Google rumored to be purchasing Fitbit
According to Reuters, Google is in talks to acquire Fitbit, the company that was an early leader in fitness trackers, then eclipsed by the Apple Watch. Fitbit’s newest Versa 2 has a number of distinguishing features and long battery life that make it a great choice for people focused on fitness over a general purpose device. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Fitbit is a loved brand for early fitness users but with a questionable future, thanks to Apple. Having a parent like Google will ensure future iterations. Google, however, has a patchy device record, as its warm embrace of Nest has been more of a wet blanket, while its Google Assistant and Pixel phones are good competitors. Adding Fitbit is a sign that Google is increasingly ready to compete with Apple and Amazon in the device business, and not allow either to run unchecked. As stated previously, the current tech business is about subsidizing razors (devices) to sell blades (services), to use a time tested marketing adage. To add value to its Pixel phones, Chromecast TVs and Google Nest Assistants, the company must have an answer to the Apple Watch and keep the Google experience pure across multiple platforms. Who would have thought, ten years ago, that Google and Amazon would be serious device builders?
Uber announces Uber Money — a service for drivers
Uber Money is a credit card and digital wallet service designed to assist its four million drivers who need instant access to cash as well as advances for gas. Many drivers, especially in certain geographies, don’t have bank accounts, challenging the friction-less ride sharing experience. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Uber faces a number of challenges, like making a profit with a business model which is, so far, inherently unprofitable. Another critical challenge is attracting and keeping drivers who are easily lured by competitors. By adding value to its own platform with a digital wallet, drivers will stay loyal to Uber, at least until a credit card powerhouse such as Visa offers a similar service to competitors. If, however, Uber offers digital money tools to its drivers for no charge, the big credit purveyors, accustomed to earning 2% to 5%, may not be so eager to challenge Uber Money.
New and improved AirPods Pro available October 30th
Apple’s Pro line extension to AirPods features interchangeable silicone ear tips to find that perfect fit and better cancel outside noise. Full Siri support, noise filters to enable hearing of announcements and select sounds, and sweat protection are features designed to justify the $249 price tag. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Apple is a master at following a hit with an upgrade, and that is certainly the case with AirPods — yet another Apple product that has set the standard in its class. Siri support and native pairing and control with iPhones (not requiring a separate app to manage the devices) means that substitutes, at any price, offer an inferior experience. Selling desirable accessories that reinforce the value of a flagship product is a key to long term domination, and is critical to Apple as the number of inexpensive iPhone competitors grows.
Virtual reality finding a home in senior residences
VR has positive effects on seniors, and is used to provide both group and singular experiences, like taking a trip to the Grand Canyon or views from the Eiffel Tower. According to a study by Rendever Health, VR experiences led to a 40% increase in happiness. HealthTech Insider
dis-rup-shun: Senior care is an unexpected but excellent application for VR, as stimulating experiences or visits to places of one’s past must bring joy and nostalgia. VR, when presented as a singular entertainment experience may not be very engaging, however, group VR sessions build community and create buzz about what was seen — leading to viral enthusiasm. VR continues to have niche appeal, but senior care is a high growth niche.