Instagram last week announced a new Explore video channel that gives users an easier way to find and watch events.
The channel aggregates videos from concerts, sporting events and more, and its personalization features flag events that might be a good match for users’ individual interests.
The new channel initially will be available only to U.S. users.
“One of the fundamental limitations of Instagram is that you only see content from people you explicitly follow,” said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.
“The timeline is strictly limited to people you’ve chosen to see — with the exception of ads,” he noted.
“One of the challenges is always how to get people to see and engage with content from additional users,” Dawson told TechNewsWorld. “The Explore tab has always been a way for Instagram to do this, and adding event-driven content to the tab provides new ways for people to find additional content they might be interested in.”
Similar to Snapchat
To social media watchers, Instagram’s event channel looks very familiar.
“With the rollout of the event channel, Instagram is once again borrowing a page from Snapchat’s playbook,” said Andreas Scherer, managing partner atSalto Partners.
“This feature is eerily similar to Snapchat’s Discover channel,” he told TechNewsWorld.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has been open about its attitude toward Snapchat, noted John Carroll, a mass communications professor atBoston University.
“Instagram has been open and transparent about the fact that they’re ripping off Snapchat, ” he told TechNewsWorld. “It isn’t something Instagram is trying to hide or run away from.”
Facebook has influenced Instagram’s copycat strategy, maintained Salto’s Scherer.
“Previous attempts by Facebook to buy Snapchat failed. Now it is using Instagram as a fighting brand, copying the most successful concepts of Snapchat’s platform,” he explained.
There are significant differences between the event features in the two platforms, though, noted Jackdaw’s Dawson.
“There’s some overlap with Snapchat’s featured Stories, so you could argue there’s a little homage being paid here,” he said, “but both the implementation and motivation are different.”
By adding features similar to Snapchat, Instagram is protecting its user base of 500 million monthly users, observed Michael Inouye, a principal analyst at ABI Research.
“Instagram doesn’t want its users leaving because of features it doesn’t have,” he told TechNewsWorld.
One area where Instagram’s event channel may have a leg up on Snapchat is in personalization algorithms.
“Events highlighted to users will improve as the user interacts with videos, specific people posting them, or locations,” explained Gerrit Schneemann, a senior analyst with IHS Markit.
“Instagram is then able to surface content it thinks will match the user’s interests better, making it easier for the user to find content they are likely to like,” he told TechNewsWorld.
The introduction of the event channel is part of a larger Facebook strategy, Schneenann added.
“Video is central to Facebook’s road map — the company has said so repeatedly,” he pointed out. “Instagram is another part of Facebook where video can increase the time users spend on the platform, opening the stream of videos as a the perfect vehicle to integrate video advertising.”
Built on Video
Social media is all about engagement, and “video is more engaging than simple updates,” BU’s Carroll noted.
“This is all about keeping people on your platform, engaging them with content, and delivering them to advertisers. Social media and mobile media are really built on video at this point,” he said.
“In the last six months, Instagram has seen video viewing increase by 150 percent,” Carroll pointed out, and “in the next six years, mobile video viewers will double to 2 billion. This is a huge growth area for these platforms.”
Samsung to invest $115 billion in its foundry business by 2030
Samsung is earmarking $9.5 billion a year for Samsung LSI and Samsung Foundry.
Samsung Electronics is one of the largest semiconductor players around, and the manufacturer is investing $115 billion (133 trillion won) over the next 12 years to take on Qualcomm and Intel. Samsung says its goal is to become the world leader in semiconductors and logic chips, and the company will invest $9.5 billion a year from now through 2030.
Samsung will invest $63.4 billion (73 trillion won) toward domestic R&D — where it is looking to add 15,000 jobs to “bolster its technological prowess” — and spend $52 billion (60 trillion won) toward production facilities that will make the logic chips. Samsung has long been the dominant player in the memory business, but with that market shrinking the South Korean manufacturer will be looking to diversify.
While the $115 billion seems like a staggering amount at first, it’s in line with what Samsung has been spending in recent years. Just last year alone Samsung invested over $15 billion in R&D, and Intel also spent over $10 billion toward developing new products.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G launch in South Korea delayed
The delay is due to LG wanting to further optimize the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and Qualcomm X50 5G modem inside of the V50. LG also said it’s working with Qualcomm and South Korean carriers to improve 5G service and phone interoperability.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G price & release date: What we know so far (it’s not much)
LG didn’t say when the V50 will be available in South Korea. Android Authority reached out to LG for comment on a new release date and whether the delayed launch in South Korea will affect the U.S. launch, but did not receive a response by press time.
The delay comes at a bad time for LG, which saw rival Samsung launch its first 5G smartphone April 5 in South Korea. LG likely had hoped to use the Galaxy S10 5G’s launch momentum for its own 5G smartphone, but now we don’t know when the V50 will debut.
That said, LG might have dodged a very big bullet by delaying the V50’s launch. Business Koreareported last week that Galaxy S10 5G owners have struggled with poor 5G connectivity and an inability to switch to 4G LTE. Samsung pushed out an update that supposedly addressed the issues, but the update didn’t help much.
Samsung snubs Apple on 5G modem supply, leaving few good options for the 2020 iPhones
Thanks to the patent war with Qualcomm reaching a crescendo mode, last year Apple’s iPhones shipped exclusively with “Intel inside” as far as cellular connectivity is concerned. That, however, is not an ideal solution for Apple, as Intel’s modems are behind the curve when it comes to features, so it has been shopping around for other options.
Apple could go with Samsung, Huawei or MediaTek’s 5G modems, but each of those choices comes with severe drawbacks. Samsung will likely charge an arm and a leg for its 5G brainchild, America’s homeland security institutions would balk at Huawei’s involvement due to geopolitical considerations, while MediaTek simply isn’t up to par yet.
SAMSUNG’S 5G MODEM OPTION IS OUT FOR APPLE, BUT WHOSE IS IN?
Surprise, surprise, even those unpalatable options have now become harder to pick from, as Korean media is reporting today that Samsung has declined Apple’s advances for its Exynos 5100 5G modem. Not only does the company need its production for the Galaxy S10 5G that will be shipping tomorrow in Korea but it could very well need it for the Note 10, too.
Samsung, it turns out, is simply unable to churn out 5G modems in the quality and quantity that Apple would demand, or so it claims. According to one “electronics industry official” there:
Apple inquired about the supply of 5G modem chip from Samsung Electronics System LSI division. However, we know that Samsung Electronics System LSI answered that the supply volume of its smartphone 5G modem chip is insufficient.
There you have it – unless Apple resolves the bad blood between the companies, Qualcomm is likely to sit its 5G push out, so the last remaining option is for Apple to go it alone, either by acquiring Intel’s wireless modem assets or starting from scratch (highly unlikely). All of these options mean either a lot of extra expenses for Apple in order to deliver a 5G iPhone in 2020, or falling behind the competition by launching one that is a cycle or two behind.
Last summer, insiders claimed that they have seen internal Intel communication regarding a memo that Apple sent Chipzilla. In it, Apple warns that it might no longer need Intel’s wireless modem designs, including the 5G ones, starting with the 2020 iPhone crop. Intel reportedly halted research in this area and might disband the whole 5G modem undertaking, as Apple was its largest and perhaps sole customer.
5G gets going and Apple’s 2020 iPhones can’t go FOMO
South Korea just launched its nationwide 5G network, with the Galaxy S10 5G being its poster child. Upon the phone’s release there tomorrow, Korea will have all of its largest networks offering 5G plans. In fact, Korea Telecom announced three 5G price tiers. Among those, there is a “Super Plan” that offers truly unlimited 5G data without speed caps, and this one will go for the equivalent of $70, a pretty good price no matter how you slice it. In fact, the Super 5G Plan is somewhat cheaper than the current unlimited 4G LTE plans in Korea, so the 5G future seems bright, and we are expecting more and more 5G handsets to enter the fray this year, especially towards the tail end of 2019.
A true nationwide shift to 5G networks is not happening this year in the US anyway, so iPhone users won’t be missing all that much until then. Next year, however, most of the flagship phones of the spring season will probably have some sort of 5G connectivity support, be it with a Qualcomm, Samsung or Huawei modem, and Apple could feel the pinch in that regard. If in the fall of 2020 Apple hasn’t solved its 5G modem supply options, however, there might be image and perception consequences. As virtually all of Apple’s 5G avenues have dried up and will incur extra expenses, patching thing up with Qualcomm would be a smart solution so we’ll keep our eyes on the patent lawsuit as it moves through the court system.
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