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Tech Bytes – Week of Apr 11

📰 Recent Top Tech News

  1. “Hello Spotify”, a new voice assistant feature launched to stay competitive

  2. LG stops making mobile phones, giving up $6 Billion in revenue

  3. China creates Digital Currency, the Digi Yuan, for its citizens and beyond.

The Takeaways

1. Spotify rolls out its own In-App Virtual Assistant to search for songs on iOS and Android.  Users can say “Hey Spotify” to search hands-free for songs. 

🔎 Our Take

  • Spotify has a very challenging market in iOS, going up against Apple Music and Apple’s integration to Siri and the rest of the Apple ecosystem. Apple will unlikely never support Spotify search within Apple (unless legally compelled to), so Spotify needs to constantly innovate when playing in Apple’s home turf, and adding new ways to engage with the app can help.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Innovation is something customers expect. Even if they have seen the same feature elsewhere, users expect similar ‘their’ favourite app to support something they enjoy. Keep your customers regularly updated with new features and initiatives you are working on. 

2. LG, one of the largest electronics companies in the world, has announced that it is shutting down its mobile phones division from July 31, 2021.  LG Mobile Communications Company made USD 4.66 Bn revenue in 2020, representing 8.25% of their overall revenue.

🔎 Our Take

  • LG has been losing money on smartphones for the past 5 years, unable to break into the top battle between Apple and Samsung. Meanwhile, Chinese manufacturers such as Xiaomi, Oppo, One Plus and others have been aggressively going after the lower end of the market. The 2000s saw some fantastic slider phones, but LG failed to make a lasting mainstream impression with all the Android-based phones in the market. LG is still a juggernaut in electronics, so this may help focus their priorities.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • Know when to call it quits. If something hasn’t been working for 5 years, its unlikely to work out now. Focus your energy on what is working, even if it means letting go of non-significant revenue

3. The People’s Bank of China has been developing a digital currency to replace physical cash and coin for its citizens. This allows for faster, cheaper transactions while allowing all transactions to be traced even closely.

🔎 Our Take

  • While we don’t know exactly what the technical implementation is, it could be based on a blockchain-like system – but one that is controlled by the central bank. This also adds a competitor to the payments market dominated in China with Alipay and WeChat Pay (which together cover around 85% of all people in China) and simultaneously sets the groundwork to move away from physical notes and connection to the US Dollar.

🧁 Your Takeaway

  • New payment systems emerge and become popular because they solve problems of the older payment systems, such as slow transfers, or credit. Keep an eye out how customers are paying with, and reduce all friction to allowing your customer to pay you.

Jargon Buster

  • UWB – Ultra Wide Band – a technology that is designed for very low power, low range communication. This has been part of phones for the past year or so, and now with Samsung’s SmartThings launch this week and an anticipated Apple AirTags in the next few weeks, this technology will allow you to easily find those keys or wallet in your home easily.

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