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Tesla's Model 3 Sedan Gets Over 350,000 Reservations

Tesla's Model 3 Sedan Gets Over 350,000 Reservations

(Reuters) - Electric car maker Tesla Inc said on Thursday it had received more than 325,000 orders for its new Model 3 sedan in the first week of bookings.

The reservations, which can be made by paying a refundable deposit of $1,000 (£710.8), correspond to about $14 billion (£9.95 billion) in implied future sales, the company said. (http://bit.ly/1oFkduW)

There is, however, no certainty that Tesla would be able to convert all its orders into sales as many of those could be cancelled.

The orders for Model 3, Tesla's first mass-market car which will sell at an average price of $42,000, are "very positive" and reflect tremendous enthusiasm for the car, analysts said.

However, Tesla shares were down 2.5 percent at $258.67 in afternoon trading on Thursday.

Robert W Baird & Co analyst Ben Kallo told Reuters that the stock reaction was likely a result of profit-taking rather than disappointment with the numbers.

As of Wednesday's close, Tesla's stock had risen about 16 percent since the company started taking orders for Model 3, which is expected to be launched in late 2017.

With the production of the new model, Tesla is likely to boost its annual production tenfold to 500,000 by 2020, the company has said.

Analysts have raised questions about how long it would take Tesla to deliver Model 3 cars, after the slower-than-expected launch of its Model X sport utility vehicle late last year.

Tesla said on Monday it delivered 14,820 vehicles in the first quarter ended March 31, including 12,420 Model S sedans and 2,400 Model X utility vehicles.

The company had previously forecast 16,000 deliveries in the quarter.

Tesla said "severe shortages" of parts for Model X in January and February had cut into planned production.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Anupama Dwivedi)

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Start-up Sirin to Launch Ultra High-Tech Phone for Executives

Start-up Sirin to Launch Ultra High-Tech Phone for Executives

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By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A British-Israeli start-up plans to sell a mobile phone from next month that will offer users unprecedented levels of technology and security -- and retail for close to $20,000 (13,854.5 pounds).

Sirin Labs AG said on Monday it had raised $72 million in private funds to launch the device, which would be aimed at executives. It plans to open its first store, in London's Mayfair, in May.

"(Our) smartphone ...brings the most advanced technology available - even if it is not commercially available - and combining it with almost military-grade security," said Sirin co-founder and president Moshe Hogeg.

The phone will be based on the Android operating system and run otherwise unspecified technology two to three years in advance of the mass market, he said.

Hogeg told Reuters the phone would sell for less than $20,000.

He believes thousands of executives in the United States and Europe will pay that sort of price, since the cost of being hacked could be more expensive in terms of information lost.

Hogeg put the value of the global luxury phone market at about $1.1 billion, a fraction of total mobile phone sales. Most top end phones sold are more for status - regular phones with gold and diamonds.

Britain's Vertu sells phones in that category from $10,000 to $300,000, while Apple's iPhone 5 Black Diamond sold for $15.3 million.

Sirin's financing came from Israeli venture capital fund Singulariteam - which Hogeg co-founded and included backing from Kazakh investor Kenges Rakishev - and Chinese social networking company Renren.

The idea for the start-up came about after Rakishev's phone was hacked in 2013. He asked Hogeg why he couldn't find a mobile phone that would ensure privacy and why new technology seen in tech shows and publications was not available in consumer devices.

"There were no good solutions that combined high-end technologies with maximum security," Hogeg said.

(Editing by John Stonestreet)

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"Lady Geek" in Drive to Draw More Women to Technology

"Lady Geek" in Drive to Draw More Women to Technology

By Zoe Tabary

LONDON (Reuters) - "Girls aren't cut out for a career in science and technology". Belinda Parmar has heard this sentence many times. In Britain, only 13 percent of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce is made up of women – a damning figure for a sector reporting talent shortages.

Belinda is the founder of Lady Geek and Little Miss Geek, a campaign which aims to inspire women and girls to become pioneers in technology. Here, she discusses her own experience in the STEM sector, and ways of addressing gender barriers.

Q: Why did you found Little Miss Geek and Lady Geek?

A: I started Lady Geek after a poor experience in a phone shop, when I wanted to buy a new smartphone. The male sales assistant was 15 years younger than me, thought I knew nothing about technology and made me feel alienated because I didn't know the difference between a terabyte and a megabyte.

So I thought "I can't be the only woman in Britain who loves technology and doesn't want to operate in this kind of environment". I did some research and found that a third of all British women feel patronised by the tech industry.

I then advised major companies a couple of years ago and asked one of them to speak to some of the women making their products (given that 61 percent of their customers are female). To which they responded "well there's this woman in human resources, or this one who's a personal assistant". That pretty much summed up the problem for me.

Q: Although girls perform to the same – if not a higher – level than boys in STEM subjects, a minority go on to pursue or enjoy successful STEM careers. Why is that?

A: The perception of people working in tech is one of geeks who can't get girlfriends/boyfriends, which has a huge impact on whether girls decide to pursue a career in STEM. One 10-year-old girl I spoke to told me she'd rather be a garbage collector than work in technology.

More than perception though, the gender divide in STEM is due to the tech sector not being inclusive enough, as exemplified by Sir Tim Hunt's recent comments. [Tim Hunt is a Nobel prize-winning scientist who faced a huge backlash after saying that women in laboratories "fall in love with you and when you criticize them, they cry"]

Words like these make women feel unwelcome.

Q: What can the STEM sector do about this?

A: Rather than use feminism as a lobbying group to get people fired, we need to use these examples of sexism to our advantage, to raise awareness of the problem. Think of some of the amazing women working in technology, and get them to explain why they – and we – belong in the sector.

Although we have seen a rise in awareness of gender equality issues, this hasn't yet translated into more women going for a STEM career. The number of women working in the tech sector in the UK has even decreased in the past year.

Q: And do you see a will from policymakers and businesses globally to address this?

A: I do, but initiatives to date to promote gender equality in STEM mostly concern small groups of people, and need to be scaled up to have a bigger impact.

As Suw Charman-Anderson [who founded Ada Lovelace Day, to increase women's profile in STEM] puts it, the gender equality agenda needs grassroots action and funding through one central body, so that initiatives can be scaled up and transcend national borders.

Q: What can schools – at all levels – do to promote STEM subjects more?

A: Education systems need to demystify STEM and make it about real-world issues. There's also a psychological aspect to it: women and teenage girls hate to "fail", even more so publicly. Coding, for instance, is very much about trying over and over again before you find a solution.

You have to give women an environment where they can comfortably "fail", so that they persevere in the subject. Regardless of your gender or the topic you're studying, I think schools should focus more on teaching entrepreneurial skills, and less on rote learning.

Q: You mentioned a while ago that you were "done with women-only events that don't engage men". How can we do a better job of involving men and boys in the gender equality agenda? Why is it even in their interest to do so?

A: I feel that whether we like it or not, men are running the country – they are, for example, heading up 95 percent of FTSE 100 companies. We can't change things unless we involve men in the debate, and yet there's a lot of fear of talking about gender.

I work with many male CEOs who tell me "I want to talk about this issue but I just don't have the language". So one of the downfalls, for want of a better word, of feminism is that we've created some kind of bubble of fear around the subject.

First we should teach boys and girls empathy skills, which are all about understanding other people and the impact you have on them.

Second, I'd encourage boys to pursue typically female gender roles and vice versa, and not stick within the artificial boundaries of their gender. Ultimately we all benefit from gender equality, be it financially, morally or emotionally.

(Editing by Ros Russell. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.news.trust.org)

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Google, Ford, Uber Join Coalition to Further Self-Driving Cars

Google, Ford, Uber Join Coalition to Further Self-Driving Cars

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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's Google unit, Ford Motor Co, the ride-sharing service Uber and two other companies said on Tuesday they are forming a coalition to push for federal action to help speed self-driving cars to market.

Sweden-based Volvo Cars, which is owned by China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co and Uber rival Lyft also are part of the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets. The group said in a statement it will "work with lawmakers, regulators and the public to realize the safety and societal benefits of self-driving vehicles."

The coalition said David Strickland, the former top official of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the top U.S. auto safety agency that is writing new guidance on self-driving cars, will be the coalition’s counsel and spokesman.

"The best path for this innovation is to have one clear set of federal standards and the coalition will work with policymakers to find the right solutions that will facilitate the deployment of self-driving vehicles," Strickland said in the statement.

On Wednesday, NHTSA is holding the second of two public forums on its self-driving car guidelines that will feature comments from tech companies and automakers at Stanford University.

NHTSA did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the coalition.

Ford said in a statement the group will "work together to advocate for policy solutions that will support the deployment of fully autonomous vehicles."

NHTSA hopes to release its guidance to states, policymakers and companies on self-driving vehicles in July.

California has proposed barring self-driving cars that do not have steering wheels, pedals and a licensed driver ready to take over in an emergency, which Google has opposed. Under current regulations, fully autonomous vehicles without human controls are not legal.

NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind has said policymakers should avoid a "patchwork" of state regulations on self-driving cars but has not taken a position on California's proposal.

In February, NHTSA said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law, a major step toward winning approval for autonomous vehicles.

The five companies, which all are working on self-driving cars, say one of the group's first tasks is to "work with civic organizations, municipalities and businesses to bring the vision of self-driving vehicles to America’s roads and highways."

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Trott)

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iPhone Unlocking Manoeuvre Likely to Remain Secret

iPhone Unlocking Manoeuvre Likely to Remain Secret

By Joseph Menn and Mark Hosenball

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The company that helped the FBI unlock a San Bernardino shooter's iPhone to get data has sole legal ownership of the method, making it highly unlikely the technique will be disclosed by the government to Apple or any other entity, Obama administration sources said this week.

The White House has a procedure for reviewing technology security flaws and deciding which ones should be made public. But it is not set up to handle or reveal flaws that are discovered and owned by private companies, the sources said, raising questions about the effectiveness of the so-called Vulnerabilities Equities Process.

The secretive process was created to let various government interests debate about what should be done with a given technology flaw, rather than leaving it to agencies like the National Security Agency, which generally prefers to keep vulnerabilities secret so they can use them.   

The government's efforts to force Apple to help it unlock the San Bernardino iPhone have reignited a national debate about encryption, security and privacy that continues to rage two weeks after the Justice Department said it broke into the phone without Apple's help.

The sources said the technology used to get into the phone was supplied by a non-U.S. company that they declined to identify.

Without cooperation from the company, the FBI would not be able to submit the method to the Vulnerabilities Equities Process even if it wanted to, the sources said on condition they not be named.

The FBI itself probably does not know the details of the technique - just enough to determine that it worked, according to government sources and Rob Knake, who managed the White House process before leaving last year.

The FBI said in February that it was unable to get into the iPhone 5c used by San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook without help from Apple, and it won a court order compelling the Silicon Valley icon to break into the device. Apple, backed by much of the tech industry, complained that the order would in effect make businesses arms of the state.

The Justice Department dropped the matter the day before a crucial court hearing, saying it had found a way to get into the phone.

At the time, Apple said it hoped the manoeuvre would be disclosed so that it could fix the flaw before it is discovered and exploited by criminals.

In a separate New York case, the Justice Department is trying to force Apple’s help in extracting data from a drug dealer’s iPhone 5s. For technical reasons, that would be easier for Apple to do, though it would be much harder for the FBI or a contractor, said phone security expert Dan Guido.

The two battles spotlight a long-running but seldom aired conflict over whether information about software security lapses should be kept secret by law enforcement or intelligence agencies, who want the knowledge to snoop, or disclosed to the technology companies so they can patch the holes.

After questions were raised about the Vulnerabilities Equities Process in 2013, White House cybersecurity policy coordinator Michael Daniel said it was "reinvigorated," though information as basic as which departments are involved remained undisclosed.

Daniel has written that the factors to be weighed include how easy a flaw would be for outsiders to find and how much danger would be posed to society.

But Knake said the procedure had been created in 2010 to handle situations like an FBI technologist in a lab inventing a method for circumventing security.

“It was not set up for a world of commoditised exploitation,” where major defence contractors buy and sell flaws for millions of dollars. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-cyberweapons-specialreport-idUSBRE9490EL20130510)

“There is no way the government could force companies to share the methods that they are trying to sell, or any way to stop government agencies from buying from those companies,” he said.

Knake said the process could be improved if it were revamped again to deal with the reality of the exploit marketplace.

The White House referred questions to the FBI, which did not respond to emails seeking comment.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco and Mark Hosenball in Washington. Additional reporting by Dustin Volz. Editing by Jonathan Weber and Bernard Orr)

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6 Awesome Tools to Get Media Coverage as a Startup

6 Awesome Tools to Get Media Coverage as a Startup

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A mention in the media could be the spark your startup needs to set the world alight. If you can grab the attention of a reporter for more than ten seconds, that is.

Journalists are notoriously busy people. They are bombarded on a daily basis with news and stories from across their industry – with most of it getting unapologetically ignored.

So what chance does a fresh startup have in such a climate? Well, a pretty good one actually, if you make use of the right tools.

To help you get your foot in the media’s door, here are six awesome tools to help you win media coverage, even as a budding business.

1. HARO (Help a Writer Out)

HARO is perhaps the most popular tool on this list – and for good reason.

Reporters from news agencies like Reuters, Mashable and The New York Times make use of HARO to request information or to find an expert’s opinion for a story.

HARO manages a database brimming with sources that reporters can quote from, giving those sources the opportunity to get some media coverage in the process.

2. FollowerWonk

The guys over at Moz have devised FollowerWonk to let you search things like people's Twitter bios. Why on earth is that useful, you ask? Allow me to explain.

If your aim was to be covered by Gizmodo, you could use FollowerWonk to search for "gizmodo" and then browse all Twitter accounts that contain that keyword in their bio section, sorted by number of followers.

Once you have the list, you can then use it to find reporters who have previously published articles on Gizmodo relating to your industry. And there you have it, a targeted set of reporters to approach.

3. Cision

Cision is a highly-detailed media tool, touting itself as a Media Intelligence Platform.

It boasts a database that stores information on reporters including: location, email, phone numbers, social media profiles and areas of focus.

You can leverage cision to easily generate lists based on the types of reporters who will be most interested in your story.

4. MuckRack

MuckRack lets you search for keywords, company names, media types, and much more, to help you connect with the most relevant reporters.

You can also configure MuckRack to send you email notifications when journalists tweet or link to articles matching your search terms, which is insanely useful.

5. CoverageBook

To get media coverage, your approach has to be professional and well organized. Not only because it makes your brand look good, but also because it helps journalists do their job.

No Journalist wants to report on a story with poorly presented press releases and multimedia. Why expend so much effort when so many other pitches are well laid out?

CoverageBook helps you streamline the process of putting your media pack together.

6. ProfNet

In business since 1992, ProfNet is the veteran on the list.

When a journalist is writing a story and needs an expert source, they submit their inquiry to ProfNet and it then gets distributed to a list of subscribers. By signing up, you can be on that list, and will then have the opportunity to respond to a reporter in need.

If all else fails, it’s also just a great way to stay updated about what journalists are writing about within your industry.

Conclusion

The tools above will undoubtedly open up doors for you with the media, you just have to ensure that your brand is worthy of coverage.

For further reading, be sure to check out our guide on, How to PR Like a Pro: A Guide to Getting Media Attention.

About the Author

Kaya Ismail is a wordsmith and founder of Employ the Internet. He is a seasoned content marketer with a love for video games and coffee.

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