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Anker is beating Apple and Samsung

Steven Yang quit his job at Google in the summer of 2011 to build the products he felt the world needed: a line of reasonably priced accessories that would be better than the ones you could buy from Apple and other big-name brands. These accessories — batteries, cables, chargers — would solve our most persistent gadget problem by letting us stay powered on at all times. There were just a few problems: Yang knew nothing about starting a company, building consumer electronics, or selling products.

“I was a software engineer all my life at Google. I didn’t know anyone in the electronics manufacturing world,” Yang tells me over Skype from his office in Shenzhen, China. But he started the company regardless, thanks in no small part to his previous experience with Amazon’s sellers marketplace, a platform for third-party companies and tiny one- or two-person teams interested in selling directly to consumers. He named the company Anker, after the German word for ship anchor.

Anker has since become the most popular brand of portable battery packs on Amazon.

Portable chargers had a bit of a standout moment last summer, when players of the wildly popular and battery-hogging Pokémon Go could be seen roaming the streets, their phones constantly plugged in. But these accessories have existed for years as a remedy for our battery woes since the standard smartphone tends to last no more than a day on a single charge. So in airports, the back of cabs, and on city streets we’re plugging into lithium-ion slabs in our pockets and bags to stay connected. The market for portable battery packs generated $360 million in the 12 months ending in March 2017 in the US alone. The brands behind these packs are largely anonymous — Kmashi, Jackery, and iMuto — and they often stay that way.

Except Anker. The steady rise of the company’s profile is proof that it’s possible to meet one very specific consumer need and ride that wave as it continues to ripple out to other markets. A majority of Anker’s sales come from cables and wall chargers, and it’s now moving into the smart home and auto market — anywhere a plug and a cable can solve a problem.

Yang and his team started a company with the sole purpose of selling a better third-party accessory. But they stumbled onto a more lucrative reality: mobile phones, once niche luxury items, are now ubiquitous centerpieces of our digital lives. Each of these phones, and all the products that connect to them, need their own cable and plug. And each and every day these devices die before we want them to.

For more information, please visit https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/22/15673712/anker-battery-charger-amazon-empire-steven-yang-interview

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Grameenphone Brings Fitbit in Bangladesh

Grameenphone, in association with Contrivance International Limited, recently launched Fitbit in Bangladesh. Fitbit is the undisputed leader in the global health and wearables market. Its range of fitness products, which go by the same name i.e. Fitbit, were revealed at an event in GPHouse.

Preorders begin from June 1, 2017. Customers can pre-book 6 Fitbit models named Flex 2, Alta, Alta HR, Charge 2, Blaze and Surge by visiting https://www.grameenphone.com/shop/pre-order/devices/phones or from GP Online Shop, Enterprise Market and any Grameenphone center. All the models come with 1 year replacement warranty. The models come in different sizes and colors and can also be fitted with exclusive accessories. Pre-bookers will get 15% flat discount on MRP.

Present at the launching ceremony were Mostafa Hasnine Saadi, Chairman, Contrivance International, K. M. Ahmed Deedat, Managing Director, Contrivance International, and Monowar Zahid Lemon on behalf of Extol Trade Ltd. From Grameenphone, Sarder Showkat Ali, Head of Device, was present and gave inauguration speech.

The stunningly sleek and sophisticated Fitbit wearables which were unboxed at the Launching Event serve as a testament to the revolution brought by Fitbit in digital healthcare globally. Part of Fitbit’s success to date is because its devices – wearable clips and wristbands – interface beautifully with iOS and Android software, making them seamless additions to everyday life. This means Fitbit is catering to a niche market of early adopters or extreme athletes. Everyday folks can make use of Fitbit’s smart scale to track weight loss, or wrist monitor to track improvements in cardiovascular health. Consumers who pre-order a Fitbit will also get a free gift: A trendy Fitbit T-shirt. This promotion is valid only during pre-order period and only while supplies last. Terms and conditions apply.

For more information, please visit https://grameenphone.com/about/media-center/press-release/grameenphone-brings-fitbit-bangladesh

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Activity tracker as personal medical device

FITBIT SPENT ITS first decade selling activity trackers. With its latest moves, the company is starting to look less like a gear maker selling pricey accessories to fitness buffs and more like a medical-device company, catering to hospitals, patients, and health insurers. The company’s business-to-business arm, called Health Solutions, is now addressing four health conditions—sleep disorders including sleep apnea, diabetes, cardiovascular health and mental health—for employers, health insurers, healthcare providers, and researchers.

Fitbit has deals with insurers like UnitedHealthcare, which pays its clients up to $1,500 a year for hitting step-count goals. United has done years of research to calculate its return on these payouts, says Fitbit CEO James Park. “The business models are finally catching up to the data we have been collecting.” The next stage is to add in heart rate data, he says.

Fitbit’s newest product, the Ionic smartwatch, uses a blood-oxygen sensor to screen for sleep apnea and detect a type of heart arrhythmia. The company has completed clinical trials on the use cases and will submit them to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval. If it receives approval, Fitbits could replace expensive chest patch scanning to perform initial screenings for atrial fibrillation on some patients, Park says. The company’s data has been popular with cancer researchers.

There are plenty of reasons behind the company’s transition: For one, Fitbit will always battle high abandonment rates. (“Fitbit? More like Quitbit,” The Atlantic once quipped.) Fitbit’s sales of fitness trackers, and in turn, its stock price, have reflected that fatigue; revenue fell 22% last quarter and its stock is trading at a 77% discount to its opening price in 2014. But most important, the company needs to differentiate its offerings from the Apple Watch, which debuted in 2015 and has studies that address some of the same areas Fitbit is chasing. Fitbit beat Apple in the third quarter in terms of devices shipped, taking 13.7% of the market, according to IDC. Apple, which took 10.3% of the market, experienced a dramatic increase in sales, while Fitbit continues its decline.

Fitbit believes its position as a neutral player that works with any phone makes it desirable to insurance companies and hospitals. Apple Watches only work with iPhones; if an employer, hospital or insurer wants its clients to use them, it won’t be able to reach people who have Android phones.

Fitbit’s push into medicine is not without risks. Park agrees that over time the company’s products will become a form of medical device, but he’s reluctant to call them that outright. The company’s brand is valuable because of its association with fitness and self-improvement, and consumer psychology is a critical component in making sure something like a step tracker is successful, he says.

“There is a dramatic difference in consumer acceptance and engagement when you say, ‘Hey, here is a medical device from Medtronic, go wear it,’ versus, ‘Here’s a Fitbit, wear this instead,’ ” Park says. “One is aspirational, the other implies that you’re sick. Consumers just go in with a different mentality based on how it’s portrayed and that is actually really, really important.”

That’s why Fitbit is participating in a new FDA precertification program aimed at digital health products, announced in September. “The FDA recognizes that there is this potentially new class of devices that’s not a consumer device and not a traditional medical device, but somewhere in between, and that there needs to be a new regulatory pathway,” Park says. Fitbit’s rival, Apple, is also a participant.

CORRECTION, 12:55PM: Fitbit plans to seek approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to use data from its devices to screen for atrial fibrillation. An earlier version of this article said Fitbit was awaiting FDA approval.

For more information, please visit https://www.wired.com/story/when-your-activity-tracker-becomes-a-personal-medical-device/

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OnePlus 5T sold within 5 minutes on Amazon

Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus on Friday said it sold out its newly-launched OnePlus 5T within five minutes of the special one-hour preview sale on Amazon.

“We have seen unprecedented customer response to the early access sales, in India as well as globally. Hundreds of fans stormed our ‘Experience Stores’ in Bengaluru and Delhi,” Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, OnePlus India, said in a statement.

“We are happy to announce that OnePlus 5T will go on open sale, starting on November 28, across all channels including Amazon.in, oneplusstore.in, select Croma stores and ‘Experience Stores’ in Bengaluru and Delhi,” Agarwal added.

OnePlus 5T also broke the company’s launch-day sales record and became the company’s fastest-selling device in six hours, the company said.

The device marks the introduction of a 6-inch “Full Optic AMOLED Display” with an 18:9 aspect ratio to deliver a more immersive viewing experience.

The device features a new “Sunlight Display” that adapts automatically to harsh light.

OnePlus has moved its fingerprint sensor to the back of the device.

The OnePlus 5T comes with the same main camera as that of OnePlus 5 but also houses an improved secondary camera for superior low-light photography.

The device has super-fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. The “Adreno 540 GPU” boosts graphical performance.

For more information, please visit http://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/oneplus-5t-sold-within-5-minutes-during-preview-sale-on-amazon-117112400496_1.html