So, every week we sit down and get down to business looking at the news, views and reviews of the latest tech developments with our own spin on things.
The notes and links.
This is a very crowded market and a year ago we were testing speakers weekly!
BOSE 300 Soundbar 2,999
-ok, wouldn’t buy one
-loved the fact it found all the internet radio in the region when I connected it to the internet
-thought the connection, with the remote was a bit time consuming, took 5 minutes to get it all working
-nice app interface
Rear of the soundbar
- 1 HDMI™ output with Audio Return Channel (ARC)
- 1 HDMI input
- 1 optical digital audio connection
- 1 power input
- 1 Ethernet port for SoundTouch and software updates via a network
- 1 3.5 mm jack for ADAPTiQ system setup
- 1 3.5mm jack to hardwire the bass module
- 1 micro-USB connection
Also had Acoustimass® 300 bass module: it just didn’t want to pair consistently. Awesome but without consistent connection I gave up and just rocked the soundbar
A cool board for sure!
This is so cool how brands take control! OK Google!
Burger King’s latest ad stunt—in which a TV spot was designed to hijack people’s Google Home devices by saying “OK, Google” and asking about the Whopper—turned into a game of cat and mouse on Wednesday, as Google blocked the ad from triggering the devices and BK quickly devised a workaround.
The saga began at noon Wednesday, as BK rolled out the 15-second spot on YouTube. In it, an actor playing a BK employee says to the camera, “OK, Google, what is the Whopper burger?” This triggered Google Homes in viewers’ houses to rattle off the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry about the Whopp
Maybe Apple is getting it right?
The deluxe 10th anniversary model of the iPhone might ship complete with Apple's latest, most-beloved iPhone accessory: AirPods. The current 7 and 7 Plus phones are packaged with basic wired EarPods with a Lightning connector, so having true wireless buds right out of the box would be another major upgrade.
Crazy ad spend numbers and it is online!
Google and Facebook together took 20 percent of the world's advertising budget across all media in 2016, according to a report published today. The figure has grown by nine percentage points in five years.
Media agency Zenith's Top 30 Global Media Owners report lists Google's parent company Alphabet at number one, taking $79.4 billion, followed by Facebook, which earned $26.9 billion in advertising revenue.
Comcast takes third place, with $12.9 billion, making it the largest traditional media owner
More from Amazon!
Amazon is working on "a premium Echo-like speaker" with a touch-screen display measuring roughly 7 inches, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.
The report says the new Echo speaker will work with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant — much like the current Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Tap speakers — but that the new touch screen could be used for quicker access to personal info, such as weather forecasts and calendar appointments.
It sounds like a fusion of the Echo and the popular Fire tablets the e-commerce giant sells today. It shouldn't be surprising then to hear that the new device will use an "optimized version" of Fire OS, Amazon's operating system for those tablets, according to Bloomberg.
- Is it possible today to not have an app just a mobile optimised website?
- Do you need an android and IOS app? Marketers are heading to IOS apparently!
- How often do we need to revisit the app? 3 yrs?
Do we need a smart pillow, YES! And Matress Firm in the US 3600 stores has a keynote by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, to announce two new tech-infused mattresses, much like Steve Jobs or Tim Cook have done in the past in unveiling Apple products. Ad like a tech product but it is not, TECH TO POWER OFF!
Behold the Sunrise Smart Pillow from Mode Modern. It's currently being via a Kickstarter that has septupled its $50,000 funding goal with nearly two weeks left in the campaign.
This thing is, in a word, ridiculous. There are more gizmos packed into it than Inspector Gadget's chest cavity. Embedded color-changing LED lights flip on in the mornings to both rouse you from your slumber and display customizable wake up message. The pillow incorporates a gyroscope and accelerometer monitor how often you toss and turn. It plays wireless music through a Bluetooth connection as well as a variety of white noises. Heck, the Sunrise can even guide you through meditation sessions.
And, of course, all that data it generates gets fed back into its associated mobile app. Because obviously your pillow needs an app. It's 2017, everything needs an app. The Sunrise pillow is currently discounted to $130 through the end of its crowdfunding campaign if you want to throw away only half as much money as you would two weeks from now.
Do we need landlines anymore? NOPE!
A US Health Department study has confirmed that most US citizens have completely stopped using landline phones -- shocking no-one. In a report released today, the government revealed that 50.8 percent of American households are now cellphone-only, with just 39.4 percent using both a mobile and a landline. That leaves a measly 6.5 percent of US homes that just use a landline, with the remaining 3.2 percent not owning a phone of any kind. The declining interest in landlines likely has one major culprit: the smartphone.
When the same study was conducted ten years ago, just 15 percent of American households were wireless only. Given the meteoric rise of cellphones, the results of the latest report are hardly surprising. With people increasingly relying on smartphones for access to work emails, GPS and the utterly essential Tinder, that tethered, internet-free landline starts to look a little redundant in 2017.
The government's survey reflected this, with over 70 percent of 25-34-year-olds reportedly only owning a cellphone. Strangely, adults living with children were more likely to be wireless-only than a household of just related adults. With at least one parent usually having to work, families with kids most likely rely heavily on cellphones to keep in touch on the go. Remember: there's Facetime now.
Are you a QR code person? Nope! Only for WhatsApp which you reminded me I like the desktop version last week, why had I stopped using it, QR activated!
VR just isn’t catching, we need headsets, but no content really but there is but we don’t want to buy headsets that may go out of date fast!
Story Studio, as it was called, was part of an attempt on the part of Oculus, which makes the impressive Rift headset, to foster a rich and varied buffet of content for VR users that isn't restricted to gameplay. And in its announcement, the company—which was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for over $2 billion—said that it will commit $50 million to funding other filmmakers and developers that are building non-gaming content for VR.
But the move could be read as a further sign of VR's struggles to break into the mainstream. As we reported at the end of last year, 2016 was supposed to be a banner year for VR, but sales ultimately proved sluggish. And Oculus appears to be faring worse than most: having suffered the indignity of having to close down a string of in-store demo stations due to lack of demand, it later slashed $200 off the price of its Rift headset and motion controllers to keep up with the likes of Sony.
Functional funny tech.
Would you like to talk to your Apple through a banana? If Indiegogo project Banana Phonesucceeds, then you'll have the opportunity to do just that. The Banana Phone is exactly what it sounds like: a banana-shaped Bluetooth gadget you pair to your phone and then use like a wireless handset.
So why would you want a Banana Phone? Maybe you have a thing for fruit. It could be a great gag gift. Or you just want to see the looks on the faces of the people around you when you take a phone call or talk to Siri or Google through a screaming-yellow banana
The device is currently in functional prototype form and will work with both iOS and Android devices. It offers 10 hours of talk time and 70 hours of idle time with the rechargeable battery. Besides a speaker and microphone, the banana also comes equipped with three multi-function buttons.
Google playing with a new operating system?
Fuchsia, the mysterious new operating system under development at Google, is starting to take shape and has acquired a user interface.
The new UI, dubbed Armadillo, features a card-based design for managing multiple apps, according to a profile by Ars Technica. The new interface, first spotted by Hotfixit.net, allows cards to be dragged around and used in a split-screen format.
Fuchsia, which first emerged in August, is vaguely described by Google as an operating system designed for "modern phones and modern personal computers." Complicating things further is that Fuchsia is based on a new kernel called Magenta, while Google's own Android OS is based on the open-source Linux kernel that has been around since 1991.
Launching a new mainstream operating system is hard, but Google has already registered success with Android and Chrome OS. Also, consumers may be happy with Windows, Android, MacOS or iOS, but there is always room for improvement such as stronger security, greater responsiveness and longer battery life.
An operating system manages a device's most basic operations, including registering keyboard clicks, sending data over a network, and juggling the tasks running on a processor. It also stores files on a drive and displays graphics on a screen.
So where might we see Fuchsia pop up? Google's been tight-lipped about its ambitions for Fuchsia.
Cool use your voice for Waze directions!
Waze has experimented with plenty of celebrity voices for its hugely popular navigation app, but now it’s taking the ultimate personalization step. What if the voice you heard while driving around was your own? Well, that sounds absolutely dreadfull. Everyone hates their own voice. But what if it was the voice of your spouse, or your kid? With the app’s new update on Android, it can be.
The latest version of Waze introduces what the company calls “the Waze voice recorder.” You open the app’s settings, tap “Sound & voice,” and you’ll find the new option to record a custom voice. You’ll have to run through the gamut of Waze’s frequent commands. But once that’s done, you’ll have a Waze experience that’s wholly your own. As LifeHacker points out, this could be useful in regions where the app’s own voice commands aren’t localized.
But just imagine the other possibilities. There’s ample opportunity for pranks, naturally; what’s to stop someone from saying “turn left” when they’re supposed to be recording “turn right”? And you could use this new tool to create any celebrity voice you want if you’re willing to spend the time (and find the right audio snippets). Waze only asks users to extra clear when speaking. Any of the app’s instructions that you don’t record will default to the regular Waze voice. For now, recordings are “available to you only” and can’t be shared.
Why isn’t Instagram allowing desktop uploads?
Understanding mobile users in stores!
Smartphones are our constant shopping companions - helping us research, compare, and even purchase products online and in stores. We’ve already seen that smartphones are key to pre-purchase activities. With 84% of mobile shoppers now using their phones to help with shopping in physical stores, smartphones are now as commonplace in stores as shopping carts and cash registers. In “Mobile In-Store Research: How in-store shoppers are using mobile devices”, with the help of M.A.R.C. Research and the Google Shopper Council, we set out to understand mobile’s role in stores and how marketers can take advantage. We found that across the board, shoppers who use mobile more actually spend more in store, so marketers should face the mobile in-store challenge head on and own the digital shelf.
Smartphones are transforming the retail experience
Now that consumers have product details, price comparisons and reviews available instantly at their fingertips, shoppers complement what they’re seeing on store shelves with what they can find on the web. This behavior isn’t just limited to high consideration purchases like appliances and electronics. In every industry we looked at, including household items, apparel, and pet care, more than 70% of smartphone shoppers use their phones in store to help with shopping. In fact, two-thirds of baby product shoppers compare prices on their phones in-store.
So what are shoppers using their smartphones for in stores? The research showed that phones were primarily used for:
- Price comparison (53%)
- Finding offers and promotions (39%)
- Finding locations of other stores (36%)
- Finding hours (35%)
Shoppers who use mobile more, spend more in store
While many businesses might assume that smartphone use in store drives shoppers to seek better prices elsewhere and order online, we found that the opposite was true. We compared the in-store purchases of moderate and frequent smartphone users and found that basket sizes of frequent mobile shoppers were 25-50% higher. For instance, while the average appliance smartphone shoppers spends $250 per shopping trip, frequent smartphone shoppers spend $350. Marketers shouldn’t shy away from the showrooming challenge, and should instead, meet it head on.
Search is often the starting point for in-store mobile activity
While many marketers assume that smartphone shoppers use shopping apps or navigate directly to brand and retail websites while in a store, we found that 82% of smartphone shoppers use mobile search to help make purchase decisions. This represents a critical moment where businesses can win or lose customers - whether they’re navigating the aisle in your store or your competitor’s. Mobile shoppers are looking for information or savings in the key decision moments, so businesses should own the digital shelf by making sure they’re present when customers are searching and that relevant information is easy to find.
Understanding how mobile changes the retail game
For businesses, this new mobile behavior doesn’t just impact your marketing efforts, it also has clear implications for the entire business - from the products you stock on shelves to the way you train employees. For instance, 1 in 3 smartphone shoppers would rather find information using their smartphone than ask a store employee. In categories like electronics and appliances, this behavior occurs for close to 50% of smartphone shoppers.
However, understanding and embracing this new retail behavior can open up new opportunities for brands to connect with customers in key consideration moments. Some stores promote their expanded inventory online or implement a price match guarantee to retain savings-hungry shoppers. Others are putting smartphones to use with QR codes that share more information about products, or apps with store maps and real-time inventory. Whatever tactics marketers choose, it’s clear that smartphones are changing the in-store experience, and that winning the key decision moments at the physical shelves means owning the digital shelves too.