Week in a Nutshell #7

Welcome to the seventh episode of the 'Week in a Nutshell’ series.

February is coming to an end and a very exciting week is ahead of us. I'm looking forward to Mobile World Congress 2015 that will take place 2-5 March 2015 in Barcelona.

Headlines:

  1. Pebble raised more than $5 million in less than five hours for its new smartwatch
  2. Android is ready for Work

Pebble raised more than $5 million in less than five hours for its new smartwatch

I assume most of my readers already know what Kickstarter is. But for those who don't know, Kickstarter is a global crowdfunding platform. If you have a cool idea and you need funding, then Kickstarter is the website to visit. To publish your idea on Kickstarter, you would need to write a cool description and a unique video that explains your idea. Also, you need to set a monetary goal for your funding need. You should also consider providing tiered benefits to your funders based on their level of financial contributions such early access to the product, discounts and promotional materials like T-shirts etc.

Kickstarter managed to build a strong community based on early adopters who are willing to make small to mediocre financial contributions/investments to great ideas across 15 different categories such as electronics, technology, fashion, music, publishing and many more. While helping you in reaching your funding goals, Kickstarter takes the 5% of all funds collected if your project successfully hits the target goal.

Pebble could be the first company to launch a smartwatch and they used Kickstarter platform to fund it. Actually, Pebble broke Kickstarter's record for the most funded project ever in 2012.  First version of Pebble smartwatch is based on e-paper display technology and allows you to see who is calling, texting, or emailing without having to find your phone.

Pebble is now back in business with their newest smartwatch product idea, Pebble Time. Again, they decided to fund their new product idea on Kickstarter. Pebble set a target fund goal of $500k on Kickstarter and they managed to overachieve this goal by far by hitting $1 million only in 44 minutes. At the time of writing this post, they hit nearly $12 million with more than 53 thousand 'backers' (supporters).

I was very skeptical when I heard that Pebble is about to launch a new product based on e-ink technology. Compared to the other smartwatches out there in the market that have much better display specs based on LCD technology, I though e-ink display might not be attractive enough for the consumers. Apparently, I was wrong.

I've been using LG G smartwatch for over 2 months now and I think the biggest value proposition of a smartwatch for now is that it pops up the notifications you receive on your smartphone on your watch so that you don't have to check your smartphone to see when and where your next meeting is. There is a huge downside to using a smartwatch based on LCD display technology and it is the short battery life. I need to charge in my smartwatch in every other day and there are some smartwatches such as Moto 360 that needs charging every single day. Thanks to the e-paper and e-ink technologies, Pebble smartwatches have a big advantage on the battery front. Pebble smartwatches can show those notifications up to 7 days with a single charge. 

My takeaways from the success of Pebble Time on Kickstarter are

  1. Long battery life is what consumers mainly want from a smartwatch (at least for now).
  2. Crowdfunding platforms, especially Kickstarter, have strong communities. These platforms are great for validating your product idea to understand whether you have reached product-market fit and also they create an alternative funding channel over to venture capital firms. I think crowdfunding platforms are the democratic way of getting funded compared to venture capitals where the decision-making power is tied to a couple of partners.

Android is ready for Work

We all use our smartphones to get work done. We reply to our work emails, check our calendars and review the latest version of work documents on the go. However, it makes it harder to disconnect from work after work hours since we have our work accounts together with our personal accounts on the same smartphone. It is not easy to separate your work life and personal life on your smartphone.

It is also hard for IT departments to manage and control company data privacy for those work accounts when they are added to a personal device. For example, you might install an app from Play Store and you sign into the app by using your work account by mistake. Now, that app might have access to your company data. Also, there are many different Android smartphones out there using different versions of Android as an operating system. This fragmentation also makes Android device management harder for IT Admins. These type of situations concern IT departments when employees wanted to use personal Android devices at work. Most of the companies give their employees a company smartphone since they don't want their employees to use their personal devices at work.

Android for Work aims to solve all these problems for IT Admins as well as for ends users. Android for Work enables you to have two different profiles on your smartphone, one profile for work and another for personal. This functionality allows you to have complete data separation on your smartphone. For example, you will have two different Gmail app, one for work, and one for personal, on your Android phone. Thanks to this functionality, IT admins can easily manage and secure your work profile without ever touching your personal account. As an end user, you can just remove the work profile when you leave the company meaning that you will never have to wipe out your personal device ever again.

I believe Android for Work will make IT Admins to have more power and easy access to company data on employees personal devices and cut the costs by not distributing work devices to employees. At the same time end users will be able to use their work profiles in their personal devices without worrying about any mix up among their work and personal accounts. This also means that you don't have to carry two smartphones, work phone and personal phone, with you.


We came to the end of the seventh episode of ‘Week in a Nutshell’ series. If you enjoyed this post, I'd be happy if you could comment, share, like and/or recommend it. 

Thanks,
Birkan