News You might have missed: Week of January 19th

Amazon 2HQ is not coming to the Bay Area

Amazon is looking for a city to host its HQ2 and San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, Richmond, and Concord had put in a joint bid to offer Amazon locations in each of those cities, while San Jose had put in a separate bid.

The San Francisco-Oakland-East Bay coalition’s bid included locations such as the former Concord Naval Weapons Station, a Coliseum City location and sites in downtown Oakland, Fremont’s Warm Springs Innovation District, the Hunter’s Point Shipyard in San Francisco and the Hilltop Mall and Richmond Field Station in Richmond.

The only West Coast city on the short list is Los Angeles

Via Amazon 

  • I never actually thought Silicon Valley had a shot at getting this. Amazon already has a fair amount of presence in the Valley to classify as a satellite location which is not what they aspire to build.
  • When it comes to talent, competition would be strong in the Valley due to the presence of all the other big tech names but also coming from Amazon’s current home, Seattle
  • When you look at the other picks, with some exceptions, Amazon seems to be looking for a few things:
    • Being able to attract talent, tech talent in particular
    • A metropolitan area that would be appealing to millennials but where the cost of living is not prohibitive
    • Good transportation
    • And, of course, a favorable local government that might offer tax breaks and other incentives
  • Los Angeles was the city that stood out to me and not just because it is the only city on the list on the West Coast. We have witness Amazon’s ambitions in the content business grow steadily over the past couple of years and picking LA might allow them to marry tech and Hollywood. Just this past October, Amazon Studios said to be moving into Culver Studios home to big productions such as “Gone with the Wind.”

Nintendo Labo

This week Nintendo announced a series of new games and cardboard accessories that will work with their very successful Nintendo Switch. The Labo line starts with two products: a “Variety kit” with several accessories for $70, and that robot suit for $80. Both will be available on April 20. These are basically kits that come flat-packed, pre-cut and that you will have to build. You add the cartridge that comes with the kit and use them to play your game with the controllers. The YouTube video released by Nintendo shows a fishing rod, a piano, a steering wheel, a VR headset and more.

Via Wired

  • I am not a gamer and have not grown up as one. My 10-year-old is an iPad and console gamer but so far has not been interested in the Nintendo Switch despite having played with one with friends. Yet, we watched this video together and it was an immediate: “I want that”
  • While many see these accessories as overpriced cardboard, as a mom, I see them as an opportunity for me and my daughter to build something together. Something that in many cases will give us the opportunity to discover how real objects actually work.
  • There are a lot of concerns about kids and screen time as well as kids interacting with digital only. While the Nintendo Labo games are still digital you are touching an object which allows you to engage your brain and body differently.
  • I would also not underestimate how rewarding making something is for a child – and a parent for that matter. Ask anyone who builds with Legos or bakes cakes with their kids!
  • I also love that the Toy-Cons are customizable with markers and paints, adding yet another layer to that creative process.
  • The big question is of course, how durable will these accessories going to be. The cardboard has to be soft enough to be able to bend into shape yet endure kids playing with it.
  • While I think this idea serves a very specific audience and also fits quite well in the whole STEAM movement, I am expecting to see more and more accessories coming to the market especially around AR.
  • Lenovo’s Jedi Challenge with the lightsaber that ships with the AR headset are a good example of that. Adding a real-life accessory to an augmented world makes the experience even more immersive.

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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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