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Nintendo says Switch will beat Wii U total sales within its first year

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The Switch is beginning to pay off for Nintendo. The new console is selling so well that the Japanese firm said today it is likely to outsell the Wii U, its predecessor, within one year of its release.

Today Nintendo raised its prediction for total Switch sales over its financial year — which runs April-March — to 14 million units from an initial 10 million. If it can hit that number then the Switch will already have bested the Wii U, the flop console that heralded Nintendo’s first step into hybrid gaming, which sold just over 13.5 million units across its entire lifecycle.

The signs are already promising. Sales of Switch consoles and games, combined Nintendo’s lucrative smartphone games, helped the firm post a 23.8 billion yen ($209 million) operating profit on total revenue of 220 trillion yen ($1.93 billion) for its fiscal Q2. Overall, 2.93 million units were shipped during the quarter which takes the Switch to 7.63 million to date.

If Nintendo is to hit that 14 million target then sales will need to accelerate. Key to that may be overcoming whatever issue it is that is constraining supply on Nintendo’s side.

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Why Snapchat Spectacles failed

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How come only 0.08% of Snapchat’s users bought its camera sunglasses? Hundreds of thousands of pairs of Spectacles sit rotting in warehouses after the company bungled the launch. Initial hype and lines for its roving, limited time only Snapbot vending machines led Snap to overestimate demand but underdeliver on quality and content.

Massive piles of assembled and unassembled video-recording sunglasses sit unsold, contributing to Snap’s enormous costs and losses, says The Information. Internal Snap data shows less than 50 percent of buyers kept using Spectacles a month after purchase, Business Insider’s Alex Heath reports. A “sizeable” percentage stopped after just a week, with a source calling the retention rate “shockingly low”.

What was the problem? Snap generated huge hype for Spectacles, but then waited 5 months to openly sell them. Once people actually tried Spectacles, few kept wearing them, and word of mouth about their disuse spread. Snap never got visionary video markers onboard. And as Snapchat’s popularity waned in the face of competitors, the fact that Spectacles only interfaced with its app rather than a phone’s camera roll became a burden.

Snap did some things right with Spectacles. The fashion photo spread announcement felt classy and surprising despite clues and photos of CEO Evan Spiegel trickling out ahead. The initial launch was a marketing extravaganza, with multi-hour lines of cool kids waiting on the Venice Beach boardwalk to buy them. And the Snapbots being dropped in random locations was exciting and made people feel special if they got ahold of them. But once people put them on their face, the excitement died off.

Karl Lagerfeld’s photo of Snap CEO Evan Spiegel donning Spectacles for their September 2016 reveal

Here’s a breakdown of the major flaws that emerged with Spectacles in the year since their debut, with a focus on the stilted launch strategy:

Botched Roll Out

Snap first announced Spectacles with some Karl Lagerfeld photos of Spiegel wearing them on September 24th 2016. Hype was high despite the beachey color options that turned some people off. It took until November 10th for the first Snapbot vending machines to launch. While the hype had cooled slightly, demand was huge as people wanted to be the first on the block with Spectacles, and lines stretched down streets.

But Snap whether it was because Snap wanted to milk the Snapbot promotion, couldn’t tell if Spectacles should be exclusive or widely available, or it had supply chain problems, it took until February 20th for Snap to start openly selling Specs online.

Waiting five months after the initial announcement was an eternity in the fast-moving teenage fad cycle. They weren’t cool by the time they were buyable. Everyone had already seen the sunglasses and circular video all over the Internet, most owners had long since stopped using them, the holiday season had passed, and few people wanted to buy so late. It took until June, 8 months after their debut, for Spectacles to become available in Europe.

If Snap had instead made its announcement, quickly outfitted some lucky normal users and celebrities with Spectacles, then launched a giant Black Friday sale at the peak of its hype, all those people fascinated with the gadget might have bought immediately. Everyone would have paid before word got out that people weren’t going to wear camera glasses all that much.

Alternatively, Snap could have gone the path of exclusivity lit by its fashion-focused debut. Rather than ever selling Specs openly, it could have gotten them into runway shows and magazines while sticking with the limited-edition Snapbots. Then after a few months it could have ceased all sales, turned existing pairs into fought-over collector’s items, and saved the mainstream rollout for an eventual v2 launch. Unfortunately, Snap seems to have got stuck between these exclusive and mass-retail strategies.

Where Were The Spectacles Influencers? – To drive demand, Snap needed to demonstrate all the creative things you could do with Spectacles, and the cool people who wore them. Yet at the time, it still had a very hands-off approach to dealing with traditional celebrities and web influencers. Snap didn’t make outfitting creators with Specs and training them to use the camera glasses a priority. Instead of top Snappers constantly posting circular videos and encouraging fans to do the same, Snap effectively left the gadget out to dry. Snap let random Spectacles buyers, often over-enthusiastic social media amateurs, define the image of the product, similar to how Google’s core mistake was allowing geeky developers to become the face of Glass.

TechCrunch’s video host Tito Hamze became a de facto face of Spectacles as there were so few influencers using them

Few Examples Of Great Content – Stemming from Snap’s failure to foster a Spectacles creator scene, it did a terrible job of showing off how Spectacles could be used beyond the initial commercial. Neither Snap’s in-house team or independent social stars were recruited to make videos exposing the creative opportunities of the device. It did little through event marketing or in-app promotion to encourage Spectacle content creation. Karen X. Cheng was perhaps the only Spectacles influencer lighting the path, with her first-person mirror dancing video and Spectacles-on-babies ad she helped Brawny make. But Snap should have ensured the Internet was flooded with these videos proving what you can’t do with your phone’s camera, and why you should buy Spectacles.

People Are Still Freaked Out By Camera Glasses – Google Glass tainted the market with its “not sure if you’re recording me” design. Even though Snap put more obvious recording signal lights on Spectacles, people would still question you about whether they were on camera. That not only made people uncomfortable being around Spectacles, but made you feel like a bit of a creep just wearing them even if you never tapped the shutter button. Their appeal was further limited by their polarizing  “fashion-forward” design (some would call ugly), while the only non-black colors were aggressively bright teal and coral.


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$1,000 tea infuser startup Teforia shuts down

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In what the company is calling “a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space,” Tea infusion device startup Teforia is saying it is ceasing operations today, according to its website.

The above note about it being hard for hardware companies in the smart kitchen is likely a reference to devices like the now-defunct Juicero (which raised more than $100 million in venture financing). Teforia’s main product was an internet-connected tea infuser that could brew the pre-packaged teas from the startup, which it called “sips.” Users pack the sips into the company’s “infusion globe,” and those packages cot a couple bucks each. The price tag was very high, much like some of these other Silicon Valley solutions that look to hit people with more spending power.

“However, the reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate the market and we simply couldn’t raise the funds required in what is a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space,” the company said on its website. “Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we are announcing that all business operations, for Teforia Company, will cease effective today. We will continue to seek a partner that can leverage Teforia technology and/or provide Sips tea sales to continue our mission of elevating the tea experience. Hopefully, you will see Teforia technology in future products.”

Teforia raised $12 million just about a year ago in a financing round led by Translink Capital, with Upfront Ventures, Lemnos Labs, Correlation Ventures and Mousse Partners also investing in the company. The device was originally priced at $649 when it raised $5.1 million in a seed round led by Upfront Ventures. A little more than a week ago the site listed the device’s price at almost $1,000 (or about the cost of an iPhone X). Users can still purchase the infuser, which now costs $200, as well as a variety of teas until November 3.

The tea industry is a massive one, and there may have been room for a product at the higher-income bend for tea consumers, especially ones looking for a simpler experience while still looking to brew with loose leaf without having to manage quantities, temperature, or time. The whole process of brewing a perfect cup of tea can, indeed, be quite fickle — though the average consumer probably won’t meditate too hard on a ten-degree difference in brew temperature.

“In our mission to deliver the best tea experience, we didn’t compromise on the Teforia Infuser technology, quality or the premium tea packaged within our Sips,” the company said on its website. “The glass within the infusion globe and carafe are hand blown by a glass artisan, one at a time. We spent a tremendous amount of time pioneering our Sips tea container to be 90% compostable and completely recyclable. We went to these extraordinary lengths because we believe premium loose leaf tea should be delivered in the most delicate and sustainable way possible.”

It’s hard not to read into that line a little bit with the whole notion of spending hundreds of dollars simplifying somewhat simple tasks, though by applying technology it’s totally possible that you’d end up with better tea. There are a lot of products beyond just Juicero that want to target this higher income bracket with smarter or slicker devices that might require some precise measurements and mixtures in the same way that the Keurig originally tried to simplify brewing a single cup of coffee. (The Keurig costs under $100).

We reached out to their press email, which bounced, as well as CEO Allen Han to triple-check that the startup has shut down according to the open letter posted on the website. Han replied, saying “our thoughts are captured in the message on our website.”

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