Get your house fully connected with a smart light switch

Out of all the home appliances you’d expect could be smart-ified as part of the connected home, the classic light switch might be last on the list. It’s basic, with no apparent need for bells and whistles in smart homes where lights are controlled by smartphone — but when you add some connectivity and a color display (who doesn’t love touch screens?) it can become a smart light switch system that controls the whole house.

Brilliant Control looks to replace plain old-fashioned light switches with mini smart hubs, complete with 5-inch LCD touch displays, Wi-Fi, motion and Amazon Alexa voice control built-in. Instead of just turning on and off the lights, the system can act as a manager for an entire connected home, bringing security, music, lighting and climate tech all under one domain. 

Unlike more complicated connected home hub systems, Brilliant’s makers claim it only takes about five to 10 minutes to switch out your current light switch for the new rig. Just like your old school setup, you can swipe your finger up and down to turn the power on and off, or you can pinpoint the exact amount of lighting you want through its dimming feature. By better managing your lighting, Brilliant’s maker’s claim it can save most users five to 18 percent on lighting costs.       

The setup also includes a camera and microphone, so it can provide video intercom functions between multiple units — but it has privacy covers to close the connection for some alone time, too. The screens can be personalized to fit the room’s decor, so you’re not just stuck with plain white light switch covers anymore. 

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With connectivity to Sonos, Nest, Phillips Hue, SmartThings, Ring and other notable smart home systems, Brilliant’s centralized system could simplify the management of a connected home without having to depend on a smartphone full of separate apps (the hub itself can by managed via iOS or Android connected apps, though). 

Brilliant Control is projected to hit stores at the tail end of this year, with the first 10,000 preorder units set to ship at the end of the summer. For a sneak peek, a fully connected hub will be on display starting Feb. 10 as part of the Target Open House in San Francisco. If it all works as advertised, the connected system is sure to put on quite a show and have homeowners ready to retire their old light switches. 

Nobody can agree on exactly how Samsung’s battery factory fire started

Samsung definitely doesn’t need this right now. 

Accounts of what started yesterday’s fire at a Samsung SDI factory have been conflicting, with Samsung and Tianjin’s fire department giving differing accounts of exactly how the fire was started. 

While fire personnel said batteries on the production line were behind the incident, Samsung says it was caused by already-discarded faulty batteries.

The factory, which produced for the Note7, is set to supply batteries for the Korean conglomerate’s upcoming flagship, the Galaxy S8.

In a Weibo post that has since been taken down, the Wuqing branch of the Tianjin fire department wrote that the fire started due to the lithium batteries in the production workshops and consisted of half-assembled products.

The Weibo post by the Wuqing branch of the Tianjin fire department, screenshot by China Central Television (CCTV)

The Weibo post by the Wuqing branch of the Tianjin fire department, screenshot by China Central Television (CCTV)

Image: CCTV/Weibo

The Weibo post said: “On 6 p.m., Feb 8. 2017, the Samsung SDI factory on Qingling Avenue, in the Wuqing Industrial Area caught on fire. We dispatched 19 fire trucks and 110 firefighters to deal with the fire, and as we understand it, the fire was started by lithium batteries and half-assembled products in the production workshops. The fire has been put out, and nobody was injured.”

The fire department’s account differs from that of Samsung SDI spokesman Shin Yong-doo, who according to Bloomberg, said the fire didn’t break out on the production line, but instead stemmed from part of the facility used for waste, including faulty batteries. Shin told Bloomberg that most of the factory was running as normal.

Drone footage from Sina Video showed the full extent of the fire:

The Tianjin fire department and Samsung have been contacted for comment.

Moment’s Snap-on iPhone Lenses Get Their Own Battery Case

Until phones last a week per charge, everyone’s in the market for a battery case. Most of them have a problem: Once you slap a battery pack on your smartphone, there’s no room for fancy lens attachments. Most bulky, pro-minded lens cases don’t have built-in batteries, so you’re stuck with a decision between more juice or more photographic firepower.

Well, you were stuck with that decision, because Moment’s new case pulls double duty. It’s a high-capacity battery case, and it’s built to accept the company’s excellent lens attachments. The thing’s even got a physical shutter button on it—one that uses the Lightning connector, making it much faster than the older Moment case’s Bluetooth button. You also get DSLR-type actions with the button when you take photos within Moment’s app: A half press resets focus and exposure, a full press snaps a photo, and a press-and-hold action fires a burst.

Moment’s Battery Photo Case is roughly the same size as Mophie’s very popular Juice Pack, but it actually outdoes Mophie in terms of capacity. The iPhone 7 version of the case more than doubles the phone’s battery life, thanks to a 2,500mAh cell stuffed inside of it. The iPhone 7 Plus case goes even further, with a 3,500mAh battery to sip from. There’s no physical charge switch on the case as there is on Mophie’s stuff; you choose when you want to recharge via the Moment app.

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This is also Moment’s first case that’s made to work with both lenses on the iPhone 7 Plus, albeit not at the same time. There’s two mounting slots on the case that match up with that phone’s dual-lens setup, so you can use the company’s macro, fisheye, wide-angle, and telephoto lenses with either one.

We usually don’t get down with Kickstarters (they’re unpredictable in terms of quality, and they often don’t even ship), but Moment has a solid track record. The Battery Photo Case will set you back $100 if it reaches its $500,000 goal on Kickstarter. They’ll hit that number number quickly; Moment has a strong following among mobile photography enthusiasts.

Also on offer is a new Photo case—a basic protective case with a mount for Moment lenses—and a redesigned wide-angle lens that works better with the iPhone 7, but also fits Moment mounts for Pixel, Galaxy phones, and older iPhones.

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Facebook snaps up ex-MTV executive in latest hint it’s chasing original TV

Time to be worried TV execs: Facebook seems to be getting serious about original programming.

On Facebook (where else?), Mina Lefevre announced Wednesday she would be joining the company as its new head of development. Formerly executive vice president and head of scripted at MTV, Lefevre said she was excited to embark on the “new adventure.”

“I have always been drawn to the idea of building something and the idea of being part of the team that helps build Facebook’s original content ecosystem…well, that just seems like a dream!” she wrote.

Her hire is the latest sign Facebook’s getting serious about original programming. In late January it announced long videos that managed to hold viewer attention would get a “slight” priority in the newsfeed, and it’s also reportedly looking at creating a video app for set-top boxes that would also host premium content. 

Of course, this also comes after it paid brands like BuzzFeed (and Mashable) to create live video for the platform.

Lefevre will join CollegeHumor cofounder Ricky Van Veen at Facebook, who started as head of global creative strategy with the company in mid-2016. 

“We’re exploring funding some seed video content, including original and licensed scripted, unscripted, and sports content, that takes advantage of mobile and the social interaction unique to Facebook,” Van Veen told Business Insider in December.

Facebook will have rivals in this space, though none that are able to match the company’s dollars or user base. Snapchat’s parent company Snap, shortly set to go public, also has TV ambitions. 

Snap recently wooed Michael Lynton away from Sony’s entertainment division, and has invested in original programming on the app, including the political show Good Luck America

Facebook has been approached for comment.

Hulu VR app lets you watch shows in a virtual living room with your virtual friends

While some traditional media players rush out virtual reality apps in slapdash fashion, hoping to ride the trend with me-too, lackluster efforts, Hulu’s attempts are actually promising. 

On Wednesday, the company released an update to its mobile VR app for the Gear VR and its desktop app for the Oculus Rift, both of which make watching Hulu content in VR even more immersive.

Now you can use your Oculus Avatars on both the Gear VR and the Rift to join friends in Oculus Rooms to watch Hulu content. Although Oculus Avatars on the Oculus Rift are well rendered and highly customizable, at this point, there’s not a lot you can do with them. 

Image: HULU VR

Opening up the Hulu app to Oculus Avatars on both the Rift and the Gear VR (which offers a less customizable, but nonetheless effective 3D avatar) begins the process of getting users accustomed to meeting in VR for social activities like watching movies and television shows that are primarily available through subscription TV streaming services. 

The other update to the Hulu VR app is the addition of Oculus Touch functionality for the Rift. Now you can use your virtual hands to pick up objects in the Hulu living room as well as use your virtual hands to rifle through the video and film library. 

Image: hulu vr

Although the new virtual hands offered in the app are welcome, they’re not remarkably more useful in terms of operating the app itself. 

Nevertheless, this interactive touch is an important signal that Hulu is serious about delivering a quality VR experience, a must for content companies truly attempting to leverage the possibilities of this still emerging platform. Your move, Netflix

Facebook can now replace your weather app


Facebook is rolling out a useful new feature that puts a full weather forecast inside its mobile app and desktop site. The feature is accessible from News Feed or the mobile app’s “More” menu — the section that links you to areas like Friends, Events, Groups, Pages and other key Facebook features like On This Day or Saved items. Within the Weather section, you can view a full forecast for your week ahead, powered by data from Weather.com.

Facebook confirmed that the new feature, an updated version of its earlier “weather greetings,” has launched to around 95 percent of its global population as of this week.

This is not the first time Facebook has toyed with introducing weather information into its service. The company years ago added forecasts to events and public places, and more recently was spotted testing weather updates in its News Feed in the U.K.

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A year ago, Facebook also rolled out “weather greetings” in News Feed, which were short, informational weather updates that appeared at the top of your feed in the morning. The new feature is an extension on that. You’ll now see similar messages at the top of the News Feed with a link to the full, five-day forecast. These News Feed “greetings” will appear on both desktop and mobile, Facebook tells us.

Even if you miss the greeting, you can visit the Weather section in the app, where it exists as a new menu item.

In addition, Facebook will now offer an option to set notifications for receiving weather reports. The company says that Notifications and the more detailed greetings are rolling out for tests now, with all these updates being widely available by the end of the month.

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The Weather section will default to your current location, but you can click the Settings wheel in the top right to add other locations you want to track, just like any other weather app. You also can choose to display the temperatures in either Fahrenheit or Celsius.

However, you can’t swipe through your multiple locations once they’re set up, as you could in a typical app like Yahoo Weather or Apple’s Weather app — instead, if you want to change to a different location you have to return to the Settings and tap the one you want to view.

The weather information provided is fairly basic — it’s just the highs and lows, along with the general forecast, like sunny, partly cloudy, etc. At the top of the Weather page, you also can see the daily forecast by the hour, as is common in most weather apps today.

The information for the forecast comes from Weather.com’s API. The site also is linked at the bottom of the screen where it says “See more weather info,” followed by an icon indicating a new window will open if clicked.

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The cute, cartoon-style heading at the top of the page also will update based on the forecast. For example, a rainy day in San Francisco right now shows a picture of deer hiding out under a tree. Meanwhile, New York’s currently partly cloudy day shows puffy clouds over green grass, with a bird hiding in the bushes. (See above graphics).

This makes the feature feel more personalized, and Facebook-like, as the company has been using similar drawings in its News Feed informational messages for some time.

The addition is now one of several new bookmarks Facebook has rolled out to its mobile app in recent days, following useful utilities like its “Wi-Fi finder,” a new networking (or even dating) section called “Discover People” and now Weather.

Seemingly, the goal with the new feature is to keep Facebook users in the app by offering them the information they would otherwise need to look for elsewhere, while also offering similar experiences to those that are found in other third-party mobile applications today.

Facebook, however, says it’s more about delighting users instead.

“We are doing this because our goal is to develop products that connect people to the things they care about most and create moments of joy in people’s day, like simply telling you that it’s going to rain later,” a spokesperson said.

Thanks to TechCrunch reader Jose Gutierrez for the tip!

Android Wear 2.0 Has Landed—Here Are All the New Features

More than two years after stepping into the world of connected wristwear, Google finally started rolling out Android Wear 2.0. You’ll see it on watches new and old, round and square, big and bigger, ugly and uglier. Wear 2.0 offers many things, but this update mostly sharpens Google’s vision for smartwatches. It makes your watch a better tool for fitness and texting, makes the interface far easier to navigate, and puts Google Assistant on your wrist. Most importantly, it makes everything you do with it faster. Much faster.

It’s Complicated

Google evidently realized that the best place to put glanceable data is on the first screen you see when you glance at your watch. Who knew? Android Wear now includes complications: the little widgets on a face that let you see your calendar, open an app, or add a cup of water to your total for the day. That last one really exists, and I find it kind of great. App developers can make their data available to complications, and face designers can decide how to use it.

Credit: Android

Google evidently realized that the best place to put glanceable data is on the first screen you see when you glance at your watch. Who knew? Android Wear now includes complications: the little widgets on a face that let you see your calendar, open an app, or add a cup of water to your total for the day. That last one really exists, and I find it kind of great. App developers can make their data available to complications, and face designers can decide how to use it.

Assistant Is Listening

The future of Android Wear aligns closely with the future of Google Assistant. Going forward, you’ll see watches with a clickable, scrollable crown you long-press to activate Assistant and check the weather, send texts, set reminders, and more. Assistant responds with little typed cards on your wrist—odd, yes, but better than having your watch read texts aloud. I found Assistant a little slow on the watch and more error-prone than on my phone, but it does the job.

Credit: Android

The future of Android Wear aligns closely with the future of Google Assistant. Going forward, you’ll see watches with a clickable, scrollable crown you long-press to activate Assistant and check the weather, send texts, set reminders, and more. Assistant responds with little typed cards on your wrist—odd, yes, but better than having your watch read texts aloud. I found Assistant a little slow on the watch and more error-prone than on my phone, but it does the job.

Notifications Are Sane Again

People who like smartwatches tend to be the always-on, hyperconnected, Type-A people. People who like that their watch buzzes to get their attention even when their phone isn’t nearby. Wear 2.0 refines all those notifications, so that instead of a huge card that takes over the screen you see a small icon pop up at the bottom. Tap it and you go to your notification; ignore it and you go about your day.

Credit: Android

People who like smartwatches tend to be the always-on, hyperconnected, Type-A people. People who like that their watch buzzes to get their attention even when their phone isn’t nearby. Wear 2.0 refines all those notifications, so that instead of a huge card that takes over the screen you see a small icon pop up at the bottom. Tap it and you go to your notification; ignore it and you go about your day.

Fit Is Lit

For most people, smartwatches are glorified fitness trackers. Google Fit, which powers Android Wear’s health capabilities, is finally up to the task. Your watch can now detect that you’re working out, and even figure out when you switch from push-ups to squats. Third-party apps can read and write data from Fit, too, so if you switch to Runkeeper you won’t lose your decade of Nike+ data. For most things, you won’t even need a third-party app. You can just open Fit, pick “sit-up challenge,” and go to work.

Credit: Android

For most people, smartwatches are glorified fitness trackers. Google Fit, which powers Android Wear’s health capabilities, is finally up to the task. Your watch can now detect that you’re working out, and even figure out when you switch from push-ups to squats. Third-party apps can read and write data from Fit, too, so if you switch to Runkeeper you won’t lose your decade of Nike+ data. For most things, you won’t even need a third-party app. You can just open Fit, pick “sit-up challenge,” and go to work.

One Watch, Many Faces

Google imagines you might use one watchface for the workday, with your calendar and a more formal clock. Then when you go home, you swipe over and the silly face with a picture of your kid and music controls appears. Rather than use two watches, you wear one watch with two personalities. Once I set it up, I really liked it. I even created a third workout face, with all my stats one tap away. I don’t have kids, so I just used a picture of Kevin from Home Alone. I highly recommend it.

Credit: Android

Google imagines you might use one watchface for the workday, with your calendar and a more formal clock. Then when you go home, you swipe over and the silly face with a picture of your kid and music controls appears. Rather than use two watches, you wear one watch with two personalities. Once I set it up, I really liked it. I even created a third workout face, with all my stats one tap away. I don’t have kids, so I just used a picture of Kevin from Home Alone. I highly recommend it.

Ditch Your Phone

Since Android Wear now includes Google’s Play Store, you can download apps from your wrist, to your wrist. All the scroll-scroll-scrolling is tedious, but it works. You don’t need to install an app on your phone just to get it on your watch. Your watch can also connect directly to Wi-Fi—or even LTE, if you get the giant LG Watch Sport. Once you go through the first setup, you hardly need your phone anymore. Which means if you, dear iPhone user, want a smartwatch but don’t want an Apple Watch, you finally have other options. Android Wear mostly just treats your phone as a router, so it doesn’t care which phone you’re using.

Credit: Android

Since Android Wear now includes Google’s Play Store, you can download apps from your wrist, to your wrist. All the scroll-scroll-scrolling is tedious, but it works. You don’t need to install an app on your phone just to get it on your watch. Your watch can also connect directly to Wi-Fi—or even LTE, if you get the giant LG Watch Sport. Once you go through the first setup, you hardly need your phone anymore. Which means if you, dear iPhone user, want a smartwatch but don’t want an Apple Watch, you finally have other options. Android Wear mostly just treats your phone as a router, so it doesn’t care which phone you’re using.

Faster Ain’t Fast Enough

Virtually every single thing about Wear 2.0 is faster than before. Apps open more quickly, notifications are more efficient, even games feel semi-playable. But faster doesn’t mean fast. My two watches take eons to boot, and apps like to spin a bit before loading. Evidently Google can’t find room within the tiny bezels for truly powerful processing.

Credit: Android

Virtually every single thing about Wear 2.0 is faster than before. Apps open more quickly, notifications are more efficient, even games feel semi-playable. But faster doesn’t mean fast. My two watches take eons to boot, and apps like to spin a bit before loading. Evidently Google can’t find room within the tiny bezels for truly powerful processing.

So Many Keyboards

Google thinks smartwatches are great for texting. So it gave you 100,000 ways to do it. You can reply with your voice, which is good and reasonable. You can use emoji, or Google’s canned responses, which work fine. You can scribble letters one at a time on the screen. Or you can use the on-screen keyboard, because somehow Google decided it was a good idea to put a 26-letter keyboard on a teeny tiny screen. It’s more usable than I expected, but not really usable at all.

Credit: Android

Google thinks smartwatches are great for texting. So it gave you 100,000 ways to do it. You can reply with your voice, which is good and reasonable. You can use emoji, or Google’s canned responses, which work fine. You can scribble letters one at a time on the screen. Or you can use the on-screen keyboard, because somehow Google decided it was a good idea to put a 26-letter keyboard on a teeny tiny screen. It’s more usable than I expected, but not really usable at all.

Round Watches Are Better Watches

Google won’t explicitly say so, but it clearly made Wear 2.0 with the idea that most smartwatches are going to be round from now on. The slightly curving app drawer, the way notifications are presented, even the watchfaces themselves are clearly made with round screens in mind. Which is great! Round watches fit better next to that weird bone you have on your wrist, and tend to look better anyway.

Credit: Android

Google won’t explicitly say so, but it clearly made Wear 2.0 with the idea that most smartwatches are going to be round from now on. The slightly curving app drawer, the way notifications are presented, even the watchfaces themselves are clearly made with round screens in mind. Which is great! Round watches fit better next to that weird bone you have on your wrist, and tend to look better anyway.

Still No Killer App

After two-plus years of watching people use Android Wear, Google has a pretty good idea of what people do on their smartwatches. Yet even Google doesn’t seem to know what a smartwatch’s future is. Wear 2.0 doubles down on all those things, and makes them mostly better. What it doesn’t do is make any kind of new case for why the non-smartwatch-owning masses should suddenly jump on board. There’s nothing radically new here, no exciting take on the future. It’s just a really good fitness machine, and a way to text your friends from your wrist. That’s fine, but it’s not going to set the world on fire.

Credit: Android

After two-plus years of watching people use Android Wear, Google has a pretty good idea of what people do on their smartwatches. Yet even Google doesn’t seem to know what a smartwatch’s future is. Wear 2.0 doubles down on all those things, and makes them mostly better. What it doesn’t do is make any kind of new case for why the non-smartwatch-owning masses should suddenly jump on board. There’s nothing radically new here, no exciting take on the future. It’s just a really good fitness machine, and a way to text your friends from your wrist. That’s fine, but it’s not going to set the world on fire.

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Intel is giving Trump credit for a factory he had nothing to do with

This afternoon, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich stood beside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office and announced that his company would spend $7 billion to build a semiconductor factory in Arizona. The factory, called Fab 42, is expected to support more than 10,000 long-term jobs, with Intel employing 3,000 people directly.

It’s the kind of investment that Trump promised he would bring to America all along the campaign trail. And the president immortalized the moment with a tweet. The only problem is, Intel’s investment seemingly has little to nothing to do with Trump.

The Intel factory actually began in 2011; then-CEO Paul Otellini even gave President Obama a tour. Work on Fab 42 stopped in 2014, possibly because of slowing PC sales and Intel’s failure to make progress in mobile. (Intel said it didn’t need the additional manufacturing capacity.) Last year Krzanich announced a workforce reduction of 12,000 jobs citing a slowdown in PC demand.

Intel now wants to complete this factory because it needs to manufacture its next generation of processors, which require new equipment to make. The company needs these chips in order to stay competitive with ascendant technologies like those from ARM, which dominates mobile.

The fact that the $7 billion investment was announced today, when Trump is president, seems to be purely coincidental. Intel told CNBC that it’s receiving no federal incentives for the project, so it really seems like the Trump administration had no role in making this factory happen. That’s relevant for two reasons: for one, it’s yet another example of Trump getting credit for creating jobs when he in fact played no role; and two, it means that Intel is being pretty opportunistic.

By announcing this investment at the White House, Intel gets much more press than it otherwise would have — a “majority” of Intel’s manufacturing is already based in the US. It also manages to get on Trump’s good side. Intel may not be getting anything out of Trump right now, but it’s certainly hoping for regulatory changes in its favor.

“From a tax and regulatory position we have been disadvantaged relative to the rest of the world where we compete,” Krzanich wrote in an email to Intel employees this morning. “That’s why we support the administration’s policies to level the global playing field and make US manufacturing competitive worldwide through new regulatory standards and investment policies.”

So basically, Krzanich is hoping for tax cuts, looser regulations, and something like federal subsidies or a friendlier (cheaper) way to raise and spend cash.

Asked for comment, an Intel spokesperson reiterated that the company’s manufacturing has always been primarily based in the US. “However, we certainly support policies that enable and sustain American innovation, and we are pleased to have this investment in our US advanced manufacturing capabilities recognized by the administration,” said William Moss, a spokesperson for Intel.

Intel’s requests are all pretty typical for a major corporation. But the company is now very clearly in a situation where it’s trying to both get the best of Trump and Republican policies without putting off workers in the tech industry at large, who generally seem to be opposed to the president’s actions.

Intel Fab 42 factory in ArizonaIntel Fab 42 factory in Arizona Photo: Intel

Krzanich deals with this explicitly in his email to Intel employees, framing it as an issue of engagement. “When we disagree, we don’t walk away,” he writes. “We believe that we must be part of the conversation to voice our views on key issues such as immigration, H1B visas, and other policies that are essential to innovation.”

But Krzanich has sent mixed signals on Trump. Earlier this week, Intel signed onto a brief opposing Trump’s immigration plan — it hasn’t, however, been particularly outspoken in condemning it.

While Krzanich said he wouldn’t throw support behind either presidential candidate last year, he planned a fundraiser for Trump shortly after the nomination was locked in. When attention was drawn to the event, Krzanich canceled it, saying he intended it to be “a conversation,” not a fundraiser.

Intel isn’t the only company in this position. Trump has gotten a bunch of tech CEOs into a room together to talk policy, and he has a regular meeting set up with industry leaders like Elon Musk. In many cases, these leaders find themselves in opposition to Trump’s policies but are trying to use his interest to find common ground.

Tacitly giving Trump credit for a $7 billion investment on a new factory may be a good political move for Intel, but it also shows the limits of its opposition. Given the chance, it’ll take the photo op.

Update February 8th, 7:40PM ET: This story has been updated with comment from Intel.

SnapRoute Snags $25M With AT&T, Microsoft Backing

SnapRoute, a developer of open source networking software, on Tuesday announced that it has raised US$25 million in Series A financing from an investor group led by Norwest Venture Partners with new support from AT&T and Microsoft Ventures.

SnapRoute, which was founded by CEO Jason Forrester and other former engineers from Apple, plans to use the funding to speed up the development of open source networking software for Fortune 500 firms. The company uses its software on commodity “white-box” switches and routers to create more streamlined and scalable data centers.

Lightspeed Venture Partners is the lead seed investor. Norwest Partner Rama Sekhar will join the SnapRoute board of directors, which already includes Lightspeed Partner John Vrionis, Joe Sexton, the former president of AppDynamics, who joined the board in November, and SnapRoute CEO Forrester.

SnapRoute has managed to challenge legacy players that previously dominated the market, Forrester said, adding that SnapRoute’s software is more agile, flexible and affordable.

Scale Breakthrough

“SnapRoute is disrupting the multibillion dollar networking market by fundamentally changing how networks are built and scaled today,” said Rama Sekhar, partner at Norwest Venture Partners.

“By disaggregating software from hardware, SnapRoute is offering flexibility that has historically eluded the networking industry,” he told LinuxInsider.

The investment is Microsoft’s first in the networking software business, company rep Jay Peters told LinuxInsider.

SnapRoute is “filling a gap in how network engineers work” by providing an open networking stack that is highly scalable, said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president at Microsoft Ventures, which allows companies to lower costs and engineers to work more efficiently.

AT&T and Microsoft have major investments in data centers, and SnapRoute’s software offers the flexibility to use equipment for different vendors while supporting an open architecture, Tirias Resarch Principal Analyst Jim McGregor told LinuxInsider.

The investment comes about three months after SnapRoute and Dell EMC announced plans to deepen their commitment to the Linux Foundation’s OpenSwitch project. The Linux-based OS had been led by Hewlett Packard Enterprises, however that firm later decided to scale back its leadership position on the open source project, which was designed to take on market incumbents like Cisco.

The OpenSwitch Effort

HPE originally launched the OpenSwitch community in October 2015, with a series of partners including Broadcom, VMware, Accton, Intel and Arista.

“The real value in making the source visible is when dealing with testers or partners there can be a more collaborative partnership,” Peter Christy, a research director at 451 Research, told LinuxInsider.

Dell EMC contributed its Dell EMC OS10 Open Edition to the OpenSwitch community. Facebook in October announced that its Wedge 100 network switch specification had been accepted into the Open Compute Project, which was designed to develop open data centers in which the hardware and software were separated.

The company last fall announced its Voyager transponder platform, which uses Open Packet DWDM, to create an open approach for switching, routing and transport.

The platform, which works with SnapRoute on the software architecture and Celestica on the supply chain, is designed to offer a more scalable and cost-effective infrastructure for enterprise level bandwidth, especially for networks that must meed video and virtual reality needs.

Microsoft Ventures last month invested in Illusive Networks, which provides advance deception cybersecurity technology. The company late last year announced an investment in Dynamic Signal, a communications platform that allows companies to interact with employees across multiple type of devices and channels.


David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain’s New York Business and The New York Times.

Pogue’s Basics: How to end a call on your iPhone

<p type="text" content="This is going to sound insane. But since Apple released iOS 10, a lot of people have asked how to hang up at the end of a call. It’s true: The bright red Hang Up button no longer appears on the call screen!” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”9″>This is going to sound insane. But since Apple released iOS 10, a lot of people have asked how to hang up at the end of a call. It’s true: The bright red Hang Up button no longer appears on the call screen!

<p type="text" content="For a mysterious reason known only to Apple, once you press your Home button for any reason during a call—to wake the phone because it’s gone to sleep, for example, or to open a different app for reference—the red Hang Up button goes away, as shown in the video above.” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”10″>For a mysterious reason known only to Apple, once you press your Home button for any reason during a call—to wake the phone because it’s gone to sleep, for example, or to open a different app for reference—the red Hang Up button goes away, as shown in the video above.

<p type="text" content="So here’s the solution: To hang up, press the Sleep button (the off switch on the side or top of the iPhone). That hangs up on the call.” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”11″>So here’s the solution: To hang up, press the Sleep button (the off switch on the side or top of the iPhone). That hangs up on the call.

<p type="text" content="Alternatively, you can tap the person’s name and number at the top to make the red Hang Up button appear—and then tap it.” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”12″>Alternatively, you can tap the person’s name and number at the top to make the red Hang Up button appear—and then tap it.

<p type="text" content="Now you’re no longer baffled—as much.” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”13″>Now you’re no longer baffled—as much.

<p type="text" content="Adapted from “Pogue’s Basics: Tech.” David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes non-toxic comments in the Comments below. On the Web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/david-pogue/), or you can sign up to get his columns by email (http://j.mp/P4Qgnh). ” class=”canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm” data-type=”text” data-reactid=”14″>Adapted from “Pogue’s Basics: Tech.” David Pogue, tech columnist for Yahoo Finance, welcomes non-toxic comments in the Comments below. On the Web, he’s davidpogue.com. On Twitter, he’s @pogue. On email, he’s poguester@yahoo.com. You can read all his articles here (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/david-pogue/), or you can sign up to get his columns by email (http://j.mp/P4Qgnh). 

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