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Apple, Again, Creates a Market Out of Nothing. And It’s Massive

Having recently (finally) bought a pair of big chunky Bluetooth headphones, thinking they were so commonplace I wouldn’t get any weird looks, I now realise that once again I’m at the wrong end of a trend curve. People are staring at me — and not for my rugged visage. I’m the oddity: everyone else is sporting wireless earphones, the Apple AirPods variety (although I suspect quite a few of them are the cheap knockoffs which are indistinguishable in look and a tenth the price.) Reality bites: what once looked a bit weird — massive headphones — looks weird again, and what looked even weirder —Continue readingApple, Again, Creates a Market Out of Nothing. And It’s Massive

battery

A Battery-less Future?

(Corrected: Atmosic has not (yet) won the GSA Award, but is short listed for it. The winner will be announced in December. Apologies) At what point can we ditch batteries, the last encumbrance to our wireless nirvana? The biggest single block on a wireless, connected future where everything everywhere is attached to chips and sensors which relay, receive and act on instructions from afar is power. And that means either that the device is connected to the electricity grid (which probably means you don’t need it to be wirelessly connected) or it has a battery in it. Which will need charging or replacing. Long-range low-powerContinue readingA Battery-less Future?

Flying Cars

Volocopters, UAMs and eVTOLS

Another acronym you need to get used to: UAM, for Urban Air Mobility. Think flying cars. Or for now, helicopters and drones that carry people. Like the Volocopter, which completed its first manned flight over Singapore’s Marina Bay last week (see below). It’s also opened the first air taxi voloport (yes, you’re going to have to get used to these names, I’m afraid.) You don’t think of Singapore as a place where traffic jams and poor infrastructure make you want to take to the skies, but in terms of friendly regulators and investment boards, it’s certainly the place to start. German-based Volocopter opened an officeContinue readingVolocopters, UAMs and eVTOLS

Subscription Model

Subscription Model Redux: Loadsa Money for Uncertain Returns

Last week I wrote about subscription fatigue particularly as it applies to video. Ampere Analysis (I don’t yet have a link to the press release) have just released some data that looks at another angle of this. Global spend on TV, film and sports content “expanded from $100 billion to $165 bln between 2008 and 2018 – a 65% increase. Nearly $50 billion of this growth was in the last five years alone.” But what’s interesting about this is that while Netflix and others have sunk a significant chunk into this — from $2 bln to $19 bln last year, the vast majority of spendingContinue readingSubscription Model Redux: Loadsa Money for Uncertain Returns

5g

Is 5G Bad for You?

5G has reignited old discussions about whether mobile signals are bad for us — both from cell towers and from the devices themselves. I’m not a doctor, first off. But I think it’s at least worth taking a look at the data. A piece by Fierce Wireless’ Sue Marek points to some poor reporting on the 5G base station issue. This centres around the assertion that because 5G requires denser base stations — more antennae per square mile, in other words — there are going to be more radio frequency emissions which will put us in danger. She points to a report, to put itContinue readingIs 5G Bad for You?

The Phantom Prospects of 5G

Telcos are once again touting a new generation of mobile protocols as their saviour. And once again, we should raise an arched eyebrow.  A great piece by Mike Dano from Light Reading dissects the reasons behind — and the challenges facing — telcos’ push for 5G. And why you shouldn’t be expecting 5G to rock your world any time soon. The reasons are relatively simple. The above chart from Wall Street analysts MoffettNathanson show how, for US telcos (and the story is similar elsewhere) there’s a lot more data traffic (the black line) , but a lot less money being made per user (the blueContinue readingThe Phantom Prospects of 5G

Subscription Fatigue: A New Economy, or a Bubble?

At what point do we tire of the subscription model — or at least pare back that chunk of our income we set aside for subscriptions? I’m of course not the first person to ask this, and the term ‘subscription fatigue’ is already a common one. But with the launches of HBO Max, Apple TV+, Disney+ and Peacock in the next few days and months, it’s likely to be the video streaming world that gets hit first. At what point do we end up back at the point where we have to effectively subscribe to a lot of stuff we don’t want, paying more thanContinue readingSubscription Fatigue: A New Economy, or a Bubble?

Soft Robots: Has Their Time Come?

image: University of Toronto When I first saw a room full of soft robots I was a little freaked out. A bunch of guys standing over what looked like colostomy bags or oversized centipedes as they navigated an obstacle course. It was hard to see the potential in it, but when I took a closer look I realised soft robots were the missing link in the computational evolutionary chain. The biggest problem we have with robots — whether they’re on industrial production lines, in homes, offices, airports — they’re too rigid. They’re parodies, robots that look like robots, instead of assuming the contours, movements, materialsContinue readingSoft Robots: Has Their Time Come?

Big, or Bigger: Southeast Asia’s Tech Economy in 2025

Google and Temasek have been taking a crack at estimating and predicting the size of Southeast Asia’s ecommerce economy for the past four years, starting in 2016 (yes, I know that’s three years but they’ve put out four reports, the latest this week, so there.)  I’ve not had a close look at this report, there’s obviously some good stuff in there, and it’s easy to pick holes in this kind of thing, but it pays to be humble. I’ve done my own chart, below, taken the data from each report about their predictions for 2025, and how they’ve changed over time. The four left columnsContinue readingBig, or Bigger: Southeast Asia’s Tech Economy in 2025

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