el producto #138 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Apple’s object-tracking tags, Deliveroo’s “virtual restaurants”, Facebook’s new messaging service, PM habits, Disney’s streaming platform launch date, & more.

Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.

🎰 The week in figures

$2.2B: Udaan, an India-based wholesale marketplace, raises $300M on a $2.2B post-money valuation; operates an online platform connecting retailers with suppliers offering electronic devices, apparel, and more.

17.3%: Baidu now ranks as the world’s second-largest smart speaker company with 4.5M Q2 shipments and 17.3% market share; Amazon is 1 with 6.6M shipments and 25.4% of the market; Google is 3 with 4.3M and 16.7%.

5%: Roughly 5% of the world’s mobile carriers are working with Google to establish Rich Communications Services (RCS) as the default messaging solution for mobile devices; the GSM Association agreed in 2008 that RCS would be the successor to SMS, but fragmented systems and upgrade costs have prevented a fast transition; Google plans broad availability for RCS in Android by the end of next year.

-1.7%: Global smartphone sales dropped again in Q219. 368M units sold, which (374M for Q218); sales in India fell 2.3%, China saw growth of 0.5%.

📰 What’s going on

Microsoft starts testing a redesigned Windows 10 tablet mode for convertible laptops; the current setup removes taskbar icons when a device is put into touch-first mode; in the redesign, taskbar options will remain available, but they will have more spacing between them; additionally, File Explorer changes to a touch-centric layout, as does Search; the changes are available as a beta to Windows Insiders.

Disney to launch its Plus video streaming service on Nov 12; the $7-per-month subscription includes 4K and HDR content and allows four simultaneous streams; the product is intended for family members, in and out of the home, but will include features to prevent password sharing

Didi Chuxing announces plans for a self-driving ride-hailing service in Shanghai; the pilot scheme will offer more than 30 different types of car, each with a safety driver behind the wheel.

Amazon has shown interest in investing in Indonesia-based ride-hailing firm Go-Jek; Amazon is interested in Go-Jek’s delivery business.

Facebook announces an emergency alert system for local governments and first responders; when posting to their pages, governments and responders will have the option of marking a post as a local alert; Facebook will significantly amplify post visibility for users in the area.

Facebook is developing a new messaging service known as Threads; the app works alongside Instagram and lets users share photos, text, location, device battery, and more with those in their Close Friends list; Threads is currently being tested by Facebook staff; unknown when it will launch fully.

Apple issues press invites for a Sept 10 event at Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino; many expect the company to introduce three new iPhones and the next-generation Watch; reports indicate two OLED iPhone models featuring a three-lens camera assembly.

An internal build of iOS 13 reveals new details on Apple’s reported object-tracking tags, which will function much like Tile’s offerings; users will attach tags to essential items (wallets, keychains, etc) and iOS’ Find My app will display them under a new section called Items; the app apparently will alert users when they are separated from an object while not in a designated safe space, such as home; reportedly will use AR for locating items.

Apple Music for Android is set to add Chromecast support; available now via the beta version of the app, lets users cast audio tracks and video to their Chromecast device; the beta app has also added 100k global radio stations.

Apple suspends development of a walkie-talkie-like feature for messaging; one source attributed the shift to the departure of one of the project’s primary champions; Apple reportedly was working with Intel to develop a long-distance radio wave texting system, which would have enabled emergency communications for people out of cellular range.

Google announces the closure of its job application tracking service on Sept 1 2020; Google Hire launched in 2017, offering a suite of enterprise tools for managing resumes, interviews, and more; the company says it wants to focus its resources on other Google Cloud-based products.

Customer communications firm Airship acquires A/B testing company Apptimize; terms undisclosed; Airship says it will integrate Apptimize with its platform and hire roughly two-thirds of the company’s staff.

Nest Hello smart doorbell adds the ability to detect when a package has been delivered; available to Nest Aware customers (which starts at $5 per month), will send users a notification when a parcel is dropped off.

Telegram plans to launch its own cryptocurrency by Oct 31; the firm will soon roll out the first batches of it’s token, dubbed the Gram; early investors have reportedly agreed to hold on to their Grams for a period, though some will be able to sell their tokens at launch; Telegram also plans to release a digital wallet that will be made available to all Telegram users.

Festicket acquires fellow UK-based ticketing firm Event Genius; terms undisclosed, but the deal includes Event Genius subsidiary Ticket Arena; Event Genius offers online ticket sales, POS tools, ticket scanning, and more; it will continue to operate as a sub-brand of Festicket.

Nintendo says its “Mario Kart Tour” smartphone game will launch Sept 25; full details unclear, but the title will be free-to-start and launch on both iOS and Android; Nintendo released a limited Android beta earlier this year.

The BBC announces plans for a digital assistant; will work with the BBC’s online properties including its streaming platform iPlayer, and also with third-party hardware that supports BBC content and services; will use the wake word “Beeb,” and promises to recognize a broad array of British accents.

French president Emmanuel Macron announces a deal with the US to phase out a 3% tax impacting large tech firms; Macron says companies that pay the levy will be able to deduct it from an international tax agreement that is yet to be agreed.

Tencent announces an in-car version of its WeChat messaging service; working in partnership with Chang’an Automobile Group, WeChat will be available in new vehicles in China starting later this year; the app is voice-based and will offer less features than its smartphone counterpart; will also be controllable via button on the steering wheel.

NeuralCam Night Photo (iOS) promises to let users take better night photos; uses computational photography tools.

👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

Data on the scale of the UK tech ecosystem. Key findings:

  1. Investment in UK tech surging (+43% YoY)
  2. Global investor interest in UK tech skyrocketing (+147%)
  3. UK’s tech leaders are job creation engines & wealth creators for early investors
  4. In 2019, the UK has arguably become the world’s hottest tech hub in 2019, even compared to China and the USA

10 weekly habits of Product Managers that make a big difference. Carlos González, CEO at Product School, shares easy habit advice that may seem obvious, but is often overlooked.

Home is where the convenience app is. Large sums are being poured into service companies that replicate the jobs parents do for small children. Platforms act as an intermediary for groups to meet and trade in ways that would be difficult without them. By sitting between customers and businesses, the companies can take a cut of each transaction. This extends beyond day-to-day tasks.

Replace your kitchen. Enter industrial “cloud kitchens”. How Deliveroo’s “virtual restaurants” (boosted by Amazon investment) can help them to achieve their 4 radical goals:

  • Hyper-personalized food
  • Lower price of food
  • Create a daily use case for consumers
  • Greater margin due to supply chain savings and automation

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Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Creating cool products @ Revolut, formerly @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.