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Grading the final tech IPOs of 2019 – TechCrunch

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As the holiday slowdown looms, the final U.S.-listed technology IPOs have come in and begun to trade.

Three tech, tech-ish or venture-backed companies went public this week: Bill.com, Sprout Social and EHang. Let’s quickly review how each has performed thus far. These are, bear in mind, the last IPOs of the year that we care about, pending something incredible happening. 2020 will bring all sorts of fun, but, for this time ’round the sun, we’re done.

Pricing

Our three companies managed to each price differently. So, we have some variety to discuss. Here’s how each managed during their IPO run:

How do those results stack up against their final private valuations? Doing the best we can, here’s how they compare:

So EHang priced low and its IPO is hard to vet, as we’re guessing at its final private worth. We’ll give it a passing grade. Sprout Social priced mid-range, and managed a slight valuation bump. We can give that a B, or B+. Bill.com managed to price above its raised range, boosting its valuation sharply in the process. That’s worth an A.

Performance

Trading just wrapped, so how have our companies performed thus far in their nascent lives as public companies? Here’s the scorecard:

  • EHang’s Friday closing price: $12.90 (+3.2%)
  • Sprout Social’s Friday closing price: $16.60 (-2.35%)
  • Bill.com’s Friday closing price: $38.83 (+76.5%)

You can gist out the grades somewhat easily here, with one caveat. The Bill.com IPO’s massive early success has caused the usual complaints that the firm was underpriced by its bankers, and was thus robbed to some degree. This argument makes the assumption that the public market’s initial pricing of the company once it began trading is reasonable (maybe!) and that the company in question could have captured most or all of that value (maybe!).

Bill.com’s CEO’s reaction to the matter puts a new spin on it, but you should at least know that the week’s most successful IPO has attracted criticism for being too successful. So forget any chance of an A+.

Image via Getty Images / Somyot Techapuwapat / EyeEm



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AYA-NEO puts a different spin on the PC gaming handheld

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By now, the idea of a handheld Windows computer is no longer novel but their implementations are still rare. The earliest models, mostly from GPD, had to make do with either less powerful Intel Atoms or, later on, beefier Intel Cores that still weren’t made for gaming. It was only with the 11th gen Intel processors with Iris Xe graphics that PC gaming handhelds may have started getting a chance but the AYA-NEO is taking a different route towards that portable gaming PC goal.

The AYA-NEO takes after the Nintendo Switch, or rather the Nintendo Switch Lite with its permanently attached controllers flanking the screen. This was the same design adopted by the GPD WIN 3 which just finished its own crowdfunding run. The key difference in design is that the WIN 3 used a sliding mechanism to reveal a capacitive keyboard which, based on early reviews, was more of a liability than a winning feature, pun intended.

The differences run deep, however, and the AYA-NEO has one other defining trait. It runs on an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U which, among other things, comes with a Radeon mobile graphics processor. Naturally, the AYA-NEO boasts of the ability to run games that wouldn’t otherwise run on Intel-only silicon. that includes the infamous Cyberpunk 2077, though only at 30 fps.

The AYA-NEO also has a larger 7-inch screen but with a 1280×800 resolution only. In addition to your usual game controller buttons, it also has shortcuts for some keyboard combos and keys needed for some PC games. With gyro and accelerometer sensors, the entire handheld can also be used to control games or maybe rotate the display for other games and apps.

At around $790 for the base 512GB model on Indiegogo, the AYA-NEO is a rather hefty investment. The campaign is also offering add-ons like a dock that will turn the gaming PC into a true desktop with the right peripherals. The campaign zipped past its funding goals with 28 days to spare but, as with any crowdfunded product, it will take faith and patience before the final item is delivered to your doorstep.

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Apple iCloud bug locks user with “True” surname

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Many computer software, be it locally or on the cloud, are designed to take into account ways that people, intentionally or not, could break the system. Programmers tend to account for potential errors in human input or intentional methods of gaming the system, but it’s statistically impossible to be prepared for all of them. One strange case, in particular, has seemingly locked an Apple iCloud user from her account for months, just because Apple cloud storage software wasn’t prepared to handle someone whose last name happens to be “True”.

In many computer languages, “true” is a reserved keyboard to denote something that is, well, true. Of course, that is also a normal and often-used word in the English language and may even be someone’s name. Unfortunately, a single capitalization mistake seems to have made iCloud’s software mistake one for the other and lock Rachel True out of her account.

The author took to Twitter to express her frustration at a months-long problem that didn’t have any end in sight. Her surname is “True” but, whether by her own mistake or the system’s, was changed to “true” somewhere in the process. That, in turn, was interpreted by the software as an actual part of the code and triggered a bug that locked her out of her iCloud account.

This would have been a funny anecdote if not for the fact that Ms. True has been trying to get that situation fixed since September last year to no avail. In the meantime, she was still paying the monthly subscription fee for Apple iCloud despite not having access to it, probably just to keep her files intact. According to some programmers, what looks like a trivial issue may not actually be that simple to fix, especially if it means touching a cloud-based service used by thousands of users around the world.

The somewhat good news is that all the media attention finally got True part of her intended results. Apple said they will get back to her next week, hopefully with a real and more permanent solution.

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Galaxy A52 and A72 leaks paint an encouraging picture

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Samsung’s premier premium smartphone for early 2021 is already out and it’s time to give its other models, particularly those for lower tiers, their time under the spotlight. It seems that that time will be coming soon if the steady flow of leaks for the Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72 is any indicator. These phones will undoubtedly be mid-range but it seems that Samsung has prepared some features that could make the phones more enticing beyond just their accessible price tags.

The Galaxy A52 was already leaked in its entirety, revealing all the specs and even the design of the phone. Now the phone has been spotted in alleged hands-on photos, confirming the matte finish on its back and four cameras in a smaller camera bump. The tipster also confirmed the IP67 dust and water resistance rating of the phone as well as the 64MP main camera.

Perhaps more interesting are the details surrounding the Galaxy A72. Although the Snapdragon 720G on 4G LTE model may sound a bit disappointing, the rest of the specs, do sound a bit hopeful. More importantly, however, the phone also brings a few features that have never before been seen in the Galaxy A series.

It is, for example, the first in its tier to be given Samsung’s “Space Zoom” feature, though only up to 30x zoom. It is also the first to feature dual stereo speakers, utilizing the top earpiece as the second audio output.

Both the Galaxy A52 and Galaxy A72 also appeared early on Samsung UAE’s website, confirming the appearance and specs of the phones. It could hint that the two are just around the corner but the actual launch date might not be until later this month or early April at the latest.

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