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The Morning After: OnePlus gets back to sub-$500 phones with the Nord

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OnePlus One
OnePlus

Welcome to the affordable smartphone boom. A combination of factors — whether it’s the slowing pace of innovation in phones and how we’re holding on to older models longer or the economic uncertainties of now and the near-future — has meant companies are chasing hypothetical new phone budgets with keenly priced devices.

OnePlus One

OnePlus

That’s not an entirely new phenomenon, but since Google’s Pixel 3a (and the new iPhone SE), compromises are shrinking. This week alone, OnePlus announced its return to the sub-$500 smartphone world, with the Nord: A phone it still hasn’t officially shown off or detailed. Oppo, beating it to the punch a few hours earlier, revealed its A72 phone that offers a 48-megapixel camera and a substantial 5,000mAh battery for a sub-$300 price tag. Somehow

The trickier decision (one we’ve tried to help with in the past) is figuring out when is the best time to downsize from your flagship phone to something that does the job at possibly half the price.

— Mat

Review: ASUS’ ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is the first good dual-screen laptop

It’s blazing fast and the tilting screen is actually useful.

ASUS

ASUS

The ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 15 is the first laptop to really make good use of a second display. That gives it not only a strong wow factor but makes it easier to justify the extra expense. ASUS backs it up with top-flight components that help it fly for gaming and content-creation tasks. The downsides are mediocre battery life, a lack of key ports and a high price tag. If you can afford it, though, you’ll be the envy of all your friends, whether in a creative or gaming environment.
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NASA delays Mars rover launch until at least July 30th

Launch vehicle delays prompted the setback.

Perseverance rover

JPL / NASA

NASA and United Launch Alliance have delayed blast-off for the Mars 2020 mission from July 22nd to “no earlier than” July 30th. Processing problems with the launch vehicle are to blame, NASA said.

NASA had originally given itself until August 5th, but analysts have extended the window until August 15th and will determine if another extension is possible. The Perseverance rover is expected to land in Mars’ Jezero crater on February 18th, 2021. It’s some appropriate rover naming, though, by the space agency.
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Discord is rebranding to shift away from gaming

The company says it wants to be more inclusive to all of its users.

It doesn’t have a new name (presumably saving itself thousands of dollars), but Discord is effectively rebranding itself. The aim is to shift from a chat platform dedicated to gamers towards a place with broader topics and appeal. Practically speaking, what the rebranding means for current and new Discord users is a more “streamlined” onboarding experience and updated templates that make it easier to set up a server and start new discussions. There will also be fewer jokes within the app referencing games “to make sure everyone can take part in the fun.”
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Shareable electric scooters will trial in the UK starting July 4th

For now, it’s unclear which companies will be involved.

The UK’s Department for Transport announced it will allow select trials for shareable electric scooters beginning on July 4th. For now, it’s unclear which regions will decide to offer an e-scooter service. The government confirmed, however, that the first pilots will likely start next week and run for 12 months.
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OnePlus’s next phone will be the sub-$500 Nord

We’re waiting to learn pretty much everything else.

OnePlus One

OnePlus

OnePlus made its name launching affordable flagship devices that made more established rivals look greedy by comparison. In recent years, however, its prices have crept closer towards the high end in the same territory as its ostensible rivals. That’s why the company is making such a big song and dance about the OnePlus Nord, a “product line” of lower-priced devices that recaptures the original OnePlus spirit.

After a lot of hype and a large number of leaks, OnePlus confirmed it would sell devices under a new OnePlus Nord banner. Beyond that, however, the only firm detail we have is a comment from OnePlus CEO Pete Lau saying “Nord will be our first product below $500 in recent years.” It looks as if there will be a gentle split in OnePlus’ strategy between its high-end flagships and these more modest Nord devices.
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But wait, there’s more…

The best weather apps for Android

Vizio’s new 4K TV prices start at $230

Nintendo makes vague apology for Joy-Con drift issues

‘Fortnite’ finally sheds its Early Access label

Disney’s face-swap technology is as impressive as it is unsettling 

Apple is reportedly canceling Arcade games that won’t keep players hooked

In this article: themorningafter, newsletter, gear
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Source: https://www.engadget.com/oneplus-nord-asus-duo-discord-morning-after-111539165.html

CNBC

Shanghai soars more than 5%, leading gains in Asia as ‘bull sentiment’ drives markets

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Stocks in Asia Pacific were higher during Monday’s trading session. Shares in mainland China led regional gains.

The Shanghai composite soared 5.34% while the Shenzhen component rose 3.717%. The Shenzhen composite also jumped 3.6%.

Jackson Wong, asset management director at Amber Hill Capital, told CNBC in an email that “bull sentiment” in mainland Chinese shares was “driving the markets.”

Wong said the “sudden surge” in trading volume, as well as a break out for the Shanghai composite last week, raised investor expectations that “another bull run is coming.” Some of the reasons he suggested for the uptick in sentiment included the country being less affected by the coronavirus outbreak at the moment.

BOCOM International’s Hao Hong told CNBC that the Shanghai composite has “broken through” its 850-day long-term moving average.

“The market continues to believe that the central bank will ease more, as seen by China’s recent credit and monetary expansion,” said Hong, who is managing director and head of research at the firm. However, he added: “In China, the bull comes as swiftly as it leaves.”

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also saw robust gains and rose 3.34%.

Elsewhere in the region, the Nikkei 225 in Japan rose 1.83% while the Topix index added 1.6%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 1.64%.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia bucked the regional trend and edged lower, with the S&P/ASX 200 dipping 0.42%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index jumped 1.6%.

The moves upward regionally came despite the World Health Organization saying Saturday that more than 200,000 coronavirus cases were confirmed over a 24-hour period — a record.

Over in the U.S., the states of Florida and Texas reported daily record spikes in coronavirus cases on Saturday. The recent surge in cases has raised concerns over the possibility of lockdowns being reintroduced to curb the virus’ spread, that could put a dent on the prospects for economic recovery.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.896 after touching an earlier high of 97.195.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.68 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 108 against the greenback last week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6968 following a rise from levels around $0.684 in the previous trading week.

Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.93% to $43.20 per barrel. U.S. crude futures, on the other hand, shed 0.15% to $40.59 per barrel.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/06/asia-markets-coronavirus-us-china-tensions-currencies-in-focus.html

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Business Insider

Here’s an exclusive look at the pitch deck robot startup BotsAndUs used to raise $2.5 million

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  • UK-based robot startup BotsAndUs has raised £2 million ($2.5 million) from VC investors Kindred Capital and Capnamic Ventures. 
  • The company secured its first institutional funding round during coronavirus amid an increase in demand and enquiries for its services. 
  • “COVID-19 has pushed autonomous tech into spotlight and it’s ready to be deployed in these dynamic areas and we can benefit from it,” BotsAndUs CEO and cofounder Andrei Danescu told Business Insider in an interview. “People have snapped out of their uncertainty with covid and realised the potential of robots which has accelerated everything.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories. 

Robotic automation startup BotsAndUs is hoping that the reopening of public places in Europe will lead to a boom in its product’s use. 

People are understandably concerned about the prospect of catching COVID-19 in busy, enclosed spaces like airports and retail centres from other members of the public. One potential solution: robots. 

The startup has just raised £2 million ($2.5 million) from VC investors Kindred Capital and Capnamic Ventures to continue scaling its operation amid a boom in demand during coronavirus. The company’s robots can offer 24/7 customer service and can help businesses to do on-site data collection and analytics.

“COVID-19 has pushed autonomous tech into spotlight and it’s ready to be deployed in these dynamic areas and we can benefit from it,” BotsAndUs CEO and cofounder Andrei Danescu told Business Insider in an interview. “People have snapped out of their uncertainty with COVID-19, and realized the potential of robots which has accelerated everything.”

The company’s funding round is its first institutional investor round having previously received funding from  the European Union’s Horizon 2020, Innovate UK and accelerators such as Robot Union and GENIUS NY. This funding takes the startup’s total funds raised to $6 million. 

Among BotsAndUs’ clients are MediaMarktSaturn, Heathrow Airport, British Airways and travel services firm Dnata.

“It’s been challenging because we are a full-stack solution,” Danescu added. “We design the hardware, do the software, and engage with customers, many of our suppliers and supply chains have been disrupted by COVID-19.”

Additionally, getting funding entirely over video was no small task either. “It’s a lot harder to get a feel for investors over video,” Danescu said.

The funding will go towards industrializing the company’s processes while adding to the four staff members who have been hired and onboarded remotely during the past few months. 

Check out BotsAndUs’ pitch deck below:

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/botsandus-robot-automation-startup-raises-2-5-million-2020-7

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Uber reportedly agrees to acquire Postmates for $2.65 billion

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Uber has reportedly agreed to buy Postmates in an all-stock deal worth $2.65 billion. According to Bloomberg, the deal may be announced on Monday morning.

Like other travel- and transportation-related businesses, Uber’s ride-hailing segment has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to shelter-in-place orders throughout the United States. On-demand delivery, however, has grown, with people relying on services like Uber Eats to get food without leaving their homes. According to its last earnings report, Uber’s ride-hailing gross bookings dropped, but its food delivery service saw gross sales growth of 54% during its first fiscal quarter.

According to previous reports, Uber made an offer to buy Grubhub, another on-demand delivery service, earlier this year, but after that deal fell through, it approached Postmates. Bloomberg reports that Uber and Postmates have actually talked on and off for about four years, but negotiations became more intense about a week ago.

Grubhub ended up being acquired by Just Eat Takeway in a deal worth $7.3 billion after its negotiations with Uber stalled.

With a valuation of $2.4 billion, Postmates is a smaller company than Grubhub. The company filed to go public in February 2019, but decided to hold off because of “choppy market” conditions.

If the deal goes through, the main competitors in the American food delivery market would be Uber Eats/Postmates versus Grubhub/Takeaway versus DoorDash.

In other countries, companies like Grab have also begun building out their on-demand delivery services to make up for losses from fewer ride-hailing bookings. For example, Grab responded to stay-at-home orders in Indonesia (its main market) and other Southeast Asian countries by re-deploying ride-hailing drivers to on-demand deliveries for food and essential items.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2020/07/05/uber-reportedly-agrees-to-acquire-postmates-for-2-65-billion/

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