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NC50 Noise Canceling Earphones

Amazon to launch delivery service

I think we all saw this coming, but Amazon is said to be launching their own delivery service to compete with UPS and FedEx. Not surprisingly, Amazon ships a ton of packages and has enough items going out on a daily basis to setup their own service in larger volume areas. Not that it's that bold of a prediction, but I think we'll see more Amazon trucks on the road in the next year.

TechCrunch has the story.

Amazon is gearing up to compete directly with UPS and FedEx, according to a new Wall Street Journal report. The so-called “Shipping with Amazon” program will be an end-to-end shipping solution, with pickups from businesses and shipments made to consumers, per the report.

The timeframe for rollout is soon, too: Amazon is said to be readying the service for its first launch in LA in the “coming weeks,” starting, not surprisingly, with companies that sell stuff via its website. After its initial launch in LA, Amazon will look to expand it out to other cities, possibly as soon as later this year, the WSJ says.

Google Working on Texting from Browser

Google is stepping up their game with Android Messages and will soon allow you to pair your phone with your PC and then use your PC to send actual SMS's. This integration is what HP rocked with the Elite X3 Windows Phone and is something that other companies lack. Yes, there are 3rd party applications that do something similiar, but I've tried many of them and nothing worked as good as the Windows solution. Still, this is a step in the right direction. Also coming in Android Messages is the ability to send payments directly using Google Pay - or something similiar. 

All told, Google appears to be transforming Android Messages into an Allo-like app, except for mobile SMS texts instead of web-based ones. It could also be monetizing it to a degree via Google Pay. Considering the power it yields over the Android smartphone ecosystem, that could amount to a lot of dollars. Take all the changes with some salt, though, because APKs don't necessarily mean features are set in stone, and some of the aforementioned features are still half-baked.

Source: Engadget

Weekly Tech Update #423 - Who's the Biggest Loser?

We have just posted up Episode #423 of Weekly Tech Update! In this episode we will be discussing the winners and losers of the tech industry. Disney loses money on Hulu, GoPro lost a bunch of money, Bitcoin is losing money and of course Twitter loses money - Wait, no, no, they actually made money. We have those stories and more at the links below...

WTU

Download Episode #423
Show Notes
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Get it on Google Play!

Twitter made a profit

This is not a typo, Twitter made a profit!

After 12 years, a profit of $91 million dollars was made. Good news right? Well as an investor you are probably pretty happy, although they also revealed that they'd lost a million users in the US (which isn't good).

Regardless, they didn't lose money so maybe those million users they lost were just dragging them down! The Verge has more on this story.

At nearly 12 years old, and after four years as a public company, Twitter has finally had a profitable quarter. The company said today that it made $91 million during the fourth quarter of 2017, whereas it lost $167 million this time in 2016. Twitter advised investors late last year that it was closing in on its first profitable quarter in large part by cutting costs.

Profitability isn’t the only good news for Twitter this quarter: its revenue also started growing again, rising to $732 million, up 2 percent from $717 million this time in 2016. During the rest of 2017, revenues had declined by 4 to 8 percent year over year. It’s not entirely clear what changed to reverse that, but it’s possible that advertisers were wary to spend money on the platform amid major harassment issues that Twitter began to address in a more serious way as the year went on.

Microsoft Wants to Pay You to Switch to OneDrive

If you've got Office 365 and are paying for cloud storage from Dropbox or Google Drive can switch to OneDrive for Business and Microsoft will foot the bill until your current subscription on the competitive service runs out. Microsoft even gives you tools to quickly and easily migrate your data to their cloud. If you use Office for your business this is a great offer to help see how convenient it is if everything works together easily.

We are making it easier for new customers to make the switch by offering free OneDrive for Business for the remaining term of their existing contract with Box, Dropbox, or Google. This offer is valid starting February 6, 2018 through June 30, 2018 for organizations that are not currently OneDrive for Business or Office 365 customers and who make a minimum 500 user commitment.

Source: Office Blog

Bitcoin Prices Dropped

There have been more than a few of us that saw Bitcoin's price drop coming. It was surprising that it rose so high, but the last few months have seen the price double and now it's down to less than half of the peak price. It's rallied a bit, but it's heading down once again. If you bought high and expected it go higher, you'll be very sad to hear that it closed on Tuesday down below $7,500 USD. No word on how low it will go, but I think the bottom hasn't dropped out if it just yet.

Coindesk

Source: Coindesk

Apple Watch Clone has Mega Battery Life

Most Smart Watches end up in a drawer due to poor battery life. If you forget to charge it daily it's a useless piece of technology. There have been a few devices that offer better battery life, but it usually comes a big loss of functionality and performance. Amazfit's Bip looks like an Apple Watch and it comes with 30 days of on a single charge, or better yet, 45 days with "minimal" notifications. For the price of $99, it's an incredible deal.

The Bip is not a hybrid watch or a stripped down device, either: it has a 1.28-inch touchscreen display, an optical heart rate sensor, true GPS for location tracking, a 3-axis accelerometer, IP68-rated water resistance, and notification support from both Android and iOS devices. The company says that the watch can reach 30 days on a single charge, and up to 45 days with “minimal notifications.”

Source: TheVerge

The end of Xerox

The end of Xerox is here as they've been swallowed up by Fujifilm in a recent merger. Xerox is a household name and at one time dominated the copier market but just couldn't transition to modern times and is now just a part of history. Gizmodo has the story.

Xerox, the brand that dominated the printing hardware market for decades to the point that it became a verb, has lost its independence and will now be managed by Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp.

Per Bloomberg, Xerox and Fujifilm have agreed to a multi-part merger which will leave Fujifilm in control of the combined $18 billion successor company

Facebook drops 1 million users in North America

As Facebook works hard to try and change things so that "fake news" is harder to sneak by their censors, they also saw a decrease of 1 million users in North America in Q4 of 2017, going from 185 million daily users to 184 million daily users. The number of users isn't all that relevant as they've still got a massive user base, but it could be a signal that people are starting to find alternatives to get their social media fix. Facebook is playing it cool saying they were expecting a bit of decrease and that people's usage could go down but the time they do spend would be "more valuable". Usage numbers aside, Facebook did see their profits go up which should make the shareholders happy. The Verge has the full story.

Zuckerberg warned about the decreased usage earlier this month, saying it was an expected effect of the changes being made. “But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable,” he wrote. “And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.” Zuckerberg said changes started to be made in 2017, but that it will “take months” for it to be seen across all of the company’s products.

“In 2018, we’re focused on making sure Facebook isn’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being and for society,” he said in a statement this afternoon. “We’re doing this by encouraging meaningful connections between people rather than passive consumption of content ... By focusing on meaningful connections, our community and business will be stronger over the long term.”

GoPro exits drone business

GoPro has been a company that has been struggling and the Christmas season of 2017 saw their revenues drop 37% year over year and as a result they're making changes. Part of those changes is cutting 20% of their workforce and announcing they're exiting the drone market. GoPro had released their Karma drone a while back and just wasn't able to gain much traction in the crowded drone space and as a result is making a swift exit. Engadget takes a closer look at GoPro and their struggles.

The holidays were not kind to GoPro. The action camera company had already issued an earnings warning in January, dropping its projected Q4 revenues from $470 million to $340 million, that's a 37 percent year-over-year decline. The holidays were so dreadful, in fact, that GoPro has since decided to abandon its drone pursuits and a fifth of its workforce, roughly 300 positions. That said, the company did earn $1.18 billion in 2017, flat year-over-year, and the staff reductions did help drop GoPro's operating expenses by 30 percent, which left the company with $247 million in cash and marketable securities at the end of the year. That's $50 million more than it had on hand at the end of Q3.

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