February 21, 2014

Weekly Roundup: Mega-messaging apps, smart toys and ‘soda wars’

Posted by: in North America

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-Facebook’s WhatsApp acquisition “signals the arrival of an intense new phase of corporate competition in Silicon Valley,” says The New York Times. And the paper reports that Facebook is seeking to capitalize on the trend of people using mobile for more private messaging rather than public sharing. Andreessen Horowitz’s Benedict Evans writes that the acquisition “illustrates most of the key trends in consumer tech today in one deal.”

-Reuters examines how Asian messaging services like Line and WeChat are “fast emerging as an alternative distribution channel for adverts, apps, and goods and services.”

-MIT Technology Review publishes its “50 Smartest Companies” list, spotlighting “where important innovations are happening right now.”

-Bloomberg Businesweek‘s cover story examines the rise of Uber and how the service is “reinventing the middleman.”

-A new GlobalWebIndex study spotlights trends in adoption and use of mobile devices.

-An Economist Special Report considers the increasingly strained relationship between business and the state in the developed world.

-The Economist considers why booming Silicon Valley firms are now at the center of worries about inequality.

-The FT takes a look at Spain’s reverse migration, arguing that it’s likely to have profound economic consequences.

-McKinsey examines why India is struggling economically and what it needs to do to achieve its aspirations.

-Ad Age reports that young, educated Chinese viewers are flocking to Western TV hits online.

-A TiVo survey finds that Millennials prefer traditional TV series—often viewed in nontraditional ways—over watching full-length movies or music videos.

-In Time, research psychologist Peggy Drexler writes that Millennials, having little faith in institutions, put themselves in the hands of social media instead.

-Nielsen offers a profile of U.S. Millennials.

-Sensor-enabled toys were one of the trends in evidence at this week’s American International Toy Fair in New York, as Huffington Post reports.

-The New York Times examines how lighting in public places is becoming a new way to track people and their habits.

-“Some Bot to Watch Over Me”: The New York Times reports on the advent of products that monitor the home.

-The gluten-free trend powers on, as The New York Times reports, with the market continuing to expand.

-Time reports that “soda wars” are bubbling up across the U.S. as city and state lawmakers try to curb consumption of sugary beverages and energy drinks.

-A new concept car from Rinspeed imagines a future of driverless vehicles that look like living rooms, via ReadWrite.

-MIT Technology Review argues that while Bitcoin itself may not flourish, the underlying technology suggests valuable new applications.

-The Wall Street Journal spotlights new online services that let customers consult professional makeup advisers from home.

-With the complexities of the U.S. tax system, more Americans overseas are renouncing their citizenship, per NPR.

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