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10 deals you don’t want to miss on Sunday: Rare Nest Thermostat sale, Alexa in your car for $19.99, $12 Kasa smart bulbs, more
Amazon Deals

Sunday marks the first day of August. And with each new month, we know we're going to get a ton of great new daily deals. Today is no exception, and we dug through as many as we could to come up with the 10 best ones. You definitely don't want to miss these fantastic sales! Here are the highlights:

See all of today's top deals down below!


Echo Auto - Hands-free Alexa in your car (Certified Refurbished)

Echo Auto - Hands-free Alexa in your car (Certified Refurbished)

Price: $19.99
You Save: $25.00 (56%)
Buy Now


Google Nest Thermostat - Smart Thermostat for Home

Google Nest Thermostat - Smart Thermostat for Home

Price: $114.00
You Save: $15.99 (12%)
Buy Now


Tertill Automatic Garden Weeder - A better way to weed

Tertill Automatic Garden Weeder - A better way to weed

Price: $295.00
You Save: $54.00 (15%)
Buy Now


Govee Mini Smart Plugs with Alexa and Google Assistant (4 Pack)

Govee Mini Smart Plugs with Alexa and Google Assistant (4 Pack)

Price: $19.99
You Save: $5.00 (20%)
Buy Now


Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

Price: $139.98
You Save: $59.02 (30%)
Buy Now


Hyundai HyFlip 11.6

Hyundai HyFlip 11.6

Price: $229.99
You Save: $30.00 (12%)
Buy Now


Tuff & Co. Crystal Clear iPhone Case Military-Grade Drop Tested

Tuff & Co. Crystal Clear iPhone Case Military-Grade Drop Tested

Price: Price too low to display
Buy Now


TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Bulb KL110

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Bulb KL110

Price: $11.99
You Save: $5.00 (29%)
Buy Now


Deal of the Day: Save on Welhome Bath & Bed Linen

Deal of the Day: Save on Welhome Bath & Bed Linen

Price: $18.23–$97.99
Buy Now


All-New Toshiba 50-inch 50C350KU C350 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV

All-New Toshiba 50-inch 50C350KU C350 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV

Price: $369.99
You Save: $100.00 (21%)
Buy Now

Go here to see this month's best deals on Amazon!

The post 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Sunday: Rare Nest Thermostat sale, Alexa in your car for $19.99, $12 Kasa smart bulbs, more appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Amazon’s giving away $15 credits, but this is your last chance to get one
  2. Amazon coupon slashes our favorite self-emptying robot vacuum to its lowest price ever
  3. Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!
  4. 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: $5 Alexa smart plugs, $110 electric standing desk, rare Nest Thermostat deal, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed
  2. Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks really going to happen? Here’s what you need to know
  3. Netflix’s new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie finally starts streaming today

10 deals you don’t want to miss on Sunday: Rare Nest Thermostat sale, Alexa in your car for $19.99, $12 Kasa smart bulbs, more originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 1 Aug 2021 at 07:59:16 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Best Deals on Amazon (August 2021)
Best Deals on Amazon


These are today's Best Amazon Deals, starting at $1

These are today's Best Amazon Deals, starting at $1

Price: Click for today's deals
Buy Now

Looking for the best deal on an Amazon device? Or perhaps you need something for your home? No matter what you're looking for, Amazon should have a great deal for you. That's exactly why we've put together this guide best deals on Amazon.

You don't necessarily have to wait for Amazon Prime Day to get awesome deals. In fact, Amazon always runs great deals on all kinds of its own products. But, third-party companies that sell on Amazon also offer excellent regular deals.

To help you find the best Amazon deals right now, we've listed our favorites below.

Best deals on Amazon at a glance

Best smart home deals on Amazon

Smart home devices help your home run a bit more smoothly. Here are the best smart home deals on Amazon right now.


Echo Auto - Hands-free Alexa in your car (Certified Refurbished)

Echo Auto - Hands-free Alexa in your car (Certified Refurbished)

Price: $19.99
You Save: $25.00 (56%)
Buy Now


Govee Mini Smart Plugs with Alexa and Google Assistant (4 Pack)

Govee Mini Smart Plugs with Alexa and Google Assistant (4 Pack)

Price: $19.99
You Save: $5.00 (20%)
Buy Now


TP-Link Kasa mini smart plugs with Alexa and Google (4 Pack)

TP-Link Kasa mini smart plugs with Alexa and Google (4 Pack)

Price: $23.99
You Save: $3.00 (11%)
Buy Now


Google Nest Thermostat - Smart Thermostat for Home

Google Nest Thermostat - Smart Thermostat for Home

Price: $114.00
You Save: $15.99 (12%)
Buy Now


Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub

Chamberlain MyQ Smart Garage Hub

Price: $22.99
You Save: $6.99 (23%)
Buy Now


Certified Refurbished Ring Video Doorbell 2

Certified Refurbished Ring Video Doorbell 2

Price: $89.99
You Save: $30.00 (25%)
Buy Now


TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Bulb KL110

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Bulb KL110

Price: $11.99
You Save: $5.00 (29%)
Buy Now


TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Bulbs, Full Color Changing Dimmable

TP-Link Kasa Smart Light Bulbs, Full Color Changing Dimmable

Price: $17.99
You Save: $2.00 (10%)
Buy Now


Sengled Alexa Light Bulb, Bluetooth Mesh Smart Light Bulbs

Sengled Alexa Light Bulb, Bluetooth Mesh Smart Light Bulbs

Price: $26.99 ($6.75/Count)
You Save: $3.00 (10%)
Buy Now


SYSPERL V10 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

SYSPERL V10 Robot Vacuum Cleaner

Price: $69.99
You Save: $16.00 (19%)
Buy Now


SwitchBot Smart Switch Button Pusher

SwitchBot Smart Switch Button Pusher

Price: $29.00
You Save: $10.00 (26%)
Buy Now


SwitchBot Hub Mini Smart Remote

SwitchBot Hub Mini Smart Remote

Price: $39.00
You Save: $10.00 (20%)
Buy Now


Echo Dot (4th Gen) + Amazon Smart Plug | Charcoal

Echo Dot (4th Gen) + Amazon Smart Plug | Charcoal

Price: $59.99
You Save: $14.99 (20%)
Buy Now

Best headphones deals on Amazon

A great pair of headphones can change how you listen to music. Here are the best headphone deals on Amazon.


Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

Price: $197.00
You Save: $52.00 (21%)
Buy Now


Apple AirPods with Charging Case (Wired)

Apple AirPods with Charging Case (Wired)

Price: $119.00
You Save: $40.00 (25%)
Buy Now


Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case

Price: $139.98
You Save: $59.02 (30%)
Buy Now


New Apple AirPods Max - Space Gray

New Apple AirPods Max - Space Gray

Price: $524.95
Buy Now


iJoy Matte Finish Premium Wireless Headphones

iJoy Matte Finish Premium Wireless Headphones

Price: $16.99
You Save: $1.00 (6%)
Buy Now


Zihnic Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Zihnic Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Price: $24.69
You Save: $1.30 (5%)
Buy Now


TOZO T6 True Wireless Earbuds

TOZO T6 True Wireless Earbuds

Price: $25.19
You Save: $10.80 (30%)
Buy Now


TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds

TOZO T10 Bluetooth 5.0 Wireless Earbuds

Price: $23.99
You Save: $5.99 (20%)
Buy Now

Best home theater deals on Amazon

Need a new TV or TV-related product? There are plenty of deals for you. Here are the best home theater deals on Amazon right now.


KMOUK TV Soundbar with 3D Surround Sound, Bluetooth 5.0, for PC/Home Theater

KMOUK TV Soundbar with 3D Surround Sound, Bluetooth 5.0, for PC/Home Theater

Price: $49.99
You Save: $10.00 (17%)
Buy Now


Vizio V51-H6 36" 5.1 Channel Home Theater Soundbar System (Renewed)

Vizio V51-H6 36" 5.1 Channel Home Theater Soundbar System (Renewed)

Price: $175.00
Buy Now


Roku Express 4K+ 2021 | Streaming Media Player HD/4K/HDR

Roku Express 4K+ 2021 | Streaming Media Player HD/4K/HDR

Price: $29.99
You Save: $10.00 (25%)
Buy Now


YABER Pro V7 9500L Portable Home Theater Projector

YABER Pro V7 9500L Portable Home Theater Projector

Price: $214.99
You Save: $40.00 (16%)
Buy Now


Projector Screen 120 inch 16:9 HD Foldable Anti-Crease

Projector Screen 120 inch 16:9 HD Foldable Anti-Crease

Price: $22.03
You Save: $1.92 (8%)
Buy Now


XGIMI Horizon 1080p FHD Projector

XGIMI Horizon 1080p FHD Projector

Price: $1,049.00
Buy Now


XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K Portable Home Theater Projector

XGIMI Horizon Pro 4K Portable Home Theater Projector

Price: $1,549.00
Buy Now

Best laptop and tablet deals on Amazon

Looking for a new laptop or tablet to help you get your work done, or stay entertained? Check out our favorite laptop and tablet deals on Amazon right now.


2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray (4th Generation)

2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray (4th Generation)

Price: $539.00
You Save: $60.00 (10%)
Buy Now


Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4 11.6-inch 64GB eMMC, 4GB RAM

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 4 11.6-inch 64GB eMMC, 4GB RAM

Price: $199.99
You Save: $50.00 (20%)
Buy Now


Hyundai HyFlip 11.6

Hyundai HyFlip 11.6

Price: $229.99
You Save: $30.00 (12%)
Buy Now


Thinnote-A 14.1

Thinnote-A 14.1

Price: $219.99
You Save: $80.00 (27%)
Buy Now


Hyundai HyBook 14.1

Hyundai HyBook 14.1

Price: $279.99
You Save: $20.00 (7%)
Buy Now


2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display

2020 Apple MacBook Air Laptop: Apple M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display

Price: $849.99
You Save: $149.01 (15%)
Buy Now


2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip

2020 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip

Price: $1,099.99
You Save: $199.01 (15%)
Buy Now

Best mobile deals on Amazon

Maybe you want a smartphone or an accessory for your phone, or a new iPhone 12. Here are the best mobile deals on Amazon.


Tuff & Co. Crystal Clear iPhone Case Military-Grade Drop Tested

Tuff & Co. Crystal Clear iPhone Case Military-Grade Drop Tested

Price: $15.99
Buy Now


Echo Auto - Hands-free Alexa in your car (Certified Refurbished)

Echo Auto - Hands-free Alexa in your car (Certified Refurbished)

Price: $19.99
You Save: $25.00 (56%)
Buy Now


New Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS, 40mm)

New Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS, 40mm)

Price: $346.21
You Save: $52.79 (13%)
Buy Now


New Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular, 40mm)

New Apple Watch Series 6 (GPS + Cellular, 40mm)

Price: $429.00
You Save: $70.00 (14%)
Buy Now


Anker 10W Max Wireless Charger, Upgraded PowerWave Pad

Anker 10W Max Wireless Charger, Upgraded PowerWave Pad

Price: $8.49
You Save: $7.50 (47%)
Buy Now


Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank for iPhone 12 Series

Anker PowerCore Magnetic 5K Wireless Power Bank for iPhone 12 Series

Price: $49.99
Buy Now

Best kitchen deals on Amazon

Everyone's kitchen could use something fresh. Here are the best kitchen deals on Amazon to help achieve that.


Mibote 93 Pcs Accessories Set for Instant Pots

Mibote 93 Pcs Accessories Set for Instant Pots

Price: $26.99
Buy Now


The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook with 800 Recipes

The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook with 800 Recipes

Price: $4.99
Buy Now


Instant Pot Duo Plus Multi-Use Electric Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot Duo Plus Multi-Use Electric Pressure Cooker

Price: $99.95
You Save: $20.04 (17%)
Buy Now

Best gaming deals on Amazon

Gaming can be expensive -- but the best gaming deals on Amazon will help you save some serious cash.


SanDisk 128GB MicroSDXC with Nintendo Switch Online 12-Month Individual Membership

SanDisk 128GB MicroSDXC with Nintendo Switch Online 12-Month Individual Membership

Price: $46.86
You Save: $8.12 (15%)
Buy Now


SanDisk 128GB microSDXC Card, Licensed for Nintendo Switch

SanDisk 128GB microSDXC Card, Licensed for Nintendo Switch

Price: $23.25
You Save: $11.74 (34%)
Buy Now

Other deals on Amazon

Looking for something else? Here are the rest of the best deals on Amazon you can take advantage of right now.


OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker

OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker

Price: $25.99
You Save: $9.00 (26%)
Buy Now


Wyze Cam v3 with Color Night Vision, Wired 1080p HD Indoor/Outdoor

Wyze Cam v3 with Color Night Vision, Wired 1080p HD Indoor/Outdoor

Price: $35.98
Buy Now


1/4Ct Women Round Diamond Stud Earrings Set In Sterling Silver

1/4Ct Women Round Diamond Stud Earrings Set In Sterling Silver

Price: $59.90
Buy Now


1/2Ct Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Stud Earrings in 14K Gold Classic Setting

1/2Ct Round Brilliant Cut Diamond Stud Earrings in 14K Gold Classic Setting

Price: $229.99
Buy Now


SanDisk 400GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card

SanDisk 400GB Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card

Price: $44.99
You Save: $25.00 (36%)
Buy Now


AquaSonic Black Series Ultra Whitening Electric Toothbrush

AquaSonic Black Series Ultra Whitening Electric Toothbrush

Price: $36.95 ($36.95/Count)
Buy Now


All-New Toshiba 50-inch 50C350KU C350 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV

All-New Toshiba 50-inch 50C350KU C350 Series LED 4K UHD Smart Fire TV

Price: $369.99
You Save: $100.00 (21%)
Buy Now


Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 32-inch Smart HD TV - Fire TV

Insignia NS-32DF310NA19 32-inch Smart HD TV - Fire TV

Price: $129.99
You Save: $70.00 (35%)
Buy Now


Toshiba 43LF621U21 43-inch Smart 4K UHD with Dolby Vision

Toshiba 43LF621U21 43-inch Smart 4K UHD with Dolby Vision

Price: $289.99
You Save: $60.00 (17%)
Buy Now

The post Best Deals on Amazon (August 2021) appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Amazon’s giving away $15 credits, but this is your last chance to get one
  2. Amazon coupon slashes our favorite self-emptying robot vacuum to its lowest price ever
  3. Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!
  4. 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: $5 Alexa smart plugs, $110 electric standing desk, rare Nest Thermostat deal, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed
  2. Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks really going to happen? Here’s what you need to know
  3. Netflix’s new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie finally starts streaming today

Best Deals on Amazon (August 2021) originally appeared on BGR.com on Sun, 1 Aug 2021 at 07:00:20 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


New movies and TV shows in August that everyone is most excited for
New movies and TV shows

If the lawsuit filed by Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson suggests anything beyond the immediate specifics of the legal case, it's the quite obvious implication that Hollywood has changed for good. That even Tinseltown surely now recognizes  we live in a streaming-first world. And that the pandemic has hastened a transition away from old models and old consumption habits. And there is no going back. Accordingly, there's now more competition than ever before for your streaming dollars as well as the most valuable asset of all -- your time. Indeed, a list of the most anticipated new movies and TV shows makes abundantly clear just how much the game has changed. How stiff the competition now is. And how much quality material continues to pile up for streaming audiences.

Today's Top Deal


Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Price: $22.99
You Save: $6.99 (23%)
Buy Now

Continue reading...

The post New movies and TV shows in August that everyone is most excited for appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Amazon’s giving away $15 credits, but this is your last chance to get one
  2. Amazon coupon slashes our favorite self-emptying robot vacuum to its lowest price ever
  3. Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!
  4. 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: $5 Alexa smart plugs, $110 electric standing desk, rare Nest Thermostat deal, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed
  2. Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks really going to happen? Here’s what you need to know
  3. Netflix’s new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie finally starts streaming today

New movies and TV shows in August that everyone is most excited for originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 31 Jul 2021 at 18:26:09 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed
Black Panther Actor

Devastating news dropped about a year ago. Chadwick Boseman, the beloved Black Panther actor, had died after quietly battling cancer for years. Not even Disney knew about his condition. Speculation ran rampant about how Marvel would deal with the loss. The Black Panther sequel was in development, although it was clear that changes would be needed.

In the months that followed Boseman’s death, we saw all sorts of rumors about the next Black Panther actor. Fans called for Marvel not to recast T’Challa. Instead, Shuri (Letitia Wright) should be Wakanda’s new warrior leader. Marvel then announced the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever title in December. It was at that point when Kevin Feige confirmed that Marvel would not replace Boseman with a new actor. The top Marvel exec did not say who would play Black Panther in the sequel at the time. Now, however, a new leak may reveal Marvel's plans for Black Panther in Wakanda Forever. Mind you, some spoilers follow below.

Today's Top Deal


Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Price: $22.99
You Save: $6.99 (23%)
Buy Now

Continue reading...

The post Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Amazon’s giving away $15 credits, but this is your last chance to get one
  2. Amazon coupon slashes our favorite self-emptying robot vacuum to its lowest price ever
  3. Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!
  4. 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: $5 Alexa smart plugs, $110 electric standing desk, rare Nest Thermostat deal, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks really going to happen? Here’s what you need to know
  2. Netflix’s new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie finally starts streaming today
  3. PS5 update fixes one of the console’s stupidest problems

Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 31 Jul 2021 at 15:07:41 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


PS5 update fixes one of the console’s stupidest problems
PS5 update

It's been more than eight months since Sony launched the PlayStation 5. In that time, there have been a few system software updates, but they have all been relatively minor. This week, the first major update is finally rolling out to beta testers. Without a doubt, the most noteworthy feature of the update is support for M.2 SSD devices. It wasn't possible to expand the console's SSD storage at launch. But as of this update, it will be possible to insert M.2 SSD drives into the PS5's expansion slot. Of course, that isn't the only highlight of the update, as beta testers have found.

Today's Top Deal


Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Price: $22.99
You Save: $6.99 (23%)
Buy Now

Continue reading...

The post PS5 update fixes one of the console’s stupidest problems appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Amazon’s giving away $15 credits, but this is your last chance to get one
  2. Amazon coupon slashes our favorite self-emptying robot vacuum to its lowest price ever
  3. Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!
  4. 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: $5 Alexa smart plugs, $110 electric standing desk, rare Nest Thermostat deal, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed
  2. Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks really going to happen? Here’s what you need to know
  3. Netflix’s new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie finally starts streaming today

PS5 update fixes one of the console’s stupidest problems originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 31 Jul 2021 at 13:36:33 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


All these Netflix movies and shows are leaving in August, so it’s your last chance to stream them
Netflix Movies August

August is right around the corner and Netflix has announced its official release schedule for next month. Needless to say, we've spent plenty of time over the past week covering the new releases in store for subscribers next month. A whopping 56 different Netflix originals are set to debut over the course of August 2021. From Cooking With Paris and The Kissing Booth 3 to the hotly anticipated premiere of The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf, there's plenty to look forward to. New Netflix movies in August are also looking bright, with 57 new films set to be added to Netflix next month.

You should definitely check out the full Netflix August 2021 release schedule. Our coverage includes links to all the different titles so you can set reminders and add them to your Netflix queue. Of course, Netflix giveth and Netflix taketh away. There are indeed plenty of new additions on the way next month, but there are also plenty of titles set to leave Netflix's content catalog in August.

Today's Top Deal


Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!

Price: $22.99
You Save: $6.99 (23%)
Buy Now

Continue reading...

The post All these Netflix movies and shows are leaving in August, so it’s your last chance to stream them appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Amazon’s giving away $15 credits, but this is your last chance to get one
  2. Amazon coupon slashes our favorite self-emptying robot vacuum to its lowest price ever
  3. Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!
  4. 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: $5 Alexa smart plugs, $110 electric standing desk, rare Nest Thermostat deal, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed
  2. Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks really going to happen? Here’s what you need to know
  3. Netflix’s new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie finally starts streaming today

All these Netflix movies and shows are leaving in August, so it’s your last chance to stream them originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 31 Jul 2021 at 12:05:03 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Best Android phones in 2021: Which Android device is right for you?
Best Android Phones

Apple's iPhone series is rarely all that surprising. When you get a new iPhone, the overall experience is likely to be very similar to your previous device. Not so on the Android side though. There are Android phones of all shapes and sizes -- not to mention price points. In other words, there should be an Android phone for everyone. But that also means that finding the best Android phones can be a hard task.

Of course, that's why we've put together this guide.


Samsung Galaxy S21 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | US Version 5G

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | US Version 5G

Price: $749.99
You Save: $50.00 (6%)
Buy Now

There are a few things to consider before picking out an Android phone. For starters, you'll want to think about a budget. As mentioned, there are Android phones at all price points, meaning that no matter how much you want to spend, you should be able to find a solid device. You'll also want to consider the software experience. Android phones aren't all the same -- and many device manufacturers tweak Android to add new features, change the look and feel of the software, and more. You might like some approaches to this more than others.

As with any kind of computer, there are other things to consider. If you game a lot, you might want a device with a decent processor to keep those games running smoothly. You'll also want a phone with a decent display, and a good camera. Depending on your budget, it can be hard to find a phone with all of these things, but we'll highlight the advantages and disadvantages of each phone below.

Without further ado, here are the best Android phones.

Best Android phone overall: Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21 On Table

Pros: Excellent performance, smooth display, great camera, nice design

Cons: Display resolution isn't impressive, plastic body

Samsung seriously pulled the stops out for the Galaxy S21 series. The standard Galaxy S21 may not be as technically impressive as the much-more-expensive Galaxy S21 Ultra, but it's still more than enough Android phone for most. The device offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, coupled with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. On the front of the phone, you'll get a 1,080p display, which is frankly more than sharp enough for most. And, that's not to mention the fact that it's a 120Hz display, so it should offer a smooth experience overall.

The camera on the phone is pretty sweet too. The device comes with a triple camera system, with one 12-megapixel main camera, one 64-megapixel telephoto camera, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera -- and that should be more than versatile enough for most situations.

The phone isn't all that expensive either. While the Samsung Galaxy S20 came at $1,000, the Galaxy S21 starts at $800. Not bad.

Read our full review


Samsung Galaxy S21 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | US Version 5G

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G | Factory Unlocked Android Cell Phone | US Version 5G

Price: $749.99
You Save: $50.00 (6%)
Buy Now

Best premium Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Pros: Excellent display, great performance, versatile camera

Cons: Expensive

Looking for the best of the best and don't mind spending some cash? The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra may be the device to get. The Galaxy S21 Ultra does away with all of the possible issues you could have with the standard Galaxy S21. It has the same high-end processor, but swaps out the 1,080p display for one with a 1,440p resolution, has a glass back, and even chucks in an extra telephoto camera.

Basically, if you want a flagship device, this phone has everything you could want. That includes an excellent battery life, thanks to the 5,000mAh battery under the hood. The phone also supports Samsung's awesome new wireless DeX mode, which basically lets you use it like a desktop computer without the need for a dock or cable.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Price: $1,099.99
You Save: $100.00 (8%)
Buy Now

Best stock Android phone: Google Pixel 5

Pixel 5

Pros: Smooth software experience, excellent camera

Cons: A little pricey for the performance

Google took a slightly different approach to the Pixel series this year, doing away with the flagship-tier processor. But don't take that to mean that the Google Pixel 5 is a low-end phone. On the contrary, the phone offers an excellently smooth stock Android experience, a solid display, and more.

Under the hood, the phone offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor, which should still easily handle everything you can throw at it. And, of course, you'll get that awesome Pixel camera experience. The Pixel 5 offers a 12.2-megapixel main camera and a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera.

The phone is a little expensive for the specs that it offers, but if you want a stock Android experience, it's still the best way to go.


Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5

Price: $858.00
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Best Android phone for enthusiasts: OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus-9-Pro

Pros: Excellent display, solid camera, top-tier performance

Cons: Expensive

OnePlus has long made excellent phones with top-tier features, and the OnePlus 9 Pro is no exception to that rule. The device offers excellent performance, a great camera, and more features that Android enthusiasts would want.

For starters, the phone offers a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, along with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, so it should easily be able to handle everything you can throw at it. It also offers an incredibly smooth display, with a 1,440p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. And, it has a great quad camera system, with one 48-megapixel main camera, one 8-megapixel telephoto camera, one 50-megapixel ultrawide camera, and one 2-megapixel monochrome camera.

The downsides? The device is a little pricey, and while the camera is great, it's not quite as good as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra's.


OnePlus 9 Pro

OnePlus 9 Pro

Price: $975.19
You Save: $93.81 (9%)
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Best value Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Pros: Inexpensive, flagship-tier performance, great display

Cons: Aging a little

Looking for a near-flagship phone and don't want to spend $1,000? The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE is starting to get a little old, but it still has a lot going for it. The device comes with a Snapdragon 865, which is Qualcomm's last-generation flagship, along with either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. That should be more than powerful enough for most.

Despite the lower price tag, the Galaxy S20 FE also has a great display. It's a 6.5-inch display, with a 1,080p resolution -- but it has a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate. On the back, you'll get a triple camera system. That includes one 12-megapixel main camera, one 8-megapixel telephoto camera, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera.


Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Price: $599.99
You Save: $100.00 (14%)
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Best small Android phone: Asus Zenfone 8

Asus Zenfone 8

Pros: Compact, excellent performance, solid camera

Cons: Expensive

Do you miss the days of small-sized phones? The Asus Zenfone 8 is worth considering. The device offers top-tier performance, a solid display, and all in a compact design that you can easily use with one hand.

While the Zenfone 8 is small, it's not underpowered. It still has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, along with up to 12GB of RAM, and a 120Hz refresh rate that should make for a smooth experience overall.

So what about the downsides? Well, the battery isn't all that great -- which isn't surprising given the phone's size. And, the phone is pretty expensive.


Asus Zenfone 8 ZS590KS 5G Dual 256GB 16GB RAM Factory Unlocked (GSM Only | No CDMA - not Compat…

Asus Zenfone 8 ZS590KS 5G Dual 256GB 16GB RAM Factory Unlocked (GSM Only | No CDMA - not Compat…

Price: $927.99
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Best foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Fold 2

Galaxy Z Fold 2

Pros: Excellent performance, good camera, reliable

Cons: Foldables are still chunky, very expensive

Foldable phones are still in their infancy, but that doesn't mean that you should avoid them. In fact, the Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 has a lot going for it. It's a top-performing phone, and can unfold to show off a beautiful, tablet-sized screen.

On the front of the phone, you'll get a nice 6.23-inch display. Unfold the device, and you'll get a larger 7.6-inch display that's perfect for watching movies or gaming on the go.

There are other great things about the phone too. You'll get a solid triple camera system, with one 12-megapixel main camera, one 12-megapixel telephoto camera, and one 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. Under the hood, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, coupled with 12GB of RAM.

There are issues with the device. The phone is incredibly expensive, and foldables are still a bit chunky.


Samsung Galaxy Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Fold 2

Price: $1,389.99
You Save: $110.00 (7%)
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The post Best Android phones in 2021: Which Android device is right for you? appeared first on BGR.

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Best Android phones in 2021: Which Android device is right for you? originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 31 Jul 2021 at 10:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


Netflix quietly removed one of the most popular shows ever, and subscribers are freaking out
Jeopardy episodes

What is the reason why all of the Jeopardy episodes were pulled from Netflix?

Oh, I'm sorry -- that's not meant as the answer to a Final Jeopardy clue, even though it looks like one. That's actually what I and other fans of the longtime trivia game show are asking ourselves right now. In light of, well, this sudden move from the streamer. It comes as something of an extra surprise, since Netflix didn't include Jeopardy episodes in the list of announced content leaving the streamer this month. And Netflix hadn't been home to Jeopardy episodes for very long, either -- only about three years.

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The post Netflix quietly removed one of the most popular shows ever, and subscribers are freaking out appeared first on BGR.

Today's Top Deals

  1. Amazon’s giving away $15 credits, but this is your last chance to get one
  2. Amazon coupon slashes our favorite self-emptying robot vacuum to its lowest price ever
  3. Unreal deal gets you Amazon’s hottest smart home gadget for $23 – plus a $40 credit!
  4. 10 deals you don’t want to miss on Saturday: $5 Alexa smart plugs, $110 electric standing desk, rare Nest Thermostat deal, more

Trending Right Now:

  1. Marvel’s new Black Panther actor might have been revealed
  2. Are $2,000 monthly stimulus checks really going to happen? Here’s what you need to know
  3. Netflix’s new Jean-Claude Van Damme movie finally starts streaming today

Netflix quietly removed one of the most popular shows ever, and subscribers are freaking out originally appeared on BGR.com on Sat, 31 Jul 2021 at 09:01:13 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Marketers Need New Strategies To Parry Cookieless Advertising
The impending loss of third-party digital cookies will soon force the e-commerce advertising industry to shift its strategies fast. These developments are issuing a real blow to advertisers seeking to leverage third-party data. At issue now is how brands will regroup from these substantial changes to online advertising.

Google Cloud Seeks To Cure Retailers' Search Woes, Help Compete With Amazon
Google's new service aimed at beefing up the search capabilities of retailers' websites may make those sellers more competitive with Amazon. Google Cloud Retail Search hopes to address the staggering problem of "search abandonment," which costs retailers more than $300 billion a year in the U.S. alone, according to research performed by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Google Cloud.

Commerce Apps and CX: Designing for Engagement
Because they live on the ecosystem of mobile devices, people expect their apps to be user-friendly and instantly accessible. To attract and keep users, apps must deliver a seamless, simple, and intuitive experience. We spoke with experts in the fields of apps and CX to get their take on what makes for a winning app design, and where commerce apps are headed in the future.

Supercharging Customer Retention
AfterShip Cofounder and CPO Andrew Chan is an advocate of post-purchase engagement to boost customer retention. He advises that ensuring a convenient experience after purchase -- from shipping, tracking, returns, and reviews -- helps retailers sell more to happy, repeat consumers. We spoke with Chan to hear more about his strategies for supercharging customer retention.

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Google is now offering a permanent Chromecast and Stadia Controller bundle

With Stadia becoming available on Chromecast with Google TV in June, a bundle with the streaming dongle and a Stadia Controller made a lot of sense. At the time, Google offered the two at a special discount that was set to expire yesterday, but there's good news: it's now a permanent bundle that's even cheaper than before, as 9To5Google reports. 

With Google's Play and Watch with Google TV Package, you can pick up Chromecast with Google TV ($50 alone) and the Stadia Controller ($69) for $100, or $19 off the regular price — a bit better than the $17.25 discount offered earlier. If you prefer a hard connection, you can also get the Chromecast ethernet adapter for $10 more, for an additional $10 off.  

If you're okay with older hardware, Google is also offering the older Chromecast Ultra in a bundle with the Stadia Controller for $80. The Chromecast Ultra is no longer sold by itself, so this is likely going to be a limited-time offer. 

With the addition of a remote, Chromecast with Google TV went from being an also-ran streaming device to one of the best out there. It's far easier to navigate than before thanks to the new Google TV interface and works with Google Assistant for voice control. The Stadia Controller, meanwhile, works seamlessly with Chromecast and Google-powered TVs and runs over WiFi, allowing for minimal latency.  


The next 'Fortnite' concert stars Ariana Grande

Epic Games is continuing its string of superstar Fortnite concerts. The game developer has revealed a "Rift Tour" concert series that will star none other than pop songstress Ariana Grande. The first show takes place August 6th at 6PM Eastern, with subsequent shows on August 7th and 8th to ensure people in other time zones can tune in.

The game developer is warning concertgoers to arrive early (an hour before the show). The Rift Tour playlist will go live 30 minutes beforehand. It won't surprise you to hear that there will be themed cosmetic items, either. You can pick up an Ariana outfit to play as the pop star, and Piggy Smallz Back Bling adds a cute touch while you take down your battle royale rivals. Both should appear in the Fortnite Item Shop on August 4th at 8PM Eastern, and show attendees will pick up an umbrella glider.

Like with J Balvin, Travis Scott and other Fortnite performers, this is as much about attracting newcomers to the game as it is enticing people to come back. It's also notable that Epic is widening the range of artists to include female stars (recently unearthed plans for a Lady Gaga concert never panned out). In theory, Grande could help reel in people who wouldn't otherwise play Fortnite — even if only a fraction of them stick around once the "7 Rings" singer has moved on.


YouTube suspends Sky News Australia uploads over COVID-19 misinformation

YouTube is no stranger to temporarily banning media outlets for spreading COVID-19 misinformation, but its latest crackdown might be its largest yet. The Guardian and BBC News say the video service has banned Sky News Australia from uploading new videos for a week over accusations it spread COVID-19 misinformation. Multiple Sky videos reportedly violated rules denying the existence of the new coronavirus or claiming that hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin were effective treatments.

The clips didn't provide "sufficient countervailing context" to indicate the claims were false, YouTube told The Guardian. YouTube warned there was the potential for "real-world harm" from these videos. This just one "strike" against Sky — two more would lead to a permanent channel ban.

Sky said it found older videos that broke YouTube's rules, but rejected claims that any of its hosts denied COVID-19's existence. The broadcaster's digital editor alleged that YouTube was threatening free thought, although YouTube is notably focusing on demonstrable facts, not opinions.

The TV network has come under fire for its stance on COVID-19, particularly from host Alan Jones. He falsely claimed the SARS-CoV-2 virus was "not a pandemic" in 2020, and in July incorrectly maintained that the virus' Delta variant was neither dangerous nor affected by vaccines. An uproar over those last statements prompted Sky to make a formal apology on July 19th, removing the relevant video at the same time.

The suspension won't dramatically damage Sky's Australian revenue. It's still rare for YouTube to take that kind of action against a major media network, though. The move also sends a signal — large outlets can't count on their xxxx to shield them against YouTube crackdowns.


Zoom will pay $85 million to settle lawsuit over privacy and 'zoombombing'

Zoom is facing more consequences for its earlier privacy and security lapses. Reutersreports that Zoom has agreed to pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit accusing the video chat giant of violating privacy and enabling "zoombombing" (that is, trolls dropping into others' chats). The preliminary settlement also requires tougher security measures, such as warning about participants with third-party apps and offering special privacy-oriented training to Zoom staff.

Judge Lucy Koh said the company was largely protected against zoombombing claims thanks to the Communications Decency Act's Section 230 safeguards against liability for users' actions.

The settlement could also lead to payouts if the lawsuit achieves a proposed class action status, but don't expect a windfall. Subscribers would receive a refund of either 15 percent or $25, whichever was larger, while everyone else would receive as much as $15. Lawyers intended to collect up to $21.25 million in legal costs.

In a statement, Zoom denied doing anything wrong and said that privacy and security were "top priorities." The company previously agreed to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint over similar privacy issues, including the permanent web server it installed on Macs.

Zoom scrambled to bolster security for its video chats after a surge in pandemic-related use drew attention to vulnerabilities in its software and services. It started rolling out end-to-end encryption in October 2020, conducted reviews and made zoombombing more difficult. The improvements were too late for some users, though, and it's safe to say the settlement is a warning to companies that only belatedly tighten security for their apps.


Google won't let you sign in with very old Android versions after September 27th

Are you still holding on to a Nexus One for sentimental reasons? It might be time to move on. Reddit users and 91mobiles have learned that Google will no longer let you sign into the company's apps on devices running Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread) or lower from September 27th onward. You can still sign in on the web, but you'll have to update to at least the tablet-only Android 3.0 (realistically, Android 4.0) if you want to avoid major hassles while checking Gmail or navigating with Google Maps.

The cutoff is necessary to protect account privacy, Google said in an email to customers. We've asked Google if can elaborate on its reasoning.

This won't affect day-to-day phone use for many people, as you might guess. Gingerbread and earlier Android releases have so little usage share that they've been lumped into the "other" category for years, and the hardware already struggles to handle many modern tasks. However, it does mark a rare instance of Google cutting off basic functionality for older Android versions, not just OS updates or Play Services features. Think of this as Google setting a baseline — you'll need a device updated within the last decade to receive at least rudimentary support.


The creator of streaming 'Star Trek' shows will stay with CBS through 2026

Paramount+ effectively revolves around Alex Kurtzman given its continued dependence on Star Trek, and it's clear CBS will do whatever it takes to keep the director and producer aboard. CBS Studios has signed a deal that will have Kurtzman and his Secret Hideout unit exclusvely producing shows for Paramount+ and other platforms through 2026. He'll continue to lead Star Trek efforts for the "next six years," CBS said.

CBS didn't say how much it paid, although Deadline sources understood the agreement was in the "$150 million range." Kurtzman had two years left on an existing deal, but that was worth far less at 'just' $25 million.

Kurtzman has no less than six Star Trek shows underway, including existing productions Discovery, Picard and Lower Decks as well as upcoming efforts like Strange New Worlds, Prodigy and the currently unnamed Section 31 spinoff. He's also responsible for Showtime offerings like the upcoming The Man Who Fell to Earth TV remake, and has Secret Hideout working on projects like a Stephen King short story adaptation. 

It's not surprising that CBS would pay a premium for Kurtzman as a result. While he's not the only one creating well-known shows for Paramount+, losing him and Secret Hideout would risk leaving a giant gap in CBS' streaming strategy. The risk, of course, is that CBS is further tying its fate to one person and one production company — Paramount+ might be in a tough spot if there are ever major problems with Kurtzman's shows.


Apple Watch titanium models are largely unavailable

We hope you weren't planning to festoon your wrist with a titanium Apple Watch Series 6. As Bloomberg's Mark Gurman and Mac Rumors note, the titanium Apple Watch is largely unavailable through the company's online stores in the US and other countries, whether you try for delivery or pick-up. This applies regardless of your case or strap choices.

Gurman speculated in his "Power On" newsletter that Apple underestimated demand. It likely made a small number of titanium Apple Watches and stopped production "months ago" in anticipation of switching focus to Series 7, according to Gurman, but ran out prematurely as sales remained relatively strong. While we wouldn't classify the titanium Series 6 as a runaway hit if that's true, Apple's luxury wristwear might have fared better than expected.

Whether or not Apple offers a titanium Series 7 is uncertain. The tech giant has frequently shaken up its Watch Edition strategy, ditching its solid gold originals in favor of more affordable ceramic and, eventually, titanium. It might decide that the costs of manufacturing upscale watches doesn't justify the comparatively meager sales. There's always the Hermès models if you want to splurge. At the same time, though, titanium versions don't cost that much more in practice — and they might serve as halo watches that attract conventional watch enthusiasts as well as the wealthy.


Over 100 warship locations have been faked in one year

Abuses of location technology might just result in hot political disputes. According to Wired, SkyWatch and Global Fishing Watch have conducted studies showing that over 100 warship locations have been faked since August 2020, including the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and the US destroyer Roosevelt. In some cases, the false data showed the vessels entering disputed waters or nearing other countries' naval bases — movements that could spark international incidents.

The research team found the fakes by comparing uses of the automatic identification system (AIS, a GPS-based system to help prevent collisions) with verifiable position data by using an identifying pattern. All of the false info came from shore-based AIS receivers while satellites showed the real positions, for instance. Global Fishing Watch had been investigating fake AIS positions for years, but this was the first time it had seen falsified data for real ships.

It's not certain who's faking locations and why. However, analysts said the data was characteristic of a common perpetrator that might be Russia. Almost all of the affected warships were from European countries or NATO members, and the data included bogus incursions around Kaliningrad, the Black Sea, Crimea and other Russian interests. In theory, Russia could portray Europe and NATO as aggressors by falsely claiming those rivals sent warships into Russian seas.

Russia has historically denied hacking claims. It has a years-long history of using fake accounts and misinformation to stoke political tensions that further its own ends, though. And if Russia is connected, the faked warship locations might be a significant escalation of that strategy. Even though such an approach might not lead to shooting matches, it could get disconcertingly close.


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Tokyo Olympics: High jump event ends with unprecedented shared gold - CNET
In the most heartwarming moment of the Tokyo Olympics so far, Mutaz Essa Barshim and Gianmarco Tamberi opted to share a gold medal.
Olympics 2021: Simone Biles withdraws from floor exercise final - CNET
One event remains on Biles' schedule, Tuesday's balance beam final.
Square buys 'buy now pay later' service Afterpay for $29 billion - CNET
Buy now pay later services have flourished since the pandemic began, with PayPal introducing its own service in May.
The Suicide Squad review: DC sequel is cinematic trash poetry - CNET
James Gunn's 2021 sequel/reboot is gloriously gory and sick as hell
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See Mark Hamill before the de-aging visual effects in this behind-the-scenes first look.
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Our favourite documentaries on Netflix.
Climbing at the Tokyo Olympics: Start times, how to watch, predictions - CNET
What you need to know about climbing at the Tokyo Olympics.
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James Gunn's DC entry hits theaters and streaming soon.
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New Startup 'Sentral' Pushes High-End Rental/Homesharing Apartments
A new $500 million startup is now offering high-end apartments for short- and long-term rentals in America's "most vibrant, walkable neighborhoods". (And long-term renters can also avail themselves of its "turn-key homesharing pro

To Fight Vaccine Misinformation, US Recruits an 'Influencer Army'
The New York Times tells the story of 17-year-old Ellie Zeiler, a TikTok creator with over 10 million followers, who received an email in June from Village Marketing, an influencer marketing agency. "It said it was reaching ou

The Case for Another Antitrust Action Against Microsoft
"Since its own brush with antitrust regulation decades ago, Microsoft has slipped past significant scrutiny," argues a new article from The Atlantic. But it also asks if there's now a case for another antitrust action —

Zoom Agrees to $85M Settlement in Possible Class Action Over Data-Sharing, Zoombombing
Zoom has agreed to pay $85 million — and to bolster its security practices — to settle a lawsuit that had claimed Zoom violated users' privacy rights by sharing their personal data with Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, a

Are Python Libraries Riddled With Security Holes?
"Almost half of the packages in the official Python Package Index (PyPI) repository have at least one security issue," reports TechRadar, citing a new analysis by Finnish researchers, which even found five packages with more than

Hundreds of AI Tools Were Built to Catch Covid. None of Them Helped
At the start of the pandemic, remembers MIT Technology Review's senior editor for AI, the community "rushed to develop software that many believed would allow hospitals to diagnose or triage patients faster, bringing much-needed s

2 Red Objects Found In the Asteroid Belt. They Shouldn't Be There.
Slashdot reader fahrbot-bot quotes the New York Times: Two red things are hiding in a part of the solar system where they shouldn't be. The space rocks may have come from beyond Neptune, and potentially offer hints at the chaos of

Russia's 'Nonsensical, Impossible Quest' to Create Its Own Domestic Internet
"It was pretty strange when Russia decided to announce last week that it had successfully run tests between June 15 and July 15 to show it could disconnect itself from the internet," writes an associate professor of cybersecurity


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Kuda, the African challenger bank, raises $55M at a $500M valuation

Kuda Bank, the London-based, Nigerian-operating startup that is taking on incumbents in the country with a mobile-first, personalised and often cheaper set of banking services built on newer, API-based infrastructure, has been on a growth tear in the last several months, and to fuel its expansion, it has now raised another round of funding.

TechCrunch has learned, and confirmed with Kuda, that the startup has closed, via its London entity, a Series B of $55 million — money that it plans to use to double down not just on new services for Nigeria, but to prepare its launch into more countries on the continent, and in the words of co-founder and CEO Babs Ogundeyi, to build a new take on banking services for “ever African on the planet.”

The funding was made at a valuation of $500 million, and it comes on the back of some impressive early growth for the startup.

“We’ve been doing a lot of resource deployment has been in our operational entity, in Nigeria. But now we are doubling down on expansion and the idea is to build a strong team for the expansion plans for Kuda,” Ogundeyi told TechCrunch in an interview. “We still see Nigeria as an important market and don’t want to be distracted so don’t want to disrupt those operations too much. It’s a strong market and competitive. It’s one that we feel we need to have a strong hold on. So this funding is to invest in expansion and have more experience in the company with relation to expansion.”

Kuda now has 1.4 million registered users, which is more than double the number it had in March when it had 650,000 registered users — a figure it revealed when announcing its Series A of $25 million led by Valar Ventures.

We understand that this latest Series B was a relatively quick inside round — that is, it’s coming from existing investors. Co-led by Valar Ventures and Target Global, it also includes SBI and a number of previous angels also participating. Kuda was not proactively raising money at the time the Series B was initiated and closed.

“We felt that Babs and Musty” — Musty Mustapha, the co-founder and CTO — “are ambitious on another level. For them, it was always about building a pan-African bank, not just a Nigerian leader,” said Ricardo Schäfer, the partner at Target who led the round for the firm. “The prospect of banking over 1 billion people from day one really stood out for me at the beginning.”

You might notice that it’s only been four months since Kuda last announced a round of funding. Equity rounds raised in quick succession, sometimes just months apart, seems to be the order of the day at the moment, fueled in part by a lot of money being pumped into venture at the moment, but also by the state of the market. When the company in question is showing all the right growth metrics and is working in a particularly buzzy area, many will strike when the iron is hot. (GoPuff, which last week confirmed a $1 billion raise just months after a previous round, is another example of that happening from a different corner of the world.)

Neobanks — fintechs building a new generation disruptive of banking services based around more modern interfaces and infrastructure based around the concept of API-driven embedded finance — have been one of these areas, growing at a rate of nearly 50% annually in terms of revenues and projected to be collectively a $723 billion market by 2028.

Within that, we’re seeing a number of strong players emerging across the globe built on this model — Nubank out of Brazil, Revolut and N26 in Europe, WeBank in China, Varo and Chime in the U.S. among them. In this regard, Africa may be the last great untapped region when it comes to banking, one reason why Kuda is being eyed up and is seeing strong adoption.

The writing has been on the wall for years. A report from McKinsey on banking in Africa in 2018 identified a surge of interest in financial services that were delivered digitally, and that growth would be driven by a rapidly evolving middle class of consumers, while at the same time an ongoing death of accessible financial services for the majority of the population with some 300 million people still unbanked on the continent. It’s these three basic factors on which Kuda has built its own service.

Kuda is not the only one building and raising and growing. Others raising money for new fintech plays include payments company Chipper Cash, Airtel Africa, online lender FairMoney and more.

However, Kuda is unique among the neobanks in that it is building its services with its own banking license in hand.

This means that it can be more flexible and fast-moving when it comes to creating new products or tweaking existing ones, and it gives the company another level of credibility in a region where those who were already banking with incumbents might be more wary of new players.

Indeed, Kuda’s initial business model was built around providing banking services to people who still also held accounts with incumbent banks: people would have their salaries paid into their old accounts, and then transferred out to be spent and used in other ways via their Kuda accounts. Ogundeyi said that this is gradually shifting and more people are now bringing both paying-in and paying-out to their Kuda accounts.

Ogundeyi would not say which countries would be Kuda’s next targets. But he did note that its most recently-launched product, Kuda’s first move into credit by way of an overdraft allowance, is a sign of the things to come.

“It’s a unique product, an overdraft that we pre-qualify the most active users for,” he said. In Q2 it qualified over 200,000 users and pushed out $20 million worth of credit. With a 30-day repayment, he said, so far default has been “minimal” because of the company’s approach.

“We use all the data we have for a customer and allocate the overdraft proportion based on the customer’s activities, aiming for it not to be a burden to repay,” he added.

Andrew McCormack, a general partner at Valar Ventures who co-founded the firm with Peter Thiel and James Fitzgerald, said that the still-nascent potential of the market, and how Kuda is approaching that, were behind its decision invest in the startup another time.

“Kuda is our first investment in Africa and our initial confidence in the team has been upheld by its rapid growth in the past four months,” he said. “With a youthful population eager to adopt digital financial services in the region, we believe that Kuda’s transformative effect on banking will scale across Africa and we’re proud to continue supporting them.”


Indian online insurer PolicyBazaar files for IPO, seeks to raise over $800 million

Indian online insurance aggregator PolicyBazaar has filed for an initial public offering in which it is seeking to raise $809 million, becoming the fourth startup in the past two months from the South Asian market to explore public markets.

In papers submitted to the market regulator in India, PolicyBazaar said it is looking to raise $504 million by issuing new shares while the rest will be driven by sale of shares by existing investors.

The 12-year-old startup — backed by SoftBank, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, and InfoEdge — said it may consider raising about $100 million in a pre-IPO round. Softbank plans to sell shares worth over $250 million, while PolicyBazaar founders are looking to sell shares worth $52.7 million, they said in the papers.

PolicyBazaar serves as an aggregator that allows users to compare and buy policies — across categories including life, health, travel, auto and property — from dozens of insurers on its website without having to go through conventional agents. It operates in India as well as the Middle East.

PolicyBazaar website

In India only a fraction of the nation’s 1.3 billion people currently have access to insurance and some analysts say that digital firms could prove crucial in bringing these services to the masses. According to rating agency ICRA, insurance products had reached less than 3% of the population as of 2017.

An average Indian makes about $2,100 in a year, according to World Bank. ICRA estimated that of those Indians who had purchased an insurance product, they were spending less than $50 on it in 2017.

“India’s life insurance market is expected to grow at 18.8% p.a. to reach ? 31.9 trillion (US$ 425 billion) in FY2030, driven by favorable macro indicators, rising awareness towards financial products and services, digitization and simplification of products and processes, online channels for distributions, innovations and customizations in products and favorable government policies and regulatory push,” the startup said in the papers.

In a report early this year, analysts at Bernstein estimated that PolicyBazaar commands 90% of share in the online insurance distribution market. The platform, which competes with Acko as well as Amazon in India, also sells loans, credit cards and mutual funds. The startup says it sells over a million policies a month.

“India has an under-penetrated insurance market. Within the under-penetrated landscape, digital distribution through web-aggregators like Policybazaar forms <1% of the industry. This offers a large headroom for growth,” Bernstein analysts wrote to clients.

Zomato, which had a stellar public debut last month, as well as fintech firms Paytm and MobiKwik have filed for their initial public offerings in recent weeks.


Indian edtech Unacademy valued at $3.44 billion in $440 million fundraise

Indian online learning platform Unacademy has raised $440 million in a new financing round as investors double down on the South Asian market and elsewhere following a widening series of regulatory crackdowns in China that wiped hundreds of billions of dollars last month.

Temasek led the Bangalore-based startup’s new financing round — Series H — while Mirae Asset and existing investors including SoftBank Vision Fund 2, General Atlantic, Tiger Global as well as Deepinder Goyal of Zomato and Oyo’s Ritesh Agarwal participated in it, said the startup.

The new round values the six-year-old startup at $3.44 billion, up from $2 billion in November last year. The investment brings Unacademy’s to-date raise to about $860 million.

The online learning platform, which began its journey on YouTube and still uses Google’s video platform to on-board educators, helps students prepare for competitive exams to get into college, as well as those who are pursuing graduate-level courses.

On its app, students watch live classes from educators and later engage in sessions to review topics in more detail. The startup has over 50,000 educators on its platform, many of whom are very popular on YouTube. These educators help Unacademy sell more subscriptions and in return get a commission, according to industry executives familiar with the business arrangement.

Unacademy has amassed over 6 million monthly active users (over 600,000 of whom pay for the service) in over 10,000 cities in India.

Gaurav Munjal, Unacademy co-founder and chief executive, said the startup will deploy the fresh capital to broaden its bets on new categories such as upskilling, jobs and hiring.

Relevel is “giving people a path to get their dream job irrespective of their educational background, while Graphy is “empowering creators to build their online businesses to sell digital goods including NFTs,” he said in a tweet.

In a recent conversation with TechCrunch, Munjal said he wants Unacademy to become a consumer internet tech giant — perhaps the “Tencent of India.”

Spendings on education in India is among the highest globally (Source: A report from analysts at Goldman Sachs to clients last year.)

The startup competes with scores of firms including Byju’s, which is India’s most valuable startup (at $16.5 billion valuation), TAL-backed Vedantu, Tiger Global-backed Classplus, and Lightspeed Venture-backed Teachmint. (TAL’s American depositary receipts have dropped to some 70% in recent days from $90 early this year as investors retreat following China’s crackdowns.)

All these startups have reported growth in the past year as India — like most other countries — enforced lockdowns and closed schools to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Monthly active users of education learning firms’ Android apps in India, according to mobile insight platform App Annie (sourced by TechCrunch from industry execs.)

At stake is India’s online education market, which is estimated to generate $5 billion in revenue by 2025 (up from about $1 billion last year), according to analysts at Goldman Sachs.

As of last year, there were about 6 million students in India who were paying for an online learning app, a figure Bernstein analysts expect to reach about 70 million by the end of the decade.

Unacademy said last week it was creating a $40 million fund for educators on its platform. “On Day One (which is today) we already have more than 300 Educators eligible for the Grant which they will get immediately. Over the next few years we will give Grants of over $40M to our Educators,” said Munjal in a tweet.

The new investment comes at a time when Indian startups are raising record capital and a handful of mature firms are beginning to explore the public markets. Business-to-business commerce and financing startup Ofbusiness said over the weekend it had raised $160 million in a new financing round (led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2) at a valuation of $1.5 billion, becoming the 18th Indian startup to attain the unicorn status, up from 11 last year.


Square to buy ‘buy now, pay later’ giant Afterpay in $29B deal

In a blockbuster deal that rocks the fintech world, Square announced today that it is acquiring Australian buy now, pay later giant Afterpay in a $29 billion all-stock deal.

The purchase price is based on the closing price of Square common stock on July 30, which was $247.26. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022, contingent upon certain closing conditions. It values Afterpay at more than 30% premium to its latest closing price of A$96.66.

Square co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said in a statement that the two fintech behemoths “have a shared purpose.”

“We built our business to make the financial system more fair, accessible, and inclusive, and Afterpay has built a trusted brand aligned with those principles,” he said in the statement. “Together, we can better connect our Cash App and Seller ecosystems to deliver even more compelling products and services for merchants and consumers, putting the power back in their hands.”

The combination of the two companies would create a payments giant unlike any other. Over the past 18 months, the buy now, pay later space has essentially exploded, appealing especially to younger generations drawn to the idea of not using credit cards or paying interest and instead opting for the installment loans, which have become ubiquitous online and in retail stores.

As of June 30, Afterpay served more than 16 million consumers and nearly 100,000 merchants globally, including major retailers across industries such as fashion, homewares, beauty and sporting goods, among others.

The addition of Afterpay, the companies’ statement said, will “accelerate Square’s strategic priorities” for its Seller and Cash App ecosystems. Square plans to integrate Afterpay into its existing Seller and Cash App business units, so that even “the smallest of merchants” can offer buy now, pay later at checkout. The integration will also give Afterpay consumers the ability to manage their installment payments directly in Cash App. Cash App customers will be able to find merchants and buy now, pay later (BNPL) offers directly within the app.

Afterpay’s co-founders and co-CEOs Anthony Eisen and Nick Molnar will join Square upon closure of the deal and help lead Afterpay’s respective merchant and consumer businesses. Square said it will appoint one Afterpay director to its board.

Shareholders of Afterpay will get 0.375 shares of Square Class A stock for every share they own. This implies a price of about A$126.21 per share based on Square’s Friday close, according to the companies.

Will there be more consolidation in the space? That remains to be seen, and Twitter is all certainly abuzz about what deals could be next. Here in the U.S., rival Affirm (founded by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin) went public earlier this year. On July 30, shares closed at $56.32, significantly lower than its opening price and 52-week-high of $146.90. Meanwhile, European competitor Klarna — which is growing rapidly in the U.S. — in June raised another $639 million at a staggering post-money valuation of $45.6 billion.

No doubt the BNPL fight for the U.S. consumer is only heating up with this deal.


Unicorns are ready for a haircut

The digitization of your haircut may not have been on your 2020 bucket list, but 2021 has an even more surprising line item: Tech-powered barbershops are now a business proposition valued at nearly a billion dollars.

Squire is a back-end barbershop management tool for independent businesses. I first covered it in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. The startup raised millions of dollars days before its key clientele — barber shops — were shut down across the country. The company eventually went from defense to offense in its growth strategy, finding itself as a key partner for any barbershop that needed to start offering contactless payments, digital appointment booking and a more seamless customer experience built for a generation used to doing everything online.

This week, Squire tripled its valuation thanks to a Tiger-Global-led round. The company is now worth $750 million, after being valued at around $75 million when we first spoke to them.

When I spoke to co-founder Dave Salvant, who launched the company with Songe LaRon in 2016, he explained how the company is now in a spot to expand into other barbershop-specific value propositions — either through acquisitions or partnerships. This week, for example, Squire announced that it launched a payment processing arm with Bond, a venture-backed fintech infrastructure company. The company also partnered with Gusto to bring on HR services for its clientele. Salvant noted how the progress of tech, especially financial services, lets them offer up a strong product without needing to build everything in-house.

While these are partnerships for now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Squire begin to scoop up companies that can unlock value from its existing datasets of how barbershops function and what kind of capital comes in and out of those doors.

Behind the numbers:

It’s a company to watch that fits into the narrative of pandemic rocked, then proven startups looking to expand with fresh capitalization. Less common, though, is that Squire is now en route to becoming a historical and unfortunately still rare Black-led unicorn. More data points, the better.

In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll discuss Robinhood’s public debut and why a CEO thinks everyone needs to be them for a day. You can find me on Twitter @nmasc_.

Robinhood sells Robinhood

illustration of robinhood feather logo spraypainted on a brick wall

Image Credits: TechCrunch

The long-awaited Robinhood IPO is no longer long-awaited. After pricing at the lower end of its range, the consumer investing and trading app’s shares went down sharply, teetering between 8% to 10%.

Here’s what to know: IPO expert and fellow Equity co-host Alex Wilhelm gave us two reasons as to why Robinhood’s stock went down. After all, we’re used to pops in the consumer-facing tech company world.

Robinhood made a big chunk of its IPO available to its own users. Or, in practice, Robinhood curtailed early retail demand by offering its investors and traders shares at the same price and level of access that big investors were given. It’s a neat idea. But by doing so, Robinhood may have lowered unserved retail interest in its shares, perhaps reshaping its early supply/demand curve.

Or maybe the company’s warnings that its trading volumes could decline in Q2 2021 scared off some bulls.

You get to be a CEO, you get to be a CEO!

Burst balloons and party streamers on wooden floor

Image Credits: Richard Drury (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Now that free beer is no longer a company perk, the next best one may have emerged: Let anyone in your company become CEO for a day. Vincit CEO Ville Houttu implemented this program at his company in 2018 and said that the initiative has paid off “tenfold.”

Here’s how it works, per the company:

The program gives our employee the reins for 24 hours with an unlimited budget. The only requirement? The CEO must make one lasting decision that will help improve the working experience of Vincit employees. Whatever the CEO of the Day decides, the company sticks with. They can purchase something for the company, change a policy, update a tool we use … Really, anything that they come up with can be done.

You can see the resulting policies in our story, but in my humble opinion, the end result is definitely better than free beer.

Around TC

  • The TechCrunch Disrupt Agenda just went live. It’s a must-read line up and a must-attend event. Some standouts:
    • Pot, Pottery and Beyond with Seth Rogen (Houseplant), Haneen Davies (Houseplant) and Michael Mohr (Houseplant)
    • Breaking the Bank with Brian Armstrong (Coinbase)
    • Speaking SPAC with Chamath Palihapitiya (Social Capital)
    • Dogmatic Design with Melanie Perkins (Canva)
  • Shout out to Amanda Silberling, a recent addition to the TechCrunch team who has been absolutely crushing her consumer tech beat. Follow her on Twitter if you don’t already!

Across the week

Seen on TechCrunch

For more public market news, subscribe to The Exchange by Alex Wilhelm and Anna Heim.  

Seen on Extra Crunch

Talk soon,

N


The pandemic effect is slowing

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s inspired by what the weekday Exchange column digs into, but free, and made for your weekend reading. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here

Our work this week kicked off in China, dug into African startup activity, dealt with China once again, took a very deep dive into the Latin American startup ecosystem and wrapped with a second look at the Robinhood IPO. In other words, not much was really going on at all!

You may have been surprised to see Amazon’s stock fall off a cliff Friday. After all, the company posted huge revenue gains to just over $113 billion during the quarter. And AWS, its public cloud business, seemed to tick along nicely.

But investors had expected more growth and had priced the Seattle-based e-commerce player accordingly. When Amazon missed revenue expectations and projected Q3 2021 growth of “between 10% and 16% compared with third quarter 2020,” investors let go of its stock.

But as some in the financial press are noting, it’s not just Amazon that’s taking stick from investors. Etsy and eBay also fell this week. It appears that investors are anticipating that a period of turbocharged growth in e-commerce thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic is slowing at least, and may in fact be over. That means valuations are going to get reset at a host of companies, startups included.

Not that every company slowing down after the pandemic’s early phases is suffering, Duolingo managed a strong opening week as a public company despite slowing growth. But delta variant or not, the investing classes are changing their market framing. We’d be smart to keep that in mind.

It’s the products, stupid

Something that is stuck in my teeth this week is how much Robinhood has changed the game regarding consumer investing. Sure, this week was mostly about the company’s IPO and its somewhat relaxed early trading performance. But, buried in its final S-1/A filings is new evidence of Robinhood’s cultural impact.

At the top of the U.S. consumer investing unicorn’s filings is a pair of statistics. They look like this:

Image Credits: Robinhood

Dang, you are thinking, that’s a lot of funded accounts and monthly active users. But then again, those are March 31, 2021, numbers. They are out of date. In the same filing, Robinhood indicated that its June 30 quarter saw its funded accounts tally grow to 22.5 million. That’s 25% growth in a single quarter!

Naturally, there were a few things going on in the second quarter of this year that won’t happen again, but it’s still a bonkers result.

Early Robinhood investor Jan Hammer of Index sent over a comment in the wake of his investment’s public offering, arguing that the company is part of work being done by tech companies to shake up financial services. Companies like Robinhood, he wrote, are “not just a fresh coat of paint for the same old financial products.”

I think that is correct. And the point is pretty damning of incumbent players still in the market with dated websites and medium-grade mobile experiences. Can you imagine getting a Gen Zer to swap out Robinhood or eToro or M1 Finance for, I don’t know, John Hancock? The toothpaste, as they say, is not going back into the tube.

How might Fidelity and Vanguard convince Robinhood users to move to their services? Will they be able to, or has an entire generation of investors skipped the traditional finance players entirely? Robinhood bulls must think so, and I can’t really find it in me to fight the perspective.

I do not know how Robinhood will perform in the coming quarters, but it does feel — given the MAU numbers from Robinhood, AUM figures from M1 and so forth — that fintech startups stole several marches on your trusty 401(k) provider. A market that I am sure the fintechs will soon dig more deeply into.

More about Africa

Circling back to Africa, how about some July data? Our exploration of the continent’s strong H1 2021 performance stopped in June, so let’s add some data. Per Africa-watching publication The Big Deal, African startups raised $308 million across 71 deals in the quarter. That’s a run rate of around $3.7 billion. Or in simpler terms, African startups are still on pace for their best year ever when it comes to raising venture capital.

Hugs, and get vaccinated.

Your friend,

Alex


5 lessons from Duolingo’s bellwether edtech IPO of the year

Duolingo landed onto the public markets this week, rallying excitement and attention for the edtech sector and its founder cohort. The language learning business’ stock price soared when it began to trade, even after the unicorn raised its IPO price range, and priced above the raised interval.

Duolingo’s IPO proves that public market investors can see the long-term value in a mission-driven, technology-powered education concern; the company’s IPO carries extra weight considering the historically few edtech companies that have listed.

Duolingo’s IPO proves that public market investors can see the long-term value in a mission-driven, technology-powered education concern; the company’s IPO carries extra weight considering the historically few edtech companies that have listed.

For those that want the entire story of Duolingo, from origin to messy monetization to historical IPO, check out our EC-1. It has dozens of interviews from executives, investors, linguists and competitors.

For today, though, we have fresh additions. We sat down with Duolingo CEO Luis von Ahn earlier in the week to discuss not only his company’s IPO, but also what impact the listing may have on startups. Duolingo’s IPO can be looked at as a case study into consumer startups, mission-driven companies that monetize a small base of users, or education companies that recently hit scale. Paraphrasing from von Ahn, Duolingo doesn’t see itself as just an edtech company with fresh branding. Instead, it believes its growth comes from being an engineering-first startup.

Selling motivation, it seems, versus selling the fluency in a language is a proposition that international consumers are willing to pay for, and an idea that investors think can continue to scale to software-like margins.

1. The IPO event will bring “more sophistication” to Duolingo’s core service

Duolingo has gone through three distinct phases: Growth, in which it prioritized getting as many users as it could to its app; monetization, in which it introduced a subscription tier for survival; and now, education, in which it is focusing on tacking on more sophisticated, smarter technology to its service.


China roundup: Keep down internet upstarts, cultivate hard tech

Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch’s China roundup, a digest of recent events shaping the Chinese tech landscape and what they mean to people in the rest of the world.

The tech industry in China has had quite a turbulent week. The government is upending its $100 billion private education sector, wiping billions from the market cap of the industry’s most lucrative players. Meanwhile, the assault on Chinese internet giants continued. Tech stocks tumbled after Tencent suspended user registration, sparking fears over who will be the next target of Beijing’s wrath.

Incisive observers point out that the new wave of stringent regulations against China’s internet and education firms has long been on Beijing’s agenda and there’s nothing surprising. Indeed, the central government has been unabashed about its desires to boost manufacturing and contain the unchecked powers of its service industry, which can include everything from internet platforms, film studios to after-school centers.

A few weeks ago I had an informative conversation with a Chinese venture capitalist who has been investing in industrial robots for over a decade, so I’m including it in this issue as it provides useful context for what’s going on in the consumer tech industry this week.

Automate the factories

China is putting robots into factories at an aggressive pace. Huang He, a partner at Northern Light Venture Capital, sees three forces spurring the demand for industrial robots — particularly ones that are made in China.

Over the years, Beijing has advocated for “localization” in a broad range of technology sectors, from enterprise software to production line automation. One may start to see Chinese robots that can rival those of Schneider and Panasonic a few years down the road. CRP, an NLVC-backed industrial robot maker, is already selling across Southeast Asia, Russia and East Europe.

On top of tech localization, it’s also well acknowledged that China is facing a severe demographic crisis. The labor shortage in its manufacturing sector is further compounded by the reluctance of young people to do menial factory work. Factory robots could offer a hand.

“Youngsters these days would rather become food delivery riders than work in a factory. The work that robots replace is the low-skilled type, and those that still can’t be taken up by robots pay well and come with great benefits,” Huang observed.

Large corporations in China still lean toward imported robots due to the products’ proven stability. The problem is that imported robots are not only expensive but also selective about their users.

“Companies need to have deep technical capabilities to be able to operate these [Western] robots, but such companies are rare in China,” said Huang, adding that the overwhelming majority of Chinese enterprises are small and medium size.

With the exceptions of the automotive and semiconductor industries, which still largely rely on sophisticated, imported robots, affordable, easy-to-use Chinese robots can already meet most of the local demand for industrial automation, Huang said.

China currently uses nearly one million six-axis robots a year but only manufactures 20% of them itself. The gap, coupled with a national plan for localization, has led to a frenzy of investments in industrial robotics startups.

The rush isn’t necessarily a good thing, said Huang. “There’s this bizarre phenomenon in China, where the most funded and valuable industrial robotic firms are generating less than 30 million yuan in annual revenue and not really heard of by real users in the industry.”

“This isn’t an industry where giants can be created by burning through cash. It’s not the internet sector.”

Small-and-medium-size businesses are happily welcoming robots onto factory floors. Take welding for example. An average welder costs about 150,000 yuan ($23,200) a year. A typical welding robot, which is sold for 120,000 yuan, can replace up to three workers a year and “doesn’t complain at work,” said the investor. A quality robot can work continuously for six to eight years, so the financial incentive to automate is obvious.

Advanced manufacturing is not just helping local bosses. It will eventually increase foreign enterprises’ dependence on China for its efficiency, making it hard to cut off Chinese supply chains despite efforts to avoid the geopolitical risks of manufacturing in China.

“In electronics, for example, most of the supply chains are in China, so factories outside China end up spending more on logistics to move parts around. Much of the 3C manufacturing is already highly automated, which relies heavily on electricity, but in most emerging economies, the power supply is still quite unstable, which disrupts production,” said Huang.

War on internet titans

The shock of antitrust regulations against Alibaba from last year is still reverberating, but another wave of scrutiny has already begun. Shortly after Didi’s blockbuster IPO in New York, the ride-hailing giant was asked to cease user registration and work on protecting user information critical to national security.

On Tuesday, Tencent stocks fell the most in a decade after it halted user signups on its WeChat messenger as it “upgrades” its security technology to align with relevant laws and regulations. The gaming and social media giant is just the latest in a growing list of companies hit by Beijing’s tightening grip on the internet sector, which had been flourishing for two decades under laissez-faire policies.

Underlying the clampdowns is Beijing’s growing unease with the service industry’s unscrutinized accumulation of wealth and power. China is unequivocally determined to advance its tech sector, but the types of tech that Beijing wants are not so much the video games that bring myopia to children and algorithms that get adults hooked to their screens. China makes it clear in its five-year plan, a series of social and economic initiatives, that it will go all-in on “hard tech” like semiconductors, renewable energy, agritech, biotech and industrial automation like factory robotics.

China has also vowed to fight inequality in education and wealth. In the authorities’ eyes, expensive, for-profit after-schools dotting big cities are hindering education attainment for children from poorer areas, which eventually exacerbates the wealth gap. The new regulatory measures have restricted the hours, content, profits and financing of private tutoring institutions, tanking stocks of the industry’s top companies. Again, there have been clear indications from President Xi Jinping’s writings to bring off-campus tutoring “back on the educational track.” All China-focused investors and analysts are now poring over Xi’s thoughts and directives.


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