elproducto #40 👉 a weekly round-up of Tech and Product goodness

Standalone Oculus, Alexa voice recognition, Facebook’s 3D posts, Product & Design resources, Game Boy Classic, Virgin Hyperloop, Spotify’s algos & more

Welcome to a new week full of fresh ideas and innovation at elproducto!

📰 Seen on the news

Mark Zuckerberg announces standalone, wireless VR headset Oculus Go; developer kits will ship in November and the $200 consumer device will be available early next year; compatible with all Gear VR titles.

Oculus announces Rift Core 2.0, a redesign of the Rift software; includes the new Oculus Dash, which provides a central hub in any VR environment; accesses apps, menus, full desktop computing, more; also includes redesigned Home environment, which users can customize.

Oculus announces the $900 Oculus Rift for Business bundle; includes Rift, Touch Controllers, three room sensors and three Rift Fits; also includes license for commercial use, priority customer support.

Facebook previews 3D posts for News Feed; enables a user who has created 3D models in Oculus Medium or Facebook Spaces share those objects outside of VR; those viewing the objects can zoom, rotate, and interact — for example, a car model’s doors could open; will also launch an API, enabling developers to integrate model sharing in their apps.

Extreme A/B testing at Facebook. What looks like a 40+ variant experiment spotted on Facebook’s nav bar.

Twitter launches Happening Now feature for iOS and Android; tags timeline tweets by category; tapping one loads a timeline of tweets related to that item; initially limited to sports, will expand to include TV and news.

Twitter is set to introduce bookmarking tweets; Twitter executives posted details and video of the “save for later” feature, noting it had been developed at the company’s HackWeek.

Spotify launches a standalone app for artists, managers, etc called Spotify for Artists (iOS, Android planned); enables artists to update their profiles, view real-time streaming and demographics data, more; features were previously accessible via web.

Microsoft begins rolling out Cortana support for Skype on iOS and Android; lets users schedule calendar events, find restaurants, set reminders, and more.

Google launches Teachable Machine: an experimental, in-browser AI training program; processes input from the user’s camera, learns to recognize specific objects and motions; the user can also program responses; for example, when Techable Machine recognizes a houseplant, it can play a specific audio file; designed to help people understand AI.

Snapchat launches Context Cards: a feature that enables users to swipe up on certain snaps to take action through third-party apps; examples include booking a table at a restaurant and hailing a ride; launch partners include Lyft, Uber, and OpenTable.

Tim Cook says augmented reality will change shopping entirely and that virtually everything and everyone will be touched by it; Cook expects AR will grow in popularity as the App Store has, quickly becoming integral in people’s lives.

Amazon Alexa adds the ability to recognize different voices; the individual voice profiles allow for personalized calling, messaging, flash briefings, shopping, and more. Also launched calling and messaging features in the UK.

Amazon announces the new Kindle Oasis e-reader with an IPX8 waterproof rating; 7-inch display, aluminum back; features ambient light sensors for automatic brightness adjustment; comes with the Audible app pre-loaded but doesn’t have speakers; audio books must be streamed via Bluetooth; starts at $250, ships at the end of October.

Alibaba says it will invest $15B over three years in a global R&D initiative; known as the DAMO Academy, the program will operate labs in Singapore, Beijing, and five other locations around the world; researchers will focus on an array of technologies including quantum computing, IoT, fintech.

Dell plans to invest $1B in R&D for its new Internet of Things division over the next three years; targets improved core intelligence, reduced edge latency, integrations with existing products and services.

PCMag suggests Nintendo may release a Game Boy Classic after the company filed a trademark featuring a render of the original device.

Amazon is exploring car trunk and in-home deliveries; the company reportedly is in talks with smart license plate maker Phrame, and is developing its own smart doorbell system that would enable delivery drivers to leave packages inside customers’ homes.

Virgin Hyperloop One: Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has invested a significant amount on Hyperloop One, which has been renamed after the investors’ company. The focus will still be to find locations and partners to develop the high-speed pod system.

More than 35k Tesla vehicle owners have purchased the company’s $3k Fully Self-Driving Capability though it isn’t yet available; 90k-plus Tesla vehicles have Autopilot 2.0 hardware, and owners of almost 70k of them have purchased the $5k Enhanced Autopilot package.


📚 Good reads

Knowns vs Unknowns. Where to focus at early stages of products or companies. Should we go for the safe and known, or should we dig into the unknown?

Why engaging with customers on social media can boost innovation. A study by HBR on ~3000 German firms, looking at the correlation between social media engagement (e.g. as a feedback channel) and innovation.

User Experience is not a feature. Tristan Kromer argues we should focus on a Minimum Viable Experience rather than Product, and how listening to customers can help us getting there.

Confirmation Bias: Why you make terrible life choices. Awareness of confirmation bias is an invaluable skill in Product Management. Nir Eyal explains what is confirmation bias and how it affects our decision-making.

Spotify’s Discover Weekly: the magic behind the scenes. How machine learning finds your new music.

Product & Design resources to understand the tech ecosystem. Sam DeBrule has created an amazing list of resources (people, newsletters, podcasts, communities,…) for all things product and design. Now you will only need to prioritize how to go about such a massive list.


🎯Quote of the week

“I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline” — Duke Ellington


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elproducto is a curated selection of Tech&Product happenings within the last few days from a curious and frequently skeptical Product Manager’s perspective.


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