Alphabet Crushes Estimates; Foxconn Staffs Up For New iPhone; Microsoft Building 2 New Xbox Consoles; YouTube Tests Explore FeaturePosted: July 24, 2018
Google parent Alphabet reported financials yesterday, with a nice beat of Wall Street expectations. According to reuters.com, expenses from Google search didn’t grow as much as expected, which pushed profits up. Their operating margin ticked up from 22 to 24%, excluding the $5 antitrust fine from the EU…which appears like a rounding error. Alphabet hauled in $32.66 billion second quarter, 86% of which came from Google advertising, and beating the estimate of $32.17 billion. Alphabet still trails, Facebook, Amazon and Twitter in valuation, but is in the hunt. Apple still leads in the quest to be the first billion dollar company.
Foxconn is getting ready for the next generation iPhone by offering bonuses to workers who renew their contracts. The $295 bonus and hiring campaign will extend through this November. Macrumors.com reports that Foxconn is expected to assemble the majority of all 3 new iPhone models…the 2nd generation iPhone X, 90% of the iPhone Plus (or whatever Apple ends up calling it), and about 75% of the lower priced 6.1 inch iPhone with the LED screen. All 3 phones are expected to bow in September.
Microsoft is already hard at work on the next iteration of the Xbox console. in addition to the traditional version, Redmond is apparently working on a cheaper ‘streaming box’ designed to work with its previously reported streaming service. The streamer is code named ‘Scarlett Cloud’, and would run games both locally and in the cloud…which has been dubbed slice or splice. The idea is to help reduce latency. Geekwire.com reports that Sony, EA, and Nvidia are also working on cloud based game streaming services.
In the ongoing quest to grab and hold more eyeballs, YouTube is testing out a new feature on around 1% of iOS YouTube app users the next several weeks. Thenextweb.com says it’s an explore feature, similar to the Instagram Explore tab…and the idea is to help users discover more videos and content creators that may be lost in the thousands of others. Personalized recommendations will be based on the user’s previous viewing history.
Microsoft Works on New Xbox Consoles, Tesla Greenlights Full Self-Driving Features in August; Ads Bolt Facebook for Cheaper Traditional Media; Uber-Drunk Detecting PatentPosted: June 11, 2018
The gaming console is far from dead, according to Microsoft. Geekwire.com reports that in the keynote at E3, Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer said there will be new generations of the Xbox console. Spencer says the team is ‘deep into architecting’ the next generation Xboxes. On Sunday, Microsoft also announced that they had picked up 4 gaming studios, and have created their own called The Initiative….and they plan more first-party titles. They will continue to work on AI and cloud resources as applied to gaming, too.
Elon Musk Tweeted over the weekend that Tesla is on track to begin enabling full self-driving features starting in August. That’s when Autopilot 9 will arrive for owners, according to engadget.com. Keep in mind that this won’t mean they will activate so much that you’ll be able to climb into the back seat and take a nap…the full features may only operate at low speed….like allowing you to let go of the wheel only in a parking lot…for now.
In a twist a lot of people didn’t see coming, direct marketers are cutting back on Facebook ads for….traditional media like Radio, TV, and even print! Digiday.com reports that they surveyed 10 good sized direct to consumer companies, and every one had cut back on Facebook and Instagram ads in favor of traditional media. Clutter of feeds was mentioned, but the primary motivator: Facebook ads have gotten too high for the audience segments they target. Apparently since January, CPMs on Facebook’s platform have rocketed up 122% over last year, while impression rate had dropped. This was confirmed by AdStage. Pricing on the other hand has eased on traditional media like Radio, TV, and print.
Uber has applied for a patent that detects drunk passengers. Techcrunch.com says it measures behavior via their phone against usual behavior…including data on location, data input accuracy and speed, speed of walking. The system would alert drivers, and indicates that riders in a particularly ‘unusual’ state might be matched with drivers with special expertise or not be allowed rides at all. WHAT? Won’t that put a serious dent in their business? Isn’t being tipsy at night one of the main reasons people even CALL an Uber? Stay tuned and we’ll see if they actually start using this system.
Today in New York, Microsoft showed their latest and greatest in Lumia phones, Surface Tablets, Microsoft Band 2, Xbox, and Hololens. First off, a new custom Halo 5 Xbox with a Terabyte of storage…that’s out October 20th for $499. The Hololens will have what Microsoft calls Console Class Graphics. It puts virtual game enemies right in your room, and is untethered…no wires, phones, or PC connection needed. According to theverge.com, Microsoft is taking applications for a Hololens development kit, and it should be out 1st quarter of next year for $3000.
Microsoft Band 2 is more circular, and has a curved Gorilla Glass 3 OLED screen. It has Built in GPS, UV monitoring, sleep and calorie tracking, a barometer to track elevation, and Cortana elevation. For golf, it knows if you’re putting, doing practice swings, or crushing the ball down the fairway! It works across iOS, Android, and Windows. It’s $249, and out October 30th. Trick or Treat!
The Lumia 5.2 inch 950 and 5.7 950 XL smartphones feature adaptive antenna tech, octacore and hexacore processors, and liquid cooling tech. There’s a 20 megapixel camera, better image stabilization, triple LED flash, and a dedicated camera button. 32 gigs of storage and USB C connector. They recharge to 50% in 30 minutes. The new Lumias run full Windows 10, and will be out in November starting at $549 for the 950 and $649 for the 950 XL.
The Surface Pro 4 tablet will have a fingerprint sensor on the keyboard and a larger GLASS trackpad. It has a 12.3 inch display, and thinner cover. It gets a hybrid cooling system and 6th generation Intel Core processor, with 16 gigs or RAM and 1 terabyte of storage. Microsoft claims Surface 4 is 30% faster than Surface 3, and 50% faster than a Macbook Air. The pen attaches magnetically to the side…it doesn’t need charging for a year! Double click one end and it launches One note…hold the ‘eraser’ button and it launches Cortana. Preorders open October 7th and it starts at $899.
New to the lineup is a 13.5 inch laptop they’ve dubbed Microsoft Surface Book. The display detaches into a tablet, which they claim is the thinnest and lightest Intel Core i7 tablet. The whole thing is 1.6 lbs, and 7.7 millimeters thick. It starts at $1499. Preorders start October 7th, and it’s available October 26th.