Amazon grocery store has no cash registers, uses phone

Customers scan the Amazon Go app on their smartphone as they enter the store. The company spent four years developing “just walk out” technology, which detects when items are picked up or returned to shelves and “keeps track of them in a virtual cart,” Amazon said. There’s no checkout line — just leave the store with your groceries, and Amazon will charge your account.

Link

80 percent of India has 4G Internet coverage, currently free

More than 80 percent of India is reached by a new 4G mobile network called Jio — bankrolled by India’s richest man — which will be free to use until the end of the year. The price will jump to at least $2.25 per month next year, but the rock bottom price is a play to undercut competitors for the market.

Source: Significant Digits For Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016

T-Mobile shifting entirely to unlimited data in new bid to shake up industry

Under the new plan, the Bellevue, Wash.-based wireless company will charge $70/month for the first line, $50/month for the second, and $20/month for additional lines up to eight, if the customer has auto-pay enabled. That averages to $40/month for a family of four, the company notes.

I’ll gave to check into that/

Source: T-Mobile shifting entirely to unlimited data in new bid to shake up industry

ARM deal analysis from RedMonk Rachel & 451

There’s some proper, and surprisingly concise deal analysis over there:

While growth has come from the IoT, ARM’s resurgence in recent years – and Intel’s opposite trajectory – have been the result of the London company’s dominance in mobile devices. (In 2015, “45% of the ARM-based chips went into mobile devices.”) The so-called Wintel monopoly carried both of those parties to valuations that ARM never approached, but as mobile steadily eroded PC spend ARM’s low power designs found success on both of the most successful mobile platforms. Both Apple’s iOS devices and Android’s array of hardware are either exclusively or nearly so ARM-based.

Check out the rest!

Meanwhile, from John Abbott at 451 Research:

  • ARM “generated less than $1.5bn in revenue last year and has only 3,300 employee”
  • “SoftBank will pay 20.9x trailing revenue for ARM. That’s the first time any company has cracked the 20x mark in a $1bn-plus chip acquisition.”
  • ARM “holds a 40% share in consumer goods, 30% in embedded intelligence, 15% in network infrastructure and 10% in automotive.”
  • “Revenue reached $1.49bn in 2015, up 15% from the previous year, with a net profit of $360.7m.”
  • Read more for his overall sentiment, which is basically: SoftBanks’ money and reach can fuel faster marketshare growth in these convert all the toasters to IoT grills times. checks out.

Dealing with “disposable software” for enterprises

With consumer SaaSes and mobile apps coming and going, I’ve been thinking of the idea of “disposable software”: apps that last a year or so, but aren’t guaranteed to last longer. In the consumer space, there’s rarely been a guarantee that free software will last – that’s part of the “price” you pay for free.

This mentality is getting into business software more and more, however, and I don’t think “enterprises” are prepared for it. Part of the premium you pay for enterprise software should include the guarantee that it will have a longer life-cycle, but it’s worth asking if it does.

Also, it’s good for enterprises to be aware of vendors, particularly open source driven ones, are putting out code that might be “disposable.” The prevailing product management think nowadays encourages experimenting and trying things out: abandoning “failed” experiments and continuing successful ones. Clearly, if you’re a “normal” enterprise, you want to avoid those failed experiments and, at best, properly control and govern your use of them.

Of course, there are trade-offs:

  • With consumer, experiment-driven software, you’re always getting the newest thinking, which might turn out to be a good idea and provide your business with differentiating, “secret sauce”; or it might be a failed experiment that gets canceled
  • With “enterprise,” stable software you can generally count on it existing and being supported next year; but you’ll often be behind the curve on innovation, meaning you’ll have to layer on the “secret sauce” on your own.

It’s good to engage with both types of strategies, you just have manage the approach to hedge the risks of each.

Link: Forrester/IBM Report: ‘Great’ apps monetize five times better than good ones

Survey commissioned by IBM to find out what makes mobile apps great. Then, of course, it seeks to tie more success (revenue) to that greatness.

n=”1,000 consumers in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and India.”
Source: Forrester/IBM Report: ‘Great’ apps monetize five times better than good ones

Business people need to understand how software development works

This led middle managers to over promise and under deliver. One middle manager told us that “you can get resources by promising something earlier, or promising a lot. It’s sales work.” This was made worse by the lack of technical competence among top managers, which influenced how they could assess technological limitations during goal setting.

As one middle manager pointed out to us, at Apple the top managers are engineers. “We make everything into a business case and use figures to prove what’s good, whereas Apple is engineer-driven.” Top managers acknowledged to us that “there was no real software competence in the top management team”.

Who knows if that notion about Apple is true or if it causes their success. The broader point of needing to understand the unpredictable nature of software is still important. As more organizations start using and making custom written software (if only to make mobile “store fronts” to their business), knowledge of the chaotic nature of software development needs to spread more beyond IT. Even IT people get it dreadfully wrong often.

So far the best tactic we have is to redefine what “success is”: it’s not delivering everything you promised on time, but being predictable about delivering something on regular intervals. That’s a vague way of saying delivering smaller batches of code into production more often. We sort of predict/hope that this results in more useful, better software overall. We’ll see.

Now, of course, part of this process is being honest about reality. The analysis of Nokia’s failures because “management” would not accept “real talk” from their employees will kill any innovation-driven business. As the company (and RIM and countless others) shows: tech companies are never so secure that they can afford to be confident in their market position.

A simple case of going digital

Innovation in the container industry, the old school containers:

Our legacy way of doing business would be to send officers out to containers, container ships and they would go along with printed sheets and check lists, and they would look at manifests and they’d write the numbers down and count what’s in the actual containers themselves, and they’d make all their notes and they would do that all day long. Then they would go into the office at the end of the day and log in to an application and start entering all that data. When all of that was done, they’d click a release button to release a container and then move onto the next container. When you deal in a world of just-in-time delivery, that can be really problematic to our partners, because Dell is looking for those parts that just came in on that container ship from Europe; they can’t wait for us to clear it two or three days later.

So what we did is, our targeting analytical systems program office worked with our cargo program office to create a mobile app that would actually allow an officer to go out and data-enter that stuff in the field on the mobile device and then click the release button while still on the ship. So, a couple of things: They can use barcode scanners to get a lot of that information so it reduces the data entry, increasing the officers’ efficiency while also increasing their ability to live release cargo containers as they walk down from container to container on the ship. So that is transformative. Just a completely different way of doing business — far more accurate, far more efficient for the officers and a far better use of their time than having them sit at a terminal typing all that data in when they are tired at end of their shift.

From “CBP’s Wolf Tombe: Mobile, wearable technologies will advance mission”

Why it’s so different now

Compare the state of play in 2013 versus 15 years ago. 33% of the world is on the Internet on average of 3.1 hours / day. There are 138 million smart phones in the US alone and … wait … 99 million tablets. Insane.

2008 App ecosystem on iOS = $0. 2013 = $25 billion of which Apples stage is more than $8 billion at > 90% gross margin. Credit cards = less friction = more purchases = cha ching.

http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2013/05/25/as-populist-as-it-may-feel-98-of-vcs-arent-dumb/

Who’s collecting Android profits?

As you have probably guessed, the one making the most profit from Android is market leader Samsung, but the actual figure may come as a surprise, as it’s said to have taken almost 95 percent of the global profits earned from the mobile OS during the first quarter of 2013.

Analysts broke it down like this: Globally, it’s estimated the Android industry made $5.3 billion profit in the first quarter of this year, while the profit estimates for Android phones shipped by Samsung comes in at $5.1 billion for the same period. The exact figure quoted is 94.7 percent profit share, and that’s not including tablets either.

How much? Samsung swipes 95 percent of total industry profits earned from Android phones

Smart Lock-in

iPhone, Samsung, Dell VenuePro

To read most of the coverage from afar, Microsoft did an excellent job of messaging that 2012 could be a big year for WindowsPhone 7. As one piece puts it:

There’s a curious thing happening in the smartphone space at this year’s CES. Two Windows Phone devices — the HTC Titan II and the Nokia Lumia 900 — are the most hyped, talked-about phones at the show. Yeah, that’s right: Windows Phones.

From what I can tell, I’m one of the few people who’s used two WP7 phones over the past year: a Samsung Focus (sent to me by Microsoft for reviewing while I was RedMonk) and a Dell VenuePro (my current “work phone”). They’re both beyond just fine: they’re good phones in hardware and operating system. The core problem they have is a lack of apps, specifically, the apps I already use and like in iOS-land.

Anchored by Apps

There are, it should be said, lots of apps for WP7 (30,000+ back in August…but, compare that to 500,000+ in iOS-land). The problem is that they don’t have the apps I want to use, specifically, all those iOS apps I’ve spent money on over the years. As Ed pointed out to me awhile ago, the annoying catch here is that, even if the pay apps I wanted were in WP7…I’d have to pay for them again. And, with estimates of 60 apps downloaded per iOS device, that’s a lot of apps people need to take with them. Of course, this is just the case when you switch between Windows and Mac (or Mac and Windows): a license for Office or Creative Suite in Windows won’t translate from Windows to Mac.

Thankfully, most mobile apps are cheap – much cheaper than desktop Office ($119) or Creative Suite (from $280 to $1,500, or so). In reality, I make enough money that I’d pay for the apps twice. But, they don’t always exist in the first place. Indeed, many of the apps I depend on in iOS land aren’t (or weren’t last time I looked) available in WP7-land: Flipboard (hands down my most used app), EchoFon, even an official tumblr app.

Ooogling WP7 phones at CES

For WP7 to be successful, Microsoft needs to ride all of those app authors to create WP7 versions of their apps. The same is true for Windows 8 – where, at least, Microsoft already has one of the world’s most important “apps,” Office (important as in “the [army|company|etc.] runs off [PowerPoint|Excel]”). App vendors like Evernote have a good track record of going balls out here, and I’ve seen a handful of apps developed for WP7 that are more than just quick ports: they take advantage of the tiles, integrating into the sharing functionality through-out the phone, and so on. It’s got to be tough for an app vendor, though: supporting iOS, Android, and WP7 is a hefty bought to sign up for.

HTML5 is good for who exactly?

Arguably, “HTML5 fixes this,” but I’d argue that each platform vendor (Apple, Google, Microsoft) is just barely incented to make HTML5 as good as their native app frameworks. What we’re discussing here is a major point of customer lock-in, thus, a major element of any mobile/tablet strategy. Each of these “post-PC” platforms (iOS, Android, WP7, and Windows 8) needs to differentiate on the entire platform experience – HTML5, really, takes away the ability of any OS to be different. If I can simply take all my “apps” (written in HTML5 so that they’re really web apps or web apps that I download a la Tiddlywiki to my mobile “desktop”) with me when I go…there’s little reason to stick to one mobile platform: I just skip around to the one that has the beast hardware and network. (Imagine if you actually selected a device because of the carrier’s QoS!)

Don’t get me wrong: as a user, I’d love my apps to be cross-platform and achieve that HTML5 nirvana existed and I could just take my apps with me from platform to platform. But that’d make these “smart phones” into “dumb phones,” which is definitely not anything the mobile platform creators are looking to do. On the other hand, I’d suggest that the cross-platform dreams of HTML5 suite just about everyone else’s interests: the app makers would be available on everyone’s devices, the handset makers would avoid this whole app lock-in problem, and the carriers could differentiate on service instead of platform exclusiveness. Historically, the platform providers tend to win out because they’re willing to play the long game of locking users into awesomeness, while the other parties go for quick wins quarter to quarter. We’ll see if it pans out differently this time.