Tencent returns to profit growth despite concern around games

Tencent returns to profit growth despite concern around games

Chinese internet giant Tencent bounced back from a disappointing previous quarter, but for once the company didn’t have its gaming business to thank. Tencent may be best known for conjuring up WeChat, China’s most popular messaging platform, but its revenue is driven by its gaming business, which includes top smartphone titles and a thriving PC unit. Its Q3 results announced today, however, saw its gaming income slacken and other units, including a booming advertising business, step up. The firm posted a net profit of RMB 23.3 billion ($3.4 billion) on total revenue…

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‘Instant Family’ Review: A Good Movie That Brings Good into the World

‘Instant Family’ Review: A Good Movie That Brings Good into the World

The best thing I can say about Sean Anders’ lovely new movie Instant Family is that it made me consider fostering children, something I had never even begun to consider in my entire life. It’s not that the movie shies away from how hard fostering can be—if anything, the movie leans into the difficulties of fostering. Rather, Instant Family does a public service about the foster system and then packages it in a charming comedy that prevents the story from ever being preachy or mawkish. There’s a surprising amount of…

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We tried Amazon’s bizarre Alexa microwave and weren’t convinced

We tried Amazon’s bizarre Alexa microwave and weren’t convinced

I’m a fan of Alexa and of voice computing in general. But when Amazon said it was putting Alexa into a microwave, I wasn’t so sure. The value in voice computing is being able to get to news, information, music hands-free, as well as perform simple tasks, including those for the smart home – like changing the thermostat from downstairs, or taking a peek at your security camera video from your Echo Show. But a microwave? Really? Microwaves, after all, are one of the most common kitchen appliances. And, unlike…

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Wynd announces a new air purifier and desktop monitor

Wynd announces a new air purifier and desktop monitor

As far as goals for hardware startups go, you could do worse than ridding the air of allergens, pollutants and the like. Launched in 2016 as a Kickstarter project, Wynd is going back to the crowdfunding well this week for two new hardware products. Wind Halo is a pretty nice-looking (from the press material) desktop air monitor featuring a set of 10 sensors. In fact, the design language on the thing really brings to mind the Echo Spot — still arguably the nicest-looking of Amazon’s Alexa devices. The system relies…

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Home insurance provider Hippo brings in $70M amid a record year in funding for insurtech startups

Home insurance provider Hippo brings in $70M amid a record year in funding for insurtech startups

Felicis Ventures and Lennar Corporation have co-led the $70 million Series C funding round for Hippo, a tech-enabled home insurance marketplace. Existing investors in the startup, like Comcast Ventures, Fifth Wall Ventures, Horizons Ventures and GGV Capital, also participated in the round. Hippo has raised $109 million to date, including a $25 million Series B earlier this year. Co-founder and chief executive officer Assaf Wand declined to disclose Hippo’s valuation. Wand, who co-founded the startup in 2015 with Eyal Navon, said he spent 14 years imagining the technology that would become Hippo,…

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Amazon’s Fire TV Recast is a decent DVR for antenna users

Amazon’s Fire TV Recast is a decent DVR for antenna users

Amazon’s Fire TV companion DVR, the Fire TV Recast, is available today to the public, after previously having been only offered for pre-order. The new device offers a way for Fire TV owners to easily access free, over-the-air broadcast television directly from the Fire TV’s software. Starting at $229, this cord cutters’ DVR is something of a modern-day TiVo, as it combines access to live TV, recordings, and on-demand programming all in one interface. But while the Fire TV Recast works as advertised, channel reception in your area can hinder…

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Microsoft to acquire Xoxco as focus on AI and bot developers continues

Microsoft to acquire Xoxco as focus on AI and bot developers continues

Microsoft has been all in on AI this year, and in the build versus buy equation, the company has been leaning heavily toward buying. This morning, the company announced its intent to acquire Xoxco, an Austin-based software developer with a focus on bot design, making it the fourth AI-related company Microsoft has purchased this year. “Today, we are announcing we have signed an agreement to acquire Xoxco, a software product design and development studio known for its conversational AI and bot development capabilities,” Lili Cheng, corporate VP for conversational AI…

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Tinder’s head of product has left

Tinder’s head of product has left

Tinder’s chief product officer Brian Norgard wants to get back to his entrepreneurial roots, citing former PayPal executive-turned-venture capitalist Keith Rabois as inspiration. Norgard, who joined Tinder as part of the acquisition of his Kleiner Perkins-backed ephemeral messaging startup Tappy in 2014, has confirmed to TechCrunch that he’s left the app-based dating company to focus on building products and investing in early-stage businesses. Tinder has not yet identified his successor, but Norgard says “it’s all positive vibes” between him and the company. Norgard began as Tinder’s head of revenue before…

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