Amazon readying its answer to AirPods
Someone at Amazon’s Lab126 has leaked the news that Amazon is developing Alexa-powered ear pods. It is assumed that one can issue voice queries via Alexa, but on an Android or iPhone, one would first have to unlock the phone to activate the Amazon pods. Bloomberg
dis-rup-shun: The razor and blade battle that Apple started with iTunes on an iPod continues to play out in countless new products (see prior post on Apple’s credit card). Amazon’s blade does not fit as nicely into Apple’s or Android’s razor as their own do. Amazon’s access to smartphones require one to first open the phone — a task not required with AirPods. Perhaps this is partial payback for Amazon not paying the App Store tax by not selling Kindle books through Apple. Why would I buy ear pods from Amazon if they are less convenient? Because they will cost substantially less, of course.
Shopping Wars — a multi-front battle pitting Google v. Amazon
Google and Walmart have announced a partnership that enables a user to say “Hey Google, talk to Walmart.” Given Google’s 52% share of the U.S. smartphone market, the large number of Android and Google Home users can easily shop at Walmart where the cloud will remember their past brands and size preferences, reducing shopping time and increasing convenience. This alliance is a response to the Whole Foods/Amazon vertical integration. Vox
dis-rup-shun: Using a simplified description of today’s retail supply chain, there are five components: the cloud, the online marketplace, the brick and mortar store, the delivery company and the user interface (app, smart speaker or clerk). Amazon is on a path of total vertical integration, owning AWS, Amazon.com, Whole Foods, Amazon Logistics, and Alexa. Walmart, playing online catch up with its Jet.com marketplace, has already moved its cloud business from AWS to Azure (Microsoft), relies on FedEx and UPS for delivery, and has now partnered with Google to secure a spot in the smart speaker. Will other supply chain vendors including FedEx, UPS, Home Depot, Safeway, Walgreens and Lowe’s act defensively and partner with Google as well? The retail market is looking like Game of Thrones, with many kingdoms vying for power through alliances.
Don’t buy Chinese 5G, urges group of 6 U.S. generals
A group of military leaders issued a statement urging American allies to “just say no” to Chinese communications technology when seeking to build 5G networks. The statement lists threats to data security, future military operations, human rights and democracy itself. CNN
dis-rup-shun: The campaign against Huawei continues on, with U.S. leaders urging allies not to pierce the Silicon Shield. Fear of Huawei may be a good thing for the race to 5G if it has the impact of Sputnik on the space race. Consumers and businesses will benefit sooner and faster from accelerated implementation of 5G and AI.
Amber’s smart circuit breaker is another step toward natively smart homes
Amber joins Leviton in the smart circuit breaker market. The solid state and electro-mechanical breakers are designed for either retrofits or for new construction, providing smart switches and plugs that can be remotely controlled and can report energy consumption without use of energy disaggregation add-ons. Amber Solutions
dis-rup-shun: As commented in Leviton’s announcement, smart breakers are the most elegant approach to the smart home, and hopefully the wave of the future. As breaker makers provide APIs that will enable elegant integration with leading smart home software and device makers, consumers will enjoy control and coordination of every switch and plug in their home — leading to increased comfort, safety, security and efficiency without add-on and retrofit devices.