Voice-forward phones: Google Assistant and the next billion users

A range of new flag­ship phones got shown off at the MWC19 trade fair. At one end of the scale, Sam­sung intro­duced three vari­a­tions of its pre­mi­um Galaxy S10 and a new mod­el, the Galaxy Fold, with its inno­v­a­tive fold­ing screen and almost $2,000 price tag. At the oth­er, the Wiz­phone WP006, a phone made only for Indone­sia (where it will be sold in vend­ing machines), cost­ing about $7.

The WP006 is a fea­ture­phone; it has a hard­ware key­board, no touch­screen, 4G con­nec­tiv­i­ty, runs on KaiOS (an oper­at­ing sys­tem based on the aban­doned Fire­fox­OS project), and has a promi­nent micro­phone button—it’s a voice-for­ward phone, pow­ered by Google Assis­tant.

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Using Airtable to manage a trends-tracking email newsletter

For the last cou­ple of years part of my job has been to keep my col­leagues and employ­er up to date on tech­nol­o­gy trends; to make sure that every­one knows the moves in the tech­nol­o­gy land­scape, and to try to fol­low trends in the mar­ket to help the com­pa­ny posi­tion itself well to meet them. This post is about a new process I’m imple­ment­ing on a cou­ple of aspects of that part of my role.

I have two prob­lems that I want this process to solve. The first is that I want to be able to bet­ter track trends in tech­nol­o­gy, to under­stand new prod­uct releas­es and actions with bet­ter ref­er­ence to what’s hap­pened before. The sec­ond is that I send a week­ly email newslet­ter with curat­ed links to the most rel­e­vant and use­ful sto­ries about the tech­nol­o­gy land­scape, but my cur­rent method of assem­bling it’s cum­ber­some. I’m exper­i­ment­ing with a solu­tion to both of these prob­lems using Airtable.

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Trends in Consumer Digital Technology for 2019

For the past few years I’ve got into the habit of start­ing the new year with an arti­cle con­sol­i­dat­ing my thoughts on where we’re at with con­sumer dig­i­tal tech­nol­o­gy; look­ing at the land­scape, and at what the biggest play­ers are doing—my focus is most­ly on Ama­zon, Apple, Face­book, and Google, but it’s not exclu­sive­ly on them. I want to tease out a few trends to help ori­ent myself in my role for the year ahead. I try not to make pre­dic­tions, but per­haps play out some pos­si­bil­i­ties.

There are two big declines at the core of this year’s trends, which I think set the tone for where con­sumer tech might head in 2019. They are the smart­phone decline, and the Face­book decline.

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The Best Quotes I Read in 2018

I read a lot. For plea­sure, for work, and for my newslet­ter, The Thought­ful Net, which is a lit­tle of both plea­sure and work. As well as books I read a lot of online arti­cles, espe­cial­ly long-form; I save a lot of links to Pock­et, which is synced to my Kobo eRead­er, and then I read on my com­mute to and from work—averaging prob­a­bly five or six arti­cles per day. I share the arti­cles that I like to my col­leagues, on my Twit­ter, and a rare few excep­tion­al ones to my newslet­ter.

What I enjoy very much is to col­lect quotes (or quo­ta­tions, if you’re that type of per­son). A nice turn of phrase or a point that makes me stop and reflect, or think of some­thing entire­ly dif­fer­ent­ly, always gets saved to my Keep—with the hope that it will one day spark a new line of thought in me, or be added to a pre­sen­ta­tion deck to sup­port my argu­ment.

In this arti­cle I present the quotes I read this year that I felt were worth sav­ing and shar­ing. The quotes aren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly from this year (some of them date back to the 19th Cen­tu­ry) but they were new to me. Most of them, in some way, are linked to tech­nol­o­gy, which is both plea­sure and work to me.

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