Intel said on Friday it will invest $253.5 million in Jio Platforms, joining a roster of high-profile investors including Facebook and Silver Lake that have backed India’s top telecom operator at the height of a global pandemic.
The chipmaker’s investment arm said it is acquiring a 0.39% stake in Jio Platforms, giving the Indian firm a valuation of $65 billion. Intel is the 12th investor to buy a stake in Jio Platforms, which has raised nearly $15.5 billion by selling 25% stake since April this year.
“Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives. We believe digital access and data can transform business and society for the better. Through this investment, we are excited to help fuel digital transformation in India, where Intel maintains an important presence,” said Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital President, in a statement.
More to follow…
You could be excused for thinking that German robotics company Festo does nothing but put together fabulous prototype robots built to resemble kangaroos, jellyfish, and other living things. They do in fact actually make real industrial robots, but it’s hard not to marvel at their biomimetic experiments; Case in point, the feathered BionicSwift and absurd BionicMobileAssistant motile arm.
Festo already has a flying bird robot — I wrote about it almost 10 years ago. They even made a flying bat as a follow-up. But the BionicSwift is more impressive than both because, in an effort to more closely resemble its avian inspiration, it flies using artificial feathers.
“The individual lamellae [i.e. feathers] are made of an ultralight, flexible but very robust foam and lie on top of each other like shingles. Connected to a carbon quill, they are attached to the actual hand and arm wings as in the natural model,” Festo writes in its description of the robot.
The articulating lamellae allow the wing to work like a bird’s, forming a powerful scoop on the downstroke to push against the air, but separating on the upstroke to produce less resistance. Everything is controlled on-board, including the indoor positioning system that the bird was ostensibly built to demonstrate. Flocks of BionicSwifts can fly in close quarters and avoid each other using an ultra wideband setup.
Festo’s BionicMobileAssistant seems like it would be more practical, and in a way it is, but not by much. The robot is basically an arm emerging from a wheeled base — or rather a balled one. The spherical bottom is driven by three “omniwheels,” letting it move easily in any direction while minimizing its footprint.
The hand is a showcase of modern robotic gripper design, with all kinds of state of the art tech packed in there — but the result is less than the sum of its parts. What makes a robotic hand good these days is less that it has a hundred sensors in the palm and fingers and huge motility for its thumb, but rather intelligence about what it is gripping. An unadorned pincer may be a better “hand” than one that looks like the real thing because of the software that backs it up.
Not to mention the spherical movement strategy makes for something of an unstable base. It’s telling that the robot is transporting scarves and not plates of food or parts.
Of course, it’s silly to criticize such a machine, which is aspirational rather than practical. But it’s important to understand that these fascinating creations from Festo are hints at a possible future more than anything.
A day after formally completing the sale of Boost, Virgin and other Sprint prepaid networks to Dish, T-Mobile is pulling the plug on Sprint 5G. The move is one in a long list of issues that need sorting out in the wake of April’s $26.5 billion merger. And like a number of other moves, it’s set to leave some customers in the lurch.
The end of Sprint’s 2.5 GHz 5G comes as T-Mobile opts to focus on its own network. T-Mobile already started the process in New York City, a few weeks after the merger and has since completed it in a handful of other cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.
As CNET notes, while most existing Sprint 5G customers won’t be able to make the transition with their existing device, Samsung Galaxy S20 5G users are in the clear here. For everyone else, T-Mobile is offering up credits on leases for new 5G handsets.
T-Mobile told TechCrunch in a statement, “We are working to quickly re-deploy, optimize and test the 2.5GHz spectrum before lighting it up on the T-Mobile network.”
Along with the sale of Boost, 5G was a big selling point for T-Mobile’s Sprint acquisition. The carriers argued that the deal was necessary to keep them competitive with first and second place carriers AT&T and Verizon when it came to the next-generation wireless technology.
At the time FCC chairman Ajit Pai agreed stating, “This transaction will provide New T-Mobile with the scale and spectrum resources necessary to deploy a robust 5G network across the United States.”
Earlier this week, OpenSignal awarded T-Mobile the top spot in availability, noting, “In the U.S., T-Mobile won the 5G Availability award by a large margin with Sprint and AT&T trailing with scores of 14.1% and 10.3%, respectively.”
Uber has a new, independent board member, shows a new SEC filing: CEO Revathi Advaithi of 51-year-old Flex, which is among the world’s largest electronic manufacturers and competes against Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology.
Advaithi, a mechanical engineer who grew up in India with four sisters, was appointed to the top job in February of last year after spending roughly 10 years with the electronic manufacturing company Eaton, where she was COO and oversaw its global electrical business.
Before that, she spent six years as a VP at Honeywell.
Advaithi came to the job at a tough time. Specifically, Flex once counted among its biggest customers the Chinese company Huawei, for which it provided contract services for products like smartphones and 5G base stations. But the U.S. government last year banned U.S. firms — and non-U.S. firms with more than 25% American components in their products — from doing business with Huawei after it was deemed a national security risk.
Indeed, Flex, which today enjoys a market cap of $5 billion, saw its shares trading in the high teens in 2018, but they’d fallen to around $10 a share before Advaithi was brought aboard, and they have largely stay there since.
The coronavirus has also put pressure on Flex’s supply chains, even while the company has been diversifying its factories. (It noted to analysts earlier this year that it doesn’t have a factory in China’s Hubei province, which, at the time, was the epicenter of the virus.)
Advaithi is currently Uber’s third female director. In February, it announced that Mandy Ginsberg had been appointed to the board. GInsberg was CEO of the dating app company Match Group until January of this year, reportedly stepping down from the role after a tornado hit her home in Dallas and she separately underwent surgery. (Publicly traded Match Group was already expected at the time to be spun away from its majority shareholder, IAC, a maneuver that was completed yesterday.)
In 2017, Uber also appointed then Nestlé executive Wan Ling Martello to its board. Martello left Nestlé in 2018.
Entrepreneur Arianna Huffington was the first woman brought into Uber’s boardroom back in 2016 by then CEO Travis Kalanick. She left her seat last year, citing the growth of her media company, Thrive Global, as the reason for her departure.
Advaithi began her career in the U.S. decades ago as a shop floor supervisor in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She took over as Flex CEO last year when its longtime chief, Michael McNamara, resigned to join the venture capital firm Eclipse.
“Fallout,” the post-apocalyptic video game franchise published by Bethesda Softworks, is being turned into a TV series by Kilter Films, the production company of Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy.
The series, which began in 1997, takes place in an alternate future with a retro tone, after a nuclear war has turned most of the world into a wasteland. The games have continued in the two decades since, most recently with the release of “Fallout 76.”
The series — currently in development, with a series commitment from Amazon Studios — is part of Nolan and Joy’s overall deal with streaming service, which they signed last year for a reported $150 million.
The husband-and-wife team is best known for creating HBO’s new version of “Westworld” (based on a Michael Crichton film from the 1970s). They’re also working on an adaptation of William Gibson’s novel “The Peripheral.”
“Fallout is one of the greatest game series of all time,” Nolan and Joy said in a statement. “Each chapter of this insanely imaginative story has cost us countless hours we could have spent with family and friends. So we’re incredibly excited to partner with Todd Howard and the rest of the brilliant lunatics at Bethesda to bring this massive, subversive, and darkly funny universe to life with Amazon Studios.”