Tag Archives: Amazon

The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data

A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year.

Continue reading The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data

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4 of the most comfortable pairs of headphones you can buy

You might not think about it but comfort is one of the biggest factors you should consider before buying headphones.

Audio quality is important, but not if the headphones you’re wearing are uncomfortable, or painful.

These four headphones both sound great and deliver excellent comfort. If your current headphones have been hurting your head, it’s time to upgrade.

Bose QuietComfort 35

Bose QuietComfort 35

Amazon

The entire Insider Picks team recently explained which headphones we use on a daily basis and why we like them.

One of my teammates — an avid traveler — recommended the QuietComfort 35 headphones from Bose. He praised their noise cancelling and audio quality, but made a bold claim about their comfort.

He claims they’re comfortable enough to sleep in. On a plane. If that’s not a glowing endorsement of a pair of headphones, I don’t know what is.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones, $349, available at Amazon

Continue reading 4 of the most comfortable pairs of headphones you can buy

5 things you didn’t know you needed for your next workout

Whether you’re looking to make the most of your trip to your gym or prevent injury, the fitness market is filled of tons of tools and accessories you can use to make every phase of your workout easier, more efficient, and safer.

Have a look at five unexpected things seasoned athletes and fitness rookies alike should consider adding to their gym bags.

A pair of compression socks

A pair of compression socks

Amazon

Avid runners are prone to getting swollen legs, shin splints, and more serious conditions, like achilles tendinitis and plantar fasciitis, which can become a burden on and off the treadmill.

In that vein, you might want to invest in some compression socks. Physix Gear Sport’s lightweight socks offer plenty of coverage and provide additional support around the heels and toes. Best of all, this pair has over 2,000 rave reviews on Amazon , so it’s arguably one of the best options you can buy.

Physix Gear Sport Compression Socks, $19.99 – $24.99

Continue reading 5 things you didn’t know you needed for your next workout

Rainforest Guardian Skyscraper protects the amazon from fire

rainforest guardian skyscraper protects the amazon from fire

Proposed by chinese designers jie huang, jin wei, qiaowan tang, yiwei yu and zhe hao, the ‘rainforest guardian skyscraper’ towers over the amazonian landscape, protecting the region from the constant threat of fire and drought. the lotus-shaped design, which received an honorable mention as part of eVolo‘s 2014 skyscraper competition, primarily functions as a water tower, but is also a weather station, scientific research center and an educational laboratory.

rainforest guardian skyscraper designboom
sectional drawing indicating spatial arrangement

according to NASA, fires have destroyed 3% of the amazon rainforest over the last 12 years. these outbreaks are hard to predict and even more difficult to control. the ‘guardian’ serves as a device capable of preventing, monitoring and combating fire.

rainforest guardian skyscraper designboom
the design primarily functions a water tower, but is also a weather station and scientific research center

the proposal directly captures rainwater that is subsequently filtered and stored within ancillary reservoirs. aerial roots with a distinct sponge-structure absorb liquid without disturbing the region’s delicately balanced ecosystem. in the case of flames, firefighters fly to the scene and extinguish the inferno with the previously collected water. research labs enable scientists to monitor climate change and the stability of the environment. these spaces also act as exhibition galleries for tourists promoting environmental awareness.

rainforest guardian skyscraper designboom
the scheme directly captures rainwater that is subsequently filtered and stored within ancillary reservoirs

drawings

rainforest guardian skyscraper designboom

rainwater collection systemrainforest guardian skyscraper designboom

the ‘aerial root’rainforest guardian skyscraper designboom

the extinguishment processrainforest guardian skyscraper designboom

the water-cycle regulating processrainforest guardian skyscraper designboom

the ‘rainforest firefighters’

Amazon’s Stunning New London HQ Has A Garden On The Roof

Amazon has signed a deal to move into a massive new 15-story headquarters in London.

This is what you really want: A giant corner office with floor-to-ceiling windows.

The site, Principal Place, is in the trendy Shoreditch area of London where a lot of tech startups have made their home (including Business Insider U.K.).

In fact, any office near a window seems as if it will be super cool.

The new tower will be completed in 2016 and house 5,000 employees.

Looks like a nice place to eat lunch.

Amazon will take up most of the 600,000 square feet. The interior is dominated by a light-filled atrium.

Let's face it, it's a lot nicer than Slough, where Amazon U.K. is currently based. Sorry, Slough!

The common areas have an open, airy feel. (And that giant shiny egg looks interesting!)

There will also be 20,000 square feet of retail space, including cafés and restaurants.

Why drones will likely be GoPro’s next big hit

GoPro, which has made a sizable business out of selling rugged digital cameras, is getting into the nascent consumer drone market late next year, according to The Wall Street Journal (paywall). It looks like a smart move.

GoPro’s video cameras, which are mountable just about anywhere, have surged in popularity in recent years. (GoPro’s sales for the first nine months of 2014 topped $760 million, up about 22% over the same time last year.) Some of the best GoPro footage has come from cameras mounted on drones, so it makes sense that the company, which is trying to build a media business, would be interested in the drone business, too.

The commercial drone market is in its early days, but has tons of potential. The broader unmanned aircraft industry is worth roughly $6 billion a year, although the vast majority of the current demand is from governments for large drones like these. But the market for smaller, hobbyist drones has been rapidly expanding.

The main commercial drone manufacturers, DJI, 3D Robotics, and Parrot, sold roughly $200 million in drones this year. And early players are growing fast—Parrot’s sales were up 130% year over year, according to its most recent earnings report.

Aerospace analysts at the Teal Group predict the drone market will expand to about $11 billion over the next decade, with 14% of sales—about $1.5 billion—coming from commercial drones.

Why might GoPro do well in this new field? While it currently does not make anything that flies, it enjoys an established reputation among a large community of users who share videos shot on its cameras, and it has a global distribution network. GoPro cameras already are widely available at stores like at Amazon and Best Buy, both of which also sell consumer drones.

A GoPro rep wouldn’t confirm or deny the WSJ report, but did mention that the company had joined the Small UAV Coalition, a trade group in Washington, D.C., “to study the policy implications and to protect the rights of our users.”

The rep adds, “GoPro users continue to astonish us with their innovative use of our cameras and accessories. We’ve seen jaw-dropping GoPro footage recorded from quad-copters by hobbyists, professional film makers, scientists and businesses.”

Amazon writes off $170m on unsold Fire Phones

An Amazon Fire Phone on show at an AT&T store in Brooklyn: many are still in their boxes, Amazon's writedown suggests.

Buyers not keen on eye-tracking cameras and poor reviews mean that online retailer is left with huge overhang of unsold phones

Amazon is writing off $170m on unsold inventory of its Fire Phone, the smartphone it launched in July but which has seen disappointing sales.

The announcement comes after Guardian estimates that the phones had sold only around 35,000 units more than a month after its launch in the US. Successful handsets typically sell more than a million units in their first month.

The Fire Phone incorporates a number of new technologies such as eye-tracking cameras but has seen poor reviews both from professionals and buyers: it has an average rating of 2.1 out of 5 stars from 3,100 reviewson the site, with buyers complaining they cannot get apps they had on previous Android phones and that they can’t use Google Maps, YouTube or Google Music because it runs a “forked” version of Google’s Android.

Amazon unveiled the Fire Phone in June, but observers noted that its off-contract price of around $600 was about the same as a top-end iPhone or Samsung device, but with fewer reasons to buy it. Like the priciest iPhone, it initially cost $200 with a contract from AT&T – the only US network that sold it – but the upfront cost was slashed at the start of September to just 99 cents.

The writedown is not mentioned in Amazon’s formal third-quarter earnings statement released on Thursday evening, in which it recorded a $544m operating loss on revenues of $20.6bn.

Instead, it was only mentioned on the subsequent earnings call with analysts, when chief financial officer Tom Szkutak noted that the “consolidated segment operating loss includes charges of approximately $170m, primarily related to the Fire phone inventory evaluation and supplier commitment cost.” Szkutak said that at the end of September “we had approximately $83m worth of [Fire Phone] inventory on hand”. He also said that $25m of the writedown was outside the US.

Skzutak didn’t say what value Amazon now attaches to each phone, though a $200 cut from its $600 upfront cost – as happened at AT&T – would imply an expected $400 revenue from each.

That suggests Amazon has about a minimum of 207,000 unsold phones, now worth a total of $83m, in its warehouses. If Amazon’s expected revenue from each phone is lower – such as $240, which would be a typical wholesale price for a $600 device – then it could have up to 346,000 unsold phones.

At a $200-per-phone writedown, the “international” writedown of $25m suggests 125,000 as-yet unsold phones held by carriers and Amazon outside the US.

The remaining $62m of the writedown would probably have gone to AT&T to fund the $200 price cut, suggesting that the carrier had 310,000 unsold Fire Phones.

Supplier, no buyer

The “supplier commitment cost” is money that Amazon had promised to pay the maker of the handset – which has not been publicly stated, although some believe that it could be Taiwan’s HTC, which was previously a contract handset manufacturer for Windows Mobile devices before branching into Android phones. Update: the manufacturer is not HTC, according to Amir Efrati, who has written on the topic for The Information.

But with so many Fire Phone handsets apparently unsold, it is unlikely that there will be further orders before Amazon clears its inventory. With the Christmas buying season approaching, that may be possible – but it will also be competing against better-known phones from a variety of manufacturers.

Inventory writedowns can be calamitous for both the vendor and the manufacturer, unless they can afford the lost revenues as prices are slashed and orders cut back. BlackBerry took a $485m inventory charge on unsold PlayBook tablets in December 2011, and a further $934m charge on unsold Z10 handsets in September 2013 – with the former propelling it downwards into losses, and the latter sealing the fate of its then chief executive Thorsten Heins.

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