Black Friday TVs Continue Downward Pricing Spiral

DealNews, a consumer site that wades through retailer promotions all year long, expects upcoming Black Friday TV sales to continue the long-held trend of deep limited discounting. Doorbusters will fall as low as $170 for a 40-inch 4K TV, predicted the site, and $879 for a 70-inch model. Some consumers will even be able to snag 55-inch 4K TVs for the same price as a 1080p model, it added. As for the retailer with the lowest TV prices, that crown will go to Best Buy, forecast DealNews, while the best deals will likely be found on Thanksgiving rather than Black Friday proper.

Our Take: Doorbuster dominance on Turkey Day is unfortunate news for most brickand-mortar retailers, as the decision to open on Thanksgiving shifts from a choice to a mandate.

IBM & MIT To Create Watson AI Lab

IBM will make a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT. The lab will carry out artificial intelligence research in hope of unlocking the potential of AI, as well as advancing AI hardware, software and algorithms related to deep learning; increase AI’s impact on such industries as health care and cybersecurity; and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society.

Our Take: A fun fact revealed by the groups: MIT researchers were among those who helped coin the “artificial intelligence” phrase in the 1950s.

Consumers Wary Of Face ID For Payment

More than 40 percent of U.S. iOS users consider themselves unlikely to use facial recognition as a payment security technology, according to a recent study from Juniper Research. Contactless payment users considered fingerprint sensors and voice recognition more appealing authentication methods, the firm noted, with 74 percent and 62 percent respectively saying they are likely to use these technologies.

Our Take: We wonder if Absorbits has thought about selling them in public-restroom vending machines. Just saying.

Headphones Market Still Heating Up

More than three-quarters (77 percent) of U.S. adult broadband users own a pair of headphones or ear buds, according to The Diffusion Group, up 20 percent from early 2016. And although most mobile devices include a pair of ear buds, the research firm said that half of headset users never them. .

Our Take: Given the previous ubiquity of those little white ear buds, this last fact should be especially encouraging to audio and accessory manufacturers.

‘Alexa, Where Should Amazon Build Next?’

Amazon is looking to build a second headquarters site in North America, and is accepting proposals from potential state and local government hosts. Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos said the new $5 billion facility will “be a full equal” to the company’s current headquarters in downtown Seattle, which it occupied in 2010. The company also announced plans to build its first distribution center in New York State. The new 855,000-square-foot warehouse, located in Staten Island, will be staffed by more than 2,250 full-time workers. It will likely support same-day delivery in New York City and its environs, as Amazon continues to saturate the country with infrastructure.

Our Take: While its brick-and-mortar ubiquity is dramatically cutting delivery times to customers, it also has caused Amazon to relinquish its tax-free edge in online transactions — perhaps an acceptable if not inevitable tradeoff in Amazon’s calculus.


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