Echo owns the holiday and heads to court: It’s The Daily Crunch

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Echo sold a lot – but Amazon isn’t telling exactly how many, in typical Amazon style. That mystery and more in The Daily Crunch for December 28, 2016. And if your Autopilot saves you, how do you say thanks?

1. Echo is Amazon’s new holiday gadget to boast ambiguously about

Did you get an Echo under the tree? A lot of people did, apparently – 9x as many as last year. But that could be nine people, total, since Amazon never reveals actual numbers, just multiples of past, also unreleased numbers. Still, it’s safe to assume this means a lot, since Amazon was also sold out of Echo hardware leading up to the holiday.

Their strategy of selling the Echo at relatively low cost looks to be paying dividends in terms of extending their lead in the home voice command speaker market, which is likely small but growing. And talking to Amazon could become second-nature to a large number of consumers, young and old, which is a key hedge.

2. I call Alexa to the stand

Echo’s growing presence might have strange legal implications, since police are seeking to retrieve information from a murder suspect’s Amazon Echo. Amazon isn’t handing over the info until legally compelled to do so, but this is still a very interesting case to watch in terms of setting the pace for our voice-controlled future.

3. Tesla’s Autopilot systems sees future accidents and brakes to stop them

Tesla has talked a lot about the safety potential of its Autopilot 8.0 software, which uses radar to actually see around objects in front and detect potential collisions before a human driver ever possibly could. But now there’s video of that actually happening, and it does make a strong case for more autonomous features like emergency braking systems. Like a rolling Sword of Omens, that Model X is.

4. Rent the Runway raises cash for temporary style

RTR’s latest raise values the company at a higher valuation than its previous $520 million, Katie reports, and it’s now profile based on Ebitda evaluations. People like to be stylish but don’t want to pay full sticker price.

5. Ford’s latest autonomous cars get more data from fewer sensors

Ford’s probably playing elaborate word games using the Fusion as its self-driving test platform, since there’s so much sensor fusion required in autonomous driving. But even if it’s not, these next-gen vehicles it’s deploying sound very clever indeed. Also never realized the reason they’re using Hybrid is that it’s the only way to get the power they need for the onboard computing. Cool.

6. Sorry Qualcomm – that’ll be $850 million

$850 million is actually a decent-sized fine, as far as regulator penalties against large companies go. The penalty was levied against Qualcomm in South Korea, where the chipmaker was found guilty of abusing its patent royalty practices in the country. Qualcomm should be a nice silicon community player and share more, says the South Korean antitrust regulator.

7. Volkswagen buys a parking payments mobile app

Carmakers like Volkswagen want to own the whole hog when it comes to transportation services, and that includes parking payments. The German automaker just picked up a Canadian mobile payment startup to prove it, too. Get used to it – this is the new way forward for the automotive industry.