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👀The battle for your digital attention part 3 | ⌚ smartwatches yet to cross the chasm and a history of cities 🌆

This week's focus is on the evolving battle in your home for virtual assistants, the growing failure
👀The battle for your digital attention part 3 | ⌚ smartwatches yet to cross the chasm and a history of cities 🌆
By Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani) • Issue #13 • View online
This week’s focus is on the evolving battle in your home for virtual assistants, the growing failure of smartwatches if you aren’t Apple and an amazing look at cities as they have changed over time.

The next big battleground.
With Google Home launching in the UK recently, Amazon has stepped up the battle by offering a chosen few manufacturers free access to its Alexa technology. 
It is clear that the major competitive advantage in this space is ensuring you have as many devices being used as possible and open partnerships (which this isn’t) is one way to do so. 
This is not dissimilar to the operating system battles of old. In the race for the desktop, Microsoft and Apple were the winners and in mobile phones, Google and Apple. Two clear winners in each. So who is going to win between Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung? Would you bet against Apple winning a third time?
It has been my view for a while that Microsoft needs to make a big decision and adopt Android as its base operating system in mobile and build on top of it. That would give it access to the wider Android space and give it a stronger position than it has today but even that may not be enough. In the home they have Xbox but it costs too much and is too niche. Its Cortana assistant is limited to the desktop which is a declining market in the home. 
Google obviously already has Android and has been clever to go for the broadband router which is a much cheaper entry point. If it partnered with Internet providers to distribute Google Home (with Wifi), it could outpace even Amazon. Whilst a clear favourite, Google is putting itself on the back foot if the advertising related stories continue. No one wants their home assistant to be a sales assistant. Right now, Amazon is leaps ahead of the competition.
So the smart watch was a fad?
Huawei CEO doesn’t think smart watches have any future. He said: “I am always confused as to what smartwatches are for when we have smartphones” and he is looking for his teams to find something tangible that delivers value to the user that he is not seeing today. 
Thomas Husson, Forrester Research is also not seeing much positive results in the wider market either: “The overall smartwatch market is not growing as fast as many anticipated,” and even worse “Our data shows that among the consumers who bought a smartwatch, a significant percentage stop using it.”
Apple of course has not shared its numbers but has been very positive about what it sees in the marketplace. Research firm Canalys has estimated that Q4 unit sales were up 12% year on year and 9 million were sold worldwide. It also believes Apple’s market share is a rather large 49%. 
Right now Apple seems to be the only winner in the space but even so things cannot be great otherwise they would be shouting its numbers from the rooftops, just like they did with the iPhone and iPad.
Meanwhile, Swatch is rumored to be launching a new smartwatch with its own operating system and has a new marketing slogan: tick different. On the surface not too dissimilar to the “think different” of Apple’s campaigns though Swatch claim they used a similar phrase in the 80s: “Always different, always new” and this is an evolution. Using its own operating system seems to be a backward step unless it is as revolutionary as iOS was back when it launched. They must think it is.
A history of cities
An excellent look at some of the major cities in the world. What they looked like at the beginning and how they grew and evolved through to today. From London to Istanbul to Rio de Janeiro to name just a few. See all the photos here.
In the book corner
Dr Yuval Noah Harari
Dr Yuval Noah Harari
Humanity has come a long way and our challenges today are very different to the ones even a hundred years ago. Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow looks at the pursuit of immortality, happiness and divine powers of creation and how history may not repeat itself in the next century. You read an extract from the book and see an interview with the author here.
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Connected Paths (Riaz Kanani)

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