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Uber is scrapping tens of thousands of Jump bikes during a nationwide bike shortage

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Uber is sending tens of thousands of its electric Jump bikes to the scrap yard, weeks after offloading the money-losing bike-share division on Lime. The news of the scrapped bikes has incensed bike enthusiasts on social media, one of whom decried the act as “unconscionable.”

Uber confirmed in a statement that it was “recycling” many of Jump’s older bikes and scooters after transferring “tens of thousands” of the newer models to Lime. But the scrap job comes at a time when many people are avoiding public transportation because of the coronavirus pandemic and looking for alternate forms of transportation. Bike sales (and especially electric bike sales) are booming. And the destruction of tens of thousands of viable bikes and scooters during a crisis is striking many on social media as incredibly wasteful.

“I can’t tell whether it’s misinformed, or whether it’s calculated and cynical,” a former Jump employee said. “But it’s just affecting everyone the wrong way.”

Photos of thousands of Jump bikes destined for the scrap heap first surfaced on the Bike Share Museum website, a digital repository for shared bikes that have since been retired. Founder Kurt Kaminer said that after he wrote a story about Lime possibly retiring the bright red bikes, numerous former Jump employees reached out to him with news of the scrapping effort. He said that between 20,000 to 30,000 bikes were being discarded.

“The Jump bike was really, really very special,” Kaminer, who’s based in Miami, told The Verge. “I know it’s heavy and such, but I don’t know, it just has this look and feel. It just spoke to me.”

There have been many iterations of the Jump bike, but the ones that are being scrapped are the “5.5” version, Kaminer said. There are also the more advanced 5.8 versions that have been given to Lime to develop, though Lime lacks the technical expertise to do so because Uber fired the tech team at Jump, according to Kaminer. The ex-Jump employee who spoke to The Verge confirmed this. In addition to the tech team, Uber also fired the robotics team at Jump that was working on semiautonomous scooters and other smart mobility functions.

Kaminer said he was “disappointed” that Uber chose to destroy the bikes rather than repurpose them, but he also understands that it was inevitable given the nature of the deal Uber made with Lime. “It’s a business,” he said.

In his article, Kaminer also said the destruction of so many bikes was “disgusting,” especially “in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic where bicycles have literally become an object of survival. Heavy as they are, these could be transportation for the many who have been brought to financial ruin during COVID-19.” The US is facing “a severe bike shortage” due to the disruption to the global supply chain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times recently reported.

Uber acquired Jump for $200 million in 2018 with the goal of using the bike-share system to become a one-stop shop for urban mobility. At the time of the acquisition, Jump had 12,000 bikes in 40 cities and six countries. But Jump was also a money loser, even more so than Uber’s core ride-hailing business. Several top executives have left the company’s new mobility division in recent months, including head of new mobility Rachel Holt and Jump founder and former CEO Ryan Rzepecki.

In addition to offloading Jump on Lime, Uber led a $170 million investment round in the beleaguered Lime that dropped the scooter startup’s valuation by nearly 80 percent. Most of Jump’s 400-plus employees were laid off as a result of the deal. Jump’s permit to operate bike-sharing in San Francisco expired May 26th, though Lime recently announced it would be returning Jump’s bikes to Denver.

Kaminer wasn’t the only one to obtain evidence of the massive scrapping effort. Cris Moffitt, an entrepreneur and lifestyle designer, posted a video that he received from a friend who works in a scrap yard in North Carolina, in which thousands of Jump bikes and scooters can be seen strewn across the yard. In several clips, a large crane scoops up dozens of vehicles and deposits them in a dump truck.

“I just felt like it was a very unfortunate outcome and maybe I could get it some exposure on Twitter to pressure them to do something better,” Moffitt told The Verge.

Sanjay Dastoor, co-founder and CEO of scooter startup Skip, said that the Jump bikes “were the best shared ebikes ever designed,” and described the scrapping videos as “tough” to watch.

In a statement, Lime said that it took possession of “tens of thousands of e-bikes,” including some spare parts and tools, as part of its deal with Uber. “We have not recycled any of the JUMP e-bikes in our fleet and are committed to scaling and operating them during this critical time,” Lime spokesman Russell Murphy said. “Once the transaction officially closes, we plan to work with Uber to find sustainable ways to donate and re-use any remaining ebikes in their inventory.”

As to the scrapping effort, Lime deferred comment to Uber. A spokesperson for the ride-hailing company said it had explored donating the remaining, older-model bikes, “but given many significant issues—including maintenance, liability, safety concerns, and a lack of consumer-grade charging equipment — we decided the best approach was to responsibly recycle them.”

An Uber spokesperson said that it would be difficult to donate Jump’s bikes and scooters en masse to any organization because many of the parts and components are proprietary and require specialized technicians to maintain. But the ex-Jump employee said the company was being short-sighted.

“The trust has been damaged with a lot of the cities,” the ex-employee said. Many cities had designated Jump’s bike and scooter sharing services as essential modes of transportation during the COVID-19 lockdown, but now very few vehicles remain after Uber’s deal with Lime. This will damage the trust that cities put in these companies going forward, the employee said, adding, “It’s sad.”

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iOS 14 First public beta is here: First chance to try it

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Would you like to download iOS 14 First public beta on your ios devices? Yes, this is the first ios beta update which is recently rolled out with new features, the final version is yet to come.

So finally the ios 14 public beta is available to download now, The iPhone users can download the beta update now. The ios 14 beta update launched with tvOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS 11 Big Sur public betas.  Apple launched the ios 14 with lost of new features, the update was formally announced at WWDC 2020.

The members of its developer beta program would be able to try out on their devices. Most of those public betas – iOS 14, iPadOS 14, macOS 11 Big Sur, and tvOS 14 – are available today, though at the time of writing, the watchOS 7 public beta is ‘coming soon,’ according to Apple’s beta site. It’s unclear when it will be available.

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Sony invests $250 million in Fortnite maker Epic Games

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Sony has invested $250 Million in Epic Games to get a minority interest. Epic Games is the creator of Fortnite, the world’s largest battle royale title acquiring more than 350 Million accounts.

On Friday Sony revealed this strategic investment and the motive behind this investment is to broaden the collaboration of both giants to generate a unique experience for both users and creators.

Kenichiro Yoshida, CEO Sony said in a statement, “Epic`s powerful technology in areas such as graphics places them at the forefront of game engine development with Unreal Engine and other innovations. There`s no better example of this than the revolutionary entertainment experience”.

Both companies are working together as E[ic Games has launched its Unreal Engine 5 graphics on a PlayStation 5. Also, Sony is going to launch its next-gen gaming console somewhere at the end of this year and this move will strengthen both company’s collaboration.

With this investment, Sony got the 1.4% share in Epic’s games, and before Sony’s investment Epic Games had raised a total of $1.58 billion in three previous funding rounds, including investment from Chinese tech major Tencent back in 2012 as per Venturebeat.

Epic Games also declared that Fortnite will be available on other platforms along with Play Station devices.

Fortnite provides music concerts, movies, and many other events within the game that attracts everyone’s attention and its recent virtual Travis Scott concert stole the attention of over 27 Million people. With this investment, Sony’s plan is to create a dedicated team that can utilize Fortnite to create immersive media.

Epic has planned to raise $750 million from different investors at a valuation of about $17 billion and this deal is separate from the plan of Fortnite makers.

Let’s wait and watch will Epic Games will provide any extra advantage to Sony as Epic’s upcoming Unreal Engine 5 will be compatible with both PS5 and Xbox Series X.

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PS5 Release, Price, Games: Frequently Asked Questions

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PS5 is all about to launch by end of 2020, This would be one of the best and competitive gaming console announcement of this year. The gamers are quite excited about the upcoming Playstation 5 release and can’t wait to know about the features, price, design and the no. of games to play on PS5.

The internet is full of users queries regarding PS5, So here we come out with the PS5 Faqs and their solutions. Like When PS5 will be available, how much it will be costlier, How it will bet better than PS4 and Xbox One? Why they should buy PS5? and many other PS5 details.

  • What is it? The Sony PS5 is the next-gen PlayStation console.
  • When will it release? “Holiday 2020”, so between October and December 2020.
  • What can I play on it? Loads of games! They include a new Spider-Man entry, a Horizon Zero Dawn sequel, a Demon’s Souls remake, Resident Evil 8 and much more to come.
  • Will PS5 have VR? Oh yes. The next-gen console will be compatible with current PSVR hardware, and there are also rumors of PSVR 2.
  • What will the PS5 cost? TBC. The PS4 and PS4 Pro were both $399 / £349 at launch, but we expect the PS5 will cost somewhat more. Leaks have suggested around the $499 mark.
  • Can I play PS4 games on the PS5? The PS5 will definitely be backwards compatible with “almost all” PS4 games – earlier generations are still to be confirmed. It will launch with support for the majority of the top 100 PS4 games, according to Sony’s Mark Cerny.
  • Will coronavirus delay the PS5 release? Sony has confirmed the PS5 release date is not currently delayed by coronavirus, and reiterated the fact that the PS5 is still on course for a “Holiday 2020” release in its end of year financial report.

PS5 Reason to buy or not to buy

                                                                   Read full article here

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