Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘smartphones

Apple’s New Razor Blades

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On today’s Apple marketing-fest, Tim Cook made a big change in the order of business we’ve come to expect of their product launches: He led with the razor blades instead of the razors.

Specifically, he led with Apple’s new gaming subscription service (Apple Arcade, $4.99 monthly, available Sept 19th, 150 countries, 100 new games added to the launch catalog) and its new filmed content subscription service (AppleTV+ content streaming service with first shows arriving Nov 1, over 100 countries at launch, also $4.99/month).

That alone was a statement of strategic focus moving forward. The razors are important, but the razor blades are where the new growth comes from.

So what about the hardware?

About what you’d expect. The Apple iPhone Pro probably stood out most (I don’t need a new Watch, iPad, yadda yadda yadda), if only because the speeds and feeds looked absolutely bionic. Who doesn’t want three cameras to cover all angles and motion of your Friday night beer pong contest?

And slow-motion selfies — don’t forggettt thosseee slowwww mo-shunnnnn selff-eeeeeees.

Today’s launch may have been all about the razor blades. But if you ask me, it’s been a very long time since Apple launched a new and must have razor.

Written by turbotodd

September 10, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Posted in 2019, apple, apple watch, iPhone

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Knock Knock

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Happy Hump Day.  The GZERO Signal warns this morning that the AI backlash has been recently accelerating.

Noting Bernie Sanders becoming the first 2020 prez candidate to call for an outright ban on facial recognition in policing….European policymakers weighing regs to curtail “indiscriminate” use of AI by companies and governments…Hong Kongers donning masks to prevent authorities from using their faces ID to them.

Wayback machine “Minority Report” showing, anyone? I’ll bring the GMO popcorn!

On the Chimerica front, the Google’s apparently taking no chances on the US-China trade war. 9to5 Google is reporting the Droid is set to move production of its Pixel phone from China to Vietnam, but suggest it’s unclear whether this move will affect the production of the upcoming Google Pixel 4.

If it did, that would be some awfully fast production line and supply chain retooling. Good morning, Vietnam!

Google is also putting its algos to work on the Nest Hello doorbell, which The Verge is reporting can now detect deliveries and notify U.S. users of such for a mere $5/month with its Nest Aware service.

No word yet if the Nest Hello could help say goodbye to porch thieves watching your arriving Prime packages.

Written by turbotodd

August 28, 2019 at 9:52 am

Love and Smartphones

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Okay, admit it, you’re *really* excited about the drop of Taylor Swift’s new album…Okay, maybe not.

It’s apparently official: VMWare is buying both Carbon Black and Pivotal for roughly $4.5B. Carbon Black is a cybersecurity firm, and Pivotal a hybrid-cloud infra ops player born out of assets spun off from VMWare and Dell back in 2013.

If you wonder where you fall in the buying a new smartphone spectrum, there’s a study for that. 9to5 mac cites Strategy Analytics data on the smartphone purchasing habits of U.S. consumers: They upgrade very 33 months, had their current iPhone an average of 18 months, and 7 percent plan to spend over $1,000 on their next upgrade. Now you know why Apple is focusing so much more on razors (services, infotainment…) and not just razor blades (iPhones).

Yesterday Google jumped on board the high speed Chinese anti-propaganda train campaign by suspending 210 YouTube channels after they were found to have been tied to misinformation about HK protesters.

Google Security’s Threat Analysis Group wrote in a blog post that “We found use of VPNs and other methods to disguise the origin of these accounts and other activity commonly associated with coordinated influence operations.”

Gambling? In the casino??

Written by turbotodd

August 23, 2019 at 10:13 am

Brave New World

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Happy Monday. Bloomberg is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook made a “very compelling argument’
that Apple might lose its edge to Samsung because due to tariffs on Chinese goods. 

China’s apparently moving on, with The Verge reporting that Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi, Oppo, and Vivo are collaborating on an AirDrop-style wireless file transfer protocol that will work between their devices with speeds of up to 20 MB/s. If you will, the Great Wireless Wall of China.

Also news on the crytocurrency front: Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has launched a crypto exchange for trading in bitcoin, ether, and bitcoin cash. And, Accenture is reporting that global fintech investments have dropped as Chinese fundraising has fallen sharply.

The U.S. remains the world’s biggest fintech market with $12.7B in first-half fundraising — such investments in China were at $820M, a huge fall from the $17.7B raised a year earlier.

Why the big drop? Increased U.S. scrutiny of foreign investments in the U.S., restrictions on Chinese firms’ access to U.S. tech, Huawei’s blacklisting, fears of a global recession and declining business capx investment (among others).

It’s a brave (and never boring) new world.

Written by turbotodd

August 19, 2019 at 10:34 am

Posted in 2019, apple, china, fintech

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The Harmony Hedge

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I wrote on Monday about the possible fork in the smartphone road between China and the rest of the world.

Today, at the Huawei Developer Conference in Dongguan, China, the company’s CEO, Richard Yu, made it official by unveiling “HarmonyOS.”

Though the OS is currently focused largely on IoT products (wearables, smart speakers, etc.), Yu explained that if and when Huawei can no longer access Google’s Android ecosystem, Huawei could deploy HarmonyOS at any time.

But the plan is to stay with Android. Until it can’t or won’t. 

HarmonyOS (formerly “HongMengOS”) is open source and microkernel-based, and Yu suggested onstage in Dongguan that Android wasn’t as efficient due to its redundant codes and general fragmentation issues.

Developers will be able to port their Android apps over to HarmonyOS using Huawei’s ARK compiler.

This is a serious chicken and egg proposition. Yu hasn’t given a full throated endorsement of HarmonyOS, avoided mentioning smartphones in the introduction, and clearly would prefer to avoid jumping off the Android ship.

But either because of market or political pressures, he has been pushed (quickly) by the powers that be to oversee a major OS hedge.

Statista’s latest estimate of the number of Chinese smartphone users exceeds 1B+, and last year China accounted for nearly half of app downloads.

I suspect Huawei (not to mention Google) clearly wants to hedge on this hedge.

Written by turbotodd

August 9, 2019 at 9:57 am

Samsung Hearts Microsoft

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Big announcements yesterday from Samsung re: their Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Book S devices.

They also announced an extension of their partnership with Microsoft, looking to more tightly integrate MS Outlook, OneDrive, and its Your Phone app.

CEO Satya Nadella even made an appearance on the Samsung stage.

What caught my attention was that the Galaxy Book S was developed in partnership with both Microsoft and Qualcomm, and will include LTE connectivity between phones and PCs using Microsoft’s Your Phone technology.

This will allow Galaxy Note 10 users to tie together their phones with Windows 10 PCs, and to use Your Phone apps on their computers.

ZDNet reports that later this month that Galaxy Note 10 users will be able to mirror their phone screens on their PCs and use their PC keyboards, mouse and touch screens to interact directly with their phone apps.

This is the type of PC/smartphone convergence that I believe is long overdue. Why not be able to carry our smartphones with us, no matter the brand, and “plug-carry-and-play” no matter where we are, and have at our fingertips the apps and services we need and use the most.

Maybe it’s an idea whose time has finally come.

Written by turbotodd

August 8, 2019 at 9:52 am

A Fork in the Smartphone Road

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Well, the Chimerica trade and technology war has been taken to new heights over the weekend, both in terms of policy and in global markets.

After President Trump raised the tariffs on China again, this time 10% on $300 billion in Chinese imports not covered by earlier rounds of tariffs on China, China is retaliating with both active and passive measures.

Passively, China is refusing to prompt up the devaluing Chinese currency, the yuan, allowing it to break through 7 against the dollar for the first time since prior to the Great Recession.

Actively, the Chinese Customs Tariffs Commission of the State Council has not ruled out import tariffs on newly purchased U.S. agricultural products after August 3 (this past Saturday).

While the American and Chinese leaders continue with their Great Game of Trade Chicken, Chinese state media has made an interesting announcement: That Huawei is testing a $288 smartphone running its self-developed HongMeng OS, which Reuters is reporting could go on sale later this year.

Could this eventually lead to a global fork in the smartphone OS market, which is currently largely dominated by Google’s Android (and on which most Chinese smartphones are based)?

Probably not in the short term, but longer term…?

Written by turbotodd

August 5, 2019 at 2:38 pm

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