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Amazon Luna, Alexa, Echo, Fire TV and Ring event: Everything announced – CNET

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Screenshot by CNET

Today’s event helps Amazon generate buzz as we roll into the holiday shopping season, and for the first time, Prime Day (The annual sale is usually held in July, but this year is slated to start on Oct. 13.) That means Alexa everywhere and addressing privacy concerns, which were a big storyline in 2019 for both Ring and Alexa. In a life-at-home existence, with millions of us hunkered down for the long haul, the connected house concepts that Amazon has been developing for years have become more critical than ever. This year, Amazon will likely work to address the unique needs of today’s customers while keeping an eye toward a post-pandemic future. And you never know when Amazon will pull a suprise microwave out of its hat.

The event, which started at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, is invite-only, but you can follow our real-time Twitter feed and coverage across CNET.

The company’s Echo and Fire TV products will be its first to earn sustainability badges and it’s’ working on reducing power consumption across devices with a new low-power mode, an energy dashboard integrated with Alexa and its pledging to build solar and wind farms to generate energy that matches the consumption of all its devices.

Amazon Luna

$6/month

The company launches a cloud-gaming service on top of Amazon Web Services that runs on PCs, Fire TVs and more (on a Luna Plus game channel). 

It has a custom $50 controller that connects directly to the cloud rather than the local device.

Amazon gets into game streaming with Luna

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Amazon

Echo

$100

Redesigned with a new spherical shape and adapts to the acoustics of the room. It’s also a Sidewalk bridge and includes neural network technology to accelerate tasks.

Echo Dot 4th gen

$50

Gets the same redesign as the spherical Echo.

Echo Dot Kids Edition 2020 

Gets the same redesign as the spherical Echo, and now has a $60 kids edition with some kid-friendly features, including voice profiles for them and Sidekick, which lets Alexa read to them.

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Amazon

Amazon announces revamped Echo Dot with Clock speaker

Echo Dot with clock

$60

The Dot. With a clock.

Eero 6

$130

Amazon’s mesh network, now with Wi-Fi 6 and ZigBee support.

Amazon unveils new Eero mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6

Eero Pro 6

$230

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Screenshot by CNET

‘Alexa, I’m getting pulled over,’ Ring debuts dashcam with Traffic Stop mode

Ring Car Connect

$200

Debuting with Tesla.

Ring’s flying Always Home Cam robot camera monitors more of your home

Ring Always Home Cam

$250

Autonomous camera that can fly within your home on a preprogrammed route or fly to a motion detection area.

Amazon announces the Echo Show 10

Echo Show 10

$250

It now has Zigbee and Sidewalk hubs, and is much quieter. There’s a built-in camera shutter. All Echo and Alexa’s will have a command to review privacy settings and “delete everything I’ve ever said.” It will also support Hulu, Netflix and Prime Video.

Fire TV Stick Lite streamer costs $30 basic version, $40 for the 4K version

Fire TV Stick

$40

It’s more powerful than before but uses less power.

Fire TV Stick Lite

$30


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Sony shares pop on strong outlook. One analyst predicts it could rise another 50% – CNBC

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A man walks past the logo of Japans Sony displayed at the company’s showroom in Tokyo on October 28, 2020.
KAZUHIRO NOGI | AFP via Getty Images

SINGAPORE — Shares of Sony surged in Tokyo on Thursday, a day after the Japanese electronics giant raised its annual profit forecast.

Sony shares in Japan were up 6.69% on Thursday even though Japan’s broader index, the Nikkei 225, fell 0.37% on the day.

On Wednesday, Sony raised its forecast for its annual operating income by 13% to 700 billion yen (approx. $6.7 billion). It came as the firm announced a operating profit of about 317.8 billion yen (around $3.04 billion) for the three months ended Sept. 30.

Jefferies Asia’s Atul Goyal told CNBC on Thursday that he’s “extremely bullish” on Sony. The firm owns the stock and currently has a “buy” rating on Sony, with a price target of 13,230 yen per share — more than 50% higher than where the price currently sits.

… this is one of the best companies that we have seen in our coverage.
Atul Goyal
Managing Director, Jefferies Asia

Sony is set to release its next generation video game console, PlayStation (PS) 5, which would come on the back of the blockbuster success of PlayStation 4.

“It is looking very solid, very strong for PlayStation 5 and the whole cycle that lies ahead of us for the next 5 to 6 years,” Goyal, a managing director at Jefferies Asia, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Thursday. He highlighted Sony’s claims that the company received as many preorders in 12 hours for the PS5 as it did in 12 weeks for the PS4.

“You would hear shortages of PlayStation 5 because there’s more demand than supply,” the analyst said.

It’s not due to supply disruptions as “they have been able to recover from the … supply-side shortages that they were facing early on because most of the assemblies are happening in China and most of the supply chains have recovered almost entirely in China.”

“Demand is so strong for the product that that will keep the news flow that this product is sold out in most places for a while,” Goyal added.

Coronavirus impact

The video game sector has been among the few that have benefited from more people staying at home as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. That has raised questions over the sustainability of that bounce in a post-pandemic environment.

“The increase of gaming that we have seen partly is because of stay home, not just working from home, but vacationing from home where people are not traveling, and even the weekends you stay home,” Goyal pointed out. “This increase, part of that will be reverted as and when Covid goes away, and in my base case it doesn’t go away entirely until the end of 2021.”

Still, he said some of these habits that have changed as a result of the pandemic “could last longer.”

“We’re not factoring in (the) next five, six years of Covid-driven earnings increase. What we are factoring is Playstation 5-driven upside, driven by digital sales,” the analyst added.

Looking beyond Sony’s gaming business, which accounts for a sizable chunk of its operating income, Goyal said the firm’s music business is “also spectacular” while its image sensing business is also set to recover.

“All in all, this is one of the best companies that we have seen in our coverage,” he said. “Businesses in these three areas are all duopoly or oligopoly, and Sony’s a leader in all of them, with meaningful growth ahead.”

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Apple ramps up efforts to build own search engine to rival Google, says report – CNET

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Apple and Google

Apple is ramping up efforts to develop its own search engine, according to a Financial Times report published Wednesday, as US antitrust authorities threaten a lucrative deal that sets Google’s search engine as the default option on iPhones and Samsung phones. 

The iPhone’s latest operating system version, iOS 14, has started to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type in search queries directly from the home screen, according to industry sources cited in the report.

This move adds to mounting evidence, according to the report, that Apple is working to build a rival to Google search, including Apple’s poaching of John Giannandrea, Google’s head of search, more than two years ago.

Earlier this month, the US Justice Department filed a long-expected antitrust lawsuit against Google over its search dominance, alleging that Google “unlawfully maintained monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets.” 

At the heart of the Justice Department’s case are Google’s contracts with other companies, which allow the tech giant’s search engine to be used as the default option. Google pays billions of dollars each year to maintain that default spot. 

Google has been the iPhone’s default search engine for more than a decade. It’s been widely reported that Google pays Apple between $8-12 billion each year for its search engine deal, which is a boon for both tech giants. If it turns out the deal is blocked by the DOJ, Apple will need to supply an alternative for its iPhones. 

 Apple couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. 

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Apple seems pretty interested in search

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Apple might be building a Google competitor, Audible adds more podcasts and an ad measurement company raises $350 million. This is your Daily Crunch for October 28, 2020.

The big story: Apple seems pretty interested in search

Apple has a growing interest in search technology and might even be working on a product to compete with Google, according to The Financial Times.

The most visible change is the fact that in iOS 14, Apple is now showing its own results when you type queries in the home screen. In addition, there seems to be an increase in activity from Apple’s web crawler.

There may be more of an opportunity here as the U.S. Justice Department has sued Google over what it claims are anticompetitive behaviors around search. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Apple and Google will soon be going head-to-head in search — it could just be a sign that Apple’s Siri voice assistant is getting more search queries.

The tech giants

Joe Rogan, Alex Jones and Spotify’s illusion of neutrality — Spotify is facing criticism after Joe Rogan brought Alex Jones of InfoWars onto his show.

Audible further expands into podcasts — Audible is adding approximately 100,000 podcasts.

Apple eyes the TikTok generation with an updated version of Clips — The update brings much-needed support for vertical videos, allowing for sharing to TikTok and the “Stories” feature in other social apps.

Startups, funding and venture capital

DoubleVerify, a specialist in brand safety, ad fraud and ad quality, raises $350M — DoubleVerify’s technology can detect fraud, viewability and brand safety.

Outrider raises $65M to bring its autonomous tech to distribution yards — The startup has built a three-part system that includes an autonomous electric yard truck, software to manage the operations and site infrastructure.

Lunchbox raises $20M to help restaurants build their own ordering experiences — CEO Nabeel Alamgir said that if restaurants can handle more online orders themselves (rather than just relying on delivery apps), they’ll make more money while also maintaining a direct relationship with their most loyal customers.

Advice and analysis from Extra Crunch

As venture capital rebounds, what’s going on with venture debt? — While venture capital is back setting new records, it appears that its lesser-known sibling won’t be able to match the past few years’ results.

Current and upcoming trends in Latin America’s mobile growth — Latin America is home to one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world.

Dear Sophie: Any upgrade options for E-2 visa holders interested in changing jobs? — Another edition of Sophie Alcorn’s column answering immigration questions about working at technology companies.

(Reminder: Extra Crunch is our membership program, which aims to democratize information about startups. You can sign up here.)

Everything else

Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith is buying majority stake in the Utah Jazz for $1.6B — Smith sold Qualtrics to SAP for $8 billion in 2018.

US online holiday sales to reach $189B this year, up 33% from 2019 — That’s according to a new forecast from Adobe Analytics.

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 3pm Pacific, you can subscribe here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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