Raspberry Pi’s official 7″ touchscreen display goes on sale today for $60

RaspBerry Pi Touch Display

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched an all-new piece of hardware today — the official Raspberry Pi touchscreen display is now on sale online for $60, and through a handful of bricks-and-mortar retailers.

Today’s launch comes almost a year after the organization first teased the device, though it has been delayed somewhat, with initial estimations suggesting it would launch late last year or by early 2015.

The 7″ unit sports a 800 x 480 display, and is designed to work in conjunction with the $35 RaspBerry Pi mini computer, and will essentially let users build their own tablets and other similar devices that rely on screens to be used.

RaspBerry Pi screen

Above: RaspBerry Pi screen

Users connect their Pi to the display throug two main conduits —  it’s powered from the Pi’s GPIO port, while a ribbon cable connects to the DSI port. The Foundation says touchscreen drivers will be rolled out alongside an update to the Raspbian operating system, enabling 10-finger touch and an on-screen keyboard.


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Reading WTW on the go: Mobile iPhone/iOS, Android apps available

WRAL TechWire, a comprehensive source of coverage of companies in the Carolinas and beyond with a focus on the growth industries of broadband, life sciences, and on entrepreneurs and venture funding, announces the release of the WRAL TechWire app for iOS devices. As TechWire readers have adapted to the latest in mobile technology, WRAL TechWire continues to deliver its industry-leading coverage on as many platforms as possible.

Uber to enter 100 more Chinese cities in next 12 months

Reuters / Sergio Perez

Beijing (By Jake Spring) — U.S. ride-hailing service Uber Technologies Inc will enter 100 more Chinese cities over the next year, doubling a previous goal set just three months ago, chief executive Travis Kalanick said on Tuesday.

Uber’s China unit currently operates in almost 20 cities, Kalanick said at an event in Beijing held by Uber investor Baidu Inc.

The speech comes a day after Kalanick said the China unit had raised $1.2 billion during ongoing fundraising, while people familiar with the matter told Reuters that larger local rival Didi Kuaidi had brought in $3 billion.


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The two firms are spending heavily to subsidize rides and gain market share, betting on China’s Internet-linked transport market becoming the world’s biggest and most lucrative.

“When we started this year, we were about one percent market share. Today, nine months later, we’re looking at about 30 to 35 percent market share”, Kalanick said. He did not specify whether that market was for all ride-hailing services including taxis, where Didi Kuaidi dominates, or just for private cars.

Uber also welcomes new regulations expected later this year governing ride-hailing services in China, Kalanick said.

At the event, Baidu, China’s Internet search leader, demonstrated a voice-operated artificial intelligence smartphone assistant for finding nearby offline services, which could also control a robot reminiscent of Disney’s WALL-E.

After the Baidu slot, Kalanick spoke of the importance of Uber’s relationship with the Internet firm.

“We can get introductions to the city governments, the government officials that want to shepherd our kind of innovation and our kind of progress into their cities,” he said.

During the speech, Kalanick adopted the language of Chinese officialdom, riffing on favored Communist Party subjects such as harmony and stability.

“Progress is something we see the government be incredibly open to, whether it be about more jobs and less pollution, less congestion on the streets, better utilization of infrastructure, that kind of progress always has to be in harmony with stability and that is one of the big things that we partnered with the government on,” he said.

(Writing by Paul Carsten; Editing by Kazunori Takada and Christopher Cushing)

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Baidu unveils an AI-powered virtual assistant for its mobile search app

Shutterstock / Twin Design

Hot on the heels of Facebook announcing M at the end of August — its AI-powered personal assistant that will live inside the Messenger chat app — China’s Internet search giant Baidu on Tuesday unveiled something similar in Beijing.

Named “Du Secretary,” Baidu’s virtual assistant will live within the latest version (6.8) of its flagship Mobile Baidu search app. The announcement was made at the 10th annual Baidu World conference in the country’s capital.

The company said:

Baidu’s [assistant] processes requests for an ever-broadening range of services, like ordering takeout delivery or buying movie tickets through simple, natural dialogue. It also makes smart recommendations for services based on information it learns through interacting with the user.

While Google still ranks first overall in the Alexa rankings, Baidu is fourth — a fact little known to many outside China. Facebook and YouTube are second and third, respectively, and Yahoo is fifth. Baidu is seeing over one billion visitors per month, according to data from SimilarWeb, and brought in revenue of close to $8 billion last year.


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“In the past, only the privileged few — those in very senior positions in companies or other organizations — had personal assistants,” Robin Li, founder and chief executive of Baidu, said at the event. “With Duer, every ordinary person can now have a powerful personal assistant who can provide valuable life services — for free.”

Baidu had earlier announced in June that it is investing $3.2 billion to build up its online-to-offline (O2O) services — things like ordering food or a taxi through an app, for example — and today’s announcement of its virtual assistant ties closely into that.

The company admits that such requests are comprising “a growing percentage of overall search queries,” so it’s clearly keen to keep pushing the envelop on making the space and experience more efficient. It says the AI will incorporate factors like location, real-time awareness of promotions and offers, and personal preferences.

“In the current build, it can fulfil requests for restaurants and restaurant food delivery, pet-related services like grooming, and movie theater ticket purchases,” Baidu said. “In the near future, it will will expand to include a wide range of services including ride hailing, housekeeping, manicures and pedicures, education, healthcare, travel, designated driver services, and more.”

In a comment that highlights the company’s ongoing push into O2O — and its commitment to building up partnerships and services around that opportunity — Baidu added:

Once a merchant’s services are integrated into one of Baidu’s platforms — search, maps, or an O2O service like Takeout Delivery or Nuomi — [the assistant] will direct appropriate specific user requests to that merchant, generating business and helping them to better understand their customers.

Baidu’s Beijing event also saw Uber founder Travis Kalanick take to the stage as a speaker. The ride-hailing company on Monday confirmed an additional $1.2 billion in fresh funding for its China entity, while local rival Didi Kuaidi is expected to soon close a $3 billion round.

While the AI-powered virtual assistant space is still in its infancy, it’s still frankly long overdue for Baidu to enter with an offering of its own. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and now Facebook are all making major plays into the space as they predict a huge opportunity for e-commerce transactions to flourish, among other things.

Now that Baidu is here with Du Secretary, it feels like China has really entered the picture in a big way.

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Libre Wireless Technologies Powers Bullitt Groups Exciting “Ministry of Sound” Multiroom WiFi Music Streaming Products

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IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 8, 2015–

Libre Wireless Technologies, Inc. a leading embedded WiFi and Wireless solutions provider, today at the IFA show in Berlin, Germany announced their technology partnership with Bullitt Group in support of their edgy and unique new Ministry of Sound branded WiFi music players. Ministry of Sound is long recognized as the world leader in innovative popular music straight from London’s hottest club scene. Known for their super high performance club audio quality as well as their leading music label and relationships with top musicians and DJ’s, they are now bringing high quality audio to mainstream consumers in a compelling family of multiroom WiFi music players produced by Bullitt Group.

People love their modern music played with energy and intensity and these music players set a whole new level of cost/performance. They also leverage Libre Wireless Technologies LibreSync media platform, the world’s most advanced indoor and outdoor multiroom and multizone streaming technology to easily and robustly stream their music to many Ministry of Sound music players all at the same time. These players are uniquely outfitted with an instant streaming link to Ministry of Sound’s actual night club, your favorite Ministry of Sound stations as well as your Spotify, Deezer and Tidal favorites.

“The Ministry of Sound Audio connected speakers are equipped with Libre Wireless Technologies Wi-Fi capability, which provides class-leading stability and high-quality wireless audio transmission to any number of connected speakers,” says Scott Steinberg, CEO for Bullitt Group Audio Products. “We wanted to deliver the best possible experience for home multi-room music.”

“When I first saw the hot styling and high end design of the Bullitt products, I knew they would be popular…and when I heard them, I knew they would be category leaders,” says Jordan Watters, Chief Operating Officer at Libre Wireless Technologies. “We are excited that the unique technology offered in our LibreSync solution is the foundational technology selected by Bullitt Group for these incredible market leading products. We look forward to seeing this broad family of audio products deliver consumers an exceptional and advanced modern music experience.”

About Libre Wireless Technologies, Inc.

Libre Wireless Technologies has extensive expertise and experience in developing WiFi, wireless and media streaming software and SDK platforms, electronic modules and RF/antenna design solutions. The Libre team has deep WiFi technology and A/V system design experience combined with world wide sales, technical support and design partnerships. The LibreSync platform incorporates unique media streaming technology, broad mobile platform ecosystem support, seamless interoperability, scalable price/performance solution options, optimized and flexible WiFi/Bluetooth options (1×1 11n, 2×2 11n, 11n/ac) and extensive system level features. Optimized for performance, power, size and cost, LibreSync solutions provide ODM’s and CE Brand customers with the most complete, flexible and ecosystem leading media streaming platform available.

About Bullitt Group and Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound Group is a global entertainment business comprising recorded music, artist development, music publishing, live events, digital media and a nightclub in London. Their iconic brands, which include Ministry of Sound and Hed Kandi drive a business with sales approaching £100 million, and are the heartbeat for a generation of clubbers and music fans, spanning both continents and genres. Starting life as the UK’s first super-club in 1991, Ministry of Sound was instrumental in bringing club and dance music culture to Britain. Over the next 23 years the business has developed to include a world-beating compilations department, the number one 24 hour dance music radio station, an A&R department with an impressive 19 UK No.1 Singles, a tours brand that hosts over 2,000 events annually and a multi-channel digital operation with more than 4m followers.

Libre Wireless Technologies, Inc.
Jordan Watters – Chief Operating Officer, Founder
+1-512-757-9490
www.librewireless.com


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Libre Wireless Technologies Powers Bullitt Groups Exciting “Ministry of Sound” Multiroom WiFi Music Streaming Products

businesswire-4
Check out our press release hub, powered by Business Wire. It's a one stop shop for industry announcements to help you stay on top of the latest technology and investment trends. Get the scoop here.

IRVINE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–September 8, 2015–

Libre Wireless Technologies, Inc. a leading embedded WiFi and Wireless solutions provider, today at the IFA show in Berlin, Germany announced their technology partnership with Bullitt Group in support of their edgy and unique new Ministry of Sound branded WiFi music players. Ministry of Sound is long recognized as the world leader in innovative popular music straight from London’s hottest club scene. Known for their super high performance club audio quality as well as their leading music label and relationships with top musicians and DJ’s, they are now bringing high quality audio to mainstream consumers in a compelling family of multiroom WiFi music players produced by Bullitt Group.

People love their modern music played with energy and intensity and these music players set a whole new level of cost/performance. They also leverage Libre Wireless Technologies LibreSync media platform, the world’s most advanced indoor and outdoor multiroom and multizone streaming technology to easily and robustly stream their music to many Ministry of Sound music players all at the same time. These players are uniquely outfitted with an instant streaming link to Ministry of Sound’s actual night club, your favorite Ministry of Sound stations as well as your Spotify, Deezer and Tidal favorites.

“The Ministry of Sound Audio connected speakers are equipped with Libre Wireless Technologies Wi-Fi capability, which provides class-leading stability and high-quality wireless audio transmission to any number of connected speakers,” says Scott Steinberg, CEO for Bullitt Group Audio Products. “We wanted to deliver the best possible experience for home multi-room music.”

“When I first saw the hot styling and high end design of the Bullitt products, I knew they would be popular…and when I heard them, I knew they would be category leaders,” says Jordan Watters, Chief Operating Officer at Libre Wireless Technologies. “We are excited that the unique technology offered in our LibreSync solution is the foundational technology selected by Bullitt Group for these incredible market leading products. We look forward to seeing this broad family of audio products deliver consumers an exceptional and advanced modern music experience.”

About Libre Wireless Technologies, Inc.

Libre Wireless Technologies has extensive expertise and experience in developing WiFi, wireless and media streaming software and SDK platforms, electronic modules and RF/antenna design solutions. The Libre team has deep WiFi technology and A/V system design experience combined with world wide sales, technical support and design partnerships. The LibreSync platform incorporates unique media streaming technology, broad mobile platform ecosystem support, seamless interoperability, scalable price/performance solution options, optimized and flexible WiFi/Bluetooth options (1×1 11n, 2×2 11n, 11n/ac) and extensive system level features. Optimized for performance, power, size and cost, LibreSync solutions provide ODM’s and CE Brand customers with the most complete, flexible and ecosystem leading media streaming platform available.

About Bullitt Group and Ministry of Sound

Ministry of Sound Group is a global entertainment business comprising recorded music, artist development, music publishing, live events, digital media and a nightclub in London. Their iconic brands, which include Ministry of Sound and Hed Kandi drive a business with sales approaching £100 million, and are the heartbeat for a generation of clubbers and music fans, spanning both continents and genres. Starting life as the UK’s first super-club in 1991, Ministry of Sound was instrumental in bringing club and dance music culture to Britain. Over the next 23 years the business has developed to include a world-beating compilations department, the number one 24 hour dance music radio station, an A&R department with an impressive 19 UK No.1 Singles, a tours brand that hosts over 2,000 events annually and a multi-channel digital operation with more than 4m followers.

Libre Wireless Technologies, Inc.
Jordan Watters – Chief Operating Officer, Founder
+1-512-757-9490
www.librewireless.com


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DocuSign buys most of OpenTrust to help grow its eSignature platform in Europe

DocuSign screenshot

Digital transaction management service DocuSign says it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Trusted Documents and Transactions (TDT) division of identity-based solution provider OpenTrust. Financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed but DocuSign chief executive Keith Krach tells VentureBeat that all 60-plus members of the TDT team will be joining the company.

With the addition of OpenTrust’s TDT team, DocuSign wants to rapidly grow its business and will leverage the technology to help accelerate adoption of its digital transaction management solution in the European Union.

“As the market leader in France, OpenTrust offers a high performance team, strong customer focus, world class EU-accredited technology, and deep market expertise,” says Krach in a prepared statement. “We’re delighted to have OpenTrust’s customers, partners and employees join The DocuSign Global Trust Network.”

The relationship between DocuSign and the France-based OpenTrust spans quite a bit of time. In 2014, the two companies formed a partnership to help global organizations doing business in France better manage transactions through their collective platforms. Today’s acquisition will bring OpenTrust’s digital signature and certification solutions into the DocuSign fold.

Only OpenTrust’s TDT division is being acquired. The Trusted Identities unit will remain with the company. However, DocuSign will get to add OpenTrust’s digital signature, digital transaction, and certificate ID components to its arsenal.

Naturally, the addition of the OpenTrust team and continued growth in the EU probably begs the question about whether DocuSign is planning on going public any time soon, as some may have suggested. The company recently raised $233 million for its Series F round at a $3 billion valuation. We asked Krach about any potential to go public, but he declined to comment.

Krach did tell us that this deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

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Watch out Amazon, China is launching a Twitch rival called Panda TV

Pixabay / leungchopan

With China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba last week trialling its own live-streaming video service to take on Netflix, it seems that a perhaps equally-large story from over the weekend was swept under the carpet: the announcement (via Chinese microblogging site Weibo) of an upcoming Twitch competitor called Panda TV.

Twitch is the hugely popular live-streaming video platform for gamers that Amazon bought in September last year for $970 million. The service, with more than 1.5 million broadcasters, is already trying to boost its presence in Taiwan, meaning it’s clearly very interested in a Chinese viewership.

But Twitch will also have to be increasingly mindful of newly-launched rival YouTube Gaming — the Google-backed service launched at the end of August. So it certainly has its hands full right now.


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As to Panda TV, it’s not just the Twitch comparison that’s notable, it’s the person (or family) behind it — none other than Wang Sicong, local social media celebrity and son of China’s wealthiest man, Wang Jianlin (reported to be worth $26.5 billion, according to Forbes).

Jianlin is the chairman of Dalian Wanda Group, a Chinese conglomerate that has some serious claims to its name, including being the country’s biggest private property developer, according to The Economist. It also owns AMC Entertainment and Wanda Cinemas, making it the world’s largest cinema chain operator, and in 2014 pulled in nearly $40 billion in revenue.

Starting to see some synergies for a live-streaming service? I sure am.

Sicong’s announcement Saturday included news that he will be chief executive of Panda TV, which was registered as a business back in July, according to QQ Tech (link in Chinese). But an exact date for a launch appears to remain unclear.

As to a possible domain, speculation on Chinese media hints that it will likely end up being one of three options: panda.tv, pandatv.com, or xiongmao.tv (xiongmao is panda in Chinese).

The market in China is huge — 408 million online gamers that spend $17.6 billion per year, with over half watching live-streamed gaming content, according to the South China Morning Post (paywalled).

The SCMP report also shed some light on Sicong’s gaming past to date:

In 2011, Wang bought the pro-gaming team formerly known as Catastrophic Cruel Memory (CCM), now Invictus Gaming (iG), for about $6 million in order to promote e-sports in China… The club is sponsored by computer accessories maker Logitech and PC vendor Asus. iG has teams competing in Defence of the Ancients (DotA) 2, League of Legends, Crossfire and StarCraft II.

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