Unlockable. Amazon has a “top secret” plan to build robots for home use, unnamed sources tell Bloomberg. Gregg Zehr, the head of Amazon’s Lab126 hardware R&D facility, is overseeing the project, which is codenamed “Vesta,” after the Roman goddess of the hearth. On a more confirmable note, the company announced that it is partnering with automakers Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, and Volvo to extend its Key home delivery program and allow packages to be left in locked cars.
Unlockable, part II. Researchers have found a security flaw in the Nvidia chip powering the popular Nintendo Switch gaming device could allow hackers to gain control and access data, Ars Technica reports. Because the flaw is in a secured portion of the chip, it can’t be corrected with a software patch, the researchers claim. No response yet from Nintendo or Nvidia.
Retaining. Scientists in Europe want to establish a new research center called the European Lab for Learning and Intelligent Systems, or Ellis, in a bid to keep top AI talent from relocating to the United States or China. “This is of such importance to Europe it would be a terrible mistake not to do something major,” Zoubin Ghahramani, Cambridge University professor and chief scientist at Uber, tells The Guardian.
Reviving. HTC is pivoting from early efforts to sell expensive virtual reality gear to consumers. With its new, upgraded gear announced on Monday, HTC is aiming for the corporate market (rival Facebook Oculus has signed up Farmers Insurance to use VR gear for training claims adjusters). The new Vive Pro 2.0 Kit, with a Vive Pro HMD VR headset, two revamped base stations for tracking movements, and two controllers, costs $1400, 17% more than HTC’s original business bundle.
Inflating. Shareholders of Netflix did better than the CEO. After the stock climbed 55% last year, CEO Reed Hastings saw his 2017 total compensation rise only 5% to $24.4 million. Top content officer Ted Sarandos, who oversees the company’s $8 billion and growing annual content budget, did a little better, getting a 19% raise to $22.4 million. The median worker pay was $183,304, meaning the boss made 133 times more.
Reporting. Elsewhere in the land of public companies, Google parent Alphabet said first quarter revenue jumped 26% to $31.1 billion. Net income rose 73% to $9.4 billion, or $13.33 per share. That was fueled in part by an accounting change that requires the company to include certain changes in the value of private company stakes it owns (cough, Uber, cough) in its quarterly results. Google shares lost 1% in premarket trading on Tuesday. Verizon, one of the biggest beneficiaries of corporate tax reform, said its first quarter revenue rose 7% to $31.8 billion and net income increased 31% to $4.7 billion, or $1.11 per share. Verizon shares rose 3%.