Daniel Sinclair @_DanielSinclair Building for young people. Not reading @danielsunread. Lurking behind likes and thinking about social media, communication, & China. Aug. 08, 2019 3 min read

Simple icon change, but good framing on where it sits. We know ByteDance is building a phone. We know Huawei is building an OS. Snap, too, has finally spoken about their broader Spectacles vision. Minimalist phones like Palm and Light do have traction. Expect a Spectacles sister.

I do believe the industry — with a huge push from China, as its Internet and tech diverges — has come to terms with Android being a limiting factor. We will see movement here. The competition for third is actually coming, and it will likely bring new hardware categories too.

Huawei hardware is great. We see few companies investing like Apple, putting the pieces in place for a decade from now, but the smartphone has indeed matured. India and China will continue to raise the sea. All players are still converging on the tablet. We're at a turning point.

The hardware maturation happened, and despite Kirin remaining behind Apple, Chinese companies continue to squeeze more out of less. The race will soon look very different.

I collected thoughts and articles as the Treasury's protectionism unfolded, and has since backpedalled. We learned of the 7-year OS investments that foresaw this, and we learned of yet another Google play to break into China, this time, through Voice.

The likelihood that this would happen is near-zero. But it displays ByteDance's domination ambitions, now even more complex with hardware — and displays an insight in Snap that others have not. These two remain more comparable than Snap and Facebook.

To understand these companies, and what I believe all of this directionality is leading to, always dig deeper into the camera platforms and capabilities.

Apple continues to lead in their investments. But we may see the Glasses delayed once more. If we don't see a rear depth sensor unveiled at Apple's iPhone event in September, that is a troubling sign. Huawei is already experimenting on the ground.

I spoke about why it is of utmost importance to be putting glasses hardware on the ground right now while discussing the new Snap interview and first public recognitions of the broader vision for the company, and Spectacles.

Back when TikTok first landed in the U.S., I wrote about the overlaps between ByteDance and Snap, and tried to lay out the Chinese and frontier tech landscapes. TikTok gained more traction than anyone anticipated — at least we think this is the case.

Tim Cook laid some of this out with respect to Tencent and WeChat in 2017, talking about how Apple's Tencent partnerships created an environment in which the barriers between operating systems disappeared. Many players see this coming.

In January, we saw ByteDance target Snap directly with Duoshan. Everyone wants to be the Western WeChat, and I do think we will see significant disruption. Follow these two, and watch how Huawei and Apple will shape their likelihood of success.

It's a very complicated time in technology, but it's going to be the most exciting period since the iPhone too. Buckle up, and remain as out of breath as me 🤙

Voice modalities. Instant apps moving up the stack. Camera as a platform, encroaching a shared digital world and ground truth. Glasses, wearables, sensors, and low-power neural network accelerators. A great smartphone debundling, really. Fun times ahead.

The crypto and decentralization maximalists will finally appear in the midst of all of this. We see one player thinking about what the connective tissue of a disjoint hardware and software ecosystem looks like. Pay attention to their slight of hand too.

You can follow @_DanielSinclair.


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