It’s that time of the week again, folks. Welcome to Week in Review (WiR), TechCrunch’s regular roundup of the last week in tech. New here? Do not worry – register here to get WiR in your inbox every Saturday, then read on for the week’s recap.
This week we cover Netflix calmly remove its basic plan in Canada, IRL social app to extinguish after discovering that most of its users are fake and that successful sales of the Flipper hacking device. Also in store, TC reported on Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i dual screen laptopDeepMind’s next chatbot at rival ChatGPT and Robinhood acquire a credit card startup. Phew.
Basic Plan of Netflix Axes — in Canada: Netflix has quietly killed off the basic $9.99 CAD per month plan in Canada for new subscribers. This simplifies the streaming company’s offering but leaves a big gap between the ad-supported plan and the standard plan, writes Ivan.
A unicorn social app closes: Ironically, the social app IRLUsers do not exist in real life. An internal survey by IRL’s board found that 95% of the app’s 20 million reported users were automated or from bots. So, after raising over $200 million in venture capital, IRL is closing its doors.
A portable, but double: Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i caught both admiring and skeptical glances at CES earlier this year when it made its official debut. With two 13-inch OLED screens attached with a central hinge, it’s one of the most unusual laptop designs to ever hit production. And, according to Darrell, it’s the first that proves the dual-screen paradigm can work — and very well — for a lot of people.
Flipper is selling like hotcakes: You may have come across Pinball Zero Hacking Device that does the trick, which includes a bunch of ways to manipulate the world around you – including RFID card systems, remote keyless systems, key fobs, entry barriers and more. The company says it’s on track to sell $80 million worth of products this year after selling nearly $5 million in Kickstarter pre-orders – and claims to have sold $25 million worth of devices last year.
Robinhood acquires X1: Robinhood announced on Thursday that it will acquire a no-fee credit card startup X1 for $95 million in cash. X1, which offers an income-based credit card with rewards, has raised a total of $62 million in venture funding from investors including Soma Capital, FPV, Craft Ventures and Spark Capital since its inception. in 2020.
Shein’s stunt backfires: As Shein eyes an IPO, the company’s image needs a serious makeover. From stealing the work of freelance designers to violating local labor laws, Shein has fallen into disuse on social media. The company therefore invited a group of influencers to visit one of its factories in Guangzhou, China. Reviewers point out that it was a highly organized branding trip in which influencers were offered free travel opportunities and freebies, encouraging them to promote a favorable corporate image.
Databricks acquires MosaicML: This week, Databricks announcement that it will pay $1.3 billion to acquire MosaicML, an open-source startup with expertise in neural networks that has built a platform for organizations to train large language models and deploy AI tools generative based on them. Previously, MosaicML raised just under $64 million from investors including Atlas, Playground Global and Samsung Next.
ChatGPT gets Bing: ChatGPT on mobile can now surf the web. But only through Bing – for better or worse. This week, OpenAI announcement that subscribers to ChatGPT Plus, the premium version of the company’s AI-powered chatbot, can use a new feature in the ChatGPT app called Browsing that allows users to use ChatGPT to search Bing for answers to questions .
Looking for a podcast to pass the hours? You have come to the right place. TC has you covered.
On Equity, the team kicked things off with recent funding from Honey Homes and Gusto’s association with Remote; they then dove into the latest wave of mergers and acquisitions, from Visa’s purchase of Pismo to Databricks’ deal with MosaicML.
In the meantime, Find featured the founders of Spout, a startup that makes a device that can extract fresh drinking water from the air.
More than Chain reactionthis week’s episode hosted Jack Lu, co-founder and CEO of NFT market Magic Eden, to discuss the state of the crypto market.
And The TechCrunch Podcast covered Shein inviting several fashion influencers to its facilities in China. The internet did not appreciate the stunt.
TC+ subscribers get access to in-depth commentary, analysis and polls, which you know if you’re already a subscriber. If you are not, consider registering. Here are some highlights from this week:
M&A is back: It’s been a quiet year for technology mergers and acquisitions. But suddenly, this week, it feels like the M&A floodgates are finally opening and we’re starting to see some movement.
Big Tech embraces generative AI: As the race to create generative AI tools for the enterprise turns into a battle royale, Big Tech companies are busy wielding their most powerful weapons: checkbooks. Will the trend continue? It’s an open question.
When companies have more influence than countries: According to CIA World Factbook, if Apple were a country, its revenue would be 50th on the list of countries ranked by GDP. While it would lag behind the United States, France and Egypt as a country, Apple would produce more wealth than Norway, Portugal or Greece, and only slightly less than Hong Kong, the Peru or Israel. Should this be so? Haje explores.
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