10 iPhone cases that do more than just protect your phone

LuMee iPhone Case

If you’re the tech-y type, you probably upgrade your iPhone as quickly as Apple can make them.

That means getting a new case each time. Although it’s tempting to go for a fun or stylish design, why not get even more functionality out of your smartphone with a useful phone case?

Here are nine of our faves.

SEE ALSO: 25 must-have iPhone accessories under $25

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Forget bulky battery cases that weigh you down. The Nanocase automatically extends your battery life by up to 20% because it’s made of graphene, a material that dissipates heat and cools your device (when a battery gets hot, it uses more energy).

The Nanocase isn’t on sale just yet, but according to the company’s Indiegogo campaign, it should be available soon.

Moment Photo Case

You can leave the expensive DSLR at home with the Moment Photo Case, which allows you to add interchangeable camera lenses over your iPhone camera lens. (Lenses sold separately.) Options include a wide lens for larger shots, a tele lens for portraits, a macro lens to capture tiny details, and a superfish lens for an extremely wide angle. The case itself is $29.99 and features a protective microsuede lining, flexible buttons, and a rubberized body.

LuMee Duo

If you’re addicted to taking selfies, the LuMee Duo is for you. The slim, durable case features two strips of lights on the front and back to illuminate your selfies or other shots with studio-quality light that’s warm and natural. At $69.95, it’s a bit of a splurge, but it’s worth it for well-lit pictures.

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/most-useful-iphone-cases-2018-2


Everyone should appreciate apps that put time and effort into explaining their software updates

iphone ios 6 app updates

Before iOS 7 launched in 2013, iPhone and iPad users would have to manually download any and all software updates for apps once they became available.

An aggressive red badge on the App Store icon would show you the number of apps that needed updating.

There was no automatic downloading for software updates. It was pretty annoying.

These days, since iOS app updates download automatically, there’s rarely a reason to visit the “Updates” tab in the App Store — and most app developers seem to be aware of this.

For many apps, an update will simply include a boilerplate explanation for any software update along the lines of “we update the app regularly to make it faster and more reliable.”

Usually, developers don’t bother detailing new features, or which bugs were fixed, since so few people ever look there.

Still, many app makers still make an extra effort to explain all their software updates — and it’s worth noting those that do this, if only to highlight developers that are transparent with their users.

Take a look:

Great example: Medium doesn’t settle for a simple description, instead turning the update into a song (to the tune of “Dayman,” from “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”).

Snapchat also does a good job at being transparent. Bullet points are better than nothing!

Amazon Kindle similarly keeps its users in the know.

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/iphone-apps-software-update-explanation-why-it-matters-2018-2

Here’s everything coming to — and leaving — Netflix in March


  • Netflix has released its list of what’s staying and what’s leaving in the month of March 2018.
  • There are highly-anticipated new titles officially streaming on the service, as well as old favorites making their exits this month.
  • Highlights include a new season of “Jessica Jones” and the departure of some animated classics.

In comparison to January, February practically flew by. Obviously, February being the shortest month of the year has its perks, but one of its downfalls is that it means less time for Netflix. Luckily, March is full of new arrivals on the streaming service, and a full 31 days to actually watch them, so consider your schedule open.

Just in case you already binge-watched every episode of “Queer Eye,” the new arrivals include the second season of the critically-acclaimed “Jessica Jones” as well as old favorites like “Cruel Intentions” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

Of course, March isn’t without its goodbyes. “The Carmichael Show,” “Anastasia,” and other shows and movies will be making their exit from the streaming service in March.

Here’s a list of everything coming and going on Netflix, so that you can plan all 31 days of this upcoming month.

Arriving in March

Available 3/1/2018
“21 Thunder” Season 1
“2307: Winter’s Dream”
“Adel Karam: Live from Beirut”
“Algo Muy Gordo”
“Alpha and Omega”
“Battle Drone”
“Cruel Intentions”
“Cruel Intentions 2”
“Cruel Intentions 3”
“Forgetting Sarah Marshall”

Forgetting Sarah Marshall Gallery 5“Ghostbusters”
“Ghostbusters 2”
“Gridiron Gang”
“Guess Who”
“I Am Number Four”
“I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”
“Jackass: Number Two”
“Land Gold Women”
“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The Eighteenth Year”
“Martian Child”
“People Like Us”
“Revolutionary Road”
“Stuart Little 3: Call of the Wild”
“The Brothers Grimm”
“The Bucket List”
“The Descent”
“The Descent: Part 2”
“The Experiment”
“The Fifth Estate”
“The Gift”
“The Lazarus Project”
“True to the Game”
“Up in the Air”

Wet Hot American Summer“Wet Hot American Summer”
“Women at War 1939-1945”

Available 3/2/2018
“B: The Beginning” Season 1
“Flint Town” Season 1
“Girls Incarcerated” Season 1
“Les Affamés”
“Malena Pichot: Estupidez compleja”
“Natalia Valdebenito: El Especial”
“Voltron: Legendary Defender” Season 5

Available 3/4/2018
“Expedition China”
“The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale”

Available 3/5/2018
“F The Prom”
“The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes” Season 1

Available 3/6/2018
“Borderliner” Season 1
“For the Love of Benji”
“Gad Elmaleh: American Dream”

Available 3/7/2018

Available 3/8/2018
“Bad Guys: Vile City” Season 1
“Ladies First”
“Marvel’s Jessica Jones” Season 2

jessica jones

Available 3/9/2018
“A.I.C.O. Incarnation” Season 1
“Collateral: Limited Series”
“Love” Season 3
“My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Malala Yousafzai”
“Nailed It” Season 1
“The Outsider”
“Trolls: The Beat Goes On!” Season 2

Available 3/10/2018
“Septiembre, un Llanto en Silencio”

Available 3/12/2018
“Kygo: Live at the Hollywood Bowl”
“Troy: The Odyssey”

Available 3/13/2018
“Children of the Whales” Season 1
“Ricky Gervais: Humanity”
“Stretch Armstrong: The Breakout”
“Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 1”

Available 3/15/2018
“Jackass 3.5: The Unrated Movie”
“Power Rangers Ninja Steel” Season 1
“Tabula Rasa” Season 1
“The Hollywood Masters” Season 2
Available 3/16/2018
“Edha” Season 1
“On My Block” Season 1
“Spirit Riding Free” Season 4
“Take Your Pills”
“The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter”
“Wild Wild Country” Season 1
Available 3/19/2018
“In Search of Fellini”

Available 3/20/2018
“100 Years: One Woman’s Fight for Justice”
“The Standups” Season 2
Available 3/21/2018
“Conor McGregor: Notorious”

Available 3/23/2018
“Alexa & Katie” Season 1
“Dinotrux Supercharged” Season 2
“Game Over, Man!”
“Layla M.”
“Requiem” Season 1
“Roxanne Roxanne”
“Santa Clarita Diet” Season 2
“SWORDGAI The Animation: Part 1”
“The Mechanism” Season 1

Available 3/24/2018
“Red Trees”

Available 3/27/2018
“Men on a Mission: 2018”

Available 3/28/2018
“50 First Dates”

50 First Dates Poster“Little Women”
“Never Back Down 2: The Beatdown”
“The Art of War”

Available 3/30/2018
“A Series of Unfortunate Events” Season 2
“First Match”
“Happy Anniversary”
“Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir” Season 2 Part 1
“Rapture” Season 1
“Reboot: The Guardian Code” Season 1
“Sofía Niño de Rivera: Selección natural”
“The Titan”
“Trailer Park Boys” Season 12
“Trump: An American Dream” Season 1

Available 3/31/2018
“Let Me In”

Leaving in March

Leaving 3/1/2018

“A Gang Story”

anastasia“Baby’s Day Out”
“FernGully: The Last Rainforest”
“First Response”
“Forget and Forgive”
“Jaws 2”
“Jaws 3”
“Jaws: The Revenge”
“Less Than Zero”
“Slums of Beverly Hills”
“The Chase”
“The Craft”
“The Panic in Needle Park”
“Trigger Point”
“Two Wrongs”

Leaving 3/4/2018
“Safe Haven”

Leaving 3/6/2018
“The Finest Hours”

Leaving 3/8/2018

Leaving 3/11/2018

Leaving 3/12/2018
“Disney’s The Santa Clause”
“Disney’s The Santa Clause 2”
“Disney’s The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause”

Leaving 3/13/2018
“Breakout Kings” Season 1
“City of God: 10 Years Later”
“London Has Fallen”
“The Killing” Seasons 1-2

Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/netflix-new-titles-leaving-march-2018-2

Mo’Nique and Whoopi Goldberg clashed on ‘The View’ during a conversation about boycotting Netflix and equal pay

Mo'Nique the view

  • On “The View” Thursday, comedian and actress Mo’Nique discussed her boycott of Netflix over equal pay.
  • Mo’Nique also said that she felt like Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels, and Tyler Perry (the producers on her 2009 movie “Precious”) ruined her career.
  • This led to a heated conversation between Mo’Nique and co-host Whoopi Goldberg.


Mo’Nique thinks that her struggle for equal pay has something to do with Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels, and Tyler Perry. But Whoopi Goldberg does not agree.

On “The View” Thursday, comedian and actress Mo’Nique discussed her boycott of Netflix over equal pay. She’s boycotting the streaming service because she says it didn’t offer her a deal for a comedy special in the same ball park as Amy Schumer, who has a similar resume. (Mo’Nique has both a Golden Globe and an Oscar.)

Mo’Nique told the hosts of “The View” that she asked for equal pay to Schumer’s deal, but was told it wasn’t about resumes.

“Then what was it about?” Mo’Nique said. 

Mo’Nique believes her struggle in the industry might have something to do with her 2009 film, “Precious.” The film was produced by Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels, and Tyler Perry. Mo’Nique won the Oscar for best supporting actress for her role. 

Mo’Nique said she felt like she was “punished” by Winfrey, Daniels, and Perry because she didn’t promote the movie overseas. She chose not to promote the movie overseas because there would be no additional pay, and since it wasn’t in her contract she thought she was done with the movie. “This is what happens, in my humble opinion, when you don’t go up to the hotel room,” Mo’Nique said. 

But “The View” co-host Whoopi Goldberg did not like what Mo’Nique had to say. 

“I’m going to stop you because contractually, when you make a movie, regardless of who you sign the deal with, your job is to go and promote said movie,” Goldberg said, to some applause. 

Mo’Nique responded by saying she believes actors should get paid for doing publicity. “If I had done something wrong contractually, they could’ve sued me.”

“So for eight years my family has suffered and my career has suffered,” Mo’Nique said, “because I would not allow those entities [Winfrey, Daniels, and Perry] to bully me. And because I did not allow the bullying to happen, this is what I sit in.”

You can watch the full clip below:

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/monique-and-whoopi-goldberg-talk-on-the-view-about-netflix-boycott-2018-2

These bionic arms make kids feel like superheroes

This company is changing the way we see prostheses. Open Bionics is a UK-based start-up tech company. Its mission is to create affordable 3D printed prostheses. They are about 30 times cheaper than other prostheses on the market. They operate using sensors attached to the skin to detect muscle movements. The muscle movements control the hand and open and close fingers.

“So I co-founded open bionics because we wanted to build assistive devices that could enable people to have more freedom and independence. And we wanted these devices to be really affordable. So at the moment, there’s this amazing bionic technology that exists but it’s out of reach for most patients because it’s so expensive. We want to completely change that and make it really accessible and de-marketize a really helpful technology. So at the moment, everything is really exciting at Open Bionics because we’re gearing up to launch we’ve been trialing our bionic hands with children as young as eight.”

Open Bionics teamed up with the National Health Service in the UK. The NHS spends approximately $75 million per year on prosthetic services.

“I think the coolest thing about this is we’re working really closely with amputees not just designing a solution for them, they’re helping us design the solution. So yeah, I think it’s a really exciting time. In the very near future, we are focusing on our launch of the first 3D printed bionic limb. The cool thing about my job includes seeing people being fitted with bionic limbs for the first time and that’s a really big moment. For young children, they often don’t have access to these devices because they’re not small enough, or they’re just too expensive, so their parents can’t afford to supply them or the NHS cannot afford to supply a patient with it. So, seeing a young child being able to move fingers individually for the first time is really cool.”

Open Bionics is currently working on arms that are straight out of the science fiction universe. Themes from Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars franchises are available. The goal is to make kids feel proud of their prostheses. This changes the image of prostheses from medical devices to bionic arms inspired by characters.

“I am particularly inspired and motivated by the science fiction limbs. So these are bionics arms that come from the science fiction universes they didn’t exist in real life before, they might have existed on a character. So, like, a Disney character. So, like, iron man’s armor. In DsX, the video game, Adam Jensen’s arm. We actually take those character arms, 3D print them, and build them, and give them to amputees. These arms look super stylish, very sleek. They say a lot about your personality and who you are so I find all of that really exciting.”

Open Bionic’s arms take roughly 40 hours to 3D print. The person’s limb is scanned with a tablet. The design of the prosthetic is then planned out. The prosthetic is finally 3D printed. A royalty-free agreement has been formed between Disney and Open Bionics. This means themed designs have even more potential. The company sees a future of making prostheses fashionable and accessible to all.

“The future of prosthetics is low cost, lightweight, multi-grip, really great control. And even further in the future, it’s all about hyper-personalization.”

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/open-bionics-prosthetic-arms-2018-2

No one is talking about the latest game in the blockbuster ‘Metal Gear’ franchise — but it’s actually pretty great

A new “Metal Gear” game launched this week on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s called “Metal Gear Survive,” and it’s pretty good!

Metal Gear Survive

You’re forgiven if this is the first you’re hearing. Due to a variety of factors, the game has launched to little fanfare. The marketing push has been nearly non-existent. In short, nothing about this game’s arrival feels like your typical, major “Metal Gear” game launch.

And that’s a shame, because the time I’ve spent with it so far has been largely positive. It’s far from a standard “Metal Gear” game, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Take a look:

If it’s not a traditional-style “Metal Gear” game, then what is “Metal Gear Survive”?

First and foremost, “Metal Gear Survive” is a super, super weird game. It’s set in the same timeline as the last major “Metal Gear” game, “Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.” But instead of continuing that game’s story, it branches into an alternate, paranormal version of events. 

The game’s main character — one you’ve molded in the game’s character creation tool, and named something silly — is one of dozens of random soldiers involved in a paranormal incident. A wormhole in the sky opens over the base you’re stationed at, and you’re swept into an alternate dimension: An bizarro version of Earth named “Dite” (dee-tay) that’s full of horrific, zombie-like creatures.

Metal Gear Survive

Thus marks the beginning of the story of “Metal Gear Survive.” 

What’s your main mission in this new, grotesque dimension? Survival!

Don’t get it twisted: This isn’t the next main series “Metal Gear Solid” game. “Metal Gear Survive” is a survival game — a spinoff — set in the world of “Metal Gear.”

As the game’s name implies, “Metal Gear Survive” is a literal mash-up of the main “Metal Gear” concept of tactical, third-person espionage and survival.

As a soldier in the world of “Metal Gear,” you’re equipped with the usual arsenal of military armaments and goofy gadgets as previous games: knives, guns, and, uh, entire walls of fencing (which are conjured out of nowhere into the world in front of you, naturally). Instead of the traditional cardboard box, used in previous “Metal Gear” games to great effect for silly sneaking, you’re far more likely to erect a wall of fencing in “Metal Gear Survive.”

There’s a practical reason for this: “Metal Gear Survive” is full of zombies (called “Wanderers”). There are loads of them, and you’re in no position to fight off hordes of zombies. Your best bet, most of the time, is to either block off zombies temporarily with a wall of fence, or to simply run away.

I mentioned that this game has the word “survive” in its title, right? If you’re looking for a traditional “Metal Gear Solid” game, you’re looking in the wrong place. “Metal Gear Survive” takes the guts of the most recent “MGS” game, “The Phantom Pain,” and gives them new purpose. 

Forget about taking down governments: You’re just trying to stay alive.

Traditionally, “Metal Gear” games focus on an ongoing cast of characters as they grapple with international political dynamics and philosophize on the nature of man. It’s quite a series.

In “Metal Gear Survive,” the focus is on collecting materials, crafting those materials into usable resources, and staying alive.

You need to feed yourself, and quench your thirst. You need to build shelter, and new crafting stations to create better stuff. As your hunger increases, your overall health declines. As your thirst increases, your stamina declines (meaning you can only run for so long, etc.). It’s tough!

If you’ve ever played games like “Don’t Starve” and “State of Decay,” you’re already familiar with the core gameplay loop of “Metal Gear Survive.” You’ll spend a lot of time picking up as much stuff as possible simply so you can stay above water. That’s before we start talking about actually progressing the game’s story or completing missions.

See the rest of the story at INSIDER
Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/metal-gear-survive-review-2018-2

Canadian PM Trudeau roundly mocked for political, fashion blunders during disastrous trip to India

trudeau india

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been roundly mocked for a series of political, cultural, and fashion blunders during his trip to India.
  • India’s Prime Minister Nandera Modi did not acknowledge his arrival on social media, and sent a junior-level agricultural minister to meet him at the airport.
  • Indian citizens, politicians, and pundits have been ripping Trudeau for different elements of his trips, while the papers back in Canada do the same.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, normally the darling of Western media, has been roundly, and sometimes savagely mocked for a trip to India that included cultural, fashion, and political blunders at every turn.

Right off the bat, Trudeau’s trip got off to a bad start. Indian Prime Minister Nandera Modi, known for his social media savvy, did not make any posts welcoming Trudeau, who was greeted off the plane by a low-level agricultural minister.

On Tuesday, Trudeau’s wife Sophie posed for a photo with convicted terrorist Jaspal Atwal, a Sikh separatist. Back in Canada, Trudeau’s liberal party has ties to the country’s Sikh minority, some of whom support the Khalistan movement, which backs a new Sikh state in India’s Punjab region.

When Outlook India magazine pointed this out, they found themselves disinvited from a dinner with Trudeau. “Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau feted the world over as the new face of ‘liberalism’ seem [sic] to find it difficult to accommodate critical media coverage,” the magazine wrote. 

Even after Trudeau assured India’s government that he didn’t back the separatist movement, Canada’s diplomatic mission sent and then rescinded a dinner invitation to a man convicted of trying to kill an Indian politician.

Cultural appropriation, or just trying too hard?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets the audience as he leaves after attending the Canada-India business forum in Mumbai, India, February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

But the political blunders paled in comparison to the more visible cultural and fashion missteps. On several occasions Trudeau and his entire family appeared dressed in traditional Indian clothing, something other Western politicians don’t usually attempt with such vigor. 

Prominent Indian personalities expressed their distaste for Trudeau’s dress, with India Today calling it “tacky.” Trudeau showed up at an event full of Bollywood stars in full traditional dress, while the movie stars themselves simply wore black suits. 

On social media, popular Indian personalities put it more bluntly, calling for Trudeau to “have some chill” and calling his outfit choices “fake and annoying.”


At one point, Trudeau, wearing traditional dress, broke into the Indian dance called the Bhangra, to a mixed reaction on Twitter.

Back at home, the trip hasn’t played well for Trudeau, who was criticized for making his visit largely about photo opportunities, and less about handling business. 

“I don’t know if Justin Trudeau thinks that international trade missions are reality TV shows, but they are not,” Conservative party leader Andrew Scheer, Trudeau’s main opponent, told Reuters.

On CTV, a major Canadian news broadcaster, host Don Martin said that “If this is Trudeau putting Canada ‘back’ on the world stage, we should get off.”

Trudeau’s hometown paper, the Ottawa Citizen, compared his trip to India to George H.W. Bush’s 1992 trip to Tokyo, when he vomitted on Japan’s Prime Minister. 

“As for what ‘the work, achievements and objectives’ of this cavalcade of embarrassment might amount to, it would have been better, in hindsight, if Trudeau had gone to India alone, invited himself to dinner with Modi, and thrown up in his lap,” the Citizen wrote

Five days into the trip, when Modi finally acknowledged Trudeau’s trip on social media, he did so with a picture of Trudeau in normal dress from 2015.



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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/canadian-pm-trudeau-mocked-for-political-fashion-blunders-in-india-2018-2

Apple’s wireless charging pad that lets you top up your iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods simultaneously is reportedly launching next month (AAPL)

Phil Schiller AirPower

  • Apple announced the AirPower in September last year, saying that it would launch in 2018.
  • The AirPower is a physical, wireless pad which can charge multiple Apple devices at the same time without the need for cables.
  • A report from MacOtakara suggests the AirPower will launch as soon as March.

Apple is reportedly on track to release its AirPower charging unit later this year, according to a report from MacOtakara (which we first saw via 9to5Mac).

AirPower is Apple’s wireless charging pad; an oval-shaped surface large enough to hold your iPhone X, 8, or 8 Plus, or Apple Watch and charge them. The whole setup works without cables and can charge up to three devices at once.

AirPower will also work with AirPod headphones, provided you buy Apple’s new battery case for the headphones with wireless charging capabilities. It’s likely the AirPower units and the charging-enabled AirPods case will launch at the same time, though there’s no mention of that in MacOtakara’s report.

Apple is separately expected to launch a second-generation pair of AirPods.

MacOtakara doesn’t have a specific date, but it’s reporting that the AirPower should launch sometime in March, and that it will be available from both Apple and select third-party resellers such as Best Buy.

There are still no details on price. A Polish retailer last year suggested that the AirPower would cost $199 (£142), but it seems unlikely that an independent shop would have been clued up on a future Apple product.

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NOW WATCH: This chocolate heart filled with two pounds of Nutella is blowing up on Instagram

Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/apple-airpower-rumoured-march-launch-2018-2

10 things in tech you need to know today (AAPL, GOOG, MSFT, AMZN, INTC, SNAP)


Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to start your Friday.

1. Apple is reportedly working on a new pair of AirPods. The new earbuds are said to support the “Hey Siri” command, have a new wireless chip, and be scheduled for this year, while a water-resistant version may be launched in 2019.

2. The FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom order will become active on April 23. The order will repeal the 2015 Net Neutrality rules.

3. Top artificial intelligence (AI) experts and policymakers from 14 institutions have published a report on the malicious uses of AI. The 100-page paper outlines digital, physical, and political dangers.

4. Intel reportedly failed to disclose Spectre and Meltdown flaws to US cybersecurity officials before the news leaked online. Both Apple and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, as well as Intel, have said as much in letters sent to US congressmen.

5. Airbnb has debuted a new service called “Airbnb Plus.” The premium offering, active in 13 cities globally, has been designed to compete with hotels, and includes amenity-filled places that are professionally inspected and photographed.

6. Snap’s stock slid over 6% after an analyst warned of negative reactions to the recent update. Also, Kylie Jenner’s tweets that suggested that she uses the app less after the update may have contributed to the stock’s fall.

7. Amazon is reportedly planning to open up to six new Amazon Go cashier-less stores this year. There is no clear indication about their location, but rumours say that they will most likely be in Seattle and Los Angeles.

8. Apple Pay has an estimated 38 million active users in the US and 127 million globally, up from 62 million a year ago. That, in turn, means that only about 16% of iPhone users worldwide use Apple Pay.

9. “Angry Birds” maker Rovio’s stock has fallen over 50% to about €5 (£4.4/$6.2), well below its original €11.50 (£10.20/$14.20) IPO price. The revenue guidance for 2018 has been weak, too, with a maximum of €300 million (£265/$370 million) in forecast opposed to the €336 million (£292/$414 million) predicted by analysts.

10. Intel is partnering with several companies to launch 5G-powered Windows 10 machines in 2019. Partner firms include Microsoft, Dell, Lenovo, and HP.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/10-things-in-tech-you-need-to-know-today-february-23-2018-2

Tech M&A is going to pick up in 2018

An intelligent vision robot plays Scrabble at the Industrial Technology Research Institute booth during CES 2018 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 10, 2018

  • There may be more M&A in the near future in the technology sector.
  • Tech execs confidence level in the global economy has risen from 20% to 80%.
  • More than half of tech execs say they will pursue deals in the next year.
  • And the tax plan doesn’t have that much to do with it. 

While 2017 was a wash for tech M&A, we’re barely a month into the new year and that narrative is already changing.

This is hardly a surprise. In a single year, tech executives’ confidence in the global economy increased to more than 80%, from less than 20%, according to the 17th edition of the EY Global Capital Confidence Barometer – Technology. Pair this with optimism about corporate earnings, tax reform liquidity and confidence in credit availability, and you have an environment that is highly conducive to dealmaking. In fact, 57% of tech executives surveyed said they intend to pursue acquisitions in the next twelve months.

New entrants on the buy side of potential deals are likely to drive greater activity levels in the coming months. Because we continue to live in a sellers’ market, buyers need to be agile and well-prepared to pit themselves against competitive, no-outs and preemptive bids from other parties.

New players at the table

Heightened competition comes, in large part, from increasing interest from nontraditional tech acquirers, sovereign wealth funds and private equity firms converging on the tech market. Private equity firms, in particular, have shown an increased interest in technology assets. In fact, private equity players have more than tripled their tech investments over the past seven years (see chart below, from 451 Research).

While unicorn tech companies are attracting traditional players looking for both the technology and talent upgrades, private equity firms are more likely to bid on companies that have matured past the hype phase to a steady growth — profitable businesses, with a stable management team.

Screen Shot 2018 02 22 at 3.25.12 PM

Cash-rich tech incumbents also are looking to build or buy into new technologies through joint ventures or venture arms. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and augmented reality — which, despite their growing hype are still very early in their innovation cycle and lack a defined business model — will serve as strategic investments for buyers looking to augment their existing product lines, or hit the next S curve growth cycle.

As with new technology, increased investments in security will likely spur deal activity in a similar way. Hacks and vulnerabilities are growing, and companies within the technology sphere and beyond are looking to build solutions that improve trust and reliability. There are over 1,000 security vendors, and many companies employ two to three vendors per security vertical. We can expect to see further consolidation and deals in this subsector.

How do buyers beat competition while ensuring a fair price? 

Heightened competition from private equity firms and strategic buyers will likely incite a jump in hostile and competitive bids. Tech companies should prepare to compete against these market participants by leveraging advanced analytics, evaluating synergy opportunities and carefully crafting deal narratives and integration strategies.

Carve-outs, the sale of business units or segments from larger entities, are also on the rise. These assets may be very attractive, but they carry a lot of risk and uncertainty, in particular around stand-alone costs. The sellers typically look for a speedy transaction, which may leave potential buyers nervous. Companies looking for acquisitions should not shy away from these opportunities. Instead, they should implement the same rigorous evaluation process. The employment of predictive analytics, such as revenue optimization or customer analytics, for example, can provide a clear vision of the acquirer’s own value proposition for the target assets.

In sum, companies looking to buy assets this year need to have their ducks in a row. This means understanding who’s looking at the same assets and how those players measure valuations. Most companies need help in doing that – both from technology tools and a trained business advisor who understands the competitive landscape. Businesses that do not do their proper due diligence ahead of the transaction often lose out on attractive assets. This scenario is completely avoidable with a diligently compiled M&A playbook fit for the buyer’s organization.

Keeping tabs on market and policy changes

Excluding the possibility of geopolitical deterrents, little stands in the way for tech acquisitions this year. While there is some concern that valuations are inflated, even if stock prices were to decline, M&A conditions would remain prime. In fact, decreased valuations would likely drive further activity, because it would spur buyers to chase an attractive purchase price.

As for tax reform, the combination of the different rules is unlikely to significantly change M&A appetite as a whole. Assuming tech giants repatriate foreign cash, many believe Trump’s tax plan will provide slightly better liquidity for tech companies, although it remains unclear if easy access to offshore cash will be used for share buybacks or to fuel domestic deal activity.

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Source: http://www.thisisinsider.com/tech-ma-is-going-to-pick-up-in-2018-2018-2