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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

T-Mobile launches invite-only home internet pilot in rural areas – CNET

It aims to connect 50,000 homes this year.
Source: CNET

Disney Is Building a Box Office Death Star

The Mouse House just took in a Fox and the ‘Masters of the Universe’ movie might’ve found its He-Man.
Source: Wired

Veteran tech journalist Dan Frommer launches his own subscription publication, The New Consumer

Dan Frommer has worked at some of the best-known publications in tech and business journalism — he was editor in chief of Recode, an editor at Business Insider and he’s even done some writing and chart-making for TechCrunch. But he’s also started his own things, including the tech news site SplatF and the mobile travel guide startup City Notes.

Now, five months after leaving Recode, Frommer is launching a new publication, The New Consumer — an umbrella term he’s using to describe the changing landscape in e-commerce, online advertising and direct-to-consumer brands.

The goal, he said, is to become the first thing that industry executives read in the morning, whether they’re CMOs at Fortune 500 companies, or the founders of direct-to-consumer startups or “anyone who’s in the professional world [trying to figure out] what’s next, how are people using technology differently, how is technology influencing how people spend money differently.”

These are all topics covered by the major tech news sites and general interest publications, but Frommer said he will focus less on “covering the day-to-day moves at tech companies” and more on “the messy lines between the announcements,” and on what is and isn’t working.

“That thing that this company announced a few weeks ago, is it actually working?” he said. “Are people actually using it, is it successful or not and why? What are we learning from it?”

Dan Frommer

Dan Frommer

The core product at The New Consumer will be the Executive Briefing, a newsletter that Frommer plans to put out twice a week, and that you’ll need to pay a $200 annual subscription fee to read. He said that this month will be a “paid beta,” where you’ll need to subscribe to read the newsletters, but you’ll get 13 months of access for your money, rather than 12.

Frommer also plans to publish non-paywalled feature articles (like this piece about cookware startup Great Jones), and to organize events such as industry dinners as well.

He added that he’s hopeful that the subscription model can allow him to build a sustainable operation that he can spend all or most of his time on.

“I’m committed to this for the long term,” he said. “This is a job I’d love to be doing for 10 years, 20 years. But I also recognize that I have to iterate a little bit to meet the market where it is.”

The New Consumer is starting out as a one-man operation, with Frommer citing Ben Thompson’s Stratechery as one of his inspirations to build an “individual news agency” that’s focused on newsletters and supported by subscriptions. At the same time, he’s interested in expanding the team if things go well.

“Consumer spending represents the majority of all money around the world,” he said. “This is something that could eventually stretch to all kinds of verticals, from sports to entertainment to personal finance.”


Source: TechCrunch

Best compact SUVs for the money in 2019 – Roadshow

Take a look at Roadshow’s favorite small SUVs that are available now.
Source: CNET

Take selfies from the sky with the DJI Spark: Just $235 – CNET

That’s the lowest price to date on DJI’s amazingly capable quadcopter, which can be controlled using just your hands. Plus, a portable wireless power bank for $28.
Source: CNET

Tencent Q4 profit disappoints, but cloud and payments gain ground

China’s Tencent reported disappointing profits in the fourth quarter on the back of surging costs but saw emerging businesses pick up steam as it plots to diversify amid slackening gaming revenues.

Net profit for the quarter slid 32 percent to 14.2 billion yuan ($2.1 billion), behind analysts’ forecast of 18.3 billion yuan. The decrease was due to one-off expenses related to its portfolio companies and investments in non-gaming segments like video content and financial technology.

Excluding non-cash items and M&A deals, Tencent’s net profit from the period rose 13 percent to 19.7 billion yuan ($2.88 billion). The company has to date invested in more than 700 companies, 100 of which are valued over $1 billion each and 60 of which have gone public.

Quarterly revenue edged up 28 percent to 84.9 billion yuan ($12.4 billion) beating expectations.

The Hong Kong-listed company is best known for its billion-user WeChat messenger but had for year relied heavily on a high-margin gaming business. That was until a months-long freeze on games approvals last year that delayed monetization for new titles, spurring a major reorg in the firm to put more focus on enterprise services, including cloud computing and financial technology.

Tencent has received approvals for eight games since China resumed the licensing process, although its blockbusters PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds and Fortnite have yet to get the green light. The firm also warned of a ”sizeable backlog“ for license applications in the industry, which means its “scheduled game releases will initially be slower than in some prior years.”

Video games for the quarter contributed 28.5 percent of Tencent’s total revenues, compared to 36.7 percent in the year-earlier period. Despite the domestic fiasco, Tencent remains as the world’s largest games publisher by revenue according to data compiled by NewZoo. The firm has also gotten more aggressive in taking its titles global.

Social network revenues rose 25 percent on account of growth in live streaming and video subscriptions. The segment made up 22.9 percent of total revenues. Tencent has in recent years spent heavily on making original content and licensing programs as it competes with Baidu’s iQiyi video streaming site. Tencent claimed 89 million subscribers in the latest quarter, compared with iQiyi’s 87.4 million.

Tencent has been relatively slow to monetize WeChat in contrast to its western counterpart Facebook, though it’s under more pressure to step up its game. Tencent’s advertising revenue from the quarter grew 38 percent thanks to expanding advertising inventory on WeChat. Ads accounted for 20 percent of the firm’s quarterly revenues.

All told, WeChat and its local version Weixin reached nearly 1.1 billion monthly active users. 750 million of them checked their friends’ WeChat feeds, and Tencent recently introduced a Snap Story-like feature to lock users in as it vies for eyeball time with challenger TikTok.

The “others” category comprising of financial technology and cloud computing grew 71.8 percent to generate 28.5 percent of total revenues. WeChat’s e-wallet, which is going neck-and-neck with Alibaba affiliate Alipay, saw daily transaction volume exceed 1 billion last year. During the fourth quarter, merchants who used WeChat Pay monthly grew over 80 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, cloud revenues doubled to 9.1 billion yuan in 2018, thanks to Tencent’s dominance in the gaming sector as its cloud infrastructure now powers over half of the China-based games companies and is following these clients overseas. Tencent meets Alibaba head-on again in the cloud sector. For comparison, Alibaba’s most recent quarterly cloud revenue was 6.6 billion yuan. Just yesterday, the ecommerce leader claimed that its cloud business is larger than the second to eight players in China combined.


Source: TechCrunch

Epic Games CEO says Apex Legends hasn’t made a dent in Fortnite

In the wake of Apex Legends, which has briskly grown to 50 million players, many have wondered whether Fortnite has felt the impact.

But Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney told GamesBeat that Apex hasn’t really made a dent. Without being asked about Apex Legends, Sweeney said “an Apex Legends worth” of players have come over to Fortnite.

“We’re very close to hitting 250 million Fortnite players,” said Sweeney. “Since Apex Legends came out, we’ve gained an Apex Legends worth of Fortnite players, which is amazing.”

He went on to say that the only game that noticeably takes Fortnite gamers away from Fortnite is FIFA.

“We hit a Fortnite non-event peak twice after Apex was out,” said Sweeney. “We haven’t seen any visible cut into Fortnite. It’s a funny thing. The only game you can see where its peaks cut into Fortnite playtime is FIFA. It’s another game for everybody, wildly popular around the world.”

On the one hand, Apex only has about one-fifth of the players that Fortnite has. In a world where Netflix sees Fortnite as a greater threat than HBO, the scale of the two games isn’t comparable.

However, Apex is picking up some serious steam. It only took seven days for Apex to hit 25 million users (it took Fortnite 41 days), and one month to hit 50 million users (it took Fortnite more than four months).

As impressive as that is, it’s also to be expected that a game like Apex, a relative latecomer to the Battle Royale genre, would grow faster by reaping the benefits of the entire industry’s years of work and growth. It’s also worth noting that EA paid a pretty penny to successfully launch Apex Legends, with Ninja alone earning $1 million for streaming the game at launch.

“What Apex Legends has done is re-energized a lot of shooter players, people who come in and out of shooters depending on what’s popular,” said Sweeney. “It’s awesome to see other games picking up on battle royale, adding their unique spin to it and advancing the state of the industry.”

Adding a unique spin is exactly what Apex Legends has done. They’ve taken the fundamental building blocks of Battle Royale and the free-to-play model and tweaked them to be, in some ways, better.

Where play is concerned, Apex is a markedly team-oriented game, complete with a beautifully executed non-verbal comms system and a Jumpmaster mechanic to encourage teammates to land and play as a unit. Plus, Apex uses a hero system to give each character their own unique abilities.

This not only makes each fight interesting, but it gives Apex a different way to monetize beyond its recently launched BattlePass. The company just introduced its first new character, which can be unlocked with Apex Coins, the games virtual currency.

Only time will tell if Respawn and EA can build something as sticky as Fortnite, which has truly become a pop culture phenomenon. But there is one clear winner in this epic competition between Fortnite and Apex, and that’s gamers.


Source: TechCrunch

Knock Around a Goat Carcass With These Buzkashi Players

Photographer Anna Huix traveled to Tajikistan to document the centuries-old sporting tradition.
Source: Wired

A New Wave of Brainy Bikes Do Everything but Ride Themselves

Automated gear changes, app-controlled suspensions, overtaking vehicle alerts, and more smart tech are here for the human-powered two-wheeler.
Source: Wired

AirPods 2 vs. AirPods: What's changed with Apple's new earbuds? – CNET

If you already have the original AirPods, you may not be missing much.
Source: CNET

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