the sidewalk. Either way, all you want to do is get it back.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to get a hold of your missing phone. If it’s a smartphone (or even a tablet) running iOS, Android, or even Windows Phone, chances are good it already has the software needed to hunt it down — or there’s an app you can install to track your phone. Here’s our guide on how to find a lost phone or a similar device, including the old-fashioned way if you still own an aging flip phone.

Have you ever wondered what happens to a smartphone after it’s stolen? Read how this filmmaker spied on a thief to find out.

Smartphones

If your lost phone happens to be a smartphone, all three of the major smartphone platform providers (Apple, Google, and Microsoft) now include phone retrieval technology in their smartphones, just in case you ever end up losing it but forget to install one of our favorite smartphone tracking apps. Usually, the way these apps work is through the account associated with your device. For Android devices this is your Google account, for iPhones, this is your iCloud account, and for Windows Phones this is your Microsoft account. All three allow you to remotely lock and wipe your phone, make it ring, and set up special messages to alert whoever finds it.

Of course, these features are only as good as your phone’s battery. If your smartphone dies, it’s about as easy to find as your wallet or anything else you might misplace.

We also recommend caution when communicating with anyone who has found your smartphone. Be careful to avoid giving away any personal information, such as your home address, until you know you’re dealing with someone you can trust. Stick with sending phone numbers or email addresses to communicate how the good Samaritan can return your phone. Here’s how each of the three operating systems work.

How to find a lost Android phone

Android not only offers Google’s proprietary service for finding and managing your device remotely but also a number of third-party apps designed for finding your smartphone. The easiest to use is Find My Device, which is built directly into your Android smartphone through Google Play Services — it can also be used in a browser or downloaded from the Google Play Store. Most devices running Android 2.3 or later should be able to use this feature. Using the feature is as easy as searching  “Where is my phone” in Google, which will prompt the service to start looking for your smartphone. We’ve previously written about Find My Device and its ability to call you, set up a new password, and make your phone ring from afar, along with the variety of other functions it uses for notification purposes. While you can configure Find My Device ahead of time, the service should be available in the event you lose or misplace your phone. It will use Wi-Fi or GPS to help you hunt down your device.

To verify your Android smartphone has the Find My Device feature turned on, go to “Settings > Google > Security and make sure “Remotely locate this device and “Allow remote lock and erase are turned on in the Android Device Manager section.

If you cannot find your smartphone, you can always wipe it to prevent sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. Your device will need an internet connection, however, and enough juice to communicate with you. In Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google also introduced Factory Reset Protection (FRP). It’s designed to prevent would-be thieves from being able to steal your phone, wipe it, and then use it or sell it. If you factory reset a phone with FRP enabled and try to set it up as a new device, you’ll be prompted to enter the username and password for the last Google account that was registered on the device, and if you can’t, the phone will remain locked.

There are also third-party apps that you can install to help you find your phone. Cerberus Anti-theft is a great app that can be installed remotely, allowing you to obtain more information regarding the whereabouts of your phone. It provides a number of additional features, such as more granular control on how you track your device, screenshots of what your device is doing, photos from the camera to possibly catch the would-be thief, and other, more detailed notifications that Find My Device doesn’t offer. If your device is rooted, there are even more features available to prevent someone from resetting or turning off your device until you can recover it.

Another option for select Samsung smartphones is the Find My Mobile service. It can be used to locate a missing phone, lock it down, or wipe it completely. You’ll need a Samsung account, though, and the Remote Controls options enabled on your phone. To check and see if Find My Mobile is available for your smartphone, go to Settings > Security. If you see Find My Mobile in the menu, you can use the service; enable the Remote Controls options via “Settings > Security > Find My Mobile > Remote controls.”

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Intel introduces an experimental ‘self-learning’ chip to make robots smarter

Intel just introduced a new type of chip that could have big implications for artificial intelligence. 

The company is experimenting with a new “self-learning” chip that’s designed to learn like the human brain. 

Called the “Intel Loihi test chip,” the processor is what Intel calls a “neuromorphic chip,” meaning it’s designed to learn from its environment. The chip could be used for an array of AI-intensive applications, but the company says it will be particularly impactful in industrial automation and personal robotics.

“The Intel Loihi research test chip includes digital circuits that mimic the brain’s basic mechanics, making machine learning faster and more efficient while requiring lower compute power,” Michael Mayberry, managing director of Intel Labs, wrote in a statement.

This could help computers self-organize and make decisions …

“This could help computers self-organize and make decisions based on patterns and associations.”

Intel isn’t the first to develop a chip specifically for AI applications. Google has its cloud-based Tensor Processing Units (TPUs), which also aim to speed up machine learning processes. But Intel’s approach is different in that the Loihi test chip is designed to work and learn locally on whatever machine it’s inside of.

Having self-learning capabilities localized on a chip also has unique advantages over cloud-based systems, according to Intel. It could end up being much faster, for one, since a system can learn without data needing to move back and forth between the chip and the cloud.

Intel says it also doesn’t need the same type of training as most AI systems currently do, making it more efficient. 

The chip is still a prototype for now, but the company plans to begin working with universities and other researchers next year to develop it further.

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Twitter pledges to update public policies after Trump threatens North Korea

Twitter didn’t act to remove President Donald Trump’s tweet threatening North Korea in part because it is newsworthy, the company said today. Twitter says it will update its public guidance on what factors may lead to a tweet being pulled from the platform — or allowed to stay on it — to include a consideration of newsworthiness, as part of an effort to make the rules clearer to users.

“This has long been internal policy, and we’ll soon update our public-facing rules to reflect it,” the company’s public policy account wrote this afternoon. “We need to do better on this, and will.”

There’s been controversy since the 2016 primaries over whether Twitter should ban Trump’s account or hide some of his tweets, which often insult other individuals. Twitter hasn’t done anything, but the issue roiled up again today after North Korea said it saw the US President’s tweet as a “clear declaration of war.” For a platform that has long claimed its rules apply to all users, no matter who they are, a perceived declaration of war seemed like it might just cross the line.

Twitter’s answer, however, basically implies that Trump’s account will never be censored. Anything the President tweets is newsworthy, which means that none of his tweets can be pulled from the platform.

This kind of problem — minus the war threats — isn’t entirely unique to Twitter. Facebook has run into this issue from the other side: it was criticized last year for banning an iconic war photo because it otherwise violated the site’s terms of service. Facebook ultimately backtracked and decided to consider the “history and global importance” of the photo and suggested, to some extent, that consideration would extend to other posts.

Twitter’s newsworthiness standard makes plenty of sense, but it could present the platform with some issues. It’ll have to start deciding who else’s tweets qualify as newsworthy. It’ll also have to take this into consideration when a private individual’s tweet blows up — is that tweet suddenly newsworthy too? Twitter implies that it’s been factoring this in all along, but now that it’s planning to lay this out in a public-facing document, it’ll be easier for visitors to tell how consistently it’s being applied.