Discover more from FWIW by David Tvrdon
😒 It's hard to innovate
Yeah, I’m talking about you, Samsung.
👋 Welcome to FWIW by David Tvrdon, your weekly tech, media & audio digest.
In this edition
Samsung Unpacked event & new devices
Interview with the NYT Company CEO
Apple wants more original podcasts
Samsung foldables got slightly better, that’s not enough
In 2021, more than 1.3 billion smartphones were shipped worldwide, with Samsung shipping the most (272 mil.), followed by Apple (237.9 mil.).
Samsung recently held its Unpacked event, where the company introduced its latest (fourth) generation of foldable phones which the Korean brand is the worldwide leader in development (almost 90% market share).
Before the event, its mobile president boasted of Samsung’s success in the category by sharing that 10 million foldable smartphones were shipped in 2021 and the company had a huge market share (almost 90%). The number was disputed by analysts saying it was between 7 and 8 million.
Even though, the number of foldable phones is significantly dwarfed by the number of overall phones shipped by the company, making it up to 2,5%.
If you look back at iPhone sales in the first six months, the sales almost doubled each year. That being said, it’s important to say what The Verge wrote in one of its reactions after the event:
Samsung still hasn’t given us a good reason to buy a foldable phone. The Z Fold 4 is better, but it’s not better than your phone. Right now, the worst thing about foldables is that they force you to make significant sacrifices on the most important device you own: your smartphone.
Anyway, here is what Samsung introduced:
Z Flip 4 - a classic flip phone, there are a few new software tricks, but nothing major
Galaxy Z Fold 4 - the flagship foldable is slightly sleeker with a slimmer hinge and bezels, has a better camera and overall some things are a little better
Galaxy Watch 5 - it got the biggest redesign of all the new announced hardware and I have to say I love the new look, it got a bigger battery, body temperature sensor and Samsung also introduced (like Apple is planning) a Pro version with increased durability
Galaxy Buds 2 Pro - a more comfortable design and a bit pricier
Samsung’s foldables are little by little getting better after the really bad start, but the market still doesn’t seem to be convinced. Also, by the fourth generation you would expect something more than just “a little better”.
I know, it’s hard to carry on your shoulders a new category. One thing I will add is Apple also doesn’t introduce big leap innovation year over year in hardware.
But the advantage of the iPhone maker is that it controls the software side of things and can sway the public perception of its innovation capabilities by coming up with new software features. Samsung has to rely on Android (Google).
🧹 Amazon to acquire maker of Roomba vacuums for roughly $1.7 billion. [CNBC]
🔢 Apple released the iOS 16 beta 5 and with it comes the long-awaited return of battery percentage to the status bar. Though people are complaining it is hideous. [The Verge]
📊 TikTok has established itself as one of the top online platforms for U.S. teens, while the share of teens who use Facebook has fallen sharply. Also, YouTube is used by 95% (!) of teens in the U.S. and they seem to hate Facebook very much. [Pew]
RELATED: I wrote about this recently for The Fix: For most news publishers, Vox’ YouTube strategy is impossible to copy. But carpet cleaning videos might be a better inspiration
👀 Ethereum just pulled off its final test run ahead of one of the most important events in crypto. Ethereum is moving closer to adopting a proof-of-stake model for its network, which is less energy intensive than the existing proof-of-work method. The network ran its last dress rehearsal before the major upgrade, which is expected to take place next month. [CNBC]
💬 Google launched the ‘Get The Message’ campaign to pressure Apple into RCS on the iPhone. I’m with Google on this one, a unified standard would make messaging across iOS & Android a much better experience for everyone. [9to5Google]
🤦♂️ Facebook researchers released a chatbot and things got bad. It didn’t become racist (as Microsoft’s old experiment), but it did spread misinformation (Trump is still the president of USA) and said Zuckerberg should go to jail. [The Guardian]
😎 The most creative people in business 2022. [Fast Company]
📺 A new report on streaming satisfaction shows Netflix dropps and HBO Max is top, followed by Disney+ and Hulu. Netflix is fourth. [MediaPost]
👏 Axios, the 6-year-old news startup based on the idea of smart brevity, is selling itself to Cox Enterprises for $525 million. Axios will spin off its software arm, Axios HQ, into a separate, stand-alone company led by Axios president Roy Schwartz.[Axios]
😯 A must read interview with The New York Times Company CEO Meredith Kopit Levien. Among other things, an interesting data point: Bundle subscribers today pay more, churn less, stay longer, engage more. They retain like 40% better than subscribers to the news product, MKL said. [Stratechery]
ALSO: NYT plans advertising expansion into non-news products. And look at that chart from Axios below how NYT turned around their business.
📈 BeReal, the viral app that uses the front and back cameras for users to capture a candid image once a day, reached 7.9 million users by the end of July. [The Information]
🤔 The 20 most popular LinkedIn Learning Course of the Year is Goal Setting: Objectives and Key Results (OKRs). Must say, didn’t expect this. #2 is Excel Essential Training (Office 365/Microsoft 365). [LinkedIn]
😯 Disney+ added 15 million subscribers vs. expected 10 mil., announced it will launch the ad-supported subscription. It will arrive December 8th and the ad-free plan will get a 38% price rise (from the current $7.99 a month in the U.S. to $10.99 a month). [Variety]
FROM THE FIX
[ 📬 Get The Fix newsletter delivered to your inbox every week with the latest insights, news, and analysis about the European media market. Sign up here > ]
🤔 Apple Podcasts profiled Jack Rhysider (creator of Darknet Diaries) and how he turned listener into subscribers via Apple’s subscription. Some good advie from Rhysider: when deciding on benefits, research showed him ad-free content and bonus episodes were the two most popular benefits. Regarding pricing, Rhysider settled on $4.99 a month instead of other competitive price points on the platform. “I think it’s easier to start higher and go down versus start lower and go up.” He kpet the messaging super simple: bonus content and ad-free feed for subscribing. He’s got now 2,200 subscribers which makes it almost $11k monthly. [Apple Podcasts]
🤦♂️ Apple Podcasts updated its Social Post Generator. Now, you can include also information when your podcast made it to the charts. Unfortunately, there is only one language option - English. Come on, Apple, really? Is it that hard translate it beyond the English-speaking world. [Apple Podcasts]
📲 Spotify did a small redesign which allows you to browse Music and Podcasts & Shows separately. [TechCrunch]
🎧 A new research paper by Reuters Institute fellow Kirsi-Marja Takala looks at how to build a content model for successful podcasting. The paper defines the core elements of podcast content, and then guides creators through a series of questions. By answering them, they should find the key to defining their podcast content strategy. It’s a really helpful guide for anyone thinking of starting a new podcast. Bookmark it and thank me later. Actually, thank Kirsi-Marja Takala. [RISJ]
😲Apple is stepping up its spending on original podcasts. The company signed an agreement with a Pulitzer Prize-winning studio and is holding talks with other companies about additional deals. [Bloomberg]
🤓 How do you get started with programmatic advertising on your podcast? From the piece: Simplecast and Omny Studio are the only two hosting platforms whose adserver is directly integrated with an SSP that acts as both their direct adserver and their programmatic touchpoint. This is a very useful guide for anyone new to programmatic ads in podcasts. [Sounds Profitable]
❓ Poll: Do you have a smartwatch or any other wearable tech?
Last poll results: What do you think of TikTokization of everything? 53% don’t get why TikTok is so popular; 33% stand with the Kardashians; 13% hate it.