Feature Friday: Wireless Charging

One feature of the Pixel 3 that I really like is the return of wireless charging, something earlier Google phones had but went away. I bought a Pixel Stand and set it up where I charge my phone when I come home. I just place my phone on the stand and it charges. No cords involved. You can set up all sorts of cool things like a screensaver of your recent photos and photo albums, Google Assistant so you can ask your phone questions when it is charging, and a display of your upcoming appointments. I am still playing around with the right choices for me but I think there is a lot of interesting things one can do with this charging stand I quite like it and just got one for my office too.


Bethany Crystal — November 17, 2018
Asking questions Bethany Crystal — November
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Feature Friday: Android Smart Notifications

With the new version of Android comes intelligence around mobile notifications. If you tend to swipe away notifications from a particular app, Android eventually asks you this: I told Android to keep showing these project updates to me even though I tend to swipe them. I like to see these but don’t often click on them. I would say that most of the time, I select “Keep Showing” but some of the time I do choose “Stop Notifications.” I love the idea of a smart operating system that learns how you want to use it and adapts to that versus forcing you to do the configuration manually and that is where Google is clearly going with Android. You can really see it in the latest version of the OS.


Albert Wenger — September 5, 2018
Uncertainty Wednesday: A New Tack

Video Of The Week: GoTenna Mesh

It’s a long weekend with many of us off the grid. So what do you do when you are off the grid? Get a GoTenna to stay connected. This promotional video explains the power of GoTenna when you and your friends are off the grid. Disclosure: GoTenna is a USV portfolio company.

The 30% Tax

Apple and Google’s duopoly on mobile operating systems give those two companies incredible power in the market and one of the most obvious places to see that power is the 30% tax they take on transactions that happen in their app stores. For subscriptions the tax is 30% in year one and 15% on the renewal. Typically transaction fees on payments are 5% or lower with the credit card networks being the obvious comparison at roughly 3%. But Apple and Google are able to charge 5-10x what a typical payment system charges because of their dominant market position and because the economics of acquiring a customer and renewing that customer in their ecosystem is so strong. While it is hard to stomach the 30% number, it is the case that many companies have done the work to look at their acquisition and retention numbers in and out of these environments
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Feature Friday: Now Playing

I’ve written about this Android feature before. I am a bit obsessed about it. When you are in a place where music is playing, the Android operating system notifies you what is “now playing.” I have two things I would love to know how to do with this information. 1/ Access it via an API so I can favorite it my preferred streaming service (which is SoundCloud but Spotify and Apple Music would be great too). 2/ See the history someplace on the web so I can search it by time, place, artist, song, etc. This is an example of where taking an app like Shazam or Soundhound and turning it into a feature in the operating system can open up a lot of potential additional functionality.

Apple Betting Big on Production of Forthcoming iPhones, Says BlueFin

Apple is ramping up production of forthcoming iPhone models to what would be higher levels than ever before produced, write analysts with BlueFin Research Partners. That implies a confidence on Apple's part that three new models will induce customers who sat out the iPhone X, thereby boosting upgrade rates.

Tech Today: Twitter Tanks, Apple Builds iPhone Supply, Xiaomi Fizzles

Apple is increasing its production plans for new iPhones for this year to an unprecedented level according to boutique research house BlueFin, a negative report on Intel from last week is partially retracted, Groupon shares jump sharply amidst speculation it will sell itself, Netflix still inspires awe but its valuation is a tad worrisome to one analyst, Twitter shares are falling by 8% perhaps prompted by a Washington Post report that it has been aggressively culling "fake" user accounts, Chinese smartphone vendor Xiaomi sees its IPO in Hong Kong fizzle, and Arista Networks gets an upgrade at Piper Jaffray after the stock overcame analyst James Fish's three big fears.

Hyper Social Not Anti Social

This seems right to me:
“In post-industrial environments where foods are abundant and readily available, our cravings for fat and sugar sculpted by distant evolutionary pressures can easily go into insatiable overdrive and lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease (…) the pro-social needs and rewards [of smartphone use as a means to connect] can similarly be hijacked to produce a manic theatre of hyper-social monitoring,”