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Hi, friends. Welcome to the latest edition of Newley’s Notes. If you like this newsletter, please invite others to sign up.
I hope everyone’s 2018 is off to a great start so far.
📝 What I Wrote in The Wall Street Journal
– A Browser You’ve Never Heard of Is Dethroning Google in Asia – A look at the success of Alibaba’s UC Browser in attracting users in countries like India and Indonesia. The story begins:
JAKARTA, Indonesia—A mobile browser rarely used in the West has outflanked Google’s Chrome in some of Asia’s fastest-growing markets, giving owner Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. an advantage in the race among technology giants to capture the next generation of internet users.
Hundreds of millions of people in India, Indonesia and other emerging markets getting online for the first time are picking UC Browser, owned by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, over ones made by U.S. rivals. Users say UC Browser works better in countries dominated by low-end smartphones and spotty mobile service.
“It’s faster, it takes up less memory, and it looks better” than Chrome, said Rizky Ari Prasetya, a 20-year-old Jakarta resident who recently ditched Chrome for UC Browser.
India and Indonesia are among the last, great untapped markets for internet users. Just 30% of India’s 1.3 billion people are online, and only 25% of Indonesia’s 260 million use the web, according to the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations body.
Click through to read the rest.
💬 What I Wrote at Newley.com
– The 10 Best Books I Read in 2017 – From books about India and tech to dog psychology and a novel set in post-apocalyptic Bangkok, all my faves are here.
This week’s theme:
📲 Tech predictions for 2018
1. Eight “mostly pessimistic” prognostications from Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic, include musings on monopsonies, Facebook, labor and more.
2. Predictions for smartphones: more Chinese brands, artificial intelligence integrations, and camera enhancements are likely, writes Axios’s Ina Fried.
3. The tech backlash will continue, prominent investor Fred Wilson predicts. Less clear is whether the cryptocurrency bubble – if it’s a bubble – will pop, and whether well-funded startups will continue putting off IPOs.
4. Journalism trends in the year ahead could include more women in newsroom leadership roles, the continued primacy of TV and video, and more, according to media watchers surveyed by Harvard’s Nieman Lab.
5.The year in space exploration, as Abigail Beall writes at Wired, could include “privately-funded missions to the moon” and “Nasa’s journey to ‘touch’ the Sun.”
🌟 1 Silly Thing
– The “Kylo Ren challenge,” inspired by a “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” scene in which Adam Driver/Kylo Ren/Ben Solo appears shirtless, has inspired fans to post topless images in tribute.
👊 Fist bump from New Delhi,