elproducto #19 👉 a weekly peek into the future of Tech and Product
Amazon’s Echo Show, Dangers of mobile-first, Offline web on Chrome, Tracking experimentation, Microstories for pitching, New OS by Google & more.
Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto.
📰 Seen on the news
Amazon announces the Echo Show: an Alexa-powered device with seven-inch touch screen for video calls; can also display weather forecasts, user and web media, security camera feeds; starting at $230, pre-orders now open, will be available June 28. Amazon’s Echo devices have 70.6 percent of the voice-powered speaker market in the US; Google Home has 23.8 percent.
Amazon launches Alexa Calling, a free voice calling and messaging service for all Echo devices; also available in the Alexa app.
Amazon is set to host a series of live music events in London; Prime Live Events will offer smaller gigs across various venues; Blondie will play the first event on May 23, tickets available to Prime customers only.
Apple to unveil Amazon’s Prime Video app for Apple TV at WWDC in June in preparation for a summer launch, according to BuzzFeed sources; launch window is reportedly not set in stone; as part of a new agreement, after two years of not offering the set-top box, Amazon will once again sell Apple TV.
Facebook begins demoting posts that link through to websites containing “disruptive, shocking or malicious” ads; changes to the newsfeed algorithm are intended to reduce the visibility of sites that don’t offer much substantive content.
Instagram lets users upload photos and add filters via the mobile web; also offers some editing features, with support for Stories and direct messaging.
Chrome for Android adds additional tools to save web pages for offline viewing; users can now long-press a link to reveal a download option; Chrome will also show a button to download the page later if the device is already offline.
Microsoft is planning to turn Windows 10 PCs into Amazon Echo competitors; enabling families to share to-do lists, calendar events, more; smaller screen and Cortana support likely indicate Echo-like functionality; smart home integrations; software update expected in September.
Microsoft says iTunes will be available on the Windows Store by the end of the year; the company’s education-focused Windows 10 S, which can only run apps from the Windows Store, will support iTunes with iOS management and syncing.
Microsoft unveils Presentation Translator: a PowerPoint add-in that provides real-time language translation, providing format-correct slide translations and speaker subtitles (also useful for the hearing impaired); currently supports 10 languages
Apple acquires sleep monitoring firm Beddit; terms undisclosed; the Finland-based company produces a sensor strip that users place across their bed; pairs with an iPhone to track data.
Snapchat introduces limitless playback, looping videos,“draw” with emoji, and a “magic eraser” that removes objects from your snaps and fills them in with their surroundings. Snap’s Spectacles brought in $8.3M in revenue during Q1; the firm sold more than 60k camera-equipped glasses, which became available to purchase online in February.
Alipay strikes US. The Chinese payment giant signs a deal with credit card processing firm First Data to support point-of-sale transactions at more than 4M US stores; represents the latest move by Alipay to offer its users cross-border payments.
Google’s “Fuchsia” smartphone OS reveals UI. Drops Linux for internally developed kernel “Magenta”. The interface and apps are written with Google’s Flutter SDK, which can output cross-platform code for Android and iOS. More on Fuchsia.
Alphabet’s smart cities unit, Sidewalk Labs, applies to develop 8093.71 m² in downtown Toronto; the sources say plans are in line with Sidewalk’s goal of creating an entire smart city district from the ground up.
Facebook makes its convolutional neural net models available on GitHub; the company says its machine translation performs nine times faster than the competition; the ConvNet could also be used in other applications for interpreting text, such as summarizing content.
Huawei becomes the top smartphone firm in China after shipping 20.8M devices in Q1; Oppo falls to second with 18.9M devices; a total of 103.1M smartphones were shipped in China in Q1.
UK carrier O2 is set to drop roaming fees across 47 European countries from Jun 15; follows similar moves by competitors EE, Three and Vodafone; coincides with EU-legislated plans to remove roaming charges across the 28 member states.
Citymapper, which offers a transit app, announces its own pop-up bus route in London; the company is offering free rides on its own branded buses; both the standard bus and shuttle travel a circular route and feature USB charging, a mounted display with location information and software for drivers.
Travis Kalanick teases Uber Freight, the company’s yet-to-launch shipping division.
Researchers use CRISPR gene editing to remove HIV DNA in mice during trial; used mice with latent HIV, with actively replicated HIV, and mice grafted with human T cells hiding latent HIV; plan to begin test on primates soon.
theSkimm (iOS) automatically adds a range of public and social events to a user’s calendar; includes options for favorite TV shows, sports events, political rallies, and more; users also receive short updates on the things they’re interested in.
📚 Good reads
Sushi lessons on selling the familiar done differently. The author of Hooked, Nir Eyal, examines how to get people to adopt new concepts by giving them familiar shapes. With a couple of practical examples from Apple and…yes, sushi.
Can Wal-Mart’s acquisition of Jet.com help them to challenge Amazon? Bloomberg deep-dives into the big e-commerce bet that Wal-Mart is taking by buying Jet.com
A Simple approach to track the progress of Experiments. Strategyzer proposes 5 key elements to build a simple reporting structure to keep experimentation on track.
The Corporate Innovation Ecosystem. A fun infographic by Xplane describing the players, tensions and key strategic questions on Innovation at large companies. Click the link to download it at full resolution.
Mobile first, desktop worst. Oliver Brooks exposes why a mobile-first design approach does not have to mean a universal approach to all platforms. What seems an opportunity to simplify can often make things more complex if we do not consider user context and behavior with the platform.