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Set-top box maker Roku is reportedly interested in exploring a possible initial public offering (IPO), despite successfully generating $60 million its latest round of funding last May. The company has spoken with several unnamed banks, according to a Bloomberg report, though nothing has been confirmed.
It has been a good time for companies to go public - or seek to sell - as companies have been largely overvalued. If rumors are true, expect to hear Roku pick a lead banker and announce a tentative IPO launch date sometime later this year.
In addition to the appeal of additional funding, with Apple and Amazon both rumored to enter the set-top box market, Roku is going to have an even harder time competing.
While Facebook's $16 billion acquisition of WhatsApp was most certainly the biggest tech news of the week, another popular messaging service is making big waves in the tech community as well, although most Americans have likely never heard of it. Korean messaging service Kakao, has announced that it is negotiating with Morgan Stanley as well as Samsung Securities in hopes of filing its first Initial Public Offering.
With more than 133 million users, the app is about 1/5 the size of WhatsApp in its user base, but with more than seven years under its belt, it is a vet when it comes to instant messaging and mobile gaming. Kakao is seeing to raise about $2 billion which is about 1/8th of what Facebook paid for WhatsApp, so in terms of scale, the asking price is technically a deal, but with the app being locked to the Korean market, it is still a bit of a gable. Some industry insiders are suggesting that Kakao could be seeing the capital in an effort to expand its world wide presence, but nothing official has been announced yet.
Typically, when you think about a plug-in hybrid car performance isn't something that comes to mind. The majority of hybrids on the market today are aimed at being green and sipping fuel with no thought of performance at all. Think Toyota Prius or Ford Fusion Hybrid. Volkswagen has unveiled a new plug-in hybrid that offers fuel efficiency and impressive performance.
The Golf GTE isn't going to compete with a sports car, but it is certainly more exciting than a Prius. The GTE is a plug-in hybrid with a battery pack that can recharge from a wall outlet in only 3.5 hours. The car has a 1.4L 148 hp turbo direct-injected engine.
The car also has an electric motor producing 101hp. Combined the car has 201 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That equates to a top speed of 135 mph and a 0-62 mph time of 7.6 seconds. The car can also drive for 31 miles on electricity only and reach a top electric speed of 81 mph.
A company called ART+COM Innovationpool GmbH (ACI) has announced this week that it has filed a patent infringement suit against Google. The suit has to do with Google allegedly infringing on a patent that ACI holds. The patent in question is # RE44,550. The title of that patent is "Method and Device for Pictorial Representation of Space-related Data."
ACI takes issue with how much Google Earth looks like its Terravision service. Terravision is the commercial implementation of the patent at the heart of the case. ACI says that Terravision was developed a decade before Google Earth.
Looking at the image here, it is clear that the Terravision service and Google Earth are very similar in how they look. ACI also says that it has issue with some of the executives at Google, particularly Michael Jones, CTO of Google Earth, and Brian McClendon, VP of engineering for Google Maps.
China Mobile added a huge number of new high-speed data subscribers in January, with over 14 million new customers joining the world's largest wireless carrier. This is mostly thanks to the iPhone, which China Mobile started selling on January 17.
The 14 million new high-speed data subscribers represents a 7.4% growth for the first month of 2014, with the competition - China Unicorn, seeing an additional 3.2% customers for the month. China Mobile was unable to offer the iPhone until late-2013, but it was locked to 3G on the network's TD-SCDMA technology. Now that it has unleashed its TD-LTE 4G network, things are looking up for the world's largest wireless carrier.
The LED light bulb is slowly starting to replace the normal incandescent all around the world thanks to its longer life and green design. Philips is one of many companies that already offer LED light bulbs that can be controlled via a smartphone app. Philips first announced its iOS controlled LED lights in 2012.
The company has been tweaking those lights and has announced a new lighting system for retail stores that will not only light the way for shoppers; it will also help them find what they are looking for. The lighting system is intelligent and works with an app running on the user's smartphone.
The smartphone app knows where the user is in the store at all times thanks to connectivity from the lights in the ceiling. The app can help the user find exactly what they are looking for in the store isles without having to hunt someone who works there. That is a big benefit to the shopper and the lighting system helps the store too by offering the shopper timely discounts and coupons as they shop.
A couple days ago, we mentioned that rumors were circulating that Tesla and Apple had met up. The rumors were thought to indicate Apple wanted to buy the electric car marker. Another possibility was that Apple and Tesla were meeting about a battery factory. Both firms want to drive down the cost of lithium batteries.
Apple isn't the sort of company that will ever comment on rumors, other than to say that it won't comment on rumors. Tesla CEO Elon Musk on the other hand has never been afraid to tell people what he thinks or what is going on. Musk recently confirmed that Tesla had in fact talked with Apple.
Musk wouldn't say what exactly the meeting was about. He noted that he though Apple buying a car company was a good idea, but also said that the chances of Tesla selling were "very unlikely." Musk also noted that he would be willing to talk about selling if that meant his goal of making an affordable mass market EV would be closer to reality.
According to leading market tracker, Jon Peddie Research (JPR), GPU shipments increased in Q4 2013. During this three-month period, AMD lost market share against its rivals in Intel and NVIDIA.
JPR reports that the PC market increased 1.8% quarter-to-quarter in Q4 2013, but declined 8.5% year-over-year. 66% of PCs shipped for the year used integrated graphics, with just 34% of PCs featuring discrete GPUs. Shipments of GPUs rose 1.5% from the previous quarter, but down 2.4% from the same time of 2012.
If we look at the numbers, AMD's overall units shipped dropped 10.4%, with Intel's total shipments increased 5.1% from the third quarter, with NVIDIA's grab increasing by 3.4% compared to Q3 2013. With year-over-year numbers, AMD's market share slipped 5.4%, Intel increased by 5.4%, and NVIDIA also saw an increase, of 0.9%.
Roku has been in the set top box market in the US for a long time now and offers some of the more interesting set top boxes out there. Roku has a number of hardware devices that are all designed to allow you to enjoy your favorite streaming content on the big screen.
Back in December the Roku set top box received an official YouTube app. Roku has now announced via a blog post that it has another new streaming service available for users in the US. The new streaming service is Showtime Anytime. Showtime Anytime allows subscribers to the pay channel to view movies and original shows online or on mobile devices.
The app landing on current generation Roku devices will make it easy to get the popular Showtime content in the living room. Showtime Anytime offers access to past and current shows allowing you to catch up.
Samsung has just inked a new deal with US retail giant Best Buy, where it will see 1,400 new mini shops launched inside of Best Buy's across the United States. The EU doesn't miss out, with Samsung converting over 60 Carphone Warehouse locations through Europe, too.
In Canada, Samsung will open multiple mini kiosks inside Best Buy and Future Shop locations. The South Korean giant will also reportedly push its presence overseas, too, where it plans to open 75 or more retail locations across Europe, which should triple its current presence across the country. With the Galaxy S5 close to consumers' hands, it's perfect timing to be expanding retail reach for Samsung.