el producto #147 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Angel Jaime
Nov 3 · 6 min read

Q3 results, Product at Skyscanner, Google buys Fitbit, Uber Moments, Spotify for children, Apple TV+ launches, AirPods Pro & more.

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


🎰 The week in figures

$2.1B: Google to acquire Fitbit ($1.8B market cap) for $2.1B; Google VP Sameer Samat said the companies would combine features of their respective smartwatch platforms and health apps.

$60M: Netherlands-based ticketing platform Tiqets raises $60M Series C led by Airbnb; Tiqets provides a booking platform for museums, galleries, and other attractions.

$30M: Crunchbase raises $30M Series C led by OMERS; the business information resource now claims 55M users and billions of API calls per year; plans updated company profile pages, a new personalized homepage, more.

$15M: London-based Freetrade, a commission-free stock broker app serving the UK, raises $15M Series A; offers stocks and ETFs, immediate execution for £1 per trade; claims 50k customers; plans to expand through Europe next year.


📰 What’s going on

Uber announces Uber Money, a new division covering digital wallets, credit and debit cards, mobile bank accounts for couriers and drivers, more; Head of Payments Peter Hazlehurst, who leads the new division, said customer bank accounts are also possible.

Uber says it plans to introduce Uber Eats deliveries that are partially fulfilled by drones as early as next summer; starting in San Diego, the company plans to use UAVs to transport orders from restaurants to collection points for Uber Eats drivers, who will complete deliveries; the service will make use of an Uber Elevate six-rotor drone that can carry food for two adults, and has a range of 18 miles.

Uber Eats tests new Moments product in San Francisco; enables customers to book and purchase multi-course meals and cooking classes; current Moments include a five-course Nigerian dinner and a class on making Chinese dumplings; CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced last month the company would roll Eats and other new features into the main Uber app.

Netflix is testing a feature to let users view content at slower or faster speeds; currently available to some Android users, the tool offers variable playback rates from 0.5 to 1.5x.

Apple TV+ launches; the streaming service is available via the Apple TV app on iOS and iPadOS, as well as on Apple TV sets, Roku-powered devices, and more; costs $5 per month, or $50 per year; the company is offering a one year free trial to customers who purchase certain new Apple devices (wearables not included).

Apple is set to launch 5G iPhones in 2020; the company has informed suppliers of its plans to produce three 5G-enabled models; the report also claims Apple is aiming to ship 80M 5G iPhones next year.

Apple announces $250 AirPods Pro; the wireless earbuds feature noise cancellation, as well as a transparency mode to pick up external noise; available now.

Apple is hiring a team to develop smart home products; the unit will work on a range of devices for both inside and outside the house; the division is being led by Andreas Gal who joined the company after Apple acquired Silk Labs.

Tim Cook says Apple Card will soon add an iPhone financing option; under the plan, users will be able to pay off an iPhone purchase over a 24 month period, paying 0 percent interest; customers will also receive a 3 percent cashback on the purchase.

Spotify announces a dedicated app for children; Spotify Kids, currently available in Ireland only, features 6k human-curated tracks; offers child-friendly music and audio stories; the app requires a $15 per month Spotify Premium Family subscription; available for iOS and Android.

Google adds VR tools to the Chrome v79 beta; includes WebXR Device API which will let developers add immersive content that’s compatible with Chrome on smartphones and via VR headsets; Chrome v79 also includes a feature to suspend background tabs that haven’t been used for at least five minutes.

Google Search will stop indexing Flash-based content later this year; web pages that contain Flash will still feature in results, but Flash aspects won’t; follows a commitment from a consortium of companies to end Flash support by 2020.

Facebook AI Research (FAIR) develops a machine learning-powered de-identification system that thwarts facial recognition tech; the system slightly distorts facial features of subjects in live and recorded video and outputs both original and altered signals; the company said it could enable public speeches in which the speaker is recognizable to the audience, but not to facial recognition systems.

Waymo is testing rider-only autonomous taxi rides in Phoenix; the service previously required the presence of safety drivers; fully driverless rides are limited to a group of a few hundred customers who have signed non-disclosure agreements; the company is also pursuing options for expanding its technology into cargo trucking and commercial deliveries.

The We Company files to trademark Play By We as the brand of a new esports business; the application indicates the company would conduct tournaments, exhibitions, more; a related job posting sought a manager to oversee architects and construction.

Airbnb prohibits party house rentals and unauthorized parties in rentals following a fatal shooting at a Halloween celebration in Orinda, CA; CEO Brian Chesky said the platform would take steps to address abusive conduct by hosts and guests, and establish a rapid response team to manually screen suspicious rentals; five people have died as a result of the Orinda shooting.

Cloud enterprise software company ServiceNow acquires cognitive search tech from Attivio, which offers an AI-powered insights platform; ServiceNow will use the tech for conversational AI and search functions.

Berlin-based travel aggregator Omio acquires Melbourne-based Rome2Rio, a door-to-door multimodal travel booking platform; terms undisclosed; founded in 2010, Rome2Rio serves 18M users per month; accesses 5k transportation providers covering 10M locations.

Sony, Intel, and Japan’s NTT sign a joint partnership to work on 6G tech; the companies say they plan to work with other major firms to develop 6G standards; they predict 6G will roll out around 2030.

Anyware Technology launches a Kickstarter for PhoneBook, a laptop-like device powered via a smartphone; mirrors smartphone content on its HD display; promises compatibility with iOS and Android; has raised $166k on a $37.5k goal, ends Nov 27.

The Chinese government has established a $29B fund focused on the country’s semiconductor industry; a majority of the fund’s backing comes from state-backed entities; represents a second such fund.


💸 Q3 results

Alphabet ($894B market cap) Q3 mixed: $40.5B revenue, up 20% YoY ($40.3B expected); $7.1B profit ($8.7B expected); $33.9B ad revenues, up 17% YoY.

Apple ($1.1T market cap) Q4 beats: $64B revenue, up 2% YoY ($63B expected); $33.4B iPhone revenue, down 9% YoY ($32.4B expected); the company predicts Q1 revenue of $85.5B to $89.5B.

Facebook ($537B market cap) Q3 beats: $17.6B revenue, up 29% YoY ($17.3B expected); 2.4B MAUs (2.4B expected); 2.8B MAUs across all Facebook-owned apps.

Samsung ($287.1B market cap) Q3 beats: $53B revenue, down 5.3% YoY; $6.7B profit, down 56% YoY; $25.1B mobile revenue, up 17.4% YoY; the company says it saw strong demand for its Galaxy Note 10 and A-series devices.


👩🏾‍💻 Good reads

How Skyscanner build teams. Tick Higham, Principal Product Manager at Skyscanner, walk us through some of the good practices that help them getting people aligned and performing as teams.

Good leaders are great storytellers, by First Round Review— “Storytelling is the not-so-secret ingredient that makes the difference between being a manager and being a leader, between closing a customer and winning a lifelong fan.”


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el producto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product leader perspective. Free forever. Sign-up here.

Angel Jaime

Written by

Full-time learner, product stuff, “triathlete” & global traveller. Former product @ Booking.com and @ Just Eat.

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