- Office 365 and speech recognition
- Sobering 8 months for Samsung, Exynos and AMD graphics
- About Lenovo, Dell, laptop market and new models
- A couple thoughts on Tesla
- Instead of a conclusion: about the prices for car sharing
Office 365 and speech recognition
At work, you have to listen to a lot of podcasts, which is tedious and would be much cooler if you could just run through the text with your eyes. Now you can! Office in general and Microsoft Word in particular are getting better before our eyes. The web version of Word (available only to paid subscribers, as I understand it) now has an option to recognize audio files in text. The option is currently only available for English.
This is Microsoft’s technology in all its glory, when artificial intelligence recognizes speakers and marks Speaker 1, Speaker 2, etc. The recognition process is not very fast. The system spends 30 minutes on a 30-minute podcast. Which suggests that the file is being shipped somewhere where there is a player, and next to a microphone and a laptop with Cortana running. And this is how the recognition happens …
Accordingly, the algorithm is simple. I threw the file for recognition and continue to do business, and then quickly read it. The result looks like this.
Editing can be done quickly in the finished text. For example, replace Speaker 1 with a name. So far, each user is allocated 300 minutes per month. And at the bottom of the page there is a counter. I have 30/300 minutes now. 5 hours for recognition is enough for basic needs. By the way, it is not necessary to recognize the entire audio file as a whole. You can select the desired fragments. A wonderful function that will definitely come in handy for English-speaking journalists in their work, when you can throw off an interview, for example, and it is recognized. I am looking forward to Russian and Chinese. Especially Chinese, as the Chinese Internet is still in many ways difficult and incomprehensible to me.
Sobering 8 months for Samsung, Exynos and AMD graphics
As you may recall, Samsung has been under pressure for a long time due to the fact that it uses two different chipsets in its flagships. One of its own production – Exynos, the other purchased from Qualcomm.
We have already sorted out why Samsung does this. In short, the company needs to produce its own chipsets in order, firstly, to keep up with technologies, and secondly, so that there is leverage on Qualcomm. After all, Samsung is one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world, and, accordingly, an important buyer for Qualcomm. If Samsung didn’t have its own chipsets, Qualcomm could force Samsung to trade on its own terms. And so Samsung can always say: “Expensive, we’d better put Exynos.”
Attacks on Exynos have intensified in the past year. There is even a conspiracy theory that this is a planned attack. It seems to me that it is just a coincidence. People like to make comparisons, plus this year the “synthetic” difference has become more noticeable, which in turn has provoked speculation.
I only support attacking Exynos because it forces Samsung to react. And here we must pay tribute to the company. She is attentive to everything. And the same Galaxy Note 7 review showed that Samsung is easy to take radical steps. I am sure that the company’s engineers were given the first number, and the Exynos 1000 will definitely be better. What pleases me most, though, is that Samsung has acknowledged the problem and partnered with AMD to make graphics for the Exynos chipsets.
If you are surprised that AMD lost this in the smartphone market, then do not forget how Qualcomm bought their mobile division from AMD at one time. Qualcomm’s current Adreno graphics name is the permutation of the letters in the Radeon.
According to rumors, there will be no more solutions from AMD in the Exynos 1000, but in 2022 a radical update can be expected.
Let’s be honest, Samsung needs some shake-up. And when necessary, Samsung can pull itself together. It is enough to take the launch of the A-series. Samsung sagged significantly in the attractiveness of mid-range smartphones. The launch of the A-series solved the problem. You may be outraged, but the Galaxy A51 models are the best-selling models for the second year in a row, both globally and in most countries individually.
But the flagships did not come in this year. Buyers felt that it was too expensive, and questions to the smartphones themselves. The coronavirus also happened. So, according to statistics, in the first quarter, sales of the S-series fell by 39% (measured quarter to quarter), and in the second quarter the situation is no better. Worldwide data could not be found, but in the United States, the S-series declined 59% qoq. That’s a lot considering that the US is the least price sensitive market with an average smartphone price of $ 500.
By the way, given that in the US Galaxy is on Qualcomm, here Samsung stepped on the same rake as Apple a year ago. Then buyers decided that the iPhone was too expensive, and Apple launched various indirect discounts.
About Lenovo, Dell, laptop market and new models
Last year, after the exhibition at IFA (which is now online), I wrote an article under the loud headline “IFA 2019: Who is the new PC market leader?” The material was devoted to the new Lenovo laptops, as well as the results of the next quarter, in which Lenovo became the clear leader in terms of volume in pieces.
Lenovo continues to lead the way this year.
Please note that the table does not include Chromebooks
But if you pay attention, HP has “pulled up”. And if you look at the sales statistics, which include Chromebooks, you will see a breakthrough from HP and Dell.
All PC makers have an unusually successful quarter. The buyers took it all apart. There is a certain deficit on the shelves. In the US, where Chromebooks are recommended for study, you even had to queue up to buy the device. All companies have good growth as a percentage of the previous period.
By the way, Russia was no exception, and there was a buzz on the market. The second quarter of 2020 showed an increase of 47% compared to the same quarter last year. During the quarter, 1.059 million notebooks were sold in Russia. A total of 1.5 million laptops + desktops were sold.
The first place in Russia was taken by Lenovo with 21,8% of the market, while the growth against the same quarter of last year was 55.3%. The second and third places in terms of market share are occupied by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Acer Group.
The reasons for Lenovo’s success are obvious, both globally and in the Russian markets. Let’s just decide right away that today, in general, the quality of all manufacturers is at the same good level (we are talking about Lenovo, Dell, HP, MSI, ASUS, except for Acer, with which I do not work and know little about them). There are problems with the software, but they are solved by the fact that on a new laptop you should immediately reinstall Windows, allowing you to download a copy over the network. In short, if you buy a laptop with good specifications, you will be satisfied.
This foreplay is important because Lenovo does not win because of any particular quality or brand strength. Although, of course, over time, big sales are converted into a marketing component.
Lenovo does the same as other Chinese manufacturers. Huawei, Honor, Oppo, Vivo, realme, OnePlus, iQOO, Xiaomi, Redmi – there are many brands, but these are only 3 manufacturers: Huawei, BBK, Xiaomi. Dozens of similar models are stamped under each brand, which occupy the shelves, displacing everything and everyone. Check Dell or HP sites. HP has a breakdown by topic (everyday laptop, gaming, etc.), and each section has one or two laptops. So the Envy line is responsible for everyday devices. There are two models 13 and 17 inches.
Then go to Lenovo’s website, which has hyperpages with dozens of models. 7 Thinkpad lines, 7 IdeaPad lines, 4 Yoga lines. And there is still a further breakdown by diagonals, etc. It turns out an abundance of models for every taste and wallet.
The situation is funny because we always complain about the abundance of models, when it is absolutely unclear which brand is responsible for what, and how one model differs from another. However, today it is the most winning strategy, both online and offline. The buyer simply does not have the strength to flip through all the pages with Lenovo laptops, so he buys and leaves satisfied. And HP, Dell and others remain unhappy.
About new Lenovo models
And since we started talking about Lenovo, the other day the company announced new models. Lenovo has announced two new Yoga 9i and Slim 9i. The name hardly tells you anything, but these are excellent Ultrabooks with long battery life, a touchscreen and a stylus built into the body.
I tested the models of the year before last and last. Wonderful premium devices. I decided to talk about the new items because of a couple of non-standard solutions. Recently, Eldar on stream (I think?) Talked about why manufacturers refused to use leather in smartphones. For it is quickly overwritten. Laptops are not smartphones, so let’s see what Lenovo comes up with. But there will be models in leather upholstery.
Another interesting feature is the glass wrist rests. And if you were interested in where the stylus is hidden in the body, then here is the picture.
And the third feature is disabling the webcam by “breaking the circuit”. Lenovo’s current thinnest curtains are a delight. But they don’t turn off the camera, they just cover the picture. You can turn on the camera and the sound will go.
Otherwise, these are excellent laptops of the end of 2020, as the 9i model has a 14-inch screen, IPS, high color gamut of the screen (90% DCI-P3), screen brightness of 500 nits, perfect keyboard, updated cooling systems, protection of keyboards from spills. And the 15-inch version also features a powerful 9th Gen i10 processor from Intel and NVIDIA® GTX 1650 Ti Max-Q graphics. With a Full HD screen, the battery life is 17-20 hours, with a 4K screen up to 10 hours.
And finally, the fourth feature. The price for Yoga Slim 9i is from 1900-2000 euros. Just in case. Lenovo does not bend prices, but sets the price tag according to the market. It’s just such a new reality.
Gaming models from Lenovo Legion Slim 7i
In addition to ultrabooks, Lenovo showed the new Legion Slim 7i gaming laptops, which they called the thinnest gaming laptops. The Legion 7i has decent specs, but it’s not super top. However, the price is also moderate 1300 euros. The laptop has a 15.6-inch screen (option Full HD 144 Hz, 4K 60 Hz), i9-10980HK, RTX 2060 Max-Q, up to 32 GB of memory, up to 2 TB SSD, battery 71 W * h. And the weight is only 1,76 kg. Lenovo showed how the thickness of gaming laptops has changed over the past three years in the company’s portfolio. Almost 2 times in 3 years.
In my opinion, the future lies not with ultrabooks, but with such universal laptops. The above ultrabooks can keep the battery up to 17-20 hours. Legion 7i Slim with proper settings (and if the integrated graphics are not locked) in office typewriter mode will withstand 7-8 hours. And this is more than enough. The laptop has another very nice feature. By default, it comes with a 230 W power supply in some new slim design. But the laptop will also support Type-C charging. As you can imagine, it will not be possible to extract the maximum performance from it with such a charge, and it may even be slightly discharged under load. But in any case, this is a great thing that will allow you to take your laptop with you on the road on small business trips. Probably, next year, the development of charging in smartphones, which already hold more than 100 W of Type-C, will lead to the fact that laptop manufacturers will be forced to upgrade laptops.
Instead of a conclusion about laptops
The growth of notebook sales is always a great joy for me, since stagnation and conservation of the market significantly slow down the development of technologies. When the market is in a rush and in high demand, manufacturers spur both suppliers and their R&D departments in the hope of standing out. And when the sales are stuck, the money goes to marketing and promotion.
But it should be remembered that such “explosions” of sales are generally harmful, since due to the coronavirus, even those who planned to postpone the purchase for a year or a year and a half have updated their hardware. That is, the current shock sales mean that there will be a decline next year.
A couple thoughts on Tesla
Despite my sincere admiration for Elon Musk, I did not believe in Tesla too much, believing that this is such a fashionable topic that will be squeezed out of the market exactly at the moment when the major automakers decide it is time to abandon the internal combustion engine and switch to batteries.
However, as time goes on, Tesla is still strong, and the cost of the company has exceeded all conceivable and inconceivable values, which absolutely do not match the current sales volumes. However, as the saying goes, the market is living with expectations, and Tesla’s current value only means that investors believe in a bright future for the company.
As you can see in the graph below, Tesla sold almost 2020 vehicles in the first half of 180, overtaking Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan and BMW. But this is the market for all electric vehicles, including hybrids.
If you take a market where all-electric cars, then there Tesla takes up at 30%, selling more than the three closest competitors combined.
Imagining myself in the place of the buyer, all other things being equal, I would also choose Tesla. This is largely due to the way the company’s business model works. If we talk about typical car manufacturers, then for the buyer, it all ends after buying a car. Then he pays for maintenance and buys spare parts.
In the case of Tesla, things are completely different. For example, the company recently announced the next version of its “autopilot”. In the case of a regular manufacturer, in order to get a new option, you have to buy a new car. Tesla will make it possible for even owners of cars more than 2 years old to receive this update. Someone will get the update for free, someone will have to pay.
This is the genius of Musk’s idea. He does not sell a car, but a platform that can be updated in the future. This is also hinted at by the fact that the model names remain unchanged. There is a Tesla S. Over the years, it changes the iron, the battery, a little interior, etc. But this is not advertised. There are no typical layouts when you go to the automaker’s website, and there “Meet the 2020 models, there are discounts for last year’s slag!”.
This long-term support for the vehicles is reflected in Tesla’s resale value estimates. It should also be added here that Tesla cars are less prone to aging because they have fewer wear parts in general, not to mention the internal combustion engine itself, which has a clear limit. Yes, we know that engines can pass 300 thousand, but if after 3 years the car has covered 150 thousand kilometers, then the number of those willing to take a risk and buy will significantly decrease. In Tesla’s case, you can simply buy a new battery.
So Tesla Model 3 loses in price by about 10% in 3 years.
Tesla’s future is impossible to predict, but I am definitely confident that the company will change the entire industry. Automakers will be forced to meet consumer expectations by releasing firmwares with new features, and increasingly turning from mechanics to programmers.
Instead of a conclusion: about the prices for car sharing
It’s nice to take the train to St. Petersburg early in the morning in good weather. It is even more pleasant to take a car and while the roads are empty, take a nice route to get home. I make a small circle to cross the Bolsheokhtinsky bridge, and then along the embankment.
And so I opened Yandex, there were no interesting cars around, but Polo was 300 meters from the station, I wanted to order, but the price confused me – 17 rubles a minute. I opened Delimobil, and there is also Polo and at the same distance, but it costs 8 rubles and some kopecks. He took it.
I didn’t take screenshots then, but at the entrance to Moscow I again faced a similar misunderstanding. In this case, the cost, of course, is softer, but it turns out at the level of BMW from Delimobil. The reason for these price differences is clear. Yandex has a certain dynamic algorithm that changes the price depending on the workload of the service, the distance to the car and its location as a whole. There is probably also a certain coefficient for downtime during the coronavirus. There are no conclusions here. I just wanted to complain. Yes, check the price in various applications.
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