Enjoy this weekly feed of inspiring, interesting and intellectual articles with a focus on disruptive news!
Amazon to be your new personal assistant?
Personal assistants and voice recognition apps like Apple’s Siri and Android’s Google Now are becoming better and smarter, and they are sure to be a central part of our future lives and the internet of things. What you might not know is that Amazon has a much better voice recognition “assistant” gadget than Apple and Google, the Echo speaker. Essentially a smart speaker answers questions and performs certain tasks that is already integrated with several smart home platforms,but the Echo is now starting to be really useful in the more and more connected home. Interesting to see whether different services, apps and gadgets will end up having their own assistants or if “assistant speakers (or other gadgets)” will be central. What’s sure is that when Echo reaches the market, Amazon can start collecting loads of valuable data from their customers and their homes.
HTC the victim of disruption
According to investors, HTC ain’t worth squat anymore. From being a strong global player in 2011 with quarterly earnings of $4.6 billion, the company’s market valuation has fallen by 95% over the past five years. An August valuation of $1.6billion actually left the company worth less than its current cash at hand, which in other words means that the market considers HTC’s brand, facilities and technologies worthless.
The company has tried hard not to fall victim of the rough competition. Executives have been replaced and new market position strategies have been set, HTC are betting that their premium phone line HTC One will be a rescuer and they’re also expanding into VR and wearables.
These efforts are however not enough to convince the market and the company announced recently that they are cutting 15% of the staff to lower expenses.
Disruption can surely hit you real hard sometimes, and talk about short mean time between surprises in this case!
Intel avoiding disruption?
For decades now, Intel has been powering most of our computers with their processors. On the mobile phone front they have however lost the battle to Qualcomm and Apple (who make their own chips). Realizing this Intel are now now pushing hard to take a stake of the wearables market with big investment in new chips and acquisitions of several wearable companies, including Basis (fitness tracker) and Recon (smart eyewear). Long term, the internet of things is highly interesting for Intel’s new processors, as Brian Krzanich, Intel’s CEO said “You’ll see Intel in every kind of device. From mirrors, to drones, to PCs and datacenters.”
UK government invest £500 million in battery charging roads
Just as the cars of today would be very unpractical without roads and gas stations, electric vehicles will not become a reality without the necessary infrastructure. Therefore, the British government is funding a £500 million infrastructure project aimed to integrate charging technology in the roads. By using magnetic induction technology the cars will charge on the fly, eliminating the need to stop at charging stations. If this becomes the new standard it will be another USP for the electric car. Never stop for gas, just keep going, hopefully with assistance of autonomous driving systems.
Tesla + Airbnb
Tesla plans to give free chargers to over 100 Airbnb hosts on the West coast of US. The ultimate goal is to “install thousands of charging stations in Airbnb’s around the world”, in an effort to decrease the “range anxiety” that is keeping many potential customers from taking the leap to electric. Very interesting to see these two team up, it could also mean a hit for the short haul travel industry of California if this is a success!