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Benedict's
Newsletter

This is a weekly newsletter of what I've seen in tech and mobile and thought was interesting. I work at Andreessen Horowitz. See more or subscribe at www.ben-evans.com.
My blog posts

Podcast: ways to think about cars. Link

How many photos? Link

Industry news

Uber is hiring car security researchers (for self-driving cars, obviously). Link

Amazon laid off some or all of the team behind the Kindle Fire phone, suggesting that it won't be trying again. Forking Android sounds appealing ('own the customer!') but without Google maps or Google's App store (which Amazon tried to but didn't really succeed in replicating)  - without an ecosystem - you're really just selling a featurephone. Amazon used to have a search engine too, once. Link

People are starting to get worked up about a minor feature of iOS9 that Apple didn't mention in the WWDC keynote, only in a developer session: Safari includes support for 'content blockers' - which means ad blockers. A third party app can extend Safari on an iPhone or iPad to prevent it loading any identifiable ads or user tracking scripts (or any other content you want to target, but that's what matters). Tests with the beta show (as one might expect) that this can dramatically improve the speeds that pages load, more so than on the desktop, which would make it appealing even for consumers with no political desire to block ads. Of course, this doesn't affect 'native' advertising, which is just part of the site itself, nor ads within apps (i.e. Facebook), and since the great majority of mobile internet use is within apps it's not quite clear how bad this could get. The fact that in parallel, Apple will launched an iAd-supported news aggregator service, Apple News, which doesn't use Safari and so will not be affected by the new feature, has excited comment. Link

Facebook (like everyone else) is working on a conversational 'AI' assistant with a cute name - 'M'. Interesting position in the stack - it sees your social behaviour (or rather, some of it) but isn't integrated with the OS, unlike Siri or Now.  Link

Interesting new phones from Smartisan, one of Xiaomi's many followers. One can argue about how much China shows competition versus actual innovation, but that energy is producing lots of worthwhile ideas. Link

Apple will hold an event on the 9th of September (apparently, in a very big venue) - new iPhones, probably iPads, perhaps the long-rumoured TV product (though I don't expect an actual television set). Link 

Uber closed a $1bn round for its Chinese business, which apparently, is growing faster than anywhere else. Link

Windows 95 launched 20 years ago. There was dancing. Link

Blog posts

16 Startup metrics. Link

Podcast: WeChat as the universal UI. Link

How Facebook's 'M' works. Link

A smartphone is an essential tool for migrants and refugees. Link

The mobile video ad lie. Link

Liam Casey, China fixer. Link

Statistics

Facebook passed 1bn daily active users. Link
 
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