Google’s latest hardware innovation: Price

Google’s latest hardware innovation: Price
With its latest consumer hardware products, Google’s prices are undercutting Apple, Samsung and Amazon. The search giant just unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, tablet and smart home device, all available at prices well below their direct competitors. Where Apple and Samsung are pushing prices of its latest products even higher, Google is seemingly happy to keep prices low, and this is creating a distinct advantage for the company’s products.
Google, like Amazon and nearly Apple, is a services company that happens to sell hardware. It needs to acquire users through multiple verticals, including hardware. Somewhere, deep in the Googleplex, a team of number-crunchers decided it made more sense to make its hardware prices dramatically lower than competitors. If Google is taking a loss on the hardware, it is likely making it back through services.
Amazon does this with Kindle devices. Microsoft and Sony do it with game consoles. This is a proven strategy to increase market share where the revenue generated on the back end recovers the revenue lost on selling hardware with slim or negative margins.
Look at the Pixel 3. The base 64GB model is available for $799, while the base 64GB iPhone XS is $999. Want a bigger screen? The 64GB Pixel 3 XL is $899, and the 64GB iPhone XS Max is $1,099. Regarding the specs, both phones offer OLED displays and amazing cameras. There are likely pros and cons regarding the speed of the SoC, amount of RAM and wireless capabilities. Will consumers care that the screen and camera are so similar? Probably not.
Google also announced the Home Hub today. Like the Echo Show, it’s designed to be the central part of a smart home. It puts Google Assistant on a fixed screen where users can ask it questions and control a smart home. It’s $149. That’s $80 less than the Echo Show, though the Google version lacks video conferencing and a dedicated smart home hub — the Google Home Hub requires extra hardware for some smart home objects. Still, even with fewer features, the Home Hub is compelling because of its drastically lower price. For just a few dollars more than an Echo Show, a buyer could get a Home Hub and two Home Minis.
The Google Pixel Slate is Google’s answer to the iPad Pro. From everything we’ve seen, it appears to lack a lot of the processing power found in Apple’s top tablet. It doesn’t seem as refined or capable of specific tasks. But for view media, creating content and playing games, it feels just fine. It even has a Pixelbook Pen and a great keyboard that shows Google is positioning this against the iPad Pro. And the 12.3-inch Pixel Slate is available for $599, where the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $799.
The upfront price is just part of the equation. When considering the resale value of these devices, a different conclusion can be reached. Apple products consistently resale for more money than Google products. On Gazelle.com, a company that buys used smartphones, a used iPhone X is worth $425, whereas a used Pixel 2 is $195. A used iPhone 8, a phone that sold for a price closer to the Pixel 2, is worth $240.
In the end, Google likely doesn’t expect to make money off the hardware it sells. It needs users to buy into its services. The best way to do that is to make the ecosystem competitive though perhaps not investing the capital to make it the best. It needs to be just good enough, and that’s how I would describe these devices. Good enough to be competitive on a spec-to-spec basis while available for much less.

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL up close and hands-on

The Pixel 3’s best new features

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

Kaptivo looks to digitally transform the lowly whiteboard

Kaptivo looks to digitally transform the lowly whiteboard
At Kaptivo, a company that’s bringing high-tech image recognition, motion capture and natural language processing technologies to the lowly whiteboard, executives are hoping that the second time is the charm.
The Cambridge, U.K. and San Mateo, Calif.-based company began life as a company called Light Blue Optics, and had raised $50 million in financing since its launch in 2004. Light Blue Optics was working on products like Kaptivo’s white board technology and an interactive touch and pen technology, which was sold earlier in the year to Promethean, a global education technology solutions company.
With a leaner product line and a more focused approach to the market, Kaptivo emerged in 2016 from Light Blue Optics’ shadow and began selling its products in earnest.
Founding chief executive Nic Lawrence (the previous head of Light Blue Optics) even managed to bring in investors from his old startup to Kaptivo, raising $6 million in fresh capital from Draper Esprit (a previous backer), Benhamou Global Ventures and Generation Ventures.
“The common theme has been user interfaces,” Lawrence said. “We saw the need for a new product category. We sold off parts of our business and pushed all our money into Kaptivo.”
What initially began as a business licensing technology, Lawrence saw a massive market opening up in technologies that could transform the humble whiteboard into a powerful tool for digital business intelligence with the application of some off the shelf technology and Kaptivo’s proprietary software.
Kaptivo’s technology does more than just create a video of a conference room, Lawrence says.
“In real time we’re removing the people from the scene and enhancing the content written on the board,”  he said.”
Optical character recognition allows users to scribble on a white board and Kaptivo’s software will differentiate between text and images. The company’s subscription service even will convert text to other languages.
The company has a basic product and a three-year cloud subscription that it sells for $999. That’s much lower than the thousands of dollars a high-end smart conferencing system would cost, according to Lawrence. The hardware alone is $699, and a one-year subscription to its cloud services sells for $120, Lawrence said.
Kaptivo has sold more than 2,000 devices globally already and has secured major OEM partners like HP, according to a statement. Kaptivo customers include BlueJeans, Atlassian and Deloitte, as well as educational institutions including George Washington University, Stanford University and Florida Institute of Technology.
The product is integrated with Slack and Trello and BlueJeans video conferencing, Lawrence said. In the first quarter of 2018 alone, the company has sold about 5,000 units.
The vision is “to augment every existing whiteboard,” Lawrence said. “You can bring [the whiteboard] into the 21st century with one of these. Workers can us their full visual creativity as part of a remote meeting.”

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch

GoPro to license camera lenses and sensors to third party manufacturers

GoPro to license camera lenses and sensors to third party manufacturers
GoPro is today announcing a multi-year deal with Jabil that aims to put GoPro technology in everything from police body cameras to video conferencing solutions. Through this agreement, Jabil will license GoPro’s design and intellectual property for use in approved third-party devices. This is the first time GoPro is letting other manufacturers build products with GoPro parts. The products will not be branded GoPro at this time.
GoPro has worked with Jabil since the GoPro Hero4, which was released in 2014. Jabil is a United States-based manufacturing firm that operates 90 facilities across 23 countries. Financial terms of this new agreement were not announced.
Irv Stein, Jabil’s vice president of Jabil Optics, said in a released statement that it sees “early market feedback indicating strong demand in the enterprise action camera segment for applications in smart homes, military, fire, police, rescue, and security.” And that’s just the beginning.
GoPro CTO Sandor Barna sees opportunity for GoPro to provide the lens and image sensors for video conferencing solutions, robotics and self-driving cars.
It seems GoPro is ready to expand from the action camera market and leverage its brand in other segments. This agreement allows for licensing a range of GoPro’s products and service including digital imaging and consumer products. At this time, third party action cameras are not allowed as the agreement only covers products that do not compete with GoPro’s products.
GoPro, whose stock is at an all-time low of less than $5.00, is struggling to stay afloat. The company just laid off a good chunk of its drone division and has struggled to find its footing even as the company releases new and improved products. This move could put GoPro on solid ground. Even though GoPro undeniably makes the best action cameras on the market, the company keeps losing value. It’s a smart move to leverage its brand through a partner to brand out into new markets.

Source: Gadgets – techcrunch