By Gerry Shih BEIJING Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:19pm EST BEIJING (Reuters) – Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, two of China’s leading taxi-hailing apps, said on Saturday they would merge to create one of the world’s largest smartphone-based transport services. Financial terms were not disclosed. The firms said the two companies, which have not announced a name for the combined entity, would operate independently under separate brands. Didi chief executive Wei Cheng and Kuaidi chief Dexter Chuanwei Lu would become co-chief executives and formally introduce the new business after the Lunar New Year, the companies said. Didi and Kuaidi, backed by Chinese Internet giants Tencent Holdings Ltd and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, respectively, have been locked in a bitter price war for the past year, as each sought to corner the massive Chinese market despite rumors of mounting losses. Didi was estimated to have a roughly 55 percent market share, with Kuaidi claiming nearly all of the rest in a December study by Analysis International. Until the merger, the two companies had been vying for the world’s largest transport market – more than 150 million Chinese hailing taxis using their smartphones, according to analysts – and received more than $1 billion from private investors in recent months to sustain their battle for market share. Didi raised $700 million from Tencent and Russian private equity fund DST in December, while Kuaidi raised $600 million from backers including Softbank and Tiger Global. The two CEOs said Saturday they are “especially grateful to the company’s shareholders for their support of the company’s independent operations.”â Baidu, the Beijing-based search engine and rival to Tencent and Alibaba in China’s Internet sector, said in December it would invest in Uber to help bring the $40 billion-valued U.S. firm to the Chinese market.
Everyone seems to be insisting on installing cameras all over their homes these days, which seems incongruous with the ongoing privacy crisis — but that’s a post for another time. Today, we’re talking about enabling those cameras to send high-definition video signals wirelessly without killing their little batteries. A new technique makes beaming video out more than 99 percent more efficient, possibly making batteries unnecessary altogether. Cameras found in smart homes or wearables need to transmit HD video, but it takes a lot of power to process that video and then transmit the encoded data over wi-fi. Small devices leave little room for batteries, and they’ll have to be recharged frequently if they’re constantly streaming. Who’s got time for that? The idea behind this new system, created by a University of Washington team led by prolific researcher Shyam Gollakota, isn’t fundamentally different from some others that are out there right now. Devices with low data rates, like a digital thermometer or motion sensor, can something called backscatter to send a low-power signal consisting of a couple bytes. Backscatter is a way of sending a signal that requires very little power, because what’s actually transmitting the power is not the device that’s transmitting the data . A signal is sent out from one source, say a router or phone, and another antenna essentially reflects that signal, but modifies it. By having it blink on and off you could indicate 1s and 0s, for instance. UW’s system attaches the camera’s output directly to the output of the antenna, so the brightness of a pixel directly correlates to the length of the signal reflected. A short pulse means a dark pixel, a longer one is lighter, and the longest length indicates white. Some clever manipulation of the video data by the team reduced the number of pulses necessary to send a full video frame, from sharing some data between pixels to using a “zigzag” scan (left to right, then right to left) scan pattern. To get color, each pixel needs to have its color channels sent in succession, but this too can be optimized.