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Microsoft refreshes its Surface PC portfolio including Android-based Duo 2

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Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft’s usual fall Surface launch is virtual this year. But that isn’t stopping the company from rolling out a slew of new and improved devices, including a new Surface Laptop Studio (successor to the Surface Book); Surface Pro 8; Surface Go 3; and an Android-based, second-generation Surface Duo dual-screen device. Most of the Windows-based devices will be available starting October 5, the day Microsoft launches Windows 11. The Duo 2 will be available starting October 21. Preorders for most of the new Surface products start today in select markets.

During the virtual event introducing the devices, Chief Device Officer Panos Panay highlighted the ways that Windows 11 will unlock new features in the Surface PCs that are coming, especially in the areas of touch and inking.

Here’s what the Surface team is announcing today, September 22:

Surface Laptop Studio: Microsoft has finally acknowledged that few people wanted a workstation-quality PC that let them also detach (sometimes successfully, sometimes not) the display and use it as a tablet. The company instead has created a successor to the Surface Book 3 — and a replacement for the Surface Book line — that doesn’t include a detachable tablet; the tablet piece of the system is connected and moved around via a woven fabric hinge so that it can be used in “studio mode,” “stage mode” and other points in between.

Surface Laptop Studio is aimed at developers, creative pros, gamers and anyone else who wants the power of a desktop with the portability of a laptop. The Laptop Studio comes with 11th Generation Intel Core H35 and NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs. It has two Thunderbolt 4 ports and still includes the Microsoft Surface Connect power port.

The hinge feels flexible but durable in my very brief hands-on time with it. The 4-pound Core i7 model actually felt lappable, as well — not top-heavy like Surface Book devices. I did find the display to be a bit bouncy when it wasn’t quite flat. The display is 14.4 inches, and a Surface Slim Pen 2 fits (and charges) under the keyboard and “Precision Haptic” touchpad. Microsoft is saying to expect 18-19 hours of normal-use battery life; I’m going to halve that number and predict it’ll be closer to 9 hours for me (which still would be great if it pans out).

Surface Laptop Studio starts at $1,600 and will only be available in the U.S. and Canada to start. It won’t be available outside the U.S. until early 2022. The Slim Pen 2 — which, in conjunction with Windows 11, provides tactile/haptic signals to make drawing and writing more natural, is another $130. Microsoft is using the Slim Pen 2 to show off the ways that it has improved inking in Windows 11. (Microsoft isn’t providing a date right now as to when the Slim Pen 2 will be available.)

Surface Pro 8: This is the latest edition of Microsoft’s flagship 2-in1 device and is sort of a combination of the Surface Pro 7 and the Surface Pro X in design. The 13-inch, 120Hz display has thinner bezels, but the device’s body is still thicker than the ARM-based Surface Pro X. Microsoft execs say the Pro 8 is the biggest leap forward, design- and spec-wise, for the Surface Pro since Pro 3.

The Pro 8 includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports and no USB-A ports. It comes with an 11th Gen Intel Core processor. It includes a 5MP front-facing camera, 10MP-4K rear-facing camera and dual far-field Studio mics. The Surface Slim 2 Pen fits and charges inside the new Surface Pro Signature Keyboard. Microsoft says up to 16 hours of battery life for Pro 8, so I’m guessing for me it would be more like 8 (based on my own real-life battery rule).

Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,100, minus the keyboard cover, which is priced separately and usually around $160 or so. The Slim Pen 2 is an additional $130. Surface Pro 8 with LTE Advanced is coming in 2022, officials said.

Surface Pro X: Microsoft is adding a new SKU of its Arm-based Surface Pro. In addition to the existing LTE-based Pro X, there’s now also a new Wi-Fi-only model, which is slightly cheaper. Microsoft officials said they expect this model to appeal to people who use the device in certain, Wi-Fi-enabled locales (like home, school or work) almost exclusively.

The Wi-Fi-only model starts at $900. The pen and keyboard are sold separately. Initial availability of the Wi-fi-only model will be in the U.S. only starting on October 5.

Surface Go 3: Microsoft has been including more powerful processors with each iteration of its entry-level Surface Go device. The Go 3 is no exception. This new model will offer either an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y or Intel Core i3-10100Y processor. Other than that, the Surface Go 3 form factor looks like the previous Go models. It’s 1.2 pounds (without the keyboard), has a 10.5-inch touch display, and has 1080p cameras. Microsoft says it gets up to 11 hours of battery life, so I’m betting it’ll be more like five to six hours for me in real-world situations.

If you were wondering whether S Mode is still a thing, yes, the stripped-down version of Windows that can be upgraded for free continues to exist and Windows 11 Home in S Mode is the OS that the Go 3 will ship with, preinstalled, for consumers. In commercial channels, users will have the option of going with Windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro on the device. And Microsoft still has eMMC storage listed on its spec sheet for the low-end models, so buyers beware.

The Wi-Fi-enabled Surface Go 3 starts at $400, minus the keyboard cover and pen, which are sold separately. Surface Go 3 Wi-Fi SKUs will be available in many markets starting today, and general availability will begin on October 5. Surface Go 3 LTE SKUs will be available in the US and Canada starting in December 2021 and other markets starting in early 2022. 

Surface Duo 2: The rumors were true. The Surface Duo 2 has a much better camera, bigger displays (5.8 inches each, rather than 5.6), NFC support and a better processor (Snapdragon 888 with 5G support) than the original Duo launched last year. That rumored bump from the triple-lens camera is real, but not as prominent as some fear, especially when the Duo 2 is encased in a case and/or bumpers.

The Duo 2, which will ship with Android 11, comes in white (“Glacier”) or black (“Obsidian”) and starts at $1,500, which is $100 more than the original Duo was priced to start. General availability begins October 21 in select markets.

Microsoft also announced today a new mouse called the Ocean Plastic Mouse, which is made of resin that includes 20% recycled ocean plastic. It starts at $25. And there’s a new Surface Adaptive Kit from Microsoft’s Inclusive Tech Lab that includes stickers for labeling keys, indicating ports and even opening devices. This kit will be available later this year, officials said.

Update: The Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Pro 8, and Surface Go 3 will all offer options for business users to install Windows 10 or 11. (Thanks to Tero Alhonen for the tip.)

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-refreshes-its-surface-pc-portfolio-including-android-based-duo-2/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Why Facebook is the AOL of 2021

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Once upon a time, roughly thirty years ago, there was a computer network called America Online. 

AOL, as it was typically referred to, sent out little diskettes in the mail, and sometimes slipped them into the middle of popular magazines. The diskettes were a way for people to go online. There was already an Internet, but most people didn’t know how to use it or even that it existed. 

AOL, and a couple of competitors, Compuserve and Prodigy, offered people online things they could do, such as chat with other people. Mostly, the services helped people to get around the difficult aspects of what are known as Internet protocols. Internet computers need to communicate via connections that require a dedicated communications line, and a so-called IP address, which in turn requires a software program called TCP/IP. Most people’s computers didn’t have any of that. 

Instead, the little diskette in the magazine let a person plug their computer into their telephone modem — once they’d bought a modem at the local computer store — and dial up a server computer that would admit them to the world of AOL or, alternatively, to the world of Compuserve or Prodigy. Some people grumbled at how many diskettes were stuck inside magazines, but the diskettes were an effective way to attract new people to sign up and use the service.

Many people spent days and days at a time on AOL and the other services. The services had only one drawback, which was that they were limited. People couldn’t do just whatever they wanted, they could only pick from a small menu of functions, such as chat, that the services provided. And the services didn’t grow or change much, they stayed pretty much the same for years because it wasn’t in their interest to change when the diskettes kept bringing people in. 

facebook-floppy-crop-layout-for-twitter-version-2.jpg

Back in the early ’90s, AOL mailed out little diskettes and stuck them in magazines to get people to come online. Facebook didn’t have to resort to such cheesy tactics, but it similiarly has offered a curated set of free activities that have trapped people inside a walled garden, just like AOL.

Tiernan Ray for ZDNet

Most people didn’t mind that the services were limited and didn’t change. People were just excited to be in a place called Cyberspace. Suddenly, they could send a message to someone in a different town, even a different country, even people that they had never met. People could also adopt a secret identity, such as “picklefinger0237,” and the anonymity made interacting even more exciting.

Right about the same time as AOL, a smart person named Tim Berners-Lee, who worked at a prestigious research organization, published some software people could use to connect from their computer to any computer that also had the software. It was the World Wide Web. The software quickly caught the attention of many people and it blew their minds. With a real Internet connection, a person could reach any computer in the world. People saw that they didn’t have to accept the small menu of functions that AOL offered them. 

Moreover, the excitement that people felt when they were sending a message to a person in another town now swelled until it became a fervor to see the world. People had a sense the small little place in Cyberspace where they had dwelt was nothing compared to a vast universe just over the garden wall. The excitement pushed even ordinary people to find out how to sign up with a thing called an “Internet Service Provider.” It required people to understand something called “point to point protocol,” which was almost like learning science, but still less annoying than all the diskettes.

As it grew and grew, the World Wide Web became an amazing place in contrast to AOL. People found they could visit articles and whole magazines written by people they’d never met, even from around the world. And there was a constant stream of innovation, with lots of software appearing all the time that made “surfing” the Web amazing. 

People even discovered more of the Internet, such as things like “file transfer protocol,” where they could get lots of stuff no one had ever seen in the form of files. Programs such as “finger” let a person see who had been online, which, again, blew people’s minds. 

People were so excited by the World Wide Web, they never wanted to go back to AOL or Compuserve or Prodigy. The three services withered. Mostly, people who were older held onto their AOL accounts because they still had an email address linked to AOL and it was a little confusing to try to get a new email address. But over time, with help from the younger generation, even those people were able to shift to using new email services and enjoy the Web. 

Soon after people became excited about the Web, business people started to say it was sad that AOL and Compuserve and Prodigy had withered away because they had been a great way to make money for a time. 

The business people decided that there should be a way to make something like AOL, even though everyone thought Web sites were amazing and didn’t want to go back. A content company called CNET (a sister site of ZDNet)  invented a service called Snap Online. They put out T-shirts telling people it was like having AOL but so much better. They wrote the word Snap with an exclamation point — Snap! — so that it was even more exciting. 

The service, though, didn’t make a lot of money, in fact, it cost CNET a lot of money, $101 million dollars through 1999, before CNET sold it to another company called NBC Internet. NBC eventually merged with a cable company called Comcast, and Snap was forgotten.  

Other people tried to make another AOL, including a group of the smartest venture capitalists in the world, who spent nearly $50 million to create a site that would be more like meeting real people, called Friendster. It had some success at the beginning because people really wanted to meet not just new people but people they knew. Then people cooled on Friendster, and it got sold — for a lot less money than it had taken to build it — to a Malaysian online payments firm. People mostly forgot about Friendster.

None of those failures deterred business people, and they created new services, including a service called MySpace, where people could put up information about their rock bands. 

Also: Why is your identity trapped inside a social network?

Finally, some smart people hit on a formula and they created some brand-new places for people to meet.

One of them was called Facebook. People got excited about Facebook because it was a place where they could find real people they knew, just like MySpace, but also because it had some features like AOL, like the game Farmville. 

Business people were even more excited because Facebook started to generate a lot of advertising revenue. Advertisers liked Facebook because it not only knew who was talking to whom, it also knew a little bit about the hobbies and interests of people. Advertisers liked that because they could use the information to “target” their ads like never before.

Smart people said that Facebook had what are known as “network effects.” It became more powerful the more people joined it. A scientist deduced the possible reason. It was because Facebook had what’s called a “scale free” network that solved the problem of how to meet up. Most people didn’t know that many people, but everyone knew one or two people who knew a whole lot of people. Those one or two people were the hubs in a social “graph” that allowed even lonely people to meet lots more people, in the same way everyone in Hollywood knew someone who had worked with the famous actor Kevin Bacon on a movie.

As more lonely people met new people — and old friends — via Facebook, Facebook grew and grew. Its revenue swelled from $153 million dollars a year to $2 billion to $18 billion until one day it was making almost $120 billion dollars a year selling advertisements as people did stuff together. Facebook became one of the most powerful entities in the world, worth over a trillion dollars, because it had so many people doing stuff, almost two billion people.

There were just a couple problems with Facebook. Facebook was a lot like AOL. It limited people by telling them with whom they could communicate. And unlike AOL and Compuserve and Prodigy, people couldn’t just be any fun identity they wanted, like picklefinger0237. They had to present themselves as themselves because advertisers liked to know who was talking to whom.

Many people didn’t really mind that they were limited in whom they could talk to. They liked to “build their brand,” they said, by showing off pictures of themselves and talking a lot about themselves. Also, people felt it was fine because just like with AOL, they had a couple other options, including Pinterest and Twitter and LinkedIn and Instagram, and even a new thing called Snap, without the exclamation point. Those were like having Compuserve and Prodigy back in the day.

But a few people got concerned. They noticed that not only did Facebook and services like it limit who could talk, and to whom those people could talk. The concerned people noticed that the services manipulated how people talked to one another, with computer algorithms called “data voodoo dolls.” Even business people became alarmed. They said Facebook had “zucked” people by betraying people’s trust. 

Also: Physics explains why there is no information on social media

One of the bad things was that people no longer had control. They had given so much information about themselves to Facebook and its competitors that it was like those companies owned people when they were in Cyberspace. 

The services didn’t seem to do a great job of handling people’s information, either. Even though they wouldn’t let people talk to just anyone they wanted, Facebook and the other services went and sold people’s information to people they didn’t know in far-away countries. And everywhere a person would go on the Internet, Facebook and its competitors would let advertisers keep following them, keeping track of them, which people had never counted on when they joined up.

Concerned thinkers said the new online services were watching everyone’s behavior and shaping it and invading their privacy. The consequences became worse and worse. People had thought they were relating to one another, but they were really screaming at one another like in a school lunchroom food fight. 

The reason they were screaming was because the data voodoo dolls and the other algorithmic tools weren’t really bringing people together, they were encouraging repetitive patterns of behavior, like getting people mad by constantly displaying the most inflammatory things people said about anything and everything. It was all for the purpose of sorting people’s behavior into convenient buckets as a way to communicate a clear buying signal to help advertisers

Even the people who were excited about building their brands had some misgivings. They suspected at times that their identities were not real. They were now simply a figment of an advertising database that constructed an identity for them in order to keep people coming to Facebook and other services. It was almost as if people didn’t exist anymore when they were in Cyberspace. 

Then one day, someone smart built a new technology that didn’t require people to sign away their information. Now, people could meet anyone they wanted and talk about whatever they wanted, not just what Facebook or its competitors said was okay. People felt more relaxed, too, because even though there were ads, people could meet up in Cyberspace without every single action they took being used to fuel an advertising machine. 

People got excited again, like the first time they found the Web and gave up on AOL.

But there our story ends, because that chapter has not yet been written.

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/facebook-is-the-aol-of-2021/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Motorola thinks it can take business from Apple (with this?)

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Exuding security?

Screenshot by ZDNet

Recently, I’ve developed an unhealthy fascination with Motorola.

Ever since the company declared itself and its wares to be “agents of change,” I’ve been desperate to witness the change I can believe in.

The company’s first attempt to think different sadly resembled something you’ve seen (far too) many times before.

Still, my eyes became oddly widened when I saw this headline: “Forget the new iPhone 13 — Motorola thinks it just made your next work phone.”

This gave me a shuddery feeling for more than one reason. This is an aggressive alternative to the iPhone 13? This is from Motorola?

And wait, what is a work phone anyway?

Given that the pincer movement between tech and corporate America has forced us to be always on (edge), thanks to mobile technology, how can a work phone really be separate from your usual phone?

It’s cumbersome to carry two phones around — though I know some do — just to listen out for one tune or another to alert you about “work.” Rather than say, “match,” “lover”, or “burgers.”

So I hastily devoured details of what this new Motorola work phone is. It’s called the Motorola Edge 20 Lite Business Edition.

There’s a potentially uncomfortable juxtaposition between “lite” and “business,” so could it be that this phone will alleviate work encumbrances?

I rushed to Motorola’s site, desperate to be moved.

I found these words from our sponsor: “The motorola edge 20 and edge 20 lite Business Edition devices are designed specifically to meet the needs of today’s enterprises. Stay safer and up to date with two Android OS updates and three years of monthly security patches.”

Yes, it really did have Motorola with a small m, which was remarkably modest. And I’m sure monthly security patches are welcome. But it’s just a shame they have to occur every month.

The next sentence was intriguing but may not please all grammarians: “motorola edge 20 and edge 20 lite Business Edition devices are secured by ThinkShield for mobile, a comprehensive set of hardware and software security features, and is Android Enterprise Recommended.”

In essence, then, what makes a business phone a business phone is, according to Motorola, security.

I always worry when any tech company promises security. It seems painfully clear that this is a promise best left as a mobile goal, rather than a nirvana attained.

These Business Edition phones are designed to be sold to businesses in bulk. It’s wise, then, to emphasize the security at their heart.

It does, though, incite another question or two. Why aren’t all phones equally secure? Would it really necessitate a price premium just to give you what you might actually expect as a norm? And talking of price, is the price the other main selling point of the Business Edition against the iPhone 13?

The Edge 20 lite Business Edition may, indeed, be a fine phone. Motorola is, indeed, gaining market share. And many will want it to become more of a competitor in what often seems a very limited race to dominance.

But if you’re going to be a change agent, change something radically. Offer a business phone that won’t work after 7 p.m., for example.

What do you mean no corporation would ever buy that? Aren’t they all about empathy these days?

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/motorola-thinks-it-can-take-business-from-apple-with-this/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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AT&T says it has big problems. A T-Mobile salesman showed me how big

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at-t.png

A big brand problem? They could start with that logo.

AT&T

I’ve missed going to phone stores.

This may not be a sentence you’ve heard from too many people lately, but I’ve often found talking to those actually selling the phones to be an enlightening experience.

So last week, mask in hand and anticipation in head and heart, I went to an AT&T store. My main goal was to see Samsung’s Galaxy Flip 3 and Galaxy Fold 3.

I’ve been an AT&T customer for almost 20 years. Those phones seem especially riveting to me, though I’ve never held one.

Perhaps an AT&T salesperson could inspire me to finally toss my iPhone to the winds.

This Number Is Not Available.

I walked into a reasonably sized AT&T store. There were two customers inside. Very quickly, I was greeted by a saleswoman clutching an iPad.

“What name should I put down?” she asked.

“Chris,” I said.

“Right now, the wait time is thirty minutes,” she replied, very matter-of-factly.

That seemed like an infernally long time, given the sparsely populated store on this weekday afternoon. She didn’t even ask why I was there and simply walked away.

Still, she agreed I could look around. I found the Fold and the Flip, opened them and closed them, and discovered the that the crease on the Fold 3 was markedly visible, while the Flip 3 looked exactly as I’d imagined — utterly charming.

But was I going to spend another 28 minutes in the store? Was I really minded to go back?

I left, with the latest words of AT&T CEO John Stankey swishing around my brain: “Frankly, I’m not satisfied with where the AT&T brand stands right now.”

He worries the company isn’t well positioned for the next 10 years. I worry it’s not well positioned to offer basic customer service right now.

You Want Service? What Sort Of Service?

I wandered away and wondered whether I could get any service at the nearest T-Mobile store. Phone stores can be a little like car dealers, zoned into particular areas.

So I replanted the mask on my face, walked in, stood for perhaps 30 seconds and was approached by a salesperson. This despite the fact that there were four customers in a store that’s smaller than AT&T’s.

“Hi. If I asked you an honest question, would you give me an honest answer?,” I began.

“Sure,” he said.

“Is the T-Mobile coverage better in my area than it used to be?”

“Let’s find out,” he replied.

He then walked me over to the counter and showed me his iPad. He let me type in my address and showed me precisely where the nearest tower is and the strength of the signal.

My house is right on the border between good and not-so-good in signal terms. He was honest enough to not only show it, but not to offer some twisted reasoning for why it was actually guaranteed to be good.

He said that, over the next few years, the signal would improve a lot. And when I made a joke about 5G — there really are so many — he revealed he was a toggler.

“I manually switch from 4G to 5G to see where I can get a better signal,” he said. Which doesn’t sound like the sort of thing most people would be bothered doing.

Still, this was already a very pleasant chat. So I dared to ask about Samsung’s folding phones, the reason I’d gone to the AT&T store.

He took me through a comprehensive explanation of his views on the phones. The Fold 3, he said, still had issues because app designers hadn’t got around to adjusting to the Fold 3’s dimensions. He felt that YouTube just didn’t look great on the phone.

The Flip 3, though, was far more ready for everyday use, he said. The more I stared at it and fiddled with it, the more I liked it. 

I could even sink to admitting I wanted it.

Customer Service After My Own Heart.

“The problem is I’m iPhone,” I said. “I just don’t know if I can live with Android.”

“Same,” he replied. “Most of my friends and family have iPhones. If you have just one Android person on a group text, it throws everything.”

The feeling I got as a customer was that, regardless of how many people were in the store, he’d have continued the conversation.

I’d experienced this sort of service attitude at a T-Mobile store before, but I’d imagined it was perhaps a one-off, a single enthusiast. But to maintain this standard of service during and emerging from a pandemic was remarkable.

We chatted a little more. I was (pleasantly) startled to finally find another human being who refuses to put a case on his phone. He proudly showed his shiny silver iPhone 12, perfectly well cared for, while I displayed my slightly more careworn blue iPhone 12.

It’s a rare feat of customer experience when you find yourself unable to buy the product, but desperately wanting to buy something from this person.

Yet, given that working from home has long been my lot in life, I need a decent phone signal at all times and T-Mobile can’t yet guarantee that.

So, Mr. Sankey of AT&T, I know that your phone stores are likely a sad pimple on the chin of your brand perception. I know that you want to take AT&T to “a new place.” One, I imagine, that’s blissfully virtual.

But you might want to learn a thing or two about customer service from T-Mobile. Just as T-Mobile might want to learn a thing or two about security from, well, just about anyone who knows a thing or two about security.

It may well be that all phone brands will soon shut their stores and force customers to shop entirely online.

It may well be that they’ll leave the likes of Best Buy to provide actual physical experience and advice. But customer service remains something that matters to, you know, real humans.

This particular salesman got nothing out of our conversation. I asked him to please hurry the signal improvement near my house. (He said he’d get right on it.)

But, as I walked out of the store, I felt so good about the interaction that it genuinely lifted my day.

Then I looked at my phone and thought: “Hey, it’s still five minutes before anyone at the AT&T store will talk to me.”

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/at-t-says-it-has-big-problems-a-t-mobile-salesman-showed-me-how-big/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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Ninja Van snags $578M in Series E, pulling in Alibaba as new investor

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Ninja Van has snagged $578 million in Series E funding, pulling in existing and new investors that include Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. The latest round comes over a year after it secured $279 million in Series D and amidst talks it is targeting a US public listing. 

Singapore-based logistics services operator Ninja Van said Sunday its latest funding round pulled in existing investors Geopost/DPDgroup, B Capital Group, Monk’s Hill Ventures, and Zamrud. Alibaba also participated in this round as a new investor, said Ninja Van. 

The funds injection would go towards beefing up its infrastructure and technology systems to support “a sustainable long-term cost structure”, Ninja Van said. It added that the investment also would support the “quality and consistency” of its operations, as well as its micro-supply chain service offerings aimed at helping businesses in Southeast Asia tap e-commerce opportunities.

Launched in 2014, Ninja Van currently has operations across six Southeast Asian markets including Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The last-mile logistics operator delivers some 2 million parcels daily and works with more than 1.5 million active shippers across the region, including Alibaba’s subsidiary Lazada, Tokopedia, Zalora, and Shopee. 

This figure includes unique active shippers that have placed an order with Ninja Van in the past 12 months, Ninja Van said, adding that it delivers to almost 100 million recipients. The company employs more than 61,000 staff and delivery personnel in the region.

Ninja Van Group’s co-founder and CEO Lai Chang Wen said in the statement: “The quality of investors joining us in this round of investment is a clear signal that the market recognises the emerging opportunities for e-commerce logistics in Southeast Asia and how as an entrenched player in the region, Ninja Van is positioned to take a central role in meeting the shifting demands of both businesses and consumers. We remain committed to the success of all our business partners as we move towards the next stages of sustainable growth and continued innovation.”

Lai in July told Financial Times it was “a year away” from a public listing, likely in the US, with discussions with advisors rumoured to have started. 

Ninja Van in May 2020 pulled $279 million in its Series D funding round, which it then said would be tapped to drive its presence in the business-to-business (B2B) segment as well as expand its services for small businesses and business-to-consumer (B2C) brands. The round attracted several new and existing investors including, Grab, Golden Gate Ventures Growth Fund, Monk’s Hill Ventures, and B Capital, which is helmed by Facebook’s co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

That same month, Ninja Van said it expected to see another triple-digital volume growth this year in Thailand, where it recorded a 300% climb in shipments in 2020. The company would increase its parcel processing capacity in the country when its new automated sorting facility was scheduled to open later this year. The new site would be able to handle 800,000 parcels a day, supporting next-day delivery across the country including Bangkok and the eastern regions, Ninja Van said, adding that it was hiring another 1,000 employees in Thailand to support another 100 new regional and local distribution centres.

Southeast Asia is projected to be home to 350 million online shoppers by end-2021, up from 310 million last year, according to the latest annual study conducted by Bain & Company and commissioned by Facebook. Online spending also is expected to grow 60% per person this year, pushing total e-commerce sales to expand two-fold to $254 billion in gross merchandise value by 2026. The average consumer in the region was estimated to spend $381 online this year, compared to $238 last year, before hitting a projected $671 in 2026. 

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Source: https://www.zdnet.com/article/ninja-van-snags-578m-in-series-e-pulling-in-alibaba-as-new-investor/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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