Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen.
Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.
Google Glass was ahead of its time. That’s not to say that the people who wore it out in public didn’t look like giant dorks, of course, but in hindsight it seems safe to say that the world just wasn’t ready for wearable augmented reality. The phenomenon has, however, seen a resurgence among enterprise applications, courtesy of companies like Epson and Microsoft.
Google’s ready to ride that wave. In May, the company announced the arrival of the second version of its Enterprise Edition of Glass. Today, the headset is available for developers as a direct purchase from a handful of resellers. The Android-based device, which graduated from Google X mid last year, looks remarkably like the earliest versions of Glass, albeit with a slightly refined design.
Seven years after the arrival of the original model, the Glass Enterprise 2 isn’t cheap, either. It runs $ 1,000 from partner sites. There are a few suggestions for potential applications, including card text, imaging samples and QR scanning.
As Lucas noted in his initial write-up, the Glass system is much more limited than the likes of the latest HoloLens, which is focused on a more XR experience. Google, instead, is focused on lightweight usability — which could certainly serve as an advantage in certain settings. Key applications for the product include settings like construction sites, where contextual environmental information can otherwise be difficult to access.
I love music. Seriously, it’s one of the few things that brings solace in this cold, lonely world. Want to go deep on Joni Mitchell, William Onyeabor or Pablo Casals? I’m game. Yes, I worked at multiple record stores years before TechCrunch. Yes, I will always be that guy. What I will never be, however, is a musician, professional or otherwise.
I’m resolved to this fact at this point in my life. I’ll never be a rock star like I’ll never be a professional baseball player — both facts I’ve mostly made peace with. We don’t need to go into the two years of junior high when I played the trombone, or the decade and a half I attempted to master the guitar. All you need to know is I had absolutely zero aptitude for either.
It’s not for lack of desire to make music. It’s just a straight-up, good-old-fashioned lack of talent. For precisely this reason, I view any new piece of musical equipment with great interest. There’s a ton of money to be made for the startup that can truly unlock the potential of music making for those lacking the basic skills to do so.
Roli has long been of interest to me for this reason. I was one of the first people to cover the Seaboard when it debuted at SXSW a number of years ago. It’s a fascinating instrument, letting users bend notes courtesy of a soft material makeup, but mastering it — or, really, making any music at all — requires some ability to play piano.The company’s modular block system, announced a few years ago, was even more compelling, but similarly failed to scratch that itch.
Last week at CES, the fine folks at Kickstarter introduced me to the founders of a trio of crowdfunding companies that fit the bill to some degree. French startup Joué actually went on to win top prize at our CES pitch-off this year, with its modular MIDI controller of the same name.
The device operates on a similar principle as the Sensel Morph we’ve covered before, with silicone skins that overlay atop a touch surface to offer a variety of different controllers. Joué’s take is more music-focused than Sensel’s ever was. And besides, based on a conversation with Sensel at the show, I think it’s pretty fair to say that the company is turning most of its focus away from that device, in favor of compelling touch components it’s working to build into third-party handsets.
The Kickstarter project is an impressive one, as evidenced by the brief demo. It’s extremely versatile, requiring just a new skin and sound pack for the system to take on completely different aural qualities. The company also discussed the potential for customized sound packs. Joué brought NWA founder Arabian Prince in to perform at its both all week. An odd fit for CES, to be sure, but an interesting example of the kinds of artists such a product might be able to draw. It’s easy to see musicians expressing interest in a customized pad.
That said, while the company seems to be positioning the product as perfect for beginners, I do expect there’s a reasonably large learning curve here. That seems removed somewhat from Rhythmo. The Austin-based startup’s project combines music making with a guided dip into the maker world.
It’s a MIDI controller drum kit that you make out of a cardboard box. It ships with all of the pieces, and putting it together offers a nice connection into the process of creating a musical instrument. Founder Ethan Jin let me take a constructed model for a spin on the CES floor. The demo was a little glitchy for various reasons, but it was fun. The kit features large arcade buttons that can be mapped to a variety of sounds. You can use the Rhythmo app or interface with your music software of choice in iPad, desktop, etc. It’s a fun entry into that world.
Artiphon, however, is probably closest to fulfilling my very specific desires. The company is best known for its massively successful Kickstarter project, Instrument 1. That racked in a mind-boggling $ 1.3 million with the promise of delivering a guitar, violin, piano and drum machine all in a single device.
The newer Orba ($ 1.4 million this time), however, really caught my eye. The puck-shaped device is a pocket synthesizer/looper/MIDI controller that requires little if any musical knowledge to get up and running. After a conversation with founder Mike Butera, I’ve come to regard it at a very base-level as a sort of musical fidget spinner.
That is to say, it’s simple enough that you can use it absentmindedly to make music while you pace around your apartment, trying to come up with a half-decent headline for the story of crowdfunded music projects at CES you’ve been writing (a purely hypothetical example that in no way reflects my life).
Of the three, that’s the one I’m most key to review, in hopes of finally scratching that musical itch.
China has reportedly ordered all foreign PC hardware and operating systems to be replaced in the next three years, intensifying an ongoing tech war. The country has attempted this sort of thing before halfheartedly, but this is the most serious effort yet to isolate itself from the influence of the western technology sector.
The order came from high up in the Chinese government earlier this year, according to a Financial Times report citing Chinese tech analysts. The goal is not simply to replace American and European software and operating systems with Chinese equivalents, but the hardware they run on as well.
China has previously ordered purges of western software, but they were more limited or related to certain security issues; there were efforts five years ago to wean the country off Android and Windows, but ultimately they proved abortive.
This time could very easily be different. The relationship between the U.S. and China has become strained, to say the least, especially in the world of tech, where the two countries have shifted from earnest rivals to real adversaries. The U.S. has recently moved to ban some large Chinese hardware providers, such as ZTE and Huawei, from use in American infrastructure (Huawei has called the ban “unconstitutional”), and miscellaneous other policy decisions have widened the rift.
The apparently decisive nature of the order, then, should come as no surprise. The goal is reportedly to replace 30 percent of the computers and software by the end of 2020, an additional 50 percent in 2021, and the remaining 20 percent in 2022.
The three year “3-5-2” plan is ambitious to say the least. Tens of millions of devices will need to be replaced, but it isn’t as simple as trading out HP machines for Chinese-manufactured ones. The components and software must be Chinese as well, so Intel and AMD processors are out, as are Nvidia GPUs, ARM architectures, Sony image processors, and so on.
This won’t be quite the shock it seems, however, as many Chinese companies have been preparing for this eventuality for years. China has made its desire to establish independence from U.S. companies especially quite clear and many state-backed enterprises have been unable to use U.S. suppliers for some time.
Even so, Chinese equivalents to products like Windows and Android have nowhere near the level of maturity and developer support necessary to swap them out with no consequences. And the ban may hamstring other major efforts like the country’s push to dominate the AI ecosystem. If Chinese government-backed researchers are unable to use the same tools as their academic and private counterparts elsewhere in the world, their results will almost certainly suffer.
The specifics of the plan are still confidential but will likely trickle out as they begin to be enforced. But this is likely to be a major driver of industry dynamics for several years as suppliers, developers, and manufacturers all learn to navigate the divergent markets.
We’re still in the hunt for innovative early-stage hardware startup founders. And by that, we mean boundary-pushers, exceptional disrupters and all-around game-changers. If that sounds like you, you still have time to apply to compete in Hardware Battlefield at TC Shenzhen on November 11-12.
Don’t miss your chance to compete in our epic, hardware-focused pitch competition. Apply to TC Hardware Battlefield 2019. The grand prize is a cool $ 25,000, but there’s a lot more than money on the line. If you’re selected, you’ll launch your startup on a world stage — in front of eager investors and tech media. And you’ll do it in Shenzhen, the world’s hardware heartland. The exposure alone can be life-changing.
First things first. Does your startup qualify? The answer is yes — if you meet the following stipulations.
Submit your application by August 14
You must have a minimally viable product to demo onstage
Your product has received little or no international press coverage to date
Your product must be a hardware device or component (Enterprise hardware eligible)
Our discerning TechCrunch editors will thoroughly review every qualified application and pick approximately 10-15 startups to compete. If you’re selected, get ready to work, because you’ll receive free pitch coaching from our editors. That’s six rigorous weeks to get you primed and prepped to pitch your hardware on a world stage — and outshine the competition
Founders have just six minutes to pitch and demo their products — followed by an in-depth Q&A with the judges. If you make it to the final round, you’ll repeat the process in front of a new set of judges. After the hardware dust settles, the judges will name the Hardware Battlefield TC Shenzhen champion — who takes home the Battlefield Cup along with a check for an equity-free $ 25,000.
All the fast-paced action takes place in front of a live audience, and we capture the entire event on video and post it to our global audience on TechCrunch. That translates to a lot of exposure, and it can change the trajectory of your business — whether you win or not.
The Hardware Battlefield takes place during our second TC Shenzhen event (produced with TechNode, our partner in China). The show features top speakers from the startup world in China and beyond, plenty of startups exhibiting in Startup Alley and a hackathon. Stay tuned — we’ll have tickets available soon.