Monday, June 26, 2023

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☕️ Techpresso: Honoring John Goodenough, Meta's New VR Plan, Aston Martin's EV future and more

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This is your daily dose of ☕️ Techpresso, where you get the latest tech news of the day effortlessly.

Here's the latest tech news from the last 24 hours:

🔋 Farewell to John Goodenough, the father of lithium-ion batteries
🎮 Meta launches new VR subscription ‘Meta Quest+’ for $7.99
⚡ Aston Martin partners with Lucid for future EV development
📈 Databricks acquires AI startup MosaicML for $1.3B
📦 Amazon will partner with local businesses to speed up deliveries
☁️ IBM invests heavily in hybrid cloud services with $4.6B Apptio acquisition

🔋 Farewell to John Goodenough, the father of lithium-ion batteriesLINK

  • Dr. John Goodenough, the scientist widely recognized as the creator of the lithium-ion battery, has passed away at the age of 100.
  • Goodenough's 1980 breakthrough in lithium-cobalt oxide cathode design greatly improved battery voltage and safety, enabling the practical use of cellphones, laptops, and electric vehicles.
  • Though industries are transitioning from lithium-ion to solid-state batteries, Goodenough's significant contributions to battery technology and other fields like RAM have indelibly shaped the modern tech landscape.
  • 🎮 Meta launches new VR subscription ‘Meta Quest+’ for $7.99LINK

  • Meta has launched a new virtual reality subscription service, Meta Quest+, available at $7.99 per month or $59.99 annually, providing subscribers with the top two VR titles every month.
  • The first games offered are FPS Pistol Whip and Pixel Ripped 1995, with future offerings to include Walkabout Mini Golf and Mothergunship: Forge; subscribers retain access to all titles as long as their subscription is active.
  • Currently available for Quest 2 and Pro with Quest 3 support pending, the service distinguishes Meta from competitors like PlayStation which doesn't offer VR games through its subscription, and an introductory discount is available until July 31st.
  • ⚡ Aston Martin partners with Lucid for future EV developmentLINK

  • Lucid Group, the American automaker, will supply British luxury automaker Aston Martin with powertrain components for its future electric vehicles, with Aston Martin aiming to launch its first EV in 2025.
  • The agreement, Lucid's first opportunity to act as a supplier, involves phased cash payments and a 3.7% stake in Aston Martin, totaling around $232 million.
  • Lucid will provide Aston Martin with technical support for integrating its electric powertrain technologies, a move that furthers Aston Martin's electrification strategy alongside existing partnerships with Mercedes-Benz and China's Geely.
  • 📈 Databricks acquires AI startup MosaicML for $1.3BLINK

  • Databricks, a Data and AI company based in San Francisco, has agreed to acquire MosaicML, a leading generative AI platform, in a deal worth approximately $1.3 billion to enable organizations to build, own, and secure their own generative AI models.
  • MosaicML, founded by Naveen Rao, specializes in generative AI, with a focus on data security, and offers a platform for easy training and deployment of AI models, promising 2–7x faster training speeds and the ability to train large models within hours.
  • Following the acquisition, the entire MosaicML team will join Databricks, adding their expertise in generative AI research and potentially leading to the offering of two leading large language models (LLMs), Dolly-2 and MPT.
  • 📦 Amazon will partner with local businesses to speed up deliveries LINK

  • Amazon is reportedly seeking partnerships with small businesses such as bodegas and IT shops to expand its last-mile delivery network, with the company paying these retailers a fee for each package they deliver.
  • The program, which has Amazon aiming to turn small local businesses into mini Amazon storage spaces, is primarily targeting small to mid-size cities and densely populated urban areas.
  • This strategy aims to lessen Amazon's dependency on other delivery companies, allowing it to control costs and differentiate its service offerings, potentially also providing these small businesses with additional income and opportunities to become third-party sellers on Amazon.
  • ☁️ IBM invests heavily in hybrid cloud services with $4.6B Apptio acquisitionLINK

  • IBM has confirmed its acquisition of FinOps software vendor Apptio for $4.6bn, in a move to refocus its business around the hybrid cloud.
  • Apptio, which provides a suite of tools to track and analyze technology spending, serves a variety of notable clients, including Chevron, EDF Energy, and Bank of Ireland.
  • This deal signifies IBM's continued shift towards the hybrid cloud market, as it also focuses on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing.
  • Other news you might like

    SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed that over a thousand changes, including a significant switch to a "hot-staging approach," are required for Starship's second test flight, aiming for a 60% success rate.LINK

    Meta's open-source AI technology is being exploited to create explicit and sexually oriented chatbots, causing controversy due to potential misuse while challenging corporate control over AI tools.LINK

    NASA's International Space Station now recycles 98% of onboard water, including sweat and urine, through advanced life support systems, critical for future space missions.LINK

    Netflix has discontinued its Basic plan for new subscribers in Canada, leaving an ad-supported and Standard plan, with implications for other markets unclear.LINK

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