📷 This week on "Axios on HBO": An interview with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, how memes may be influencing Andrew Yang's 2020 bid, plus the inequities of marijuana legalization. Tune in Sunday at 6pm ET/PT.
Meanwhile, it turns out most people like the word counts — 80% of all Axios newsletter readers and three-quarters of Login readers. Since apparently you are all dying to know, today's Login is 883 words, ~ 3 minute read.
Courtesy: WB Games
This week's release of "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" isn't just the debut of a highly anticipated mobile game. It's also a glimpse into the future of augmented reality and location-based gaming.
Why it matters: This gives Niantic, which also is the San Francisco-based creator of "Ingress" and "Pokemon Go," a chance to show how it can work with partners — and begin to turn the game system it has created into a platform others companies can build upon.
Details: In an interview, Niantic CEO John Hanke said much of the "Harry Potter" gameplay, user interface and animations were developed by Warner Bros., with Niantic contributing a lot of the technology.
What's next: Hanke said that Niantic now has a rich platform built on real-world points of interest and "spawn points" along with multiplayer battle mechanics. The next step is to get more outside developers working on it.
The big picture: Hanke said "Wizards Unite" reflects lessons learned from "Pokémon Go."
Niantic is also building pieces that will become more relevant when AR moves from the phone screen to some sort of glasses, a leap that is still a bit away.
Slack closed its first day of trading on the public market at $38.62 a share, up less than 0.5% from its opening price of $38.50.
The bottom line: It didn't close notably higher than its opening price, but a steady first day is a good result for Slack's unorthodox choice of a direct listing.
After years of trying to make Android tablets a bigger thing, Google will stop making its own slates.
Why it matters: Google's entry into the market failed to make Android-based and Chrome OS-based tablets more significant rivals to Apple's iPad.
Yes, but: The software unit that makes Android will continue to work with companies like Samsung that make their own Android tablets.
Hardware chief Rick Osterloh confirmed the company is scrapping plans for future Google-made tablets, though it will continue to support the Pixel Slate it introduced last year.
Photo: Joker/Alexander Stein/ullstein bild/Getty
In 2010, China and Japan got into a mighty fishing kerfuffle, and Beijing responded by halting exports of rare earth minerals — elements crucial to a slew of military and commercial technologies. The world shuddered, since China produced more than 90% of the world supply.
But then new mining projects sprang up elsewhere, and China, rather than lose its market dominance, lifted the export ban, Axios' Steve LeVine writes.
Today, China is again raising the threat of a rare earths cutoff, this time linked to its trade brinkmanship with the U.S.
Between the lines: "China is trying to develop its own micro-electronics industry. They may decide, 'We can use all these rare earths ourselves, and not export them,'" Rasser tells Axios.
The bottom line: Experts say that, even at top speed, it would take five or more years to develop sufficient outside supply of the 17 rare earth elements. A U.S.–China trade deal will probably tamp down the rare earth threats. But in the long term, Rasser says, China is likely to dial back the exports in order to supply its own companies.
How to really, really destroy your old hard drive, thanks to wikiHow.