Some of our staff spent the week in Austin TX reporting on anti-robot protests and drones that shoot both fire and silly string. But the news cycle rolls on with big announcements from Facebook, Tesla and Nintendo. These are our best stories from this week (3/14-3/20).
1. Facebook introduced free friend to friend payments through Messages. Josh Constine gives you the rundown. We also learned that Facebook is planning on turning Messenger into a platform.
2. Amid its announcement that Windows 10 will go on sale this summer, Microsoft casually revealed that it is testing Windows 10 with “power users” of Xiaomi’s flagship Mi 4 Android smartphone – again showing the company’s new ‘platform agnostic’ approach.
3. Darrell gave us a video walkthrough explaining what its like to use the Force Touch trackpad on the new Retina MacBook Pro.
4. Matt Burns wrote an open letter to the teacher who made his 7-year-old son sit out at career day. She did not believe that a game developer was a “real job.”
5. Elon Musk announced an update to the Model S Tesla: it will now run constant calculations on how far you are from a supercharger. This means that If you are about to drive too far from a supercharger to make it back to one, the car will warn you, thus ending “range anxiety.” Tesla also announced an autopilot mode to come, and can now resume car sales in New Jersey.
6. Nintendo is finally bringing its games and characters to mobile after the company surprised the tech world with an alliance with Japanese mobile gaming firm DeNA. This is what we know so far.
7. Livestreaming app Meerkat exemplified the danger of building on someone else’s platform – as Twitter acquired its competitor Periscope. Josh explained what Meerkat will do without Twitter. Jordan Crook also gave her take in “The Weasel and the Woodpecker.”
8. Matthew Panzarino analyzed Meerkat, Snapchat and what livestreaming and video apps really mean to users in “Empathy Machines.”
9. We learned that Pinterest raised $367 million dollars in its latest round, and the company’s valuation now sits at $11 billion.
10. Yahoo introduced password-free login – just don’t lose your phone.
11. Matt Burns discovered a bookmarklet hack that brings God View to your Netflix user interface.
12. Guest writer Dan Kaplan wrote about Facebook, Oculus and the future of virtual reality.
13. It’s been a year in the making, and Andreessen-Horowitz backed Leap busses hit the streets of San Francisco. These busses have plush interior seating, Wi-Fi, USB ports and bar stools for working on laptops – and they run on natural gas.