Amazon's Echo and other smart speakers do much more than you realize

Harman Kardon’s Invoke is Microsoft’s first true Amazon Echo competitor. When Amazon first debuted its Alexa-powered Echo smart speaker in 2014, expectations for the device were relatively high. More than two years later, the Echo’s success has spurred a new war of the tech titans: Companies including Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), Samsung and a slew of their Chinese counterparts have either released their own smart speakers or will likely release them soon.

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Amazon's Echo and other smart speakers do much more than you realize

Dog fight: Start-ups take aim at errant drones

A boom in consumer drone sales has spawned a counter-industry of start-ups aiming to stop drones flying where they shouldn't, by disabling them or knocking them out of the sky. Dozens of start-up firms are developing techniques – from deploying birds of prey to firing gas through a bazooka – to take on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that are being used to smuggle drugs, drop bombs, spy on enemy lines or buzz public spaces. The arms race is fed in part by the slow pace of government regulation for drones.

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Dog fight: Start-ups take aim at errant drones

Automaker Honda invests in ride-hailing service Grab

Southeast Asian ride-hailing service Grab said on Monday it had secured an investment from Japanese automaker Honda Motor Co as part of a deal to collaborate on its motorbike-hailing service, in the latest auto industry tie-up of its type. Grab said Honda had agreed to invest an undisclosed amount in the firm, and the two companies would form a partnership to develop the ride-sharing technology and related driver education programs. Automakers such as Volkswagen , Toyota Motor Corp and General Motors also have tie-ups with ride-sharing firms to hedge against a shift in the vehicle market away from private ownership.

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Automaker Honda invests in ride-hailing service Grab

Top tech executives to attend Trump summit on Wednesday: Recode

Top executives from Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc and Facebook Inc are among a small group of tech leaders invited to a summit to be held on Wednesday by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, Recode reported, citing sources. Executives from Microsoft Corp, Intel Corp and Oracle Corp will also be among “a very heady group of less than a dozen, comprising most of the key players in the sector” to attend the summit, Recode said.

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Top tech executives to attend Trump summit on Wednesday: Recode

Samsung Electronics considers structural split as investor pressure builds

By Se Young Lee SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said on Tuesday it will increase dividends and consider splitting itself, as the tech giant faces possibly the biggest structural change in its 47-year history. “I don't think Samsung said much that was surprising or beyond what investors had already had in mind,” said HDC Asset Management fund manager Park Jung-hoon.

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Samsung Electronics considers structural split as investor pressure builds

Samsung halts Galaxy Note 7 sales over fire concerns, tells users to switch off

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd halted sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on Tuesday and told owners to stop using them while it investigates reports of fires, fuelling expectations the tech giant will scrap the flagship device. Top U.S. and Australian carriers on Monday suspended sales or exchanges of the Note 7s, while major airlines reiterated bans on passengers using the phones, after smoke from a replacement device forced the evacuation of a passenger plane in the United States last week. “Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device,” the company said in statement.

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Samsung halts Galaxy Note 7 sales over fire concerns, tells users to switch off

Google to buy software developer Apigee for $625 million

By Julia Love and Natalie Grover SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc's Google said on Thursday it is acquiring software developer Apigee Corp in a deal valued at about $625 million, the tech giant’s latest effort to claim a greater share of the lucrative cloud business. The service is critical for businesses transitioning to the cloud, Diane Greene, who runs Google's cloud computing division, said in an interview. Cloud computing is the increasingly popular practice of using remote internet servers to store, manage and process data.

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Google to buy software developer Apigee for $625 million

Japan, Israel upgrade relations as Arab oil influence wanes

By Tova Cohen TEL AVIV (Reuters) – Japanese executives say they are increasingly drawn to investments in Israel as the price of oil falls and, with it, the influence Arab oil suppliers have on Japan's decision-making. Over the past two years, Japan and Israel have strengthened business ties, signing a series of economic agreements on the back of a visit by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Israel in 2015 and Benjamin Netanyahu's trip to Tokyo in 2014.

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Japan, Israel upgrade relations as Arab oil influence wanes

Alphabet posts strong revenue on video market, stock surges

Alphabet Inc, Google's parent, posted a 21.3 percent increase in second-quarter revenue, exceeding analysts' expectations, as the tech giant continued to nudge its vast advertising business toward mobile and capitalized on the boom in video. The sharp revenue growth suggests that Google is successfully navigating the high-stakes transition from desktop to mobile advertising, said Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Partners. Advertisers typically pay less for user clicks on mobile ads than on desktop ads, Google's traditional strength, but the strong earnings performance suggest that is beginning to change, he said.

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Alphabet posts strong revenue on video market, stock surges

Facebook’s next frontier: chatbots

By Yasmeen Abutaleb SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc said on Tuesday it has opened up its Messenger app to developers to create “chatbots,” hoping that by simulating one-on-one conversations between users and companies it will expand its reach in customer service and enterprise transactions. Chatbots are automated programs that help users communicate with businesses and carry out tasks such as online purchases. While chatbots have existed in some form for years, they have recently become a hot topic in the tech business as advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning make them far more capable and potentially able to assume a key role in the way customers communicate with businesses.

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Facebook’s next frontier: chatbots