News You might have missed: Week of August 18th, 2017

Skype Desktop Preview

After launching an updated for mobile, Skype gets a face lift for PC and Mac. For non-Windows 10 users, the experience is similar to the mobile one but it takes advantage of the larger screen. Group chats, calls and screen and photo sharing in real-time are some of the areas that deliver an improved experience. Message reactions, mentions, and a notification panel have been added to provide more information about your activity.

Via Microsoft Blog

  • A modern design that better reflects how people communicate today. A much-needed revamp.
  • The biggest challenge will be to change people’s perception about Skype, to make it a one stop shop for communication.
  • Such a challenge is particularly true for younger users, especially on mobile.
  • This attempt to relate more to Millennials and Gen Z risks alienating older users who appreciated the single focus and simple UI Skype offered. While the UI remains simple and engaging, it could be quite overwhelming to see all the new functionalities.
  • There is opportunity in emerging markets, particularly on mobile as Skype has strong engagement already

HMD Global moved into the high-end with its new Nokia 8 Smartphone

On Wed, in London, HMD Global the Finnish company that sells phones under the Nokia brand launched its first high-end smartphone the Nokia 8. HMD brought back ZEISS to the Nokia brand and focused on millennials and their sweet obsession with social media and video/streaming sharing. The dual camera on the Nokia 8 allows you to simultaneously use the rear and front camera to stream your video. This feature is called Dual-Sight and HMD coined the new term #bothie.

The rest of the phone ticks all the boxes for a high-end Android phone competing with Motorola on the “pure Android” experience. No plans to bring the phone to the US or China yet.

Via hmdglobal.com

  • Different thinking that might actually appeal to Millennials although at 599 Euros it might need some help from carriers
  • There are plenty of countries in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia that still value the Nokia brand.
  • It is interesting that the Nokia 8 will not go to China at least for now as the Nokia 6 had good success with flash sales. HMD might feel that the Nokia brand is more of a differentiator at lower price points against local Chinese brands than in the high-end against Apple, Huawei and to a lesser extent Samsung.
  • Given HMD collaboration with Amazon in India, I would not be surprized to see the Nokia 8 landing on Amazon.com in the near future as long as production is not an issue. The Nokia 6 is currently available on Amazon.com for just over $200
  • Yet, despite the brand remaining strong in some countries, competition in the high-end is hard especially considering the marketing budget Apple, Samsung and Huawei have at their disposal.

Apple’s $1 million donations to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

On Wednesday following the tragic incidents in Charlottesville, Tim Cook sent a memo to Apple’s employees in which he stated his disagreement with the president and anybody else that sees Nazis and white supremacists the same as the people who oppose them while standing up for human rights. He added that Apple will be giving $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30.

Earlier in the week, Apple cut off Apple Pay support for a number of websites that sold Nazis and white pride articles. PayPal had done the same the day before.

Via BuzzFeed 

  • It matters that tech CEOs are vocal about social issues and making a practical gesture like this is even more important
  • I believe Tim Cook is one of the most genuine CEOs when it comes to social justice issues and I think this is a trait that Apple’s employees are happy to rally behind
  • Cook might not have the charisma Jobs had, but his moral high ground is charming people and turning Apple is a more “human” brand

Essential Phone pre orders open at Sprint

Sprint is offering the Essential Phone at a $260 discount for subscribers who pre-order the device which will be shipping by August 28. Only black models available for now. Essential had announced earlier in the week that the white model was delayed and was offering customers who preordered the option to switch to black.

Via THE VERGE

  • Issues seem to continue for Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone that arrives with over two months delay
  • The 360 camera it sports is now also available from Motorola while in a different implementation. Based on the demos Rubin gave at his recode interview and my experience with the Moto 360 Mod the UI seems much better with the Moto Z
  • After such a delay in getting to market, the Essential Phone really needs to live up to its promise. Failing to do that is going to limit sales but more importantly, it will negatively impact Rubin’s reputation and any trust in future products

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

Carolina Milanesi

Carolina is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc, a market intelligence and strategy consulting firm based in Silicon Valley and recognized as one of the premier sources of quantitative and qualitative research and insights in tech. At Creative Strategies, Carolina focuses on consumer tech across the board. From hardware to services, she analyzes today to help predict and shape tomorrow. In her prior role as Chief of Research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, she drove thought leadership research by marrying her deep understanding of global market dynamics with the wealth of data coming from ComTech’s longitudinal studies on smartphones and tablets. Prior to her ComTech role, Carolina spent 14 years at Gartner, most recently as their Consumer Devices Research VP and Agenda Manager. In this role, she led the forecast and market share teams on smartphones, tablets, and PCs. She spent most of her time advising clients from VC firms, to technology providers, to traditional enterprise clients. Carolina is often quoted as an industry expert and commentator in publications such as The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She regularly appears on BBC, Bloomberg TV, Fox, NBC News and other networks. Her Twitter account was recently listed in the “101 accounts to follow to make Twitter more interesting” by Wired Italy.

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