There is a major need for a music streaming service that will cater to the lower end of the audio market as current mid-tier offerings from Spotify, Apple Music et al aren’t doing enough to expand the consumer base, argues MIDiA in its Streaming Music Pricing report. However, streaming pricing is inelastic so that any change in demand will be smaller than a drop in pricing – cutting the headline $9.99 price to $6.99 would simply result in reducing the size of the streaming market.
China is now busy with around 3,000 virtual reality cafes as a raft of existing Internet joints switch to pure entertainment and VR to keep the clientele happy. These new establishments are charging visitors a fee for a headset and a timed VR experience, enabling consumers to get their eyes around virtual reality without having to stump up for the technology’s pretty expensive headsets.
Total time spent in mobile apps around the world increased by over 150 billion hours over the course of 2016 to total 900 billion hours. And annual downloads reached over 90 billion, an increase of more than 13 billion across the iOS App Store and Google Play, according to App Annie metrics. And on the former, the top categories by absolute growth were finance, travel and photo and video apps, while Google Play’s leaders were productivity, tools and social (reflecting the fact that iOS is more prevalent in developed markets).
Mini has turned a former Brooklyn warehouse into a new design centre as part of the car maker’s move to develop its own take on the challenges of the urban environment (owner BMW has been busy in this space for a while with its BMW Guggenheim Lab). A/D/O kicked off proceedings last month with its first programme, Utopia vs. Dystopia: Designing Our Imagined Futures, which aims to investigate the role design plays in a world of rapid change.
In the run-up to the French presidential election in April and May, Facebook has joined forces with leading French news organisations – among them Agence France-Presse, BFM TV, Franceinfo, France Médias Monde, L’Express, Libération and Le Monde – and with Google in an effort keep fake news items from its social network. The CrossCheck project is a collaborative verification initiative from First Draft News which comprises a raft of news, social media partners and NGOs looking to provide guidance on verifying and publishing content sourced from the social web.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation has allied with the Rutgers Foundation to launch a crowdfunding initiative to raise money for family planning services in developing countries. The move follows efforts by the Trump administration to stop state funding to organisations that provide access to information about abortions – the so-called Mexico City Policy – leaving an annual global $600 million funding gap.
More than 300 million smartphones, or over one-fifth of devices sold in 2017, will have onboard neural network machine learning capability, according to Deloitte Global.These are computer models created to mimic some aspects of the human brain’s structure and function, with elements representing neurons and their interconnections. And that means they will enable smartphones to perform machine learning tasks even when they’re not connected to a network.
Barcelona’s much-vaunted Torre Agbar building looks set to become part of the tech sector after a planned €13 billion refurb. The Jean Nouvel-designed tower, which opened in 2005, has never been the object of real love from owners or tenants and has been sold off twice in three years. Current proprietor Merlin Properties has come with the idea of housing start-up firms given that the Torre is located in the city Innovation District.