Intel kills the Compute Card, a small-form-factor modular computing product that didn't stick

Intel’s Compute Cards always felt like an odd response to the push toward smaller form-factor computing, and the market apparently agreed: Intel said Thursday it has decided to discontinue development.

Compute Cards, first launched in 2017, were little bigger than a credit card and several times thicker. The self-contained modular computing card contained one of four Intel processors, from a Celeron up to a Core i5, plus memory and storage.

The first clue that Compute Cards were in jeopardy came from NexDock, which developed a modular laptop shell, the NexDock 1, that was powered by your phone. (The company launched during a period when Microsoft’s Continuum environment was in vogue, in conjunction with a Windows Phone.)  A similar device, known as the NexPad, was powered by a Compute Card and has now been discontinued, NexDock said, because of the uncertainty from Intel.

Intel, however, said that it’s made a decision: Compute Cards are no more.

“We continue to believe modular computing is a market where there are many opportunities for innovation,” the company said in a statement. “However, as we look at the best way to address this opportunity, we’ve made the decision that we will not develop new Compute Card products moving forward. We will continue to sell and support the current Compute Card products through 2019 to ensure our customers receive the support they need with their current solutions, and we are thankful for their partnership on this change.”

NexDock has gone on to announce the NexDock 2, a tablet that uses an Android phone to duplicate its screen within a laptop environment. The Kickstarter project has already achieved its funding goals. 

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Zoom, a profitable unicorn, files to go public

Zoom, the video conferencing startup valued at $1 billion in early 2017, has filed to go public on the Nasdaq as soon as next month.

The company joins a growing list of tech unicorns making the leap to the public markets in 2019, but it stands out for one very important reason: It’s actually profitable.

Zoom was founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan, a co-founder of WebEx, which sold to Oracle for $3.2 billion in 2007. Before launching Zoom, he spent four years at Cisco as its vice president of engineering. In a conversation with TechCrunch last month, he said he would never sell another company again, hinting at his dissatisfaction at WebEx’s post-acquisition treatment being his motivation for taking Zoom public as opposed to selling.

Zoom, which raised a total of $145 million to date, posted $330 million in revenue in the year ending January 31, 2019, a remarkable 2x increase year-over-year, with a gross profit of $269.5 million. The company similarly more than doubled revenues from 2017 to 2018, wrapping fiscal year 2017 with $60.8 million in revenue and 2018 with $151.5 million.

The company’s losses are shrinking, from $14 million in 2017, $8.2 million in 2018 and just $7.5 million in the year ending January 2019.

Zoom is backed by Emergence Capital, which owns a 12.5 percent pre-IPO stake, according to the IPO filing. Other investors in the business include Sequoia Capital (11.4 percent pre-IPO stake); Digital Mobile Venture (9.8 percent), a fund affiliated with former Zoom board member Samuel Chen; and Bucantini Enterprises Limited (6.1 percent), a fund owned by Li Ka-shing, a Chinese billionaire and among the richest people in the world.

Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have been recruited to lead the offering.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Pinterest drops its IPO filing

Pinterest, the nearly decade-old visual search engine, has unveiled its S-1 as it prepares for an initial public offering expected in April.

Valued at $12.3 billion in 2017, Pinterest took its first official step toward a 2019 IPO two months ago, hiring Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase as lead underwriters for its NYSE offering. Now it’s giving us a closer look at its financials.

The San Francisco-based company, which will trade under the ticker symbol “PINS,” posted revenue of $755.9 million in the year ending December 31, 2018, up from $472.8 million in 2017. It has roughly doubled its monthly active user count since early 2016, hitting 265 million late last year. The company’s net loss, meanwhile, shrank to $62.9 million last year from $130 million in 2017.

In total, Pinterest has posted $1.525 billion in revenue across the last three years, roughly the same amount of capital it’s secured from venture capitalists since it was founded in 2010.

Pinterest has raised around $1.5 billion from VCs, listing both early- and late-stage investors on its cap table. The company’s key stakeholders include Bessemer Venture Partners, FirstMark Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Fidelity and Valiant Capital Partners, though the filing doesn’t state the percent ownership of each of these entities.

Pinterest counts 250 million monthly active users and brought in some $700 million in ad revenue in 2018, per reports, a 50 percent increase year-over-year. The business employs 1,600 people across 13 cities, including Chicago, London, Paris, São Paulo, Berlin and Tokyo.

The company’s global average revenue per user (ARPU) in the year ended December 31, 2018 was $3.14, up 25 percent year-over-year, according to the filing. Its U.S. ARPU sat at $9.04 in 2018, a 47 percent increase from the prior year.

Pinterest emerged in 2010 as a buzzy social media startup and mobile app meant for sharing inspirational images and quotes. Under the leadership of co-founder and chief executive officer Ben Silbermann, it’s expanded over the years as it’s attempted to monetize the platform, which relies on ad revenue to stay afloat. Last fall, in a bid to turn more of its users into shoppers and compete with Instagram, the company rebuilt the infrastructure behind its product pins. The update brought up-to-date pricing and stock information on all product pins to the app, a new “Products like this” category under each fashion and home decor pin, and other user-friendly tweaks.

Pinterest, additionally, has signed a lease for a brand new San Francisco headquarters, which will be constructed near its current HQ, the filing states.

Pinterest’s IPO paperwork emerged just hours after another tech unicorn, Zoom, filed to go public, too. Several billion-dollar tech companies have made the choice to IPO in 2019, even after a weeks-long government shutdown caused a significant delay in IPOs. Pinterest follows Lyft, which unveiled its S-1 and nearly $1 billion in 2018 losses just three weeks ago. Uber and Slack are both expected to make their IPO paperwork available to the public soon.

Pinterest may be looking to benefit of the IPO hype spearheaded by Uber and Lyft though The Information has previously reported the offering could suffer because it’s a social media business, which means it is often compared to the likes of Facebook and Twitter, a pair of companies that have repeatedly raised concerns about user privacy.

This story is updating.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Drone analytics startup Aria Insights suddenly shutters

Earlier this year, Helen Greiner-founded drone startup CyPhy Works announced a major change. The company was rebooting and renaming itself Aria Insights, a move that arrived with a newfound AI/data-driven focus. Now, just over two months later, the company is no more.

Reports that Aria had shuttered began surfacing earlier this week. Moments ago, the company confirmed the move in a tersely worded statement offered to TechCrunch:

Aria Insights has ceased operations effective March 21, 2019.

That’s the sum total of the insight provided by Lance VandenBrook, the former CyPhy CEO who resumed that role as the company transitioned back in January. The move appears to be an abrupt one, with little to no information offered to external parties. It brings to mind last year’s sudden closure of Rethink Robotics, another company launched by a former iRobot co-founder.

Full disclosure: We announced last month that the company’s CTO would be appearing onstage at our Robotics event next month. That, like everything else apart from Aria’s drones, appears to be up in the air at the moment.

More information as we get it.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source

Apex Legends earned EA $92 million in February, market research firm says

Epic may still be raking in the big bucks from the wild success of Fortnite, but they may not remain the king of the battle royale genre for long.

Competing free-to-play title Apex Legends reportedly earned Electronic Arts (EA) a whopping $92 million in February, which was its first month on the market. This information comes courtesy of market research company SuperData, so it’s not entirely official.

However, in this case, it’s likely a fairly accurate estimate. We’ve already seen Apex Legends reach impressive player count milestones, so it’s not a stretch to think its microtransaction sales numbers are just as high.

Given that EA was apparently too afraid to interfere with Respawn Entertainment’s development of the game, perhaps Apex Legends’ will act as proof that they don’t need to influence future games as heavily as they have to date.

After all, what better way is there to prove to a publisher that your studio knows what it’s doing when left to its own devices than substantial financial success?

Anyway, in terms of February’s top grossing PC titles, Apex Legends took the number 6 slot, which is just below Fortnite. The number one spot went to Dungeon Fighter Online, with League of Legends following close behind at number 2.

EA has a reputation for axing studios whose titles don’t meet its lofty sales expectations, and after Respawn’s Titanfall 2 failed to meet said expectations, it seemed like the studio would be next on the chopping block. Fortunately, Apex Legends’ success has probably staved off the grim reaper for quite a while.

To stay afloat, though, Respawn will need to continue to support the game post-launch with high-quality content. That content could come in the form of new heroes for players to try out, unique new weapons, or completely new game modes.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Link to original source