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Sony reveals clip-on unit to turn any eyewear into Google Glass-style smart glasses

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Sony has unveiled a new clip-on display unit that will attach to the frame of any eyewear and transform it into a pair of smart glasses in the mode of Google Glass. The accessory incorporates a control board with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi along with a compass, accelerometer and touch sensors. It’s powered by an ARM Cortex-A7 processor and shows information via a 640×400 OLED micro-display. As with Google Glass, the display hovers in front of your eye. Sony says it’ll offer a field of view equivalent to a 16 inch display placed 2 meters in front of you. The whole…

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Chinese Search Engine Company Baidu Just Invested A Reported $600M In Uber

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Baidu, China’s largest search engine company, confirmed on Wednesday morning an investment in ride-sharing app Uber. A China-based Bloomberg reporter tweeted a picture of the signing ceremony in the early hours of Dec. 17. 

The investment, reported on Dec. 12 by Bloomberg to be worth as much as $600 million, will buy a minority stake in Uber and give the startup a huge lift as it looks to expand its operation in China, a person familiar with the matter told the website. The deal brings cash and non-cash assets, including Baidu’s online resources, the source said.  

The deal was agreed at Baidu HQ in Beijing. Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li and Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick were both there. 

In a statement on TechCrunch, Kalanick said:

“This collaboration marks a milestone for Uber. We’re currently in 250 cities around the world, and the Asia-Pacific region has been a key area of growth for us. Our partnership with Baidu — a premier global brand — reflect our commitment to the region and the growing community of Uber riders and driver partners here.” 

TechCrunch explains the move will allow Uber to make use of Baidu’s app distribution channels, which it bought for $1.9 billion in 2013. It means the company can take advantage of Baidu Map, an interactive heat map of peoples’ travel patterns with more than 240 million monthly users. The US company will be hiring in 14 cities in the world’s most populous country.

Uber has now received £3.3 billion in 8 rounds of funding from 37 investors, CrunchBase figures reveal. Last time the San Francisco taxi-booking service was valued it came in at $40 billion — and the most recent will no doubt send its valuation even higher, though it remains unclear by exactly how much. Still, Uber is now said to be worth four times as much as other big Silicon Valley startups, and nearly double that of Tesla. 

Since 2009 alone, Uber has now raised $2.5 billion. It is continuing to roll out ventures across the world, despite regulatory hurdles. Indeed, it appears Uber is truly an unstoppable force. 

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Oil prices sink further in Asian trade

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery sank .16 in afternoon trade to .77

SINGAPORE (AFP) – Oil suffered fresh losses in Asia Wednesday, sinking to new multi-year lows as dealers watch Russia’s ruble crisis and await the latest US crude supply report, analysts said.

US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for January delivery sank $1.16 in afternoon trade to $54.77 while Brent crude for February fell 71 cents to $59.30 on the contract’s first day of trading.

Brent for January finished down $1.20 at $59.86 in London, after slipping below the psychological $60 for the first time since July 2009.

Oil investors are closely watching the situation in crude producer Russia after the ruble on Tuesday crashed to new record lows against the dollar, losing some 20 percent in value.

The slump came despite the country’s central bank hiking interest rates from 10.5 percent to 17 percent. Russia’s economy has been battered by slumping oil prices and Western sanctions over Moscow’s support for Ukrainian separatists.

“Should oil prices fall further, then worries may increasingly grow among Russian corporates and households,” Credit Agricole said in a commentary.

With demand for the safer dollar in Russia, “authorities may have to consider measures to cap expectations of bank runs”, the French lender said.

Singapore-based Phillip Futures said “there is a pretty good chance that (Russia) may be in for a default on their domestic bonds”. 

Dealers are also keeping a watch on the release later Wednesday of a US oil supply report for clues about demand in the world’s top crude consumer, analysts said.

Analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal tipped reserves to have fallen by 1.9 million barrels on average in the week to December 12.

However, oil prices are expected to stay low because of weak global demand and the OPEC oil cartel’s refusal to cut output despite a global supply glut.

 

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Brandwatch acquires social analytics firm PeerIndex

Brandwatch, the British social media monitoring firm, has acquired PeerIndex, the London-based social analytics firm, for an undisclosed amount. PeerIndex CEO, Azeem Azar, says the company’s technology will be woven in to Brandwatch’s existing social analytics platform and his team will be “developing a new stealth product which marries content marketing and influence together.” ➤ PeerIndex is Joining Brandwatch [PeerIndex]  

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