Google’s latest hardware innovation: Price

With its latest consumer hardware products, Google’s prices are undercutting Apple, Samsung, and Amazon. The search giant just unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, tablet, and smart home device and all available at prices well below their direct competitors. Where Apple and Samsung are pushing prices of its latest products even higher, Google is seemingly happy […]

With its latest consumer hardware products, Google’s prices are undercutting Apple, Samsung, and Amazon. The search giant just unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, tablet, and smart home device and all available at prices well below their direct competitors. Where Apple and Samsung are pushing prices of its latest products even higher, Google is seemingly happy to keep prices low and this is creating a distinct advantage for the company’s products.

Google, like Amazon and nearly Apple, is a services company that happens to sell hardware. It needs to acquire users through multiple verticals including hardware. Somewhere, deep in the Googleplex, a team of number crunchers decided it made more sense to make its hardware prices dramatically lower than competitors. If Google is taking a loss on the hardware, it is likely making it back through services.

Amazon does this with Kindle devices. Microsoft and Sony do it with game consoles. This is a proven strategy to increase market share where the revenue generated on the backend recovers the revenue lost on selling hardware with slim or negative margins.

Look at the Pixel 3. The base 64GB model is available for $799 while the base 64GB iPhone XS is $999. Want a bigger screen? The 64GB Pixel 3 XL is $899, and the 64GB iPhone XS Max is $1099. Regarding the specs, both phones offer OLED displays and amazing cameras. There are likely pros and cons regarding the speed of the SoC, amount of RAM and wireless capabilities. Will consumers care since the screen and camera are so similar? Probably not.

Google also announced the Home Hub today. Like the Echo Show, it’s designed to be the central part of a smart home. It puts Google Assistant on a fixed screen where users can ask it questions and control a smart home. It’s $149. That’s $80 less than the Echo Show thou the Google version lacks video conferencing and a dedicated smart home hub — the Google Home Hub requires extra hardware for some smart home objects. Still, even with fewer features, the Home Hub is compelling because of its drastically lower price. For just a few dollars more than an Echo Show, a buyer could get a Home Hub and two Home Mini’s.

The Google Pixel Slate is Google’s answer to the iPad Pro. From everything we’ve seen, it appears to lack a lot of the processing power found in Apple’s top tablet. It doesn’t seem as refined or capable of specific tasks. But for view media, creating content and playing games, it feels just fine. It even has a Pixelbook Pen and a great keyboard that shows Google is positioning this against the iPad Pro. And the 12.3-inch Pixel Slate is available for $599 where the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is $799.

The upfront price is just part of the equation. When considering the resale value of these devices, a different conclusion can be reached. Apple products consistently resale for more money than Google products. On Gazelle.com, a company that buys used smartphones, a used iPhone X is worth $425 where a used Pixel 2 is $195. A used iPhone 8, a phone that sold for a price closer to the Pixel 2, is worth $240.

In the end, Google likely doesn’t expect to make money off the hardware it sells. It needs users to buy into its services. The best way to do that is to make the ecosystem competitive though perhaps not investing the capital to make it the best. It needs to be just good enough, and that’s how I would describe these devices. Good enough to be competitive on a spec-to-spec basis while available for much less.

more Google Event 2018 coverage

In letter to Congress, Apple sends strongest denial over ‘spy chip’ story

Apple has doubled down on its repudiation of Bloomberg’s report last week that claimed its systems had been compromised by Chinese spies. The blockbuster story cited more than a dozen sources claiming that China installed tiny chips on motherboards built by Supermicro, which companies across the U.S. tech industry — including Amazon and Apple — have […]

Apple has doubled down on its repudiation of Bloomberg’s report last week that claimed its systems had been compromised by Chinese spies.

The blockbuster story cited more than a dozen sources claiming that China installed tiny chips on motherboards built by Supermicro, which companies across the U.S. tech industry — including Amazon and Apple — have used to power servers in their datacenters. Bloomberg’s report also claimed that the chip can reportedly compromise data on the server, allowing China to spy on some of the world’s most powerful tech companies.

Now, in a letter to Congress, Apple’s vice president of information security George Stathakopoulos sent the company’s strongest denial to date.

“Apple has never found malicious chips, ‘hardware manipulations’ or vulnerabilities purposely planted in any server,” he said. “We never alerted the FBI to any security concerns like those described in the article, nor has the FBI ever contacted us about such an investigation.”

It follows a statement by both the U.K. National Cyber Security Center and U.S. Homeland Security stating that they had “no reason to doubt” statements by Apple, Amazon and Supermicro denying the claims.

Stathakopoulos added that Apple “repeatedly asked them to share specific details about the alleged malicious chips that they seemed certain existed, they were unwilling or unable to provide anything more than vague secondhand accounts.”

Apple’s statement is far stronger than its earlier remarks. A key detail missing in the Bloomberg story is that its many sources, albeit anonymous, provided the reporters with a first hand account of the alleged spy chips.

Without any evidence that the chips exist beyond eyewitness accounts and sources, Bloomberg’s story remains on shaky grounds.

Chinese investment into computer vision technology and AR surges as U.S. funding dries up

Tim Merel Contributor Tim Merel is managing director of Digi-Capital. More posts by this contributor The Reality Ecosystem: What AR/VR/XR needs to go big China could beat America in AR/VR long-term Last year 30 leading venture investors told us about a fundamental shift from early stage North American VR investment to later stage Chinese computer vision/AR […]

Last year 30 leading venture investors told us about a fundamental shift from early stage North American VR investment to later stage Chinese computer vision/AR investment — but they didn’t anticipate its ferocity.

Digi-Capital’s AR/VR/XR Analytics Platform showed Chinese investments into computer vision and augmented reality technologies surging to $3.9 billion in the last 12 months, while North American augmented and virtual reality investment fell from nearly $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017 to less than $120 million in the third quarter of 2018. At the same time, VC sentiment on virtual reality softened significantly.

What a difference a year makes.

Dealflow (dollars)

What VCs said a year ago

When we spoke to venture capitalists least year, they had some pretty strong opinions.

Mobile augmented reality and Computer Vision/Machine Learning (“CV/ML”) are at opposite ends of the spectrum — one delivering new user experiences and user interfaces and the other powering a broad range of new applications (not just mobile augmented reality).

The market for mobile AR is very early stage, and could see $50 to $100 million exits in 2018/2019. Dominant companies will take time to emerge, and it will also take time for developers to learn what works and for consumers and businesses to adopt mobile AR at scale (note: Digi-Capital’s base case is mobile AR revenue won’t really take off until 2019, despite 900 million installed base by Q4 2018). Tech investors are most interested in native mobile AR with critical use cases, not ports from other platforms.

Computer vision and visual machine learning is more advanced than mobile AR, and could see dominant companies in the near-term. Here, investors love  startups with real-world solutions that are challenging established industries and business practices, not research projects. Firms are investing in more than 20 different mobile augmented reality and computer vision and visual machine learning sectors, but there is the potential for overfunding during the earliest stages of the market.

What VCs did in the last 12 months

Perhaps the most crucial observation is the declining deal volumes over the last year.

Deal Volume (number of deals by category)

(Source: Digi-Capital AR/VR/XR Analytics Platform)

Deal volume (the number of deals) declined steadily by 10% per quarter over the last 12 months, and was around two-thirds the level in Q3 2018 that it was in Q4 2017. Most of the decline happened in the US and Europe, where VCs increasingly stayed on the sidelines by looking for short-term traction as a sign of long-term growth. (Note: data normalized excluding HTC ViveX accelerator Q4 2017, which skews the data)

Deal Volume (number of deals by stage)

The biggest casualties of this short-termist approach have been early stage startups raising seed (deal volume down by more than half) and some series A (deal volume down by a quarter) rounds. This trend has been strongest in North America and Europe, but even Asia has not been entirely immune from some early stage deal volume decline.

Deal Value (dollars)

(Source: Digi-Capital AR/VR/XR Analytics Platform)

While deal volume is a great indicator of early-stage investment market trends, deal value (dollars invested) gives a clearer picture of where the big money has been going over the last 12 months. (Note: investment means new VC money into startups, not internal corporate investment – which is a cost). Global investment hit its previous quarterly record over $2 billion in Q4 2017, driven by a few very large deals. It then dropped back to around $1 billion in the first quarter of this year. Since then deal value has steadily climbed quarter-on-quarter, to reach a new record high well over $2 billion in Q3 2018.

Over $4 billion of the total $7.2 billion in the last 12 months was invested in computer vision/AR tech, with well over $1 billion going into smartglasses (the bulk of that into Magic Leap) . The next largest sectors were games around $400 million and advertising/marketing at a quarter of a billion dollars. The remaining 22 industry sectors raised in the low hundreds of millions of dollars down to single digit millions in the last 12 months.

A tale of two markets

Deals by Country and Category (dollars)

American and Chinese investment had an inverse relationship in the last 12 months. American investors increasingly chose to stay on the sidelines, while Chinese investor confidence grew to back up clear vision with long-term investments. The differences in the data couldn’t be more stark.

North American Deals (dollars)

North American investment was almost triple Asian investment in Q4 2017, with a record high of nearly $1.5 billion dollars for the quarter. Despite 2018 being a transitional year for the market (Digi-Capital forecast that market revenue was unlikely to accelerate until 2019), North American quarterly investment fell over 90% to less than $120 million in Q3 2018. American VCs appear to have taken a long-term solution to a short-term problem.

China Deals (dollars)

Meanwhile, Chinese VCs have been focused on the long-term potential of the intersection between computer vision and augmented reality, with later-stage Series C and Series D rounds raising hundreds of millions of dollars a time. This trend increased dramatically in the last 12 months, with SenseTime Group raising over $2 billion in multiple rounds and Megvii close behind at over $1 billion (also multiple rounds).

Smaller investments (by Chinese standards) in the hundreds of millions have gone into companies Westerners might not know, including Beijing Moviebook Technology, Kujiale and more. All this saw Chinese quarterly investment grow 3x in the last 12 months. (Note: some recent Western opinions about market investment trends were based on incomplete data)

Where to from here?

With our team’s investment banking background, experience shows that forecasting venture capital investment is a fool’s errand. Yet it is equally foolish to ignore hard data, and ongoing discussions with leading investors along Sand Hill Road and China indicate some trends to watch.

American tech investors might continue to wait for market traction before providing the fuel needed for that traction (even if that seems counterintuitive). While this could pose an existential threat to some early stage startups in North America, it’s also an opportunity for smart money with longer time horizons.

Conversely, Chinese VCs continue to back domestic companies which could dominate the future of computer vision/augmented reality. The next 6 months will determine if this is a long-term trend, but it is the current mental model.

If mobile AR revenue accelerates in 2019 as critical use cases and apps emerge (as in Digi-Capital’s base case), this could become a catalyst for renewed investment by American VCs. The big unknown is whether Apple enters the smartphone tethered smartglasses market in late 2020 (as Digi-Capital has forecast for the last few years). This could be the tipping point for the market as a whole (not just investment). However, Apple timing is hard to predict (because Apple), with any potential launch date known only to Tim Cook and his immediate circle.

Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Chinese investors embraced a Jobsian approach over the last 12 months, with Western VCs increasingly dot-connecting (or not). It will be interesting to see how this plays out for computer vision/AR investment over the next 12 months, so watch this space.

Samsung forecasts record $15.5B profit thanks to chips not smartphones

Samsung’s last quarter of business saw its slowest growth of profits in a year thanks to weak sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone. But the company is about much more than just phones, and that’s why it is forecasting a record operating profit of nearly $15.5 billion for its upcoming Q3 results. The Korean […]

Samsung’s last quarter of business saw its slowest growth of profits in a year thanks to weak sales of its flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone. But the company is about much more than just phones, and that’s why it is forecasting a record operating profit of nearly $15.5 billion for its upcoming Q3 results.

The Korean firm said in a filing that it expects to revenue jump five percent year-on-year to hit 65 trillion KRW ($57.5 billion) with an operating profit of 17.5 trillion KRW ($15.5 billion), which represents a 20 percent annual jump and an 18 percent increase on the previous quarter.

Samsung’s pre-earnings filings are brief and don’t contain detailed information about the performance of its business units, thus we can’t assess demand for its high-end phones — which include the Note 9 — in the quarter that Apple unveiled its newest iPhones. But the clues suggest that it is actually the more boring (but reliable) divisions that are, once again, responsible for Samsung’s strong forecast.

Chips account for some 80 percent of Samsung’s revenue and demand for DRAM, which is important in areas such as cloud, pushed prices up during Q3 but analysts suspect that the growth won’t last.

“Its earnings appeared to have peaked,” Mirae Asset Daewoo Securities analyst William Park told Reuters. “DRAM prices are going to fall, although not dramatically, and that will negatively impact its margins.”

We’ll know more when Samsung releases its full earnings this month.

China reportedly infiltrated Apple and other US companies using ‘spy’ chips on servers

Ready for information about what may be one of the largest corporate espionage programs from a nation-state? The Chinese government managed to gain access to the servers of more than 30 U.S. companies, including Apple, according to an explosive report from Bloomberg published today. Bloomberg reports that U.S-based server motherboard specialist Supermicro was compromised in China […]

Ready for information about what may be one of the largest corporate espionage programs from a nation-state? The Chinese government managed to gain access to the servers of more than 30 U.S. companies, including Apple, according to an explosive report from Bloomberg published today.

Bloomberg reports that U.S-based server motherboard specialist Supermicro was compromised in China where government-affiliated groups are alleged to have infiltrated its supply chain to attach tiny chips, some merely the size of a pencil tip, to motherboards which ended up in servers deployed in the U.S.

The goal, Bloomberg said, was to gain an entry point within company systems to potentially grab IP or confidential information. While the micro-servers themselves were limited in terms of direct capabilities, they represented a “stealth doorway” that could allow China-based operatives to remotely alter how a device functioned to potentially access information.

Once aware of the program, the U.S. government spied on the spies behind the chips but, according to Bloomberg, no consumer data is known to have been stolen through the attacks. Even still, this episode represents one of the most striking espionage programs from the Chinese government to date.

The story reports that the chips were discovered and reported to the FBI by Amazon, which found them during due diligence ahead of its 2015 acquisition of Elemental Systems, a company that held a range of U.S. government contracts, and Apple, which is said to have deployed up to 7,000 Supermicro servers at peak. Bloomberg reported that Amazon removed them all within a one-month period. Apple did indeed cut ties with Supermicro back in 2016, but it denied a claim from The Information which reported at the time that it was based on a security issue.

Amazon, meanwhile, completed the deal for Elemental Systems — reportedly worth $500 million — after it switched its software to the AWS cloud. Supermicro, meanwhile, was suspended from trading on the Nasdaq in August after failing to submit quarterly reports on time. The company is likely to be delisted.

Amazon, Apple, Supermicro and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs all denied Bloomberg’s findings with strong and lengthy statements — a full list of rebuttals is here. The publication claims that it sourced its information using no fewer than 17 individuals with knowledge of developments, including six U.S. officials and four Apple “insiders.”

You can (and should) read the full story on Bloomberg here.

China reportedly infiltrated Apple and other US companies using ‘spy’ chips on servers

Ready for information about what may be one of the largest corporate espionage programs from a nation-state? The Chinese government managed to gain access to the servers of more than 30 U.S. companies, including Apple, according to an explosive report from Bloomberg published today. Bloomberg reports that U.S-based server motherboard specialist Supermicro was compromised in China […]

Ready for information about what may be one of the largest corporate espionage programs from a nation-state? The Chinese government managed to gain access to the servers of more than 30 U.S. companies, including Apple, according to an explosive report from Bloomberg published today.

Bloomberg reports that U.S-based server motherboard specialist Supermicro was compromised in China where government-affiliated groups are alleged to have infiltrated its supply chain to attach tiny chips, some merely the size of a pencil tip, to motherboards which ended up in servers deployed in the U.S.

The goal, Bloomberg said, was to gain an entry point within company systems to potentially grab IP or confidential information. While the micro-servers themselves were limited in terms of direct capabilities, they represented a “stealth doorway” that could allow China-based operatives to remotely alter how a device functioned to potentially access information.

Once aware of the program, the U.S. government spied on the spies behind the chips but, according to Bloomberg, no consumer data is known to have been stolen through the attacks. Even still, this episode represents one of the most striking espionage programs from the Chinese government to date.

The story reports that the chips were discovered and reported to the FBI by Amazon, which found them during due diligence ahead of its 2015 acquisition of Elemental Systems, a company that held a range of U.S. government contracts, and Apple, which is said to have deployed up to 7,000 Supermicro servers at peak. Bloomberg reported that Amazon removed them all within a one-month period. Apple did indeed cut ties with Supermicro back in 2016, but it denied a claim from The Information which reported at the time that it was based on a security issue.

Amazon, meanwhile, completed the deal for Elemental Systems — reportedly worth $500 million — after it switched its software to the AWS cloud. Supermicro, meanwhile, was suspended from trading on the Nasdaq in August after failing to submit quarterly reports on time. The company is likely to be delisted.

Amazon, Apple, Supermicro and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs all denied Bloomberg’s findings with strong and lengthy statements — a full list of rebuttals is here. The publication claims that it sourced its information using no fewer than 17 individuals with knowledge of developments, including six U.S. officials and four Apple “insiders.”

You can (and should) read the full story on Bloomberg here.

Apple’s Tim Cook is sending a privacy bat-signal to US lawmakers

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has today been announced as the keynote speaker at a European data protection conference taking place in Brussels later this month — at a time when US lawmakers are asking tech giants outright if they’ll support “EU-like” privacy rules to shield US consumers from platform power. For a week this month Europe’s data […]

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has today been announced as the keynote speaker at a European data protection conference taking place in Brussels later this month — at a time when US lawmakers are asking tech giants outright if they’ll support “EU-like” privacy rules to shield US consumers from platform power.

For a week this month Europe’s data protection commissioners will gather to discuss the bloc’s shiny new privacy framework, GDPR, and what comes after it. They will also gather to listen to Cook talking on the theme of data ethics.

It’s a topic the Apple CEO has been speaking out about publicly for years.

Just this week, in an interview on US television, he couched privacy as “one of the most important issues of the 21st century” — describing it as a human right, and saying he supported “some level” of regulation, even as he professed himself “not a pro-regulation kind of person”.

Privacy is too important to keep being screwed with — or screwed over — was his clear subtext.

In a few weeks’ time Cook will literally stand alongside the architects of Europe’s GDPR, talking up privacy and ethics at the center of a Union whose founding charter grants its citizens data protection as a fundamental right.

The signalling is clear.

While Apple might so far have fallen just shy of calling for a full copypaste of GDPR-level data protections into US law, there’s perhaps an element of strategic caution at play that’s moderating its plain-text political messaging.

Because the company’s actions from all other angles show Apple consistently defending privacy rights in a big data ethics fight that’s pitting Europe against a small number of powerful US adtech giants whose ‘best’ argument in defence of the unethical stuff they’re doing is they need to ‘keep up with China’ — a country that neither respects human rights nor privacy…

These same self-interested adtech giants are now, of course, hard at work lobbying US lawmakers that big data is a tenet of tech faith — when it really doesn’t have to be that way.

Privacy-respecting data-based innovations are both possible and available. The father of the World Wide Web thinks so — and is now doing a startup to make it so. And Apple’s business is an incredible testament to the power of putting people in control of technology, not vice-versa.

Apple is also a testament to how handsome a profit can be turned from privacy.

At a recent Senate hearing to discuss how the US should approach setting a federal privacy law, its VP of software technology, Bud Tribble, summed up the company’s position as: “We want your device to know everything about you but we don’t think we should.”

It’s notable that no other tech giants can make that claim. Not Amazon, not Facebook, not Google.

These platforms fall awkwardly silent when faced with questions about data ethics.

Nor can they comfortably stand on a public podium and discuss what does and does not produce “a result that’s great for society”, as Cook can. They have to invent their own ludicrous measures — like ‘relevant ads’.

Frankly speaking, if that’s your price for giving up on human rights you really are selling out.

So it’s left to Apple to send out the privacy bat-signal.

Let’s just hope the lawmakers are watching. Because the lobbyists are busy whispering.

The Das Keyboard 5Q adds IoT to your I/O keys

Just when you thought you were safe from IoT on your keyboard, Das Keyboard has come out with the 5Q, a smart keyboard that can send you notifications and change colors based on the app you’re using. These kinds of keyboards aren’t particularly new — you can find gaming keyboards that light up all the colors […]

Just when you thought you were safe from IoT on your keyboard, Das Keyboard has come out with the 5Q, a smart keyboard that can send you notifications and change colors based on the app you’re using.

These kinds of keyboards aren’t particularly new — you can find gaming keyboards that light up all the colors of the rainbow. But the 5Q is almost completely programmable and you can connect to the automation services IFTTT or Zapier. This means you can do things like blink the Space Bar red when someone passes your Nest camera or blink the Tab key white when the outdoor temperature falls below 40 degrees.

You also can make a key blink when someone Tweets, which could be helpful or frustrating:

The $249 keyboard is delightfully rugged and the switches — called Gamma Zulu and made by Das Keyboard — are nicely clicky but not too loud. The keys have a bit of softness to them at the half-way point, so if you’re used to Cherry-style keyboards you might notice a difference here. That said, the keys are rated for 100 million actuations, far more than any competing switch. The RGB LEDs in each key, as you can see below, are very bright and visible, but when the keys’ lights are all off the keyboard is completely unreadable. This, depending on your desire to be Case from Neuromancer, is a feature or a bug. There also is a media control knob in the top-right corner that brings up the Q app when pressed.

The entire package is nicely designed, but the 5Q begs the question: Do you really need a keyboard that can notify you when you get a new email? The Mac version of the software is also a bit buggy right now, but they are updating it constantly and I was able to install it and run it without issue. Weird things sometimes happen, however. For example currently my Escape and F1 keys are now blinking red and I don’t know how to turn them off.

That said, Das Keyboard makes great keyboards. They’re my absolute favorite in terms of form factor and key quality, and if you need a keyboard that can notify you when a cryptocurrency goes above a certain point or your Tesla stock is about to tank, look no further than the 5Q. It’s a keyboard for hackers by hackers and, as you can see below, the color transitions are truly mesmerizing.

FabFitFun expands its video reach with a new experiment in live programming

The Los Angeles-based women’s subscription box and media business FabFitFun is expanding its video catalog with the launch of new live programming set to coincide with the launch of its latest seasonal box. FabFitFun is creating a new slate of live programming which will air every day on its Facebook page from 11 a.m. to 1 […]

The Los Angeles-based women’s subscription box and media business FabFitFun is expanding its video catalog with the launch of new live programming set to coincide with the launch of its latest seasonal box.

FabFitFun is creating a new slate of live programming which will air every day on its Facebook page from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific and is set to feature interactive product showcases, beauty demonstrations, DIY projects, and a game show.

It’s an expansion of video efforts that the company began last year with the launch of a new app for AppleTV and Amazon Fire.

FabFitFun also has been streaming live shows on its Facebook page; experimenting with subjects like sale previews, product showcases, and “Founder Chats” between its co-founder and editor-in-chief Katie Rosen Kitchens and various entrepreneurs. In early 2017, the company debuted its streaming FabFitFunTV, which includes shows focused on health and fitness, cooking, dating & relationships, and do it yourself projects.

The new slate of live programming will run from Sept. 24 to Oct. 5 and will include sneak peaks of the company’s Fall Edit Sale; industry experts for in-studio demos on fashion, beauty, fitness and hair; an expansion of the company’s produced FabFitFun TV content; and a game show called “the Fab Challenge”, where viewers can compete to win prizes.

With the push into live television, FabFitFun moves one step closer toward the vision of creating a millennial version of morning programming like the Today show or something like the Home Shopping Network . Daytime appointment television isn’t what it used to be, but the format does appeal to brands both historic and new.

“Initially we’re doing it in conjunction with the sales we have,” says Michael Broukhim, co-chief executive of FabFitFun. “The plan is to build on that. Make it more than just seasonal. Our goal is what is cheddar for women with commerce and community deeply integrated into it… As we learn about which formats are successful we’ll double down on those.”

HQ Trivia teases upcoming Wheel of Fortune-style mobile game

HQ Trivia is gearing up to debut a follow-up to its wildly popular live mobile game show. Called HQ Words, the company announced this morning they’ll release the Wheel of Fortune-style game in October. HQ Words. Coming this October. pic.twitter.com/e1TbDSHvV5 — HQ Trivia (@hqtrivia) September 18, 2018 HQ Trivia, which airs twice per day and awards […]

HQ Trivia is gearing up to debut a follow-up to its wildly popular live mobile game show.

Called HQ Words, the company announced this morning they’ll release the Wheel of Fortune-style game in October.

HQ Trivia, which airs twice per day and awards winners as much as $100,000 for successfully answering 12 questions, debuted on the app store last August and was a viral success. The game, usually hosted by comedian Scott Rogowsky (pictured above), spawned a whole cohort of copycats as a result

Its app store ranking, however, has been steadily decreasing in recent months, as pointed out by TechCrunch’s Josh Constine in a recent article on HQ Trivia’s Apple TV app launch. In a response to that article, HQ Trivia co-founder Rus Yusupov hinted at new games in development: “Games are a hits business and don’t grow exponentially forever. HQ has massive early traction and still millions playing daily. Also developing new game formats, one of which we think is really special and complements Trivia nicely. More soon! Until then thanks for playing.”

As of January, HQ Trivia was attracting more than 1 million gamers to its live broadcasts. According to Sensor Tower, its app has been downloaded nearly 13 million times.

The company, founded by the entrepreneurs behind Vine, has raised some $24 million to date, garnering a $100 million valuation earlier this year. It’s backed by Founders Fund, Shrug Capital and Lightspeed Ventures.