Techmeme
April 13, 2021, 12:07 PM

Top News

Tom Warren / The Verge:
Microsoft unveils Surface Laptop 4 with 13.5" and 15" displays, starting at $999 for AMD model and $1,299 for Intel, shipping April 15 in US, Canada, and Japan  —  The AMD version starts at $300 less than Intel's equivalent  —  Microsoft is refreshing its Surface lineup with the Surface Laptop 4 today …
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Spotify announces Car Thing, a Spotify-only, voice-controlled device for the car, launching today for free for select US users  —  It's free, but users have to pay for shipping  —  Spotify's first gadget has landed.  Car Thing, a Spotify-only, voice-controlled device for the car …
Jeff Dunn / Ars Technica:
Roku announces a trio of new devices: $40 Express 4K Plus streaming device, a $30 rechargeable Voice Remote Pro, and $180 Streambar Pro  —  Plus new Roku OS updates and a revised two-in-one streaming soundbar.  —  Roku on Tuesday announced its latest 4K media streamer, the Roku Express 4K+.
Todd Spangler / Variety:
Epic Games raises $1B at a $28.7B equity valuation, including an additional $200M from Sony  —  Epic Games, the company behind global smash hit “Fortnite,” announced that it completed a $1 billion round of funding — giving it a whopping equity valuation of $28.7 billion.
Oversight Board:
Facebook Oversight Board will now accept appeals to remove content from Facebook and Instagram; previously, users were only able to appeal to restore content  —  From today, users will be able to appeal content to the Oversight Board which they want removed from Facebook and Instagram.
Ashley Carman / The Verge:
Facebook is testing a free video speed dating app called Sparked, which requires a Facebook profile to create an account  —  Users will be set up on four-minute video dates  —  Facebook is testing a video speed dating app called Sparked.  The app, which requires a Facebook profile to create an account …
Yoolim Lee / Bloomberg:
Grab is going public on NASDAQ via SPAC, raising $4B+ at a ~$39.6B valuation; deal would make it the first Southeast Asian tech unicorn to go public via SPAC  —  - SoftBank-backed Grab strikes pact with Gerstner's Altimeter  — Southeast Asia ride-hailing giant set to trade on Nasdaq
Ian Hamilton / UploadVR:
Facebook to host Oculus Gaming Showcase, a virtual event focused exclusively on VR games, on April 21, with streams on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch  —  Facebook will host an Oculus Gaming Showcase streaming to various sites on April 21.  —  The event will stream to Twitch, Facebook …
Ben Schoon / 9to5Google:
Google to shut down Play Movies and TV app for Roku, Samsung, LG, and Vizio on June 15, will push users to use YouTube instead  —  After announcing Google TV last year, its predecessor had an unspoken expiration date.  This week, Google has confirmed that it will kill off the Play Movies & TV app …
Dan Seifert / The Verge:
OnePlus Watch review: long battery life, nice finish, and low price, but no voice assistant, no always-on display, few notification options, only one big size  —  The OnePlus Watch pairs with and is controlled by the OnePlus Health app for Android — there's no iPhone compatibility at all.
JP Mangalindan / TechCrunch:
Tempo, which sells smart fitness workout devices starting at $2,495, raises $220M Series C led by SoftBank, says users have worked out 5M times on Tempo devices  —  When the pandemic forced everyone to stay at home last year, many gym-goers looked to at-home fitness makers to fill the void …
More: Crunchbase NewsThanks:@jpmanga
Zak Doffman / Forbes:
Researchers have discovered a flaw where any user can deactivate another user's WhatsApp via multiple 2FA requests and emailing support to deactivate account  —  A nasty new surprise for WhatsApp's 2 billion users today, with the discovery of an alarming security risk.
Brave Browser:
Brave is disabling Google's FLoC tracking method from all of its releases, saying it materially harms user privacy under the guise of being privacy-friendly  —  Peter Snyder, Senior Privacy Researcher at Brave  —  FLoC is a recent Google proposal that would have your browser share …
Juli Clover / MacRumors:
Apple announces an online event on April 20 at 10am PT, entitled “Spring Loaded”, where new iPads Pros and more are expected  —  Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific …
Sahil Patel / Wall Street Journal:
Contextual adtech company GumGum raises $75M, sources say at a ~$700M valuation, almost tripling from last funding round, as Google and Apple limit targeted ads  —  The adtech company focuses on contextual advertising, as opposed to ads that target people based on identifiable information
Mary Ann Azevedo / TechCrunch:
HomeX, which pairs service workers with homeowners and uses AI to diagnose home-related issues, raises $90M, says number of contractors on HomeX rose 5x in 2020  —  HomeX, a home services platform for homeowners and service providers, has raised $90 million in a funding round led by New Mountain Capital.
Reuters:
Clearcover, which uses AI to find affordable auto insurance, raises $200M Series D, source says at a $1B+ valuation, aims to expand to ~25 states by end of year  —  (Reuters) - Clearcover has raised $200 million in fresh capital as part of a late-stage financing round led by Eldridge …
Ben Thompson / Stratechery:
Through her version of Fearless, Taylor Swift is showing artists how to use the power of the internet to ascribe value to work they own and devalue the rest  —  In July 2014 Taylor Swift wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal entitled, For Taylor Swift, the Future of Music Is a Love Story:
Axios:
Senator Josh Hawley unveils a proposal aimed at Big Tech that would bolster antitrust laws and ban acquisitions by companies with a market cap of over $100B  —  Corporate giants would be barred from acquisitions and century-old antitrust laws would get sharper teeth under a new proposal by Sen. Josh Hawley …
Tyler Wilde / PC Gamer:

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