BCCHardware

Fitbit shells out $40 million for Pebble

Apparently the rumors are getting more concrete as it is now being reported that Fitbit has dished out somewhere in the neighborhood of $34 to $40 million dollars for the new kid on the block Pebble. Pebble of course had a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign a couple years ago and were valued at up to $700 million a year ago but things haven't been going so well for them and they started getting buried in debt and couldn't get their products into peoples hands. Phandroid has more on the rise and fall of Pebble.

We typically view acquisitions for small startups as great news, but for Pebble and their supposed buyout from Fitbit it might not be that happy of an ending. The original Kickstarter sensation is being bought out by Fitbit for anywhere between $34 to $40 million.

This valuation sounds pretty low for a company that seemingly had a hot hand in the wearables space. It’s especially wild to hear that figure when you consider that they could have sold themselves off for over $700 million a mere year ago (but reportedly refused, likely because they thought they were worth much more at the time). So, why the big drop off?

Netflix Updates Video Encoding for Downloads

Just last week, Netflix changed up their apps to allow for video downloading and offline playback. The extra burden on their servers is probably pretty overwhelming as people are stocking up on their favorite shows to binge-watch when they commute so they don't have to use their data. To help with that - and to make the user experience a little better, they have updated their codec to Google's own VP9. It's a big step in the right direction that allows for much smaller downloads - without sacrificing quality.

It's using Google's VP9 on some platforms (most Android phones), while H.264/AVC High profile works for others (anything iOS). The "per-chunk" encoding mentioned above mean that beyond just optimizing for the type of show or movie, it's actually applying optimal settings across different parts of each video.

Source: Engadget

Roccat @ CES 2013

We made a stop by Roccat today to check out some of their newest products. Like most other Roccat products, the newest additions to their lineup are made specifically with gamers in mind. The first product we saw was the Ryos MK Pro keyboard. This is a mechanical keyboard with your choice of 4 different cherry MX switches and is the first keyboard to offer individual key illumination. Individual key illumination means you can illuminate only the buttons that you are using in a specific game, or you can change the colors of specific important buttons, or pretty much anything lighting scheme you can think up. Roccat will also offer the Ryos keyboard in other flavors with less features at a lower price.


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Roccat Ryos MK Pro Mechanical Keyboard
 

Also being displayed this year is Roccat’s new software called Power-Grid which allows you to use your smartphone to control things like skype, teamspeak, game macros, news, weather, computer performance statistics, and much much more without ever having to exit out of your game. The Power-Grid software will be free for the base program (extra functions and premium apps will be extra)  and you will be able to make your own apps and customize it to do whatever you want. At first this might not seem like the most useful program but after we experienced it first and we thought up dozens of uses that would make it quite handy. Roccat will be releasing this software for iPhone, Android and Windows Phone (release date still unknown). You can find out more about Power-Grid and even sign up to be a beta tester over at Roccat's website.


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Roccat Power-Grid Smartphone App

Digital Storm at CES 2014

Digital Storm has definitely been working hard since we last interviewed them during CES 2013. We were really excited to get a first hand look at what they’ve been up to.  See Digital Storm's enthusiasm about the new Bolt II and Aventum II in this interview!

 

Check out more pictures in the gallery here - as well as more of our CES 2014 coverage here.

ZOTAC at CES 2015

ZOTAC was showing off their full lineup of ZBOX devices which no matter how many times you see them it is hard not to be impressed at the small size of their systems and the amount of performance they can pack in. The ZBOX Pico series was being shown off and is being offered in AMD and Intel powered solutions, both in a crazy small package that is small enough that you could fit it in your pocket. 

 

The ZBOX series also includes the E-Series devices that are a little bit bigger than devices in the Pico series yet have enough power to easily power 4k displays @60 Hz all in a very small box. The E-Series EN860 that was being shown off features an Intel i5 4210U CPU with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 860M graphics card which makes the EN860 pack quite a punch in a small package and is enough power to replace most peoples desktop computers.

 

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