Is Apple getting serious about smart home?
CNET states that so far, Apple has missed smart home opportunities, but cites job openings for 15 Homekit developers as a signal that things may be changing. To win, the company should build a low cost entry-level version of its HomePod smart speaker, should build a camera that is better than the armada of imperfect offerings in market, and should differentiate both products with its superior stance on data privacy.
dis-rup-shun: If Apple would offer some really well designed Apple-like smart home products, like cameras, locks and smart speakers, they would likely smoke those products on the market today. Why have they (or are they) waiting? Perhaps Apple has been waiting to watch the adoption numbers increase for smart products, and perhaps they have been letting Nest, Ring and Echo raise awareness for new categories until they can offer a “category killer” line of products. In the world of smart home products, one in which continuous improvement has been evident, there is still plenty of room for better user experiences, and we can hope Apple will oblige.
Google acquisition of Fitbit worth $2.1 billion
Google made their acquisition plans for Fitbit official. The company stated that Fitbit will be an important addition to its Wear OS wearable family of technologies, and will help the company realize its ambient computing plans — surrounding a person in all places with access to information (and data collection by Google). The company currently licenses its Wear OS technology to watch makers such as Fossil, but does not make a watch. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Hardware is a tough business, especially living in the shadow of Apple. To the founders and investors of Fitbit, congratulations for hanging in there and making it to your pay day. For Google, this signals that the company is “all in” on hardware and will not be intimidated by its third class status in smartphones (Pixel) and its distant second place in smart speakers. The company’s device strategy has been a bit shaky and the integration of Nest has been bumpy, but Google is signaling that it is ramping up its hardware business. Like Microsoft offering Surface and competing with its biggest customers (Dell, HP, Lenovo), Google is now competing with its best Wear OS customer — Fossil — but going up against Apple will take serious financial firepower and Google has it.
Inne creates home hormone sensor
Berlin-based start up Inne has received Series A funding to further develop its compact saliva-reading hormone analyzer. The device is the latest among many designed for women’s health — providing daily updates on hormone levels to assist in tracking health, menstrual cycles, and to aid in timing for conception. The device sends data to a smartphone app for easy analysis. The company has completed CE certification in Europe and has applied for FDA approval in the U.S. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: While the accuracy of a number of vital sign readers in market are still a bit imprecise, the makeup of the home first-aid cabinet is about to change drastically, with new forms of thermometers, ear, nose, throat and eye exam devices, and now hormone readers. Once our home care products are collecting regular, accurate data and storing them on a regular, secure basis, our corporate doctors, located in a far away state, can quickly diagnose us and transmit a prescription to an online pharmacy that will deliver in hours without us ever leaving home.
New generation Google Nest Mini employs edge computing
Google Nest’s next generation of the Mini is still priced at an amazing $49 and features improved sound, the ability to easily mount it on the wall, semi-reliable gesture recognition and more intelligence in the device to perform more processing in the device rather than total reliance on the cloud (this is edge computing). Wired
dis-rup-shun: If you are a Nest product manager, how do you compete with Amazon and its various Echos? You keep the product dirt cheap ($49), you make it look different so it appeals to the hip influencer demographic, you make it mount on the wall (Echos don’t easily do that) and you add a “maybe cool” factor — gesture recognition — that Amazon doesn’t offer. At $49, it’s easy to try one out just for fun and maybe decide to outfit every room if you like it.