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1. Everything Amazon announced at its Alexa event
Amazon held a big shindig yesterday to announce a whole bunch of new hardware ahead of the holidays. Naturally, the lineup includes new Echo smart speakers, as well as Alexa-powered earbuds, glasses, a smart ring and even an oven.
Oh, and Alexa is also getting celebrity voices — starting with Samuel L. Jackson, whose smooth tones you can purchase for just 99 cents.
2. Facebook announces Horizon, a VR massive-multiplayer world
Facebook Horizon is a virtual reality sandbox universe where you can build your own environments and games, play and socialize with friends or just explore the user-generated landscapes. Basically, it’s Facebook’s take on Second Life, and it’s launching in private beta next year.
3. Verizon lights up 5G in (parts of) NYC
Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn are the carrier’s first focus in New York City, bringing the total number of cities with Verizon 5G to 13. (Obligatory reminder: Verizon owns TechCrunch.)
4. Summer wants to vanquish student loans for borrowers, and now has $10M to do it
Through Summer’s platform, borrowers can get a full 360-degree view of their current student loan situation, and begin exploring options for how to repay it in the most financially efficient way possible.
5. Nigeria’s CcHub acquires Kenya’s iHub to create mega Africa incubator
Two of Africa’s powerhouse tech incubators will join forces: Nigerian innovation center and seed-fund CcHub has acquired Nairobi-based iHub.
6. Founders, get to Disrupt SF for answers to the really hard questions
Yes, it’ll be fun to see all the celebrities (Will Smith! Steph Curry!) at Disrupt SF, but be sure to check out the agenda for the Extra Crunch stage, where we’ll get more in-depth about the challenges that every founder faces.
7. How Amazon is closing out competitors by opening up voice
More Amazon news: The company announced the formation of a new consortium called the Voice Interoperability Group, which aims to create a set of standards and technology for voice-enabled hardware, with users able to trigger one voice over another with the right set of “wake words.” (Extra Crunch membership required.)