What Made Tech News Great This Week?

  1. Nokia is stealthy building-up a consumer tech business again after selling device manufacturing business to Microsoft for $7bn. Rumor has it that they’re building much more than phones and tablets- think VR and beyond. Lacking both factories and top talent(brought over to Microsoft, or left all together), Nokia’s strategy will be to sell in-house hardware designs + with the Nokia Brand to manufacturers. Manufactorers will be solely responsible for sales and marketing. If the N1 tablet is an indicator, expect underwhelming “me too” results. They’ll have to wait until end of next year to go-to-market per agreement with Microsoft.
  2. Nokia’s Map Business, “Here”, is reportedly up for sale for $3bn with prospective buyers including German Automotive alliance between BMW, Audi and Daimler, and tech companies Apple, Alibaba, and Amazon. Nokia currently outsources its data to some big internet giants like Microsoft, Amazon and Yahoo. Map data is big business for both car manufacturers and tech companies alikes, so this will be interesting to keep an eye on as the two industries begin overlapping.
  3. Google launched Project Fi service, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), offering unlmimted talk and text for $20, with data split between Sprint, T-Mobile and Wifi hot-spots at $10 per gb. To no surprise Google is launching this as a full-stack Google experience meaning you have to use the Google Nexus 6 (hardware) with Google Hangouts (software and service). Couple of interesting industry-wide implications; 1. Operators in this case are viewed more as a commodity for service rather than a brand, with the device seamlessly swtiching between Spring and T-Mobile based on whats strongest. 2. Customers will be refunded for unused data. Currently it’s invite only, probably within 30 days(much like how the venerable Gmail launched more than 10 years ago), you can sign-up here.
  4. Google modified its search engine algorithm this week to bump-up mobile-friendly websites. Seems obvious that Google is trying to make the mobile web more app-like, and therefore more engagin. Many small businesses will likely scramble to make the necessary changes to stay current, but overtime this will only help increase the quality of the mobile web.
  5. Apple launches Apple Watch on 4/24. And pre-orders are through the roof! Apple yet again proves itself as a market mover, showing the industry that Google and others really do need Apple to turn nascent/beta product-lines into full-fledged platforms (much like they did with the iPad). Apple already has over 3000+ watch apps ready for tomorrow’s day 1 lauch. Additionaly pre-orders have been pegged at around 2mil orders. This absolutely crushes Google’s attempts with Android Wear with less than 1mil total sales from launching mid-late 2013. [Apple Watch 2mil pre-orders vs Android Wear 700,000+ total sell-through from late 2013 to present]. IMHO, the combination of great hardware design, pent-up demand, and baking the Apple Watch App into iOS 8.3 for easy pre-order are highlights of initial of Apple Watch v1 success. On the contrary, I find it quite odd and out of place that one can not simply walk into an Apple Store tomorrow and walk out with an Apple Watch on-wrist.

What Made Gaming News Great This Week?

  1. Research firm, Newzoo, says the global videogame market will grow 9.4% this year- from $83.6bn to $91.5bn. The firm states that this is largely due to Asia’s growth overall. 2015 could be the first year that China, with estimated 23% growth in revenue, could put it ahead of the U.S with $22.2bn vs $22.0bn respectively.
  2. Steam Workshop is now a marketplace for modders to make $$$. Bethesda’s The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is the first game to add this feature. The Verge reports that of the over 25k mods (from items to full-fledged reskins of the game), only 19 mods are being sold at prices ranging from $.49 to $5.99.
  3. Halo 5: Guardians has a new trailer that GameStop posted, its about a minute long and worth a look. Halo 5 will tie in Agent Jameson Locke from Halo: Nightfall TV series. Interesting to see Microsoft and Co. continue to build-out Halo as a large media brand. Link to trailer.
  4. Presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, was seen playing a Game Boy back in 1993. The William J. Clinton Library published the photo on it’s Instagram account. Supposedly shes a big Tetris fan.
  5. Rock Band series is being resurrected for better or for worse with Rock Band 4. Mad Catz has there work cut out not only making the controllers but also retail sales, marketing and distribution. Mad Catz isn’t alone, Haromix will lend a hand helping create the controllers and will be responsible for digital sales. Backwards compatiblity is a top priority too.

Here’s to another exciting week to come!

P.S I wrote this in the wilderness of Vermont. ☺

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