Week of July 18, 2016
In this week’s Tech Roundup, we continue to see the Pokemon Go craze gaining momentum, featuring site hacking, new opportunities, and delays in roll out in Japan. Samsung is joining Warren Buffett, and investing in the Chinese car business, giving it a strategy against Google and Apple. Twitter is rolling out new NBA and NFL streaming, taking more steps towards a turn around. And Elon Musk continues the Tesla hype machine by revealing his “Master Plan, Part 2”.
Pokemon Go update
While TechCrunch reported the launch date of Pokemon Go in Japan, Nintendo delayed the launch due to an email leak from its partner McDonald’s in Japan. The fast food locations are planning to serve as gyms where players can battle each other. The delay was largely due to fear of servers crashing.
Meanwhile, Japan’s National Center for Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity issued safety guidelines to help avoid Pokemon-related accidents. Recent Pokefails have included crashing into a parked police car and wandering off a cliff.
In terms of other beneficiaries of the game, analysts are now speculating that Apple stands to generate $3B from Pokemon Go.
On a negative note, and this was bound to happen, a cyberhacking group called PoodleCorp reportedly hacked Pokemon Go and as a results users in the US and Europe were affected over the weekend. And finally, Nintendo stock remains on a tear, with their market cap doubling to over $42B, and the company now worth more than Sony.
Twitter continues to offer new services
The company announced it will stream 10 NFL games and several exclusive NBA shows. Starting about 2 weeks ago, there were reports that Twitter was in negotiations with the NBA to acquire digital rights to stream hoops action. According to Recode, Twitter will exclusively stream two live and original NBA programs weekly, beginning next season.
This is in addition to the company’s plan to stream 10 NFL Thursday Night Football games this fall. There are also reports that Twitter is in talks with Major League Soccer and Turner to potentially acquire streaming rights. The addition of this content is a potential positive turning point for Twitter, which under Jack Dorsey’s renewed leadership has been searching for new ways to bring in new users. We believe this is a positive first step to making the service unique and moving beyond the “noise” that most of us see on Twitter daily. Stay tuned for more changes to come.
Samsung investing $450M in Chinese car maker BYD
Samsung is joining Warrant Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in investing in Chinese auto and rechargeable battery maker BYD. While Samsung has traditionally been known for its smartphones, given the moves by direct competitors Google and Apple, not to mention Tesla’s presence in this sector, Samsung wasn’t about to be left behind.
BYD said it will initially use Samsung’s investment to grow its battery production and R&D of new-energy vehicles. Berkshire Hathaway owns just over 9% of this company, which makes everything from gas-powered cars to hybrids, electric vehicles and even solar panels.
Samsung is already selling chips into this lucrative sector, and with this investment, it will gain a solid foothold in the large and growing Chinese market. We expect further investments by Samsung in automotive. It remains to be seen though if it can keep pace with the likes of Google, who is leading the way for self-driving testing, and Apple, who is reportedly working on its own autonomous car. A natural area where Samsung could expand into is infotainment software, where Google and Apple already have a presence.
Tesla reveals Master Plan, Part 2
Elon Musk revealed his much anticipated plan, which includes fully autonomous driving, car sharing, and cargo transport, according to the long awaited blog post on the company’s website. The acquisition of SolarCity will help Tesla get to a fully solar powered ecosystem, or at least that is the plan. Here are a few highlights from the blog post:
– Tesla is doubling down on fully autonomous cars. According to Musk, in order to get there, 6B miles of test-driving will be needed (vs. 3M per day today).
– Tesla is also prioritizing development of heavy-duty trucks and high passenger-density urban transport. Tesla Semi will support cargo and transportation services. A Tesla ecosystem of smaller connected utility vehicles including busses would be able to provide convenience, increase road safety and reduce traffic congestion. The company is using AI to develop these systems. Tesla will initially operate a fleet of its own vehicles.
– Musk’s vision is that everyone who owns a Tesla can turn their car into a “Uber”-type vehicle and generate income…automatically. According to him, you will be “able to add your car to the Tesla shared fleet just by tapping a button on the Tesla phone app and have it generate income for you while you’re at work or on vacation”. This will theoretically result in an offset to Tesla’s high costs. There is only one major problem with this “vision”. Due to the high price of Tesla cars, the only people who can afford one are those who don’t need the extra income (i.e. very rich folks) and therefore would rarely use this feature. We’ll see how this all plays out but we’re not holding our breath for actual results.
BitNavi is a blog conceived by Karl Motey in the heart of Silicon Valley, dedicated to emerging technologies and strategic business issues challenging the industry.
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