Smartphone Sales Projected Lower; Lyft Pulls e-Bikes in SF; Amazon- Buying Part of Reliance Retail-India; Apple Manager Segues to AR Team

At a point, markets get saturated, and growth tails off or even drops. Smartphone sales seem poised to do this. According to Gartner, smartphone sales are looking to drop 2.5% down to 1.5 billion. The biggest declines for this year are projected to be in Japan, Western Europe, and North America. Japan is already off 6.5%, Western Europe is softer by 5.3%, and North America down 4.4%. The blame is being put on slower upgrade cycles combined with pricier phones on top of a soft economy. Sales are even off in the world’s biggest smartphone market, China. A bump in sales is expected in the second half of this year and next year…propelled for at least a while by the introduction of blindingly fast 5G service.

Amazon is apparently in talks to buy 26% of India’s Reliance Retail. Businessinsider.com says the deal could give Amazon access to Reliance’s huge network of stores, which will be a major factor in fulfilling online grocery orders in the future. The e-commerce market in India is expected to be worth $200 billion by 2026…growing from $38.5 billion just two years ago in 2017. Amazon did $8.8 billion in India last year, but according to reports, may be passed up by Walmart brand Flipkart in 2023.

A veteran, high-profile software exec at Apple has reportedly been moved over to the AR team. According to 9to5mac.com, Kim Vorrath…who’s led program management for Apple’s software team for over 15 years, has transferred over to the AR team. The AR team is led by Mike Rockwell, VP of AR and VR for Apple. Vorrath is not a household name outside of Apple, but she originally reported to Craig Federighi, and oversaw keeping software teams on schedule and testing releases for bugs. It’s expected that the demanding exec will bring better order to the AR team in the manner she had with software.

We’ve all laughed at the meme about wanting to see a liar’s pants actually catch on fire. Now, Lyft…in a move to prevent this from actually happening…has pulled its electric bike fleet from San Francisco after a couple caught fire while in use! Theverge.com reports that the bikes had previously been pulled temporarily nationwide in April after a braking malfunction was found. The company has spent months integrating the dockless electric bikes with the docked manual bikes they operate. The e-bikes have also been operating in San Jose since June and Oakland since July 12th. Presumably, they will freeze fleets in those cities too until the problems are worked out.



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