Rivian announces another major funding haul

Image: Rivian Amazon-backed electric vehicle startup Rivian has raised another $2.65 billion, bolstering its position as one of the most well-funded EV startups in the world.
The investment round was led by T. Rowe Price and included Amazon’s Climate Pledge Fund, Fidelity Management and Research Company, and investment firms Coatue and D1 Capital Partners, along with “several other existing and new investors,” according to the startup.
It’s hard to say how much Rivian has in the bank, given that it has spent a lot already to hire a massive team while also developing at least three vehicles that we know of. But after this new funding round, the EV startup’s war chest likely rivals that of China’s Nio, which also has billions of dollars in the bank.
T…
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2020 Game is a surprisingly fun side scroller about an awful year

2020 Game draws inspiration from the biggest trends of last year. | Screenshot: 2020 Game I get it, there’s absolutely no part of you that wants to relive the terrible year we just lived through. But I implore you to make an exception for 2020 Game, a free web-based side scroller that offers a lighthearted take on last year’s events. It’s well-designed, creative, and — dare I say it — even laugh-out-loud funny in places, and well worth the 10 minutes or so it takes to complete.
2020 Game is the work of Max Garkavyy, who developed it alone over the course of six months. Each level takes the form of a major event or trend from last year, ranging from the early rush on toilet paper to the US presidential race. There’s even a brief TikTok dance interlude.
The whole experience is complimented by some fantastic pixel-art graphics…
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New lawsuit accuses Amazon of e-book price fixing

Amazon is facing a new lawsuit alleging that a deal between the company and five book publishers has created higher prices on e-books, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The lawsuit filed by law firm Hagens Berman in a federal district court in New York, alleges that the publishers pay high commissions and other costs to Amazon, which in turn increases the retail price of e-books sold on the platform. Due to the deal between Amazon and the publishers— HarperCollins Publishers, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Macmillan — the Amazon price is the price the publishers charge other retailers as well, preventing other sellers from offering the e-books at lower prices, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit…
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CES showed off the COVID-19 mask gimmick arms race

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge Millions of people in the US started buying face masks in 2020, and companies, unsurprisingly, rushed to take advantage of the surge of demand for a new product. At CES 2021, the gadget-ification of the mask was on full display. Leading the pack was Razer’s transparent voice-amplifying, light-up concept mask. AirPop promoted its Active+ Smart Mask, which monitors users’ breathing rates and alerts them via a smartphone app when the mask’s filter needs changing. Binatone’s MaskFone has built-in earbuds and a mic for phone calls.
Turning masks into a status symbol is nothing new, nor is capitalizing on a disaster to make a buck. Before the pandemic, people wore masks to protect from air pollution, and they’re fashion items in China and…
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WandaVision welcomes a new line of Earth’s first defense in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

WandaVision, the first original television series produced by Marvel Studios, isn’t quite like anything Marvel has released before.
It’s absurdist and pays authentic tribute to some of the best American sitcoms produced in the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, including Bewitched and The Dick Van Dyke Show. WandaVision is still a Marvel Studios show, however, and that means it ties into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first two episodes, now streaming on Disney Plus, set up a key organization that ties WandaVision into the current Marvel Cinematic Universe’s moment, while also setting up the enticing “cosmic universe” era it’s about to enter.
[This is your mandatory spoiler warning. Stop reading here if you don’t want to know…
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Here’s how Samsung’s Galaxy S21 compares to the Pixel 5, OnePlus 8T, and more

Samsung got its S21 flagship phones out into the world a little sooner than usual this year, and the Galaxy S21 base model will appeal to a lot of folks with its balance of flagship specs and a price well under $1,000. In this refresh of the S-series lineup it’s the best choice for value, but how does it square up against its fellow Android competitors?
The OnePlus 8T, Google Pixel 5, and LG V60 are all highly capable challengers in their own right. Where the S21 aims to deliver a complete all-around package, some of its competitors have made tradeoffs for things like a bigger battery or a lower price tag that are worth considering. And Samsung’s 2020 models, the S20 and Note 20, are still solid options for now and will no doubt be…
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These are the violent threats that made Amazon drop Parler

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge In a filing on Tuesday, Amazon responded to Parler’s claims that it acted unfairly in taking down the social network — and in the process, gave outsiders a new look at the content that provoked Amazon to suspend Parler’s web services account.
Amazon Web Services suspended service to Parler on January 9th, effectively shutting down the social network. It’s failed to secure a replacement web host, and it argued in court that Amazon was exercising unfair monopoly power in taking down the site.
Amazon’s decision to suspend Parler’s service has provoked ongoing debate about AWS’s power as a hosting provider and whether such suspensions pose a threat to free speech. But while many had seen the suspension as a knee-jerk response to the mob…
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Weird flex: TCL shows off two more of its rollable, extendable display concepts

One of TCL’s many display concept prototypes. | Photo: TCL TCL has never been shy about showcasing its display concepts at trade shows, and this year is no different; the company is (virtually) showing off a couple of these prototypes at CES 2021. Bearing in mind that there’s absolutely no guarantee these concepts will ever reach market, they’re still a fun glimpse at a possible future of display tech. First up is a mobile device with an AMOLED “rollable” screen which can extend a 6.7-inch display up to 7.8 inches. TCL says the device is less than 10mm thick with a 3mm bend radius.
TCL calls this a rollable display, though there’s no outwardly obvious rolling action. A similar concept appears in one of the more unintentionally funny promotional videos we’ve seen at CES so…
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Finally, a doorbell for the pandemic era

Image: Alarm.com Alarm.com has announced a new device for anyone worried about visitors catching COVID-19 from, of all things, their doorbell. Rather than using a button, the Touchless Video Doorbell is designed to chime when its camera detects visitors standing on your doormat. Alarm.com claims this is the “first commercially available video doorbell that rings without requiring any contact,” and that its aim is to “reduce public health risks and make home visits and deliveries safer for all.”
In what seems to be an admission that this is quite a confusing way to ring a doorbell, there are instructions on how to ring the device printed on its front. Alarm.com is also selling a doormat accessory for the doorbell, which instructs visitors on where to…
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Ford will idle its Kentucky plant this week amid semiconductor shortage

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images Ford will idle its plant in Kentucky for a week as the automotive industry grapples with a shortage of semiconductors, ABC News reported The automaker’s assembly plant in Louisville produces the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair SUVs, and employs about 3,900 hourly workers, according to CNBC. Ford said will take a planned one-week plant shutdown that had been scheduled for later in the year and move it to this week instead.
Ford joins Nissan, which says it will reduce production at one of its plants in Japan, which makes the Note, a car not sold in the US. A Nissan spokesperson said the semiconductor shortage has not affected the company’s US production
Volkswagen, Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota also have reported problems with semiconductor…
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