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Top Smartphones Of Mobile World Congress

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mobile world congress

While the Consumer Electronics Show generally features consumer tech from varying different areas such as connected cars, laptops, home appliances, wearables, and drones, Mobile World Congress (MWC) narrows its focus to smartphones, tablets, and all things mobile. Even so, Mobile World Congress is probably the second largest consumer technology trade show after CES. Many tech companies use this time to make major product announcements, usually smartphones. This year was no different as many high profile companies such as LG, Sony, and even Nokia revealed the future of their products. One of the bigger surprises was the lack of a Galaxy S8 announcement from Samsung. That reveal (which has already leaked) is scheduled for Samsung Unpacked event later this month. Here are the top 5 announcements of Mobile World Congress:

 

LG G6G6 LG

While last year’s G5 was certainly a bold move for LG, their take on modular smartphones was nevertheless an unsuccessful one. Switching between modules was somewhat clunky and many reviewers lamented the questionable build quality and easily scratched paint job. Fortunately at Mobile World Congress, LG finally made the G6 official after months of rumors and speculation. This year seems to be a reset from last year and a return to form. From the outset, the most noticeable thing about the G6 is the big, beautiful 5.7” Quad HD screen dominating the front. The 18:9 ratio allows wider content viewing although videos may display black bars on the sides. The bezels are very minimal with an almost edge to edge screen (although not spilling over the edge like Samsung’s Galaxy S6/S7 Edge). It loses the modular features of the G5 and instead unibody design of glass and metal. The unibody design means that it loses the ability to remove the battery, however, that allows for waterproofing and wireless charging. For all of you spec junkies, it has a Snapdragon 821 CPU and Adreno 530 GPU. It has dual 13 megapixel wide angle cameras in the back. Finally, it comes with Android 7.0 Nougat with Google Assistant out of the box. While the G6 doesn’t necessarily have a neat party tricks like the G5, the laser focus on the basics makes this a very competent flagship phone.

 

NokiaNokia

To call Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s smartphone business a disaster is an understatement. However, Nokia is poised to make a comeback with all new smartphones, now powered by Android instead of Windows 10 Mobile. This time, Nokia gave the licensing rights for the Nokia brand to HMD Global to manufacture and distribute the phones. What resulted is the Nokia 3, 5, and 6. A trio of low to mid range Android phones that might turn a few heads despite the lower specs. The biggest draw for these phones is the bone stock version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat that’s loaded on the phones. No carrier bloatware, no intrusive skins, no customizations at all. Just pure stock Android. The stock nature of the new Nokias mean faster performance and potentially faster updates. According to The Verge, HMD has about 500 carrier and retail partners but hasn’t committed to any U.S. carriers. HMD is probably trying to test the waters with mid range phones before making any high-end Nokia branded phones to compete with the likes of iPhone and Galaxy.

nokia

Nokia 3310

Nokia

This isn’t a smartphone but “ain’t no school like the old school” as the saying goes. HMD is reviving the much loved and practically indestructible Nokia 3310. The new and improved 3310 sports a more rounded shape, various color choices, and has a bigger, colorful screen than the old phone. Make no mistake though, these are still basic phones that you can use to text (using T9 of course), call, take pictures, and yes…play a game of Snake. Those who want to indulge their nostalgia can pick these up for about $50.

 

Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Sony

Going back up the spectrum into the decidedly high-end is the Sony Xperia XZ Premium. Sony actually admitted that they lacked innovation in 2016. At Mobile World Congress, Sony is ticking every single box spec wise with the XZ Premium. It has the world’s first 5.5” 4K HDR screen. HDR is High Dynamic Range which basically allows for more vibrant colors. The effect is quite noticeable on HDTVs that have HDR enabled. Although the screen is 4K, because it uses LCD technology, it’s not suitable for VR since the response times in LCD are too low. In addition to that, the XZ Premium is packing Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. It has a IP68 rating for dust and water resistance and comes preloaded with Android 7.1 Nougat. Also…can we talk the camera for a moment? It’s a 19-megapixel camera called the Motion Eye. This new camera module has fast memory baked right in and so allows slow motion photography at 960 frames per second at 720p resolution which is a first for smartphones. The camera also has laser auto focus, an infrared sensor, and an updated image sensor. On paper, this sounds like a fantastic camera but further tests from reviewers later this year will bear this out. On a slightly sour note for American buyers, it looks like the U.S. version of the XZ Premium will omit the fingerprint sensor. Regardless, Sony is packing the Xperia XZ Premium with a myriad of high end features and specs which should certainly help it compete in the high end smartphone market.

 

Blackberry KeyOne

Blackberry

BlackBerry’s last hurrah as an independent hardware manufacturer resulted in the BlackBerry Priv, an Android phone with some admittedly neat features but ultimately expensive and a little buggy. This year at Mobile World Congress, like Nokia, BlackBerry has left hardware duties to and third party manufacturer called TCL. Thus, TCL introduced the BlackBerry KeyOne which actually shows a lot of promise and might be a sleeper hit among Android users. Spec-wise, it’s decidedly mid-range with its Snapdragon 625 processor but it doesn’t have to be as it’s aimed primarily at the business market. It has a 4.5 inch screen with a built in hardware keyboard (it wouldn’t be a BlackBerry without it). That keyboard has quite a few tricks up it’s sleeve. The keyboard itself can be used as a trackpad. You can assign application shortcuts with just one key, for example, pressing the letter “f” to open Facebook. The space bar also acts as a very accurate fingerprint sensor. One of BlackBerry’s hallmarks is its focus on security. It’s launching with Android 7.1 Nougat and BlackBerry has promised to keep up with Google’s monthly security updates. The BlackBerry DTEK software is also onboard which monitors the phone’s status, security, and controls how much services are able to use the phone. The focus on security alone might be enough for a few security conscious users to switch to BlackBerry. While BlackBerry’s influence has been dramatically reduced in the wake of iPhone and Android devices, BlackBerry’s focus on security might help it at least keep a foothold in the government and commercial sectors.

Business

These Are All of the Industries Experiencing The Amazon Takeover

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amazon takeover

Amazon’s continuous growth is prompting the company to expand into a variety of industries well beyond their initial scope of electronic commerce. Beginning as an online bookstore, Amazon now represents the most valuable United States retailer regarding market capitalization. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is presently the world’s richest personA combination of success and drive for constant expansion is resulting in an Amazon takeover of several important industries. Amazon still reigns supreme as an online retailer, though clearly that title alone is not enough to satisfy Bezos. His areas of interest are vast, including the following.

Brick-and-Mortar Retail

Just last year, the Amazon takeover included Whole Foods, where they were acquired for $13.7 billion. The move continues Amazon’s battle with Walmart to reign supreme in the retail space. On the other side, Walmart is continuing to refine their online space, while remaining America’s top employer. The battle between these two giants will continue to wage on, with Amazon’s interest in the brick-and-mortar space being no secret.

Even before the Whole Foods acquisition, Amazon’s plans to build convenience stores and curbside pickup locations shows a deep infatuation with becoming a strong brick-and-mortar presence. Beyond a mere presence, Amazon is confident that consumers will continue embracing a model that allows them to order online and pick up in person.

Amazon’s opening of the Amazon Go Store in Seattle in January marks an exciting time for these interests. Customers enter the store and scan their Amazon Go app as they do. Cameras and other sensors track customers’ activity as their browse, registering an item into their virtual cart when they take it off the shelf. Customers are charged when they leave the store with their goods. Amazon terms the idea “Just Walk Out” shopping and hopes to attract customers who despise waiting in lines, as many do.

Amazon’s reshaping of the typical brick-and-mortar presence is introducing consumers to new ideas like “Just Walk Out” shopping. Combined with the acquisition of Whole Foods, the company will without a doubt continue to redefine the brick-and-mortar shopping experience.

Delivery

amazon

Amazon has been shaping the delivery industry for many years now, especially since Amazon Prime’s introduction in 2005. The company’s vow to deliver items to Prime customers in two days or less still presents a challenge to online retail competition, who are well aware that they must match these shipping expectations or compensate in some other way, like offering lower prices. Meeting Amazon’s delivery promises and their costs is a major challenge, especially to new eCommerce businesses.

Beyond Amazon Prime’s major influence on shipping expectations among online retailers, Amazon is redefining what the delivery space means through their utilization of drone technology. Specifically, Amazon Prime Air is introducing a new delivery system, where unmanned aerial vehicles can safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

Amazon, already familiar with quick parcel delivery, is upping the ante even more in the delivery industry with such lofty ambition. Still, with a private trial already underway in the UK, Amazon Prime Air and the use of drones in delivery is a very real aspect of the future. Upon receiving the regulatory support, we can anticipate Amazon Prime Air to be an option for many.

Technology

amazon

It makes sense that Amazon is continuing to make significant moves in the tech sphere. There’s no doubt regarding the company’s technical expertise and how technology can accommodate access to their variety of products.

Among their technological products is Amazon Fire TV, which streams live TV and enables users to watch hundreds of shows and movies. There’s also the Amazon Kindle Fire, which capitalizes on Amazon’s vast digital library in the form of a tablet computer with a seven-inch multi-touch display. Many still view Kindle Fire as a strong competitor to Apple’s iPad.

Amazon’s Dash buttons, while simple, are also an exciting addition to their array of tech. The Dash Button is a single-function controller that consumers can place around their house near items that need replenishing. Need a new order of Tide paper towels? Order a specific Dash button for Tide, put it near the towels and press the button when you notice them running low. They will then arrive on your doorstep in a couple of days.

Entertainment

amazon

Amazon Prime offers much more than free two-day shipping. One of Prime’s most notable benefits is the increasingly impressive Amazon Video platform. The Amazon Prime Video show Transparent won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy in 2005, while 2017 Oscar Best Picture nominee Manchester by the Sea is also developed by Amazon Studios.

Amazon is increasing their influence in both TV and film by producing excellent content, including many notable releases in development. They’re emerging as a viable competitor to cable, Netflix and Hulu.

Whether a consumer prefers reading a book or watching a movie, Amazon is seeking to have the entertainment niche covered.

Is This Amazon’s Peak?

Amazon’s firm grasp across multiple industries begs the question: Is this Amazon’s peak? While it’s impossible to tell definitively, stockholders should monitor the situation closely. Amazon has been a model of consistent growth since 2000. Presently, Amazon’s stock trades for approximately 130 times the business’s projected earnings for 2018 and almost four times its projected sales for 2018.

These growth prospects rely on revenue per customer growth. Although there will certainly be customers who increase their spending on Amazon, it’s difficult to think of any huge breakthroughs or offerings that will prompt more revenue per customer, especially upon Prime’s increase to $119 per year. Many customers may opt to spend that on a Costco membership instead.

Additionally, it’s important to note that Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods plays a significant role in the stock increases the past year for Amazon. The market seems to be operating under an assumption that Amazon will make a similarly buzzworthy acquisition this year, which is far from a given.

Still, even if market projections seem a bit optimistic at the moment for Amazon, there’s no doubting that the company will continue playing a significant role in shifting expectations within several industries, from delivery and entertainment to the brick-and-mortar experience.

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Startup Central

Lane Petrauskas Is Switching Up Your Saturdays With Skorch

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skorch

Picture this. It’s a Saturday night. You finally have a day off and you’re ready to let your hair down and release the tension of the week. Your friends shoot you text asking where is the best club or bar to go to and you are stuck. There are so many places to go to on the weekend and you are not particularly sure where to go for the night. This issue is why Lane Petrauskas took her background in advertising and designed Skorch, the new app taking review sites out of the equation with millennials in mind. Rather than aimlessly scrolling through geotags on social networks, Skorch is a curated heat map to show you what’s hot, in real time. Skorch functions both as a foodie finder and a social networking site, where users can follow friends, influencers, and add hotspots and so much more! Skorch has now launched in 14 cities across the United States and has more to come in the future. With such a promising future ahead, its time to get some insight on the company that solves the debate on “where to go tonight?”.

Tell me about yourself! What is your background?

Lane Petrauskas

I began my career in advertising as a Writer, creating ads and campaigns for major brands like Patrón Tequila, McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Zappos, JetBlue, and more. I had the opportunity to work at several world-renowned agencies in LA, Chicago and Boston, and learned a lot from working with some of the brightest minds in the ad industry. From pitching my ideas to the CMOs of major brands, to bringing those ideas to life, my career as a Creative in advertising really helped groom me for my entrepreneurial pursuit.

What attracted you to creating Skorch?

Finding great places to go was too much work! For too long, people have been forced to comb through pages of years-old, subjective reviews, skim lengthy articles, and scour social media for the geo-tags of friends and influencers. Plus, let’s be honest, we are all super skeptical of strangers’ opinions on the Internet. With Skorch, you won’t have to read someone’s long-winded rant just to discover they rated a place 1 star because they had to wait too long for the bathroom.

Skorch

Is Skorch different from its competitors?

Absolutely. Skorch is a super-selective, curated database. If a place isn’t awesome, it’s not on Skorch. The app is also inherently social. You can follow friends and influencers, post to Skorch while you’re out, submit locations for inclusion on the app, and create your own hotlist of your favorite #SkorchWorthy places. Finding somewhere to have fun should BE fun.

What is a major goal Skorch has this year?

This year, we’re looking forward to hosting events for our most active users in their cities. Skorch users are a group of people who love to have fun at the best and buzziest places, and it’s a priority for us to continue that sense of community off the app.

Who would benefit from using Skorch? Describe your customers.

Anyone who likes going to great places would benefit, i.e. everyone! Skorch was built with Millennials in mind, but turns out, it has broad appeal. My grandmother even once said “Honey, that’s nice.” In all seriousness, our users are a good time. They have discerning taste, they enjoy discovering new spots, and they love to share their experiences.

Lane Petrauskas

Who has inspired you in business?

I’m inspired by Whitney Wolfe Herd, the Founder and CEO of Bumble. As a fellow female app Founder, I admire the success she’s achieved while empowering Bumble’s user base. I believe that she has revolutionized that category of apps, and her brand is one to watch.

What advice would you give young entrepreneurs stepping out on their own?

Spend like a startup. I’ve seen too many young entrepreneurs secure early investments, and then exhaust the capital quickly. As a founder, you will grow with your business. Give yourself and your budget time to do that.

Where do you see Skorch in the next five years?

I see Skorch becoming the go-to source for discovering places to go and sharing your experiences. In five years, we will have expanded to several new markets, both nationally and internationally. What’s more, I see the brand growing beyond the app. This would be the perfect time to say something cliché like “stay tuned!” But really, stay tuned!

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Business

Why Amazon’s Second Headquarters Should Choose Northern Virginia

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Amazon’s second headquarters

Among the top 20 shortlist for Amazon’s second headquarters, Northern, Virginia is not a stranger to the massive tech company. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos have frequently conducted business in the region. Bezos is known to own The Washington Post and Amazon’s cloud service AWS is situated in a huge data center in the northern Virginia region. It is no surprise that Northern, VA is listed on the list. This region proved to be a safe home for Bezos’ businesses, it would only make sense that Northern, VA is the next home for HQ2.

While the nation waits for the announcements of Amazon’s second headquarters, speculations rise as Amazon employees crowd ARLnow.com. The local news-source for Arlington Virginia have reported major traffic from an internal Amazon site. The article reporting the county’s green building council had received over 6,000 page views and 3,500 visitors from an Amazon web page that is only visible to Amazon employees. Amazon’s interest in the community’s dedication to sustainability is predicted to help the company’s future development of a sustainable building of their own.

The area is surrounded by copious international airports including Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, and Richmond International Airport for Amazon’s consideration  of transportation. The bid for Amazon had reports of the Hub property as a potential site for Amazon’s second headquarters. This 85-acre undeveloped location is near the Dulles Airport, perfect for Amazon’s demands.

Amazon’s second headquarters

Amazon announced that they are developing a second headquarter of up to 8 million square feet in order to accommodate 50,000 workers. The plan to bring in 50,000 lucrative jobs to the new location will create billions of dollars in investment for the community. This opportunity for economic expansion does not come often, but neither does a perfect business location in Northern Virginia that is close to Bezos’ other businesses.

A possible site for Amazon’s second headquarters is on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun counties along Metro’s Silver Line. “We are very excited that Northern Virginia is included on the short list as a potential location for Amazon’s second headquarters,” spoke the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sharon Bulova. “Fairfax and Loudoun counties are able to offer a great quality of life coupled with an innovative and business friendly culture for future Amazon corporate neighbors and employees. With our highly educated and talented workforce and a location close to Dulles International Airport and a new Silver Line train station, we hope we will have the opportunity to welcome Amazon HQ2 to Virginia.”

Small businesses and agencies within Virginia are able share their professional insight to Amazon now as well. This is why Amazon HQ2 Should Choose Virginia.

If you are an agency from Virginia, and wish to contribute, please fill out this form here: https://ownersmagazine.com/need-talk-marketing-pr-agencies-amazon/

*Sponsored by Penji

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