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Top Tech Stock News: 7 Things You Missed This Week (4-Oct-2019)

1. Uber and Lyft Face Increasing Investor Skepticism

After weeks of controversy and poor earnings, it’s no surprise that Uber and Lyft are now facing scepticism from investors. Uber shares recently closed at $29.15, whereas Lyft shares recently closed at $39.57, slightly below from their previous lows of $30.29 and $40.84 respectively. The new all-time lows represent the pessimistic sentiments of many investors, despite assurances from both firms that they will be able to bounce back from their various problems.

However, both Uber and Lyft are not the only ones affected by the growing scepticism. Investors are also questioning the viability of billion dollar market caps of large companies that recently went public. Unlike traditional tech companies, which primarily produce software, newer tech IPOs, like Lyft and Uber, offer different types of services, many of which face growing scepticism among many investors.

2. Sony Reduces the Price of Playstation by Half; Starts Streaming Game Services

Sony is upping the ante. Starting next Tuesday, the cost of a PlayStation subscription will be cut in half to $9.99 per month. According to Sony, the new price policy was driven by the need to provide a service that is “comparable to other entertainment streaming services on the market.”

Sony’s decision to cut its streaming prices in half reflects a general trend among entertainment and gaming companies to cater to the streaming market. From music and movies to TV shows and video games, streaming services are the driving medium of sales on phones, tablets, laptops and consoles.

Moreover, the popularization and development of streaming services has led many consumer demographics to drop older cable and gaming services in favor of streaming solutions, leading to the growth of well-known streaming brands, such as Disney, Amazon and most notably Netflix.

Sony’s decision to cut the cost of its Playstation streaming service reflects the growth of other similar services in the games and entertainment industries.

3. AMD Announces New Ryzen Pro 3000 Series CPUs For 4th Quarter

AMD recently announced that their 3rd generation Pro processors will be available for purchase this 4th quarter. The new Pro CPUs were designed for both small business and commercial desktop computers, and they will feature up to 12 cores.

The new Ryzen Pro CPUs were supposedly based on the Zen 2 “Matisse” microarchitecture, introduced earlier this summer. They will also support all of AMD’s Pro-series features, such as the TrustZone security Processor, DASH manageability, Secure Boot, Content Protection and more.

Additionally, AMD also has a little something for streamlined PCs that prioritize integrated graphics over CPU cores. Their new Ryzen 3000 Pro APUs will feature the quad-core Ryzen 5 Pro and Ryzen 3 Pro as well as the dual-core Athlon Pro 3000-series CPUs, all of which include the integrated Radeon Vega graphics

4. Amazon’s New Echo Devices Add Virtual Assistants in Glasses, Jewelry and Even in Your Ear

Amazon takes another step towards Sci-Fi with its Echo devices. The new products will allow Amazon to install Alexa into common accessories, such as glasses and rings, and even inside people’s ears.

One of the Echo devices, Echo Studio, is a music-focused speaker that is capable of playing high definition audio. Another device – the Echo Flex – puts Alexa inside a plug that can be attached into locations where large speakers don’t fit.

If you want to put Alexa in your ring, there’s the Echo Loop ring accessory, which is designed to do just that. And for those of you who need to wear glasses, there are now Amazon glasses which are voice controlled and operated.

According to Amazon representatives, the new devices were designed to “make your home smarter and safer, keep family and friends connected, and bring your favourite entertainment to you, wherever you are.”

Amazon adds wearables to voice-controlled Alexa collection

5. Meet Microsoft’s New Phone, the Surface Duo

Microsoft is creating a new smartphone. Introducing the Surface Duo, an Android device with two screens. Each screen measures 5.6 inches, both of which can be expanded into an 8.3 inch device when fully expanded. So far, that’s the only information Microsoft has released to the public, though there are expectations that the Surface Duo will be available during the holiday season next year.

Aside from its new phone, Microsoft also recently released several new products, including Windows 10 X for dual screen devices, the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7, Surface Pro Earbuds as well as the SQ1 custom Arm chip.

6. IBM Develops AI That Can Create Realistic Voices Based On 5 Minutes of Vocal Audio

Creating realistic text to speech models requires powerful hardware. However, researchers at IBM were not deterred by this challenge. They recently developed a lightweight and efficient method for speech synthesis and suffice to say, the results are impressive.

According to the researchers, their AI can synthesize high quality speech in real time based on a speaker’s voice. Moreover, the AI can also adapt to different speaking styles and voice patterns by analyzing small amounts of audio data.
According to IBM researchers Zvi Kons, Slava Shechtman, and Alex Sorin, this new technology was developed using a ‘neural speech synthesis based on a modular architecture,’ and is quite different from older text to speech systems, most of which relied on large, complex neural network models in order to work.

IBM’s AI generates high-quality voices from 5 minutes of talking

7. Intel Slashes Prices of High End Gaming Chips

Intel is reducing the price of its i9 processors as it attempts to refresh an old design. The new prices will take effect this November, which happens to be the same time when Intel’s new gaming chips will be released into the market.

The i9 chips are built on an old core called Skylake, an aging design that had seen numerous mediocre performance upgrades year after year. Intel would like to transition to the newer Ice Lake-based designs however, their newer chips are still limited to certain premium laptops, which explains why they are sticking to the older models.

Additionally, there’s also the issue of competition to consider. Intel is facing intense pressure from Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm, all of which are challenging the company’s dominance in the chip market. By slashing the cost of their chips, Intel hopes to address these challenges while keeping their existing chips fresh for most consumers.

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Beth KindigI’m an industry insider who writes free in-depth analysis on public tech companies. In the last 12 months, I predicted Facebook’s Q2 crash, Roku’s meteoric rise, Uber’s IPO flop, Zoom’s IPO success, Google’s revenue miss and more. Be industry-specific. Know more than the broader markets. Sign up now. I look forward to staying connected.

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