tech in the spotlight
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 5, 2013 12:43 PM
The wrist-race for the smartwatch market is off and running on the heels of Samsung's reveal this week of its Galaxy Gear watch—as well as other viable entrants, including Sony's new SmartWatch 2 and Qualcomm's Toq, which was unveiled the same day as Samsung's watch.
Projected to be a market worth $50 billion by 2017, the smartwatch industry has consisted of mostly rumors and speculation as to who, what, where and when would debut this futuristic bite of wearable tech, a natural progression for the saturated smartphone market. But with expectations high, mobile tech companies like Apple and Samsung face a steep and slippery slope, charged with creating a value-added device but one that appeals to a mass market.
While the smartwatch category has essentially existed for years thanks to Dick Tracy, Apple's first attempt at an iWatch (2010's iPod nano watch) and current iterations like Sony's SmartWatch and the crowdfunded Pebble, the tech industry's big players have only recently made the jump to seriously explore the options that wearable computing provides.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on August 21, 2013 05:08 PM
Lately, major brands are hell-bent on bringing internet access to the masses, even if it's by balloon. Now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is heading up a group of major tech brands to provide easier, more reliable access to the internet for all of the world's far off places.
Joined by Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung, the initiative, dubbed Internet.org, aims to simplify phone applications and improve mobile efficiency in order to provide more affordable access on the most basic mobile phones.
“The Internet is such an important thing for driving humanity forward, but it’s not going to build itself,” Zuckerberg told the New York Times. “Ultimately, this has to make business sense on some time frame that people can get behind.”Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 13, 2013 07:33 PM
Elon Musk has obliquely compared himself to Henry Ford. But if he keeps going, a better comparison could be Thomas Edison. The inventor and serial entrepreneur already has his hands in state-of-the-art electric cars, space travel—and now perhaps a travel innovation for those of us looking to keep our feet planted on Earth.
His latest fascination is what he calls a "Hyperloop" transportation system that could, he says, whisk passengers between San Francisco and Los Angeles in a mere half-hour or less. Musk conjectures that it would cost less than $6 billion in total and could transport 7.4 million people each way each year. But it would take up to a decade to complete. Musk laid out all of the details in a 57-page technical paper and invited feedback.
Why is Musk even bothering? The PayPal co-founder has plenty going on with two actually functioning enterprises that he founded, SpaceX and Tesla. In fact, he was just awarded $4.3 million in stock-based pay for his ongoing work on Tesla's next nameplate, the Model X all-electric SUV. He completed vehicle and engineering prototypes and even the first production unit of the new model.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on August 8, 2013 06:12 PM
Personalization is the name of the customer-service game these days. Look at the recent success of Coke's Share a Coke campaign in Britain, where the brand replaced its name on bottles with 150 of the most popular names in the UK.
As for the fashion industry, personalization is now coming in the form of 3D printing. Forbes reports that San Francisco-based clothing company Continuum creates 3D printed bikinis that consumers design themselves. After customers build out their design and upload their measurements on the company's website, Continuum prints out the final product in nylon. The custom creation costs $275.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 6, 2013 06:17 PM
Since the dawn of manned flight, among the goals of big dreamers were flying an airplane that also is an automobile, and traveling to Mars.
As far as the first goal is concerned: check. The Terrafugia Transition "roadable" aircraft, which debuted at the New York Auto Show last year, made test flights at an experimental-aircraft convention in Wisconsin last week. And in regards to the second goal: We're still working on it, but an outfit called Mars One has come up with a remarkable new twist.
The startup behind the Transition had a successful first public outing for its invention at the EAA AirVenture fly-in in Oshkosh, Wis., which ended last weekend. One of the world's most important venues for showing off experimental and classic aircraft, EAA has had some fatalities over the years. But the Transition garnered nothing but oohs and aahs for its flawless performance at the show, where a prototype of the $279,000 machine indeed rolled down a road and then took off into the air.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on August 5, 2013 06:06 PM
Jeff Bezos revolutionized the internet, e-commerce and bookselling (and then all retail) when he founded Amazon.com. Now he may want to do the same with newspapers, becoming the latest non-news-media figure to invest in a fading American print icon by buying The Washington Post.
It's difficult to believe that the e-tailing magnate will be able to do anything better with the Post than it already has in the traditional world of newsprint and ink, since that business model has become even more decrepit than the brick-and-mortar retail stores supplanted by Amazon's huge digital impact.
Another death knell for newspapers and their traditional ownership was sounded just a few days ago when Boston Red Sox owner and billionaire John Henry rescued the Boston Globe and other local print properties from the hands of the New York Times Co. by buying the once-proud publisher for a measly $70 million. There also remain rumors that the conservative industrialist Koch Brothers, along with several other non-media moguls, harbor a desire to buy Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune.Continue reading...
Posted by Ben Berkon on July 24, 2013 12:43 PM
Apple’s comparatively diminutive third quarter earnings might have exceeded market expectations, but the announcement also solidified Samsung’s place as the worldwide smartphone king. Apple reported sales of $35.3 billion and a profit of $6.9 billion, down 35 percent and 46 percent, respectively, since the first quarter. In fact, Samsung earned $1.43 billion more in profit last quarter than Apple.
The mounting issue in Apple-land is that the company has failed to truly release a new, innovative product since the iPad. While iPhone sales jumped 20 percent to 31.2 million, the company's most popular product continues to be one of the most expensive smartphones on the market—posing a great opportunity for competitors like Samsung, BlackBerry and Nokia to tout their similar products and more cost-efficient models.
To Apple’s credit, the company has attempted to expand its brand into new realms. The debut of iTunes Radio, for instance, could give cornerstones Spotify and Pandora a run for their money. But perhaps the most interesting addition was hiring fashion guru Paul Deneve as a chief-level “special projects” officer. The assumption is that Deneve will lead Apple’s charge into wearable technology, most notably with the rumored iWatch
But radio and a watch might not be enough to save the once indestructible brand.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 9, 2013 11:39 AM
With a commitment to making a "Better World," Nike is determined to produce more environmentally conscious, and sustainably innovative, products. And it's not just looking at its own branded products, either. The sports apparel giant has released a new mobile app (now available for Apple's iOS devices) called Making with the lofty goal of helping designers and the fashion industry (as well as consumers) decide what source materials are the most environmentally responsible.
Using information from the students at London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion as well as the Nike Materials Sustainability Index, the app “ranks materials used in apparel manufacturing in terms of the use of water, types of chemistry, amount of energy and the levels of waste required during production,” Sustainable Business Oregon reports.
"Innovation is in Nike's DNA, and sustainability is an integral part of Nike's design process," said Lee Holman, Nike apparel design VP, in a press release. "We've created the Making app to empower any designer around the world to make better materials choices in the initial stages of the innovation process to ultimately create products that are better for consumers and better for the planet."Continue reading...