News Article | August 24, 2016
The R&D 100 Conference — the pinnacle for all things R&D — is the place where today's top innovators in the R&D community come together to meet, greet, learn and inspire one another. The learning tracks revolve around leaders in innovation who are willing to share their knowledge with their peers. The highlight of the R&D 100 Conference is the R&D 100 Awards Ceremony. A celebration of the year's top innovations in the R&D space, dubbed the "Oscars of Invention", the R&D 100 Awards is the place where the community comes together to recognize and honor those among them who have achieved greatness in 2016. This year's R&D 100 Conference will be held at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Md. (Washington, D.C. metro area) from Nov. 2-4.
News Article | January 4, 2016
Motherboard is going to CES, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. It’s true. Every year, right after the holidays, the entire consumer electronics industry descends upon Las Vegas for a week of unrelenting hype. Highly paid executives from the largest tech companies on the planet hop on stage in and around the Las Vegas Convention Center and loudly proclaim that this year, ladies and gentlemen, will be the year of… whatever it is that they happen to be hawking at the moment. It’s not too different than when a boxer or mixed martial artist claims that his next opponent will be the toughest opponent he’s ever had to face, completely brushing aside last year’s battles. The ephemerality of it all is so excellent. That’s what I love about CES: It’s a completely over-the-type hype train about the future of the devices we all use every day, from the TV we turn on after work (increasingly to watch streaming services like Netflix), to the fitness trackers we use to remind ourselves of just how sedentary our lives truly are. It’s like WrestleMania week, but for people who are into tech and not fake fighting. Motherboard will be in Las Vegas for the entire week, heaven help us, with myself, internet culture reporter Kari Paul, and security reporter Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai all reporting from the ground. It’s a small team, yes, but I think that’s a strength: Rather than trying to cover every single thing that comes out of the show, we can instead be a little more selective in what we write about. This year, I expect the there to be a keen emphasis on the Internet of Things, and bringing internet connectivity to an ever wider variety of devices. Of course, with internet connectivity comes a range of potential security issues, which Lorenzo will no doubt highlight in his own inimitable fashion. Cars will be another big topic this year, with companies like BMW, Ford, and Toyota all having a big presence at the show. Naturally, much of the interest will surround autonomous driving, but we'll also be on the lookout for the increased adoption of technologies like Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, which seek to more tightly integrate smartphones and apps into the driving experience. And given the expected launch of the Oculus Rift in the first quarter of the year, look for virtual reality and augmented reality to have prominent roles at the show. In fact, there’s a section of the Convention Center show floor that’s entirely dedicated to VR and AR. As part of Motherboard’s coverage of CES this year, there are a few ways that you can interact with us. The quickest and easiest way to get a hold of us is to contact the Motherboard CES Tips line on Twitter at @MBCESTIPS. We plan to set aside a few hours later in the week where we’ll 100 percent be at your disposal: Want us to talk to Samsung live on Periscope about their crazy expensive TV? You got it. Want to see the inside of Ford’s latest autonomous concept vehicle on Vine? Done and done. Need pictures from inside the Fetty Wap party? We’ll see what we can do.
News Article | March 24, 2016
Once you sit in the seat of the all-new Lincoln Continental, you may never want to get up. Once you see the Navigator concept's doors go up, you may never want them to go down. We got to experience both features hands-on during the New York International Auto Show's press preview day on Wednesday, as Lincoln more than added to its brand of ultra-luxurious comfort and flair. When arriving at Lincoln's exhibit at the Jacob Javits Center, I first got behind the wheel of the Continental to experience the automaker's 30-way Perfect Position seats, which are quite easily the most comfortable automobile seats I have ever sat in. While it's pretty standard for automobile seats to automatically move forward, backward and recline, Lincoln changed the game with a split cushion under your thighs, with each one being independently adjustable for the ultimate comfort. Why would you need to move each thigh cushion? Well, through extensive research, Lincoln discovered that not everyone's legs rest level while driving and this adjustment gives the driver comfort down to the slightest degree. As I got behind the wheel of the ultra-luxurious Continental, I toggled each thigh cushion control until it was set to my exact liking and comfort, doing the same with the seat recline feature as well. If I had it my way, I would have backed the seat up as far as possible, whipped out my MacBook Air and written this entire Hands-On experience from the Continental's Perfect Position seat. That's how comfortable the plush seat was. Altogether, the Perfect Position seat — which counts a boatload of patents, as Lincoln design chief David Woodhouse told us — touts six ways to adjust the tracking, four ways for adjusting each thigh support, head restraint, cushion extension and lumbar support and two ways each for adjusting the cushion bolster, back bolster, upper back bolster support and reclining. That's how it gets a total of 30 different ways to adjust your seating. Even the Continental's back seats recline, making Lincoln's revamped flagship all the more luxurious and comfortable. While the cool Continental is slated to be available this summer, Lincoln more than laid the luxury on thick with its Navigator concept. Sporting gull-wing doors like those of the new Tesla Model X crossover, the hulking but stylish concept SUV truly made us stop in our tracks. But that was just the beginning of the concept's over-the-top luxury, which also includes deployable concertina steps, making it that much easier to step into and out of the SUV, and get this — a custom wardrobe management system in the trunk. You can't make this stuff up. Each passenger having their own entertainment via a headrest-embedded monitor isn't too shabby, either. With reports already surfacing that the gull-wing doors and concertina steps won't make it to final production of the SUV, we enjoyed this Navigator concept while we could at the NYIAS. The auto show is open to the public from March 25 to April 3 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
News Article | March 24, 2016
Hyundai is making quite the splash at the New York International Auto Show this year. Each one of the South Korean automaker's three display areas screams, whether it's the trio of distinct Ioniq models prominently featured in the Hyundai exhibit, the G90 and G80 sedans of its new Genesis luxury brand or a standalone showcase for the head-turning Genesis New York sports concept. No clutter. No filler. Just a drive into the future, highlighting how Hyundai will be a force to be reckoned with in the near future with the impending release of these rides. We had a chance to get behind the wheel of each vehicle at the NYIAS and all are intriguing for their own reasons. For starters, Hyundai made strong impact with the bold U.S. debut of its three 2017 Ioniq models. Why have three of the same model lined up at an auto show? Well, despite the different colors and identical looks, each of the Ioniq models was severely different. A ceramic-white colored Ioniq to the left was electric, the electric blue metallic one was an Ioniq hybrid and the summit gray-tone model was a plug-in. The automaker claims it's the first in the world to offer three unique electrified powertrains on a single, dedicated vehicle platform. The mere sight of the three new vehicles lined up at the Jacob Javits Convention Center was one thing, but knowing that none are gas-powered is the kind of thing that makes auto show impact. The Ioniq electric touts pure electric mobility with a 28 kWh lithium-ion polymer battery for an estimated driving range of 110 miles with a maximum output of 120 horsepower. Meanwhile, the Ioniq hybrid model houses a lithium-ion battery, with 1.56 kWh capacity, positioned under the rear passenger seats, while giving drivers 139 horsepower with low emissions. Finally, the Ioniq plug-in combines an electric motor with an all-electric range of more than 25 miles with a 1.6 direct-injected Atkinson four-cylinder Kappa engine. While the three unique electrified powertrains of the Ioniq would have been enough of a reveal from Hyundai, the automaker continued to impress us as we walked over to Genesis, its newly-launched luxury brand. If you remember, Genesis used to be the name of Hyundai's luxury sedan for years, before the company announced this past November that it was making the model the name for its own high-end luxury class. Although the Genesis exhibit only featured two cars, it didn't lack any punch, whatsoever. Resting in front of the G80 was the G90 flagship luxury sedan of the newly-introduced brand. Just about eight inches longer than the G80, the G90 will be offered in a 5.0-liter, V8 package with 420 roaring horsepower, slated to be available this summer with the G80 to follow during the fall. If I would have just seen the Ioniq models or the two Genesis vehicles, I would have left the NYIAS holding Hyundai in a high regard. But if those reveals weren't enough, the automaker really outdid itself with its standalone display, showing off its Genesis New York concept luxury sports sedan. BMW and Mercedes-Benz should be concerned by this bold, but elegant sports stud — not to mention, the entire Genesis brand. Hyundai is revved up for the future. Its reveals at the NYIAS are proof.
It’s true, startups are taking over CES. But this is just part of the story. CES isn’t yet another startup show. It’s a now a startup show with hundreds of companies launching compelling new products at the same time coming from many different countries — and French startups in particular are coming en masse. This year, 190 French startups are going to have a booth at CES. And you already know some of them. We’ve covered Withings, Parrot, Devialet, Netatmo and many successful French companies in the past. Some of them are going to be next to Samsung, Sony, LG and all the big players in the Las Vegas Convention Center. But what about the dozens of others you don’t know yet? They’re basically going to take over the Sands Expo Center a few blocks away from the Convention Center. This year, a third of the startups at Eureka Park are French startups. To put this into perspective, American startups represent 42 percent of Eureka Park. All the blue stands on this map of Eureka Park are French startups: Now if you’ve been following the French tech scene, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Last year was already a big year for French startups at CES. But this year, it seems like French startups are trying to make a point. So why are French startups coming all the way to Las Vegas for CES? There are a few reasons explaining France’s newfound love for CES. For the past couple of years, the French government has been trying to promote French startups around the world with La French Tech, a government-backed team who is trying to improve the image of French startups. La French Tech has picked a dozen startups and paid for their CES trips. But that doesn’t explain why 175+ other startups are also going to CES. France is arguably the most promising country when it comes to hardware startups. And that’s why many startups are traveling to Las Vegas. France is lucky enough to have some of the best engineering schools in the world. Students don’t just study computer sciences in these schools. They study electronics, mechanics and other low-level courses. It’s a better training if you plan on working for hardware companies. That’s why some companies like Parrot and Withings have thrived over the past few years. But I’ve been hearing about Parrot and Withings engineers leaving their companies to work for tiny hardware startups as well. The hardware engineering mafia is making it much easier to create a hardware startup in France. And finally, over the past few years, many French startups have realized that it’s possible to build a global company by keeping the engineering team in France and opening small offices in the U.S. And this model works really well for hardware startups. We’ve covered some of these promising French startups on TechCrunch — Prynt, Phonotonic, Prizm, ISKN, Giroptic, Lima and countless others. But there are also dozens of new startups we’ve never heard about coming to CES. And we’ve seen this trend of new hardware startups coming out of France. A few of the startups in our Hardware Battlefield competition are based in France or have French founders. TechCrunch is also going to interview French entrepreneurs all week long. And I’m also interviewing France’s Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs Emmanuel Macron later this week. So the rumors are true, CES is becoming a startup show, and that’s why TechCrunch is here. But CES is also becoming an international launchpad for French startups. And we’ll be following this trend closely.