Google doubles Pixels sales, and 13 things you need to know in tech today


Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, July 26, 2019!

1. Google Pixels going up, Galaxy Fold going down

The Google Pixel 3a XL from the front with white bricks behind it.

Alphabet has released its Q2 2019 earnings figures, revealing some positive news for the company: they made more money! Hooray! This is thanks in part to the recently released Pixel 3a series. Conversely, Samsung’s new phone — the upcoming Galaxy Fold — has been dealt a bit of a blow. Here’s what’s up.

  • Alphabet’s Q2 earnings exceeded expectations as it revealed $38.94 billion revenue and $9.18 billion operating profit for the three month period ending June 30.
  • The earnings were up across all of Alphabet’s segments compared to Q2 2018, where the company took a $5 billion hit over an E.U. antitrust settlement.
  • The biggest winner was Alphabet’s “other revenues” category, which includes hardware sales.
  • This increased by almost 40 percent year-on-year from $4.42 billion to $6.18 billion.

Alphabet Q2 2019 earnings results table. Alphabet

What’s behind the “other revenues” spike? 

  • Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said Alphabet’s cloud business sector was the biggest revenue driver in that segment (CNBC).
  • However, the release of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL in May surely helped.
  • This range, which delivered less powerful, less expensive versions of the mainline Pixel 3 flagships, was introduced this year — and was warmly received by critics.
  • While we don’t have any sales figures for the handsets, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said overall Pixel unit sales in Q2 “grew more than two times year-over-year” (TechCrunch).

A big score for the Pixels?

  • Bagging twice as many Pixel sales overall in Q2 2019 compared to Q2 2018 sounds good on paper, but without the figures, it’s impossible to know how big a deal it is.
  • The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL were already six months old by that period in 2018 — their sales would have dropped off significantly by then.
  • Google had a brand new, never-before-seen line to push during the same period in 2019 as well as its 6-month old Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. Maybe Google should have been able to shift far more than double the number of Pixels across that period.
  • Further, Google may have been able to pick up even more sales had it rolled out the Pixel 3a in new emerging markets, rather than regions only where the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL were already on sale.
  • Regardless, the Pixel 3a’s relative success means we’re likely to get a sequel next year, which will be fantastic news for fans.
  • You can read Android Authority’s Pixel 3a review and Pixel 3a XL review for more on these great handsets.

The Google Pixel 3a on top of the Google Pixel 3a XL on a desk.

2. T-Mobile drops Galaxy Fold

We heard yesterday Samsung had repaired its troubled Galaxy Fold smartphone and that the new-and-improved model was gearing up for release in September. T-Mobile is no longer onboard, however.

  • T-Mobile has announced it won’t sell the Galaxy Fold (Android Authority), despite opening pre-orders for the phone earlier this year.
  • T-Mobile didn’t exactly say why it had had the change of heart, but the phone’s troubles must be partly to blame.
  • T-Mobile may want to avoid the potential returns headaches should the Fold encounter further issues. Samsung was forced to recall and cancel its Galaxy Note 7 flagship in October 2016 over overheating issues.
  • Or perhaps the Fold’s original T-Mobile pre-orders indicated it wasn’t going to be a big seller anyway. It’s hard to imagine T-Mo would have pulled this move if the Fold was a guaranteed hit.
  • But why wait for Samsung to announce the phone’s return?
  • Who knows, maybe T-Mobile wasn’t convinced by the fixes Samsung announced.
  • Or maybe the T-Mobile folks assumed the phone would never come back — they surely wouldn’t have been the only ones.

3. Huawei CEO caught using foldable Mate X in airport, totally on accident, guys (Android Authority). Photos of Richard Yu holding the device arrived within hours of Samsung announcing the Galaxy Fold’s new launch date.

4. Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states, Senate concludes (The Verge). It was previously suspected that Russian hackers had targeted 39 states.

5. Safari tourist snaps could produce useful conservation data (Ars Technica).

6. SpaceX’s new test rocket briefly hovers during first free flight (The Verge). Why does it matter? “Starship is the company’s most ambitious vehicle concept yet: it’s a fully reusable design intended to send cargo and people to deep space destinations like the Moon and Mars.

7. Every movie referenced by Stranger Things (Wired).

8. AT&T loses nearly 1 million TV customers after raising DirecTV prices (Ars Technica). AT&T put the loss down to “An increase in customers rolling off promotional discounts, competition, and lower gross adds due to a focus on the long-term value customer base.”

9. SpaceX Payload of NASA Includes 3D Organ Printer, Nickelodeon Slime (Bloomberg).

10. Fortnite World Cup: Players battle for biggest total prize pool (BBC). It’s taking place tonight and it’s potentially going to create some of the world’s youngest millionaires.

11. Elon Musk’s Boring Co. raises $120 million in outside funding (Engadget). It’s the tunnel company’s first outside investment.

12. And game engine company Unity is now valued at $6 billion (TechCrunch).

13. And an update regarding Tuesday’s main story: Apple just bought the majority of Intel’s smartphone modem business (Android Authority).

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via Android Authority

July 26, 2019 at 03:19AM