And...Quibi is over. After floating around as “NewTV” and hoovering up nearly two billion dollars in funding, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s mobile-first video service launched this spring and almost immediately fell on its face. Now the leadership is pulling the plug while there’s still a few hundred million in the bank to pay back early investors.
That doesn’t offer much help to those who came in later, its employees or anyone paying $5 per month for its dream of “quick bite” video clips (an official shutdown date is TBD, Quibi only launched its first TV apps on Tuesday). Despite spending big on celebrities and Oscar winners, Quibi failed to create a single piece of content more interesting than its so-bad-it’s-funny horror story The Golden Arm.
Worse, this isn’t Katzenberg’s first time failing with the concept and burning a lot of VC cash in the process -- that would be the 1999 flameout Pop.com. In a letter, Quibi’s leaders admitted the idea maybe wasn’t “strong enough,” but never got around to explaining why they ignored all the people who could see the flaws six months ago.
-- Richard Lawler
The new Air gets expensive fast once you up the storage and add a keyboard.
The new iPad Air is bigger, faster and more expensive than the model it replaces. It’s also added a USB-C port and support for Apple’s second-generation Pencil stylus. Like some of you, Engadget Editor-in-Chief Dana Wollman is the market for a secondary machine, and her review shows why the Air makes a strong case for that slot -- at least until Apple updates the iPad Pro, at least.
For $50 you get a cheap smart speaker with a clock face attached.
With the Essential, the pretense of a smart display is gone altogether; its predecessor’s LCD screen has been replaced with a basic LED display. As Nicole Lee explains, “It’s really more of a Google-powered speaker with a clock.” It’s easy to operate and includes a built-in nightlight, the main drawbacks are that it’s only $30 cheaper than the more capable original, and it lacks an ambient light sensor.
82 images from the OSIRIS-REx’s SamCam show what it looks like to touch an asteroid.
According to NASA, the images document approximately five minutes of OSIRIS-REx’s descent toward Bennu, including the moment it came into contact with the planetoid. Throughout the series, OSIRIS-REx’s aptly named Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM) is visible in the frame.
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The former Apple design executive has signed a multi-year deal.
Airbnb has struck a multi-year deal with Jony Ive’s new design firm LoveFrom, calling it “a special collaboration.” Ive is, of course, most known for his work with Apple where he led the design team that worked on the iPhone, the iPad, the MacBook Air and the Apple Watch.
The announcement unfortunately didn’t detail what exactly Ive will do for Airbnb. According to Financial Times, though, the former Apple exec will lead the rental platform’s efforts to revamp its app and website. He will also help redesign the ratings-based system the service uses to vet guests and hosts.
Walmart vs. Amazon is heating up.
The internet giant is now offering free one-hour grocery pickup at Whole Foods Market stores for all Prime subscribers in the US. So long as you spend $35 or more, you can have store staff load groceries in your trunk.
The company is pitching the option as well-suited to the pandemic, when just venturing inside the store can be stressful. At the same time, it expects pickup to become a “more permanent solution” even after the pandemic is over. It’s probably not a coincidence that this perk is arriving just one month after the competition launched Walmart Plus, a $98 per year subscription that delivers items from its stores for free.