el producto #111 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Citymapper transit subscriptions, Google gaming hardware, Samsung’s new products, Apple’s multi-OS apps, Focus on impact (not features), …


Welcome to another week full of fresh ideas and innovation at el producto.

🎰 The week in figures

$7.1B - valuation of local delivery services DoorDash after raising $400M Series F; the company plans to grow its workforce, currently at 1k, and to expand into non-food markets.

$92M - raised by India-based ride-hailing Ola from Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal; Ola has raised $3.4B to date.

~30 - films Amazon Studios will release this year, ~20 of which will debut on Amazon Prime Video.

95% - growth of smart speakers shipments in Q418, reaching 38.5M units — more than the total sold in 2017. Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google’s Home Mini increased market share quarter-over-quarter.

0.1% - YoY global smartphone shipments growth on Q418; 408.4M devices shipped in total; Samsung keeps 1st with 17.3% market share; Apple follows with 15.8%; 3rd Huawei with 14.8%, up from 10.8% in 2017.


📰 What’s going on

Citymapper announces transit subscription plan and contactless payment card in London; the card is limited to payments for transit services, such as buses and subways; the company plans to add support for cabs, bike-shares, more; supports Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Uber Eats is in talks to sell its Indian operations to local rival Swiggy; the deal is expected to be a share-swap, giving Uber a 10% stake in Swiggy.

Google to announce new gaming hardware during a Game Developers Conference keynote on March 19; the company will reportedly showcase a device, controllers and its cloud gaming service (internally called Yeti).

Google publishes a white paper explaining how it tackles disinformation across YouTube, Google Search, News, and ads; the company says it uses ranking algorithms to surface content that does not encourage the ideological viewpoints of the individuals building them.

Google is set to add a Chrome feature that lets users link directly to a word or sentence on a web page when sharing a URL; known as Scroll to Text, the tool is currently available as a project on GitHub and is expected to be ported over to Chrome soon.

Google plans to make it more difficult for sites to determine if a Chrome user is in Incognito Mode; pay sites have used the FileSystem API to detect and block users bypassing paywalls; Google expects to deprecate the API.

Twitter starts openly testing its new conversation features; includes redesigned replies that more closely resemble chat bubbles; reply likes and retweets are also hidden until a user clicks on a response.

Samsung introduced its new iPhone competitors. The suite of new Galaxy S10s included the company’s first phone designed explicitly for 5G, and the category-defying Galaxy Fold.

Samsung announces the Galaxy Fold: a foldable Android smartphone with a tablet-like 7.3-inch Infinity Flex Display; when the device is folded, a 4.6-inch display provides a standard smartphone experience; launches April 26, starting at ~$2k.

Samsung officially unveils the Galaxy S10 line: the S10e starting at $750, S10 at $900, and S10+ at $1k; each includes an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader; PowerShare feature enables an S10 to charge another device wirelessly; available March 8; will also offer a 5G variant.

Microsoft announces new enterprise AR apps for iOS and Android; Dynamics 365 Remote Assist (previously available for HoloLens) will let users visualize fixes for hardware; Product Visualize 365 will let sales teams demonstrate how something might look in a physical environment; Remote Assist will be available as an Android preview this April; Product Visualize will launch as an iOS preview in the same month.

Lyft is set to officially announce its IPO filing as early as next week. Lyft is reportedly aiming for a valuation of $20B to $25B.

Didi Chuxing has moved key executives from China to Latin America as it seeks to expand in the region; the company is advertising for a number of key roles in Chile and Peru; Didi already operates in Brazil via its subsidiary 99.

Elon Musk says Teslas will support full autonomy without intervention in 2020, and will be capable of handling most scenarios without intervention this year; he said in 2019, a user will be able to call a Tesla from a parking lot for pickup and travel to a destination without touching the wheel.

Apple is set to launch an SDK that will let developers port iPad apps to macOS; Apple will announce the tool at WWDC in June, with plans to include iPhone apps; by 2021, developers will be able to submit an app once and it will be available in both iOS and macOS app stores.

Apple files a patent for various foldable smartphone designs; sketches show devices with single and double folds; the filing also indicates laptops, tablets, smartwatches, and headphones could all incorporate foldable screens.

Apple is renewing leadership and changing priorities across numerous divisions to refocus revenue efforts; the changes are intended to address declining iPhone sales by increasing revenue from services.

Apple is partnering with Goldman Sachs for a new credit card with additional money management features via a paired iPhone; users will be able to track rewards, manage spending, and more via the US iOS Wallet app; Apple employees will get access to the card in the coming weeks with a full rollout planned for later this year.

Cruise and Uber make their respective visualization tools for autonomous vehicles freely available; Cruise’s Worldview is a 2D and 3D scene renderer, supporting numerous applications; Uber’s Autonomous Visualization System more specifically targets self-driving vehicle applications

SoundCloud announces third-party distribution options for Pro and Pro Unlimited members; the feature, currently in open beta, enables creators to publish SoundCloud tracks on major music services, including Amazon Music, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Spotify; SoundCloud does not take a cut.

JD.com partners with Rakuten to bring its autonomous delivery drones and ground vehicles to Japan; the tech will be used for Rakuten’s unmanned logistics services.

Sony says it will open its internal accelerator program to outside startups; launched in 2014, the Tokyo-based Sony Startup Accelerator Program has incubated 34 ideas, with 14 going on to a full launch; includes Wena smartwatches and autonomous drone firm AeroSense.

Virgin Galactic conducts first passenger test flight via the SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity plane; Beth Moses, the company’s chief astronaut instructor, took the trip to the edge of space to evaluate the experience.


📚 Something to think about

8 ways to focus your product team on impact, not features. John Cutler gives useful advice to help your teams stop being a feature-factory.

Why small teams are better at innovation? A research highlights that, while large teams are good at developing existing ideas, small teams are better at coming up with new ones.

Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked. More and more security holes are appearing in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms, and some are fundamental to the way they were built.

MIT Explainer: What is quantum communication? Researchers and companies are creating ultra-secure communication networks that could form the basis of a quantum internet. This is how it works.

Experimentation at Booking.com: how to use online controlled experiments to release new features faster and more safely.


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