Posted by Dale Buss on September 11, 2013 12:27 PM
Target keeps stretching the footprint of its brand, which now includes efforts to fuel innovation in health care—and a new digital-movie and -TV service.
Joining the growing ranks of big companies that are attempting to spark new enterprises—and re-stock the corporate cupboard of new ideas—by incentivizing and nurturing startups, Target launched the Target Simplicity Challenge to foster ideas for helping Americans make helpful lifestyle choices and to assist in living with chronic conditions. In 2012, Walmart launched a similar effort with its "Get On The Shelf" competition, and has continued to invest in startups for its @WalmartLabs project. Nike has an accelerator to develop mobile and green technologies, and Target already has a retail accelerator.
The healthcare initiative will help further the already existing retail medical clinics, pharmacies and optical departments in many Target stores. "The growing dialogue about the need to transform health care is near and dear to our hearts," Jose Barra, Target's senior vice president for health and beauty, said in a press release. "We believe there is value in surfacing simple, intuitive ideas to drive a lot of impact.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 10, 2013 05:11 PM
The mobile industry's most highly anticipated event of the year has come and gone, leaving some innovation in its wake—but very little surprise.
Today's iPhone event at Apple's Cupertino, Calif. headquarters confirmed a handful of rumors that have been circulating for weeks: two iPhones, the upgraded 5S and the more affordable, plastic 5C. The colorful 5C, which is essentially the iPhone 5 in a plastic shell, is the company's first foray into a value-centric device—a metric that will lend itself well in important mobile markets like China and India.
Available globally on Sept. 20, the two new devices will grant the company access into markets where it has previously encountered obstacles, though Cook and his colleagues did not mention any specific deal with China Mobile, the country's largest mobile provider. They did, however, highlight several providers in Japan that will offer the new iPhones.
While more was revealed—additional details of iOS 7, updated camera functions, a new, faster processor chip—there was no mention of wearables, including Apple's eventual release of its rumored iWatch, leaving it more difficult to declare a winner in the latest mobile wars, especially between Apple and rival Samsung, which debuted its Galaxy Gear smartwatch and new Galaxy Note phablet last week.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 10, 2013 02:56 PM
First introduced several months ago as a concept at Milan Design Week, Heineken is readying to roll out its interactive Heineken Ignite bottle in seven key markets around the globe.
The “first interactive bottle” is outfitted with eight bright LEDs, an eight-bit microprocessor, a motion detector, and a wireless network transceiver that allows the bottle to light up when you raise it to take a sip, clink bottles, and even flash along to the beat of real-time music, according to PSFK.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 9, 2013 06:45 PM
Checking out with the scan of a finger? Having farm fresh produce delivered to your doorstep? These are no longer futuristic ideas but real tech being applied to life's most mundane task: grocery shopping.
The latest in-aisle innovations include digital price signs, real-time promotions based on the time of day, smart shopping carts and bar code scanners on mobile devices, many of which are already being utilized by some of the world's biggest retailers like Walmart, Target and Tesco.
"You have an industry that's been kind of stuck in time," Scott Mushkin, an analyst at Wolfe Research, told the Los Angeles Times. "Grocers have to invest. Their business models have been under so much pressure, they're fighting for their lives."
And investing they are. The $518 billion grocery industry has essentially been the last retail sector to take advantage of technological innovations that have come along with the surge of mobile usage. With smarter and more informed customers, grocers are constantly being pushed to be a step ahead, offering more intuitive service and better values.Continue reading...
tech in the spotlight
Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 6, 2013 05:51 PM
Apple fanboys (and girls!) are at the edge of their seats in anticipation of the company's planned Sept. 10 event. What will they reveal? How many and how soon? Let's hope one of those is innovation—a key ingredient that arguably the world's favorite tech brand has been lacking for quite some time.
Since the loss of founder Steve Jobs, Apple has struggled to maintain its own high standards for beautiful, user-friendly tech. And in the time that the company has taken a few steps back, others, like main rival Samsung, which is the largest mobile manufacturer in the world, have made leaps and bounds. With no fear to go big, go small or go cheap, Samsung has proven that it can give consumers what they want, and how they want it, with many more options than Apple has ever offered.
But this latest round of devices may be the most important yet. Rumors, leaked photos and the general wants and needs of the public suggest that Apple will unveil both an iPhone update, the iPhone 5S, and a cheaper, pared-down version, possibly called the iPhone 5c (for 'cheap'—or China). This would mark the first time that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company pays some attention to the value-conscious consumer—a growing demographic in a world full of economic crises and $600 mobile phones. Apple may reportedly also unveil an Apple TV, while other updates, including iOS 7 and iTunes Radio have already been teased.Continue reading...
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...