News You Might Have Missed: Week of July 13, 2018

AT&T to be the Exclusive US Distributor of the Magic Leap One

This week Magic Leap announced that the Magic Leap One Creator Edition will be available later in the summer.

When available for consumers, a timeframe that was not specified, AT&T customers will be among the first to experience it in select AT&T stores in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, with more markets to follow.

In a developer-focused Twitch stream, several Magic Leap employees offered details about the system specs for the AR headset. The headset will be powered by an Nvidia Tegra X2 system, probably one of the more powerful options for mobile devices, though it is bulky enough that the company needed to build a dedicated hip pack in order to house it.

Via AT&T

  • We are still missing plenty of details on the Magic Leap One like the screen resolution, field of view and battery life. What Magic Leap had said so far is that battery life should be “several hours” and that the device will utilize hand-tracking and a physical controller and also will support eye-tracking. It’s unclear how these will all interact together and how much will be up to developer preferences. We’re also still waiting to get details on battery life.
  • Another big question mark is the retail price. While the Creator edition is expected to be priced at around $500, rumors have placed the cost of the retail unit as high as $1000. Given AT&T is the exclusive channel I would expect some kind of subsidy coupled with a service subscription on LTE or 5G or whether given AT&T content play with Time Warner and the latest statements about wanting HBO to double down on original content.
  • While it could well be that a version of the Magic Leap One could have an embedded cellular modem, Magic Leap engineers are saying that the device should be used in the home which would then limit the need for cellular. A content subscription might make more sense given how entertainment and escapism are such big drivers of mixed reality experiences.
  • Either way, if the price is really going to be close to a $1000 some kind of plan will have to be made available to drive uptake for a category that has yet to prove its full value.
  • The hype around both the company and the product has been massive. From the huge evaluation of 2.3 billion dollars to the much-touted accuracy of the object position by the Magic Leap One. So far, however, very few people have experience what these goggles can do, and these selected few have not shared much detail with the rest of us mortals.
  • Microsoft is probably the vendor who most eagerly is waiting to see the real capability of this first device and the potential threat it poses to HoloLens.
  • That said, HoloLens has been particularly successful in the enterprise market thus far which needs more than a good product to be convinced to use your product and add you to their supplier list.

Microsoft launches a free version of Microsoft Teams

 Ahead of Microsoft’s big partners’ conference “Microsoft Inspire”, Microsoft announced a free version of Microsoft Team, the collaboration platform launched a year ago. The free version includes the following for up to 300 people:

  • Unlimited chat messages and search
  • Built-in audio and video calling for individuals, group, and full team meetups
  • 10GB of team file storage plus additional 2GB per person for personal storage
  • Integrated real-time content creation with Office Online, including built-in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
  • Unlimited app integrations with 140+ business apps to choose from, including Adobe, Evernote, and Trello
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside your organization, backed by Microsoft’s secure, global infrastructure

Via Microsoft

  • From the moment Teams was launched, I was hoping for a version that individuals could start using. Something that did not need and IT blessing and deployment. I was not even looking for it to be free, just available.
  • The free version of Teams addresses what for me was a fundamental shortcoming of the platform which was the lack of recognition of two things:
    • that team collaboration is sometimes driven by tools picked by an individual in the team or a team in the organization, not necessarily by IT
    • that there is a lot of collaboration going on outside large enterprises. It might be different, as it might involve more off-campus than on-campus collaboration, but it is collaboration none the less. There are also more informal groups like project-based communities, clubs and home schools that can benefit from Teams but might not be running Office or even all be on a Windows device. While these kinds of setups might not drive a big number of users it could indeed drive a small and passionate and engaged base that would be the best advertising for the service.
  • Microsoft has been smart in delivering a fully functional version of Teams for the free version. One that will get users to experience the full potential of the tool that will hopefully get them hooked.
  • Teams will also work across platforms which I think is critical for success especially when it comes to working across PC, Macs, and iOS. The competition out there for collaboration is fierce and it is not just coming from dedicated apps like Slack but from messaging and video apps like iMessage and FaceTime that are growing their list of features. I see Teams potentially playing into building the experience that sees Microsoft 365 make your PC and your iPhone work best together.
  • For comparison it is worth to remember that Slack’s free version is limited to 10,000 searchable messages, 10 app integrations, 5GB of file storage, no guest accounts, and only 1:1 video chats.
  • Microsoft is keeping its key Microsoft Teams integration of full desktop versions of Office apps like Word and Excel limited to its paid Office 365 subscriptions. The free version of Microsoft Teams will include the web versions of those apps from Office Online and while these are not as powerful as the full desktop apps they have been improving to better compete with Google’s G Suite.
  • Storage is the only portion of Teams that as a user you will be prompted to upgrade if you are running out of space. I asked Microsoft if those prompts might get in the way and I was told that they will be intelligent reminders that will pop up only when it makes sense based on context.
  • Microsoft provided a migration path for enterprises from Skype for Business to Teams and now Live Events will replace Skype meeting broadcast. I think the migration makes a lot of sense as communication is part of collaboration and having one central hub will make it much easier for users to manage and less consuming about which tool to use for what.
  • Teams as well as other announcements around analytics within Microsoft 365, start to be more and more of a showcase of Microsoft AI muscle. In Teams, for instance, there is a deep integration of Microsoft Translator which allows users to communicate directly in their native language empowering others to translate those messages and reply in their own language all within the same conversation.
  • Microsoft said they have more than 200,000 businesses across 181 markets use Teams to collaborate and get work done. While this number does not make it clear what “use” mean, one cannot ignore the reach that Microsoft has in the enterprise when it comes to geographies and language support.
  • What I see in Teams is an attention to design, simplicity, and engagement that put users first rather than last. I am not saying Teams is better than other solutions, I will use it first! But I am saying this is a welcome change I see in Microsoft.

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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