Google’s curious collection of new devices
Google’s annual hardware event, on the heels of Amazon’s string of announcements, featured an updated Pixel phone that supports 5G, a new Nest smart speaker, and a new Chromecast with Google TV dongle with remote, that looks more like Roku or Amazon FireTV. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Google continues to provide compelling products that occupy a minor share of their respective markets. Apple’s strategy is clear: leverage uniquely well-designed products to support ecosystems of services that surround a consumer’s life. Amazon’s strategy is becoming clear: to be a dominant provider of products and services at all points of consumption, and to create new opportunities for consumption of products and services. Google’s strategy, other than being the preeminent provider of search services, is difficult to discern. How do these interesting devices advance Google’s strategy? Can having a minor share of mobile, smart home and streaming video help the company become more than a search giant, or are these mere placeholders to keep Google in other arenas while it determines its next big play?
YouTube TV’s battle with Fox Sports looks a lot like cable TV
Pay TV subscribers (that is most of us) have grown accustomed to the occasional disputes between our chosen carrier and a content provider and aggregator, and most of the time, the dispute is around professional sports carriage. YouTube TV is going through its own dispute with Fox regional sports networks, as Fox has pulled many regional networks from the YouTube TV’s line up. The Verge
dis-rup-shun: The movement en masse of subscribers away from pay TV services to over the top services, primarily to lower the monthly TV bill, is facing the same hurdles to cost savings as before. The astronomical prices charged by pro sports team owners have to be paid by someone, and that someone is now the streaming TV service subscriber. The costs of streaming services have progressively increased, with YouTube TV now costing $64.99 per month. As the “invisible hand” of the economy pushes traditional pay TV prices down, will the price advantages of streaming services essentially disappear — once again leveling the playing field?
This is not your father’s garage door opener
Just when you didn’t think you could get excited about garage doors, LiftMaster has combined the MyQ camera technology into its next generation garage door opener, alerting your smartphone when your garage door opens, and enabling you to have a two way conversation with those in your garage. The system also works with Amazon’s Key service, in which delivery people open your garage door to slip a package in, protecting you from porch pirates. CNET
dis-rup-shun: LiftMaster’s commercial, recreating a scene from Ferris Beuller’s Day Off, is definitely worth the 10 seconds required to watch — especially the final scene that features Ferris’ good friend Cameron Frye. The Secure View Garage Opener is the marriage of a Ring-like smart doorbell and a garage door controller. The camera, however, is not mounted on the door but rather on the ceiling-mounted controller, enabling a view of the car and those entering the garage. Expect this to be the new standard for garage doors in new homes and a few older homes, as having a connected camera dedicated to the garage is a no-brainer.
A scathing review of the FCC’s broadband report
Wired, never afraid of politics, offers a scathing evaluation of the U.S. FCC’s report on broadband, suggesting that the agency’s definition as well as counting of broadband access is deeply flawed. Wired suggests that, in order to show better results, the agency has lowered the bar on what defines broadband service. The discrepancy in number of people without coverage ranges from 18.3 million as stated by the FCC and 42.8 million, estimated by third parties.
dis-rup-shun: Broadband, especially in times of pandemic, is a lifeline to education, jobs, entertainment and (sometimes real) news. This, arguably more than phone service, is an essential service just below electricity and running water on the hierarchy of needs. If the U.S. has 331 million citizens, then somewhere around 10% to 12% are unserved, according to these estimates. While the number of unserved people is large, one has to imagine that a sizable share of the unserved choose to remain so. For the statisticians, the question is how many of those that want services can not access them, and what is the number of people who are vigilantly working to stay off of the grid?