BetaNews Staff

What is Magic Leap, the mystery startup valued at $1bn?

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Silicon Valley startup Magic Leap is valued at over $1 billion. It just announced the close of its $542 million (£338 million) Series B, featuring investors led by Google, Inc., and including KPCB, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, Qualcomm and Legendary Entertainment. But there's a catch: no one quite knows what it is.

We love a good "mysterious startup" story, and Magic Leap has set our mystery senses tingling. The website for the startup is suitably vague, featuring only a beautiful animation of a tiny pint-sized elephant rearing and trumpeting out of a person's cupped hands. And a trippy picture of a whale flying over a beach.

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The mobile device is the new company car

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I've been in the market long enough to have lived the glorious years when as a salesperson, you would join a new company primarily because of the salary and benefits it offered above any other consideration.

At that time, one of the important benefits was the company car, and once you had it, the next question was; how flexible would the company be around its use?

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The slow pace of smart technology adoption is set to cost the UK economy £9bn in 2015

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According to the Smart Society Barometer report from Samsung, the UK economy stands to lose out on over £9 billion over the next year, due to the pace of smart tech adoption being too sluggish.

According to the research, which involved speaking to 1,000 British companies and 2,500 consumers, UK businesses stand to lose up to £5.6 billion over the next 12 months by failing to utilize smart technology appropriately in their organization. And UK consumers will pay to the tune of £3.6 billion for a lack of understanding of how smart tech could benefit them.

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Apple's latest iPhone 6 problem -- #dyegate

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Apple's latest flagship smartphone has caused consumers quite a few headaches (literally, in some cases).

The handset, which doesn't come cheap, is prone to bending and tearing out people's hair, leading to the creation of the vastly amusing '#bendgate' and '#hairgate' scandals. Now, however, it's all about '#dyegate'.

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Flashback Friday: How Disney's Fantasia led to the foundation of HP

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HP is one of the oldest and largest IT corporations in the world. It also happens to be one of the most interesting. Now largely associated with enterprises and hardcore business technology, it's a little-known fact that HP was actually the driving force behind the establishment of Silicon Valley.

Way back in the early 1930s, Bill Hewlett and David Packard were engineering students -- and friends -- at Stanford University. Upon graduation, however, they went in separate directions; Packard headed to New York State, securing a job with General Electric, while Hewlett took his studies further, at MIT and then Stanford again.

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Chromebook shipments rise 67 percent this quarter

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Chromebooks continue to shine in terms of growth according to the latest figures from ABI Research, with the notebooks up 67 percent quarter-on-quarter in terms of shipment levels.

And indeed ABI forecasts that Google's cloudy laptops will double in quantity when it comes to year-on-year.

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Christian Bale is Steve Jobs in upcoming biopic

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Christian Bale has been confirmed to play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming feature film based on Walter Isaacson's biography of the late technology icon.

Oscar winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin revealed the news during a Bloomberg television interview with Emily Chang yesterday.

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Top 5 tips for avoiding project failure

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How can I avoid project failure? That's a question I'm asked all the time. There's no doubt things today are complex -- products have millions of lines of code, dozens of variations, and projects usually have hundreds or even thousands of stakeholders, often all in a perpetual state of development. But, the reality is that failure isn't usually a result of all this complexity. Rather, it's generally caused by a collaboration meltdown.

Research from Forrester paints a clearer picture. According to the firm, the biggest problem in product development is a mismatch between the expected and actual value of a product, and the number one reason that products are delayed is unclear or changing requirements. In addition, more than 40 percent of companies cite an inability to agree on product requirements.

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How to combat cyber attacks using speed and sophistication

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During a cyber attack, every second counts. While an attack can happen in an instant, it can take months to remove it from an organization’s infrastructure. For some organizations, there can be more attacks in one hour than a well-staffed security team can address in an entire day. That's a big problem.

Historically, attackers have had the advantage over defenders by being able to choose from a broad array of tools, around-the-clock attack windows, and innumerable attack types. If one type of attack failed, an attacker could simply try again and again until vulnerabilities were discovered. Moreover, cyber attacks are easy to organize and cheap to enact.

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Oculus Rift owners will be able to go to the moon

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US scientists have developed a robot that will allow Oculus Rift owners to see the surface of the Moon as if they were really there.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed the project to compete for the Google Lunar XPrize, which is offering $30 million to a team that can send video back from the Moon.

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10 music releases that brought down entire websites

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The Internet and digital downloads have moved us past the times when the shelves of record stores were often cleared of every last copy of the latest hit single. But that doesn't mean that the mad onslaught of devoted fans can't still cause havoc as they scramble to get the newest songs.

The businesses behind online music stores and artists' sites often fail to predict the incredible and unusual demand for their services and, rather than queues at record shops, the shift to downloads now means that website crashes are the new normal for merchants caught by surprise. Here are 10 music releases that have caused web crashes -- it really can happen to anyone.

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Nokia Lumia 735: Budget smartphone for the selfie generation [Review]

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Nokia is coming to the end of the road as a name in phone making, and the brand will likely get subsumed into owner Microsoft in the not too distant future. With Nokia phones already well and truly part of the Windows Phone stable, you won't be surprised to learn that the Lumia 735 runs Windows Phone 8.1. Nor will its general looks be any surprise -- it is a straightforward Nokia monolith.

But there are some pleasant surprises under the hood that lift this budget handset above the ordinary. A 5 megapixel wide angle front camera for taking high quality selfies is Nokia's own selected highlight, but Cortana, Microsoft's much talked about digital assistant, is also here, making a belated arrival in the UK to join Apple's Siri.

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Staples is the latest US store to suffer a credit card data breach

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The office supply store Staples has announced that it is investigating a possible breach of payment card data, making it the latest US store to be targeted.

The retailer has notified the relevant authorities, but has not disclosed details of the data breach publicly.

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Xiaomi price drop suggests new flagship devices are on their way

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Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi looks set to implement a price reduction drive across a number of its devices, increasing speculation that new flagship models will be released in the not-too-distant future.

According to a report by GizChina, citing Xiaomi's e-commerce webpage Tmall, several of the firm's products, including its Mi 4 smartphone and Mi Pad tablet have received new price tags.

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Vatican Library’s digital archives now available online

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The Vatican Apostolic Library has announced that more than 4,000 ancient manuscripts will now be available online as part of a digital archive.

Global IT service provider NTT DATA has developed the service, which displays high definition digital reproductions of the texts at the library's website.

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