Welcome to this week’s edition of “The Week in Tech,” where we recap some of the most interesting technology and mobile stories from the past week.
This week we highlight the debut of Windows 10, Google becoming a wireless carrier, Box’s IPO, and Amazon’s desire to be a movie studio.
Microsoft previews Windows 10 and new hardware
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 on Wednesday and showed their continued push to create a seamless experience across multiple devices.
Key features of the new operating system include:
- Cortana on the desktop – The Windows Phone digital assistant will now be available on the desktop and can be activated with both text and voice input.
- Spartan browser – See ya, Internet Explorer. Spartan is a new, cleaner browser with shiny features, like read-it-later capability, the ability to take notes on web pages, and Cortana assistance.
- Windows 10 for phones and universal apps – Windows 10 will also be the operating system for mobile phones and essentially be an extension of your PC, and apps like Outlook and OneDrive will sync seamlessly across any device.
- Deep integration of Xbox – An Xbox app will be included with Windows 10, allowing gamers to chat with other gamer friends, view game achievements, and record game clips from PCs.
Microsoft also announced new hardware. First, they unveiled the Surface Hub, a huge 84-inch touchscreen for office collaboration. They also revealed HoloLens, an augmented reality headset that overlays holograms over the real world. Crazy.
Google to become a wireless carrier
Google will tap the networks of Sprint and T-mobile to become a wireless carrier, just like Sprint and T-mobile.
Yeah, you read that right. Sprint and T-mobile will help Google become one of their competitors. Google plans to offer its own discounted wireless data plans with the goal of bringing more people online so they can monetize this larger audience by selling more advertising. There is no timeline of when this service will launch.
While this may boost Sprint’s and T-mobile’s revenue in the short term, it certainly isn’t a strategic long-term move. Google has deep pockets to become a fierce competitor by cutting prices to maximize customers’ access to the internet. Apple should be on the lookout as well, as this is the perfect vehicle to get more and more Android phones to the masses.
Box goes public
After a tumultuous ride over the past year, cloud-storage company Box finally will go public at $14 a share and raise $175 million at a valuation of about $1.6 billion. While this is a nice milestone, the future of the company will depend on its ability to become profitable and fend off some hefty competition.
The company currently spends 97 cents on sales and marketing for every dollar of revenue; while this is an improvement of the $1.45 it used to spend for every revenue dollar, it’s still an extremely high and unsustainable amount.
Box faces tough competition from nearly 50 similar vendors, but most of the battles will be fought against big players like Dropbox, Microsoft, EMC, and Google. It’ll be interesting to see how these cloud wars play out.
Amazon will produce movies for the big screen
The company plans to create 12 movies a year and will start with indie films with budgets ranging from $5-25 million. It typically takes 39 to 52 weeks after movies’ theatrical release to debut on subscription video services, and Amazon is clearly looking to shrink that timeframe.
What do you think of these stories? Have you read other interesting mobile and technology stories this week that are worth mentioning? Feel free to add your thoughts to the comments.