Techmeme
April 2, 2014, 1:30 PM

Top News

Emil Protalinski / The Next Web:
Microsoft unveils Windows Phone 8.1 with personal assistant Cortana, Action Center, customizable lockscreens  —  At its Build 2014 conference today, Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1.  Among the new features is a personal digital assistant named Cortana, a new Action Center …
The Verge:
Live from Microsoft's Build 2014 keynote  —  In San Francisco, at 8:30AM PT on Wednesday, April 2nd, Microsoft will kick off its Build developer conference for 2014.  Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella is expected to take the stage and unveil Windows Phone 8.1, a big update to Microsoft's mobile OS.
Dana Wollman / Engadget:
Windows 8.1 update aims to win over mouse-and-keyboard users, arrives April 8th as an automatic download  —  The whole point of Windows 8 was to make Microsoft's aging OS easier to use on touchscreen devices.  Mission accomplished, we'd say (more or less).  But now the folks in Redmond …
Alex Wilhelm / TechCrunch:
Microsoft Demos Its Touch-Focused Office Suite For Windows  —  This morning at its Build developer conference in San Francisco, Microsoft showed off the coming touch-friendly build of its Office suite coming for the Windows platform.  The software, Microsoft assured us, is not done.
More: The Verge and Engadget
Amazon.com:
Amazon Fire TV ships today with Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, YouTube, WatchESPN, and more  —  Introducing Amazon Fire TV: The Easiest Way to Watch Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, and More on Your Big-Screen TV  —  Powerful performance with 3x the processing power …
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget:
Amazon launches Fire TV, an Android-powered streaming and gaming set-top box for $99  —  We've been waiting for it for quite sometime, but now Amazon is finally ready to make its play for the living room.  Fire TV is not a barebones device like the Chromecast, it's a powerful Android-driven platform …
Dieter Bohn / The Verge:
Amazon Fire TV hands-on: Prime comes to your living room  —  Amazon has just unveiled Fire TV, its first attempt at a set-top box for streaming movies, television shows, photos, games, and more straight to your TV.  The Fire TV is all black and consists of a small, square box that connects …
Yuichiro Kanematsu / Nikkei:
Report: Apple in talks to buy 55% stake in Renesas SP display chip design unit for $479M  —  Apple looking to buy Japanese chipmaker  —  SILICON VALLEY — Apple is in talks with Japan's Renesas Electronics to take over a unit that designs chips for smartphone displays …
Ryan Lawler / TechCrunch:
Lyft Raises $250 Million From Coatue, Alibaba, And Third Point To Expand Internationally  —  Lyft has officially closed a huge, $250 million round of funding that it will use to aggressively expand its on-demand ride-sharing service in the U.S. and internationally.
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget:
Spotify's new design is cleaner, darker and puts the focus on content  —  If you're using Spotify on the web, desktop or iOS you should notice a pretty massive change starting today.  (The new look should be coming to Android “near future.")  The company is launching its most dramatic overhaul since its launch in 2008.
Jon Brodkin / Ars Technica:
Box wants to let businesses control cloud encryption keys “this year”  —  Box CEO Aaron Levie told Ars last September that the cloud storage company is trying to build a service that would let customers store data in Box data centers but would keep encryption keys in-house.
More: ZDNet
Ben Woods / The Next Web:
Nest's smart Thermostat is now available to buy in the UK, priced from £179  —  Nest, the company looking to reinvent dull-but-worthy household items such as the smoke detector, has announced that its Nest Thermostat is now finally available to buy in the UK.
Greg Bensinger / Wall Street Journal:
Amazon Will Now Allow Returns Using Lockers  —  Amazon.com has quietly rolled out a new service to let customers return unwanted merchandise using large metal lockers it has installed for deliveries in garages, convenience and grocery stores in major metropolitan areas.
Will Connors / Wall Street Journal:
BlackBerry Ends Licensing Agreement With T-Mobile  —  Blackberry Says Strategies Are Not Complementary  —  TORONTO— BlackBerry Ltd. said late Tuesday that it is ending its licensing agreement with T-Mobile Inc. when it expires later this month, a surprise move that comes two months …
Stacey Higginbotham / Gigaom:
Google launches Andromeda, a software defined network underlying its cloud  —  For everyone saying that software-defined networking is a pipe dream, Google is about to prove you wrong.  The search engine giant and cloud provider said it has made its Andromeda software-defined network platform available …
Vlad Savov / The Verge:
Reversible USB 3.1 Type-C connector shown in renderings, will be finalized in July  —  This is the reversible USB cable that will end your frustrations  —  The most abundant connector standard in technology, the Universal Serial Bus, is getting ready for its most revolutionary change yet …
Cotton Delo / AdAge:
Social-Marketing Startups Spredfast and Mass Relevance Merge  —  More Consolidation in Ecoystem of Companies Helping Marketers Use Facebook and Twitter  —  How Advertising Performs in a Social Media World  —  More consolidation is happening in the ecosystem of companies …
Tweets: @pkafka

Sponsor Posts

Microsoft:
Royal Caribbean International hits the high seas with Microsoft tech  —  Cruise line equips 40,000 crew members with Windows 8.1 tablets, in part to use Skype, OneDrive and more to keep in closer touch with family members and friends while away from home.
Intel:
Disrupting the Data Center to Create the Digital Services Economy  —  I had the pleasure of joining Tom Krazit on stage at the Gigaom Structure'14 conference to share Intel's vision of the data center in support of the growth of the digital services economy.
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Stephen Shankland / CNET: