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1. GSMA cancels Mobile World Congress due to coronavirus concerns
“The GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event,” CEO John Hoffman said in a statement.
Over the past few days, dozens of big name exhibitors announced they would skip this year’s show. MWC usually attracts more than 100,000 attendees from 200 countries to Barcelona.
2. Andy Rubin’s Essential shuts down
Essential was supposed to disrupt the smartphone industry, but it struggled with bad timing, broader industry issues and a founder embroiled in troubling allegations of sexual misconduct, ultimately failing to make it far beyond the launch of its first handset.
3. Astranis raises $90 million for its next-gen satellite broadband internet service
The funding will be used to help the company launch its first commercial satellites, which will be the bedrock of its future internet service offering, aimed at connecting the massive market of underserved populations around the world. The company’s focus on geostationary satellites — rather than satellites that hand off their connection through a kind of relay system — makes it different from many of the other entrants in the satellite internet race.
4. A new senate bill would create a US data protection agency
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has published a bill which, if passed, would create a U.S. federal data protection agency designed to protect the privacy of Americans, with the authority to enforce data practices across the country.
5. Will Apple, Facebook or Microsoft be the future of augmented reality?
While there are more AR platforms than the big three mentioned in the headline, Digi-Capital’s Tim Merel argues that they represent the top of the pyramid for three different types of AR roadmap. (Extra Crunch membership required.)
6. Facebook Dating launch blocked in Europe after it fails to show privacy workings
Facebook has been left red-faced after being forced to call off the launch date of its dating service in Europe because it failed to give its lead EU data regulator enough advanced warning, and it failed to demonstrate it had performed a legally required assessment of privacy risks.
7. Intuition Robotics raises $36M for its empathetic digital companion
The company, best known for its ElliQ home robot for the elderly, also disclosed that it’s working with the Toyota Research Institute to bring its technology to the automaker’s LQ concept. Intuition’s goal is to build digital assistants that can create emotional bonds between humans and machines.