On the heels of the roll out of UberEats food delivery in 4 cities, word is out that Uber is stealthily testing a gigantic delivery program. According to techcrunch.com, Uber is testing same day delivery with both UberRush couriers and Uber drivers. Talks are underway with Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Hugo Boss, and others. They are partnering with Spring…the mobile shopping app…for part of the testing. Apparently, part of the plan includes Uber drivers being able to take both passengers and Uber Merchant orders simultaneously using an intelligent routing system.
Here’s a forward looking area of college study…UAS…unmanned aircraft systems…drones, to the rest of us. Kansas State University, University of North Dakota, and Embry-Riddle now all offer a bachelor’s degree in UAS operations. Arstechnica.com says grads from North Dakota and K-State receive Commercial and/or Private Pilot Certificates…Embry-Riddle students can as well with a course option. All of the programs started with a handful of students, but are now up to triple digits.
Amazon has launched Amazon Business Marketplace, claiming ‘hundreds of millions of products.’ The service has business-only pricing and selection, and free two day shipping on orders of $49 or more. Amazon says it works with purchase orders and third party purchasing systems. Check geekwire.com for more details.
Uber’s experiment with food delivery has been expanded, and is now live in 4 cities. According to engadget.com, the newly branded UberEats is available in the former trial cities of Los Angeles and Barcelona, and also New York and Chicago. The service takes the place of pickup orders…you choose from curated restaurant menus, and an Uber driver shows up in a few minutes with your grub. No word if there’s surge pricing for meal times!
The poorly kept secret Tesla home batteries may be leased instead of sold. Engadget.com picked up a report from the Guardian that says some have already been leased to a few SolarCity customers. SolarCity is, of course, run by Tesla boss Elon Musk. The 10 year deal has been test run at $1500 down and $15 a month, or $27.50 a month, making the decade lease cost $3300. Subsidies from energy companies could drop the price even lower. Whatever the deal will be should be revealed in a few days.
A new app is out for renters, that works like Venmo for shared meal tabs. Splittable lets housemates divvy up rent and expenses evenly…a big help in places like the Bay Area and New York City, where house and apartment sharing are common. It was already given a trial run in London for 1000 renters, and is available on Android, iOS, and the web. TEchcrunch.com says you can invite housemates over email, Facebook message, or WhatsApp.
No, it’s not Amazon! The first actual test of drone delivery is being launched by Swiss Post, the Swiss postal service. They’ll use the service of Matternet starting this summer. The Matternet One drone can deliver about 2.2 lbs 12 miles on a charge. Swiss Post thinks that’s enough to deliver light packages such as documents, medical supplies, and parts. Check out tech crunch.com for more.
The widely used Dropbox cloud synced storage system has already expanded into photo storage and mail. Now, they are beta testing Dropbox Notes, a collaborative note taking function. It sports a similar interface to Google Docs, and competes with that as well as Evernote. The verge.com reports that so far, it looks like a corporate focused beta, not yet available to individuals.
A number of cars have had self-parking for a while now. BMW just took it up a notch, with the 7 Series. The latest version of BMW’s tech-heavy Display Key lets you park the car by remote control, while you’re outside the car…valet parking without the valet!If you have the change to buy the car, now you can grab that parking space that’s a little too tight at the airport! Check geek.com for more details.
With the first Apple Watches on the way to excited buyers, the wearables market continues to heat up. LG’s all metal Watch Urbane will be available late this month at the Google Store in the US and 10 other countries. The price will be revealed when it goes on sale, but it’s expected to be a premium compared to other Android smart watches. Hit 9to5google.com for more info.
With the Apple Watch launch a couple of days out, Microsoft has updated its OneNote app to take dictation from the wearable. 9to5mac.com says Redmond has also updated the PowerPoint app to support Apple Watch.
The venerable white board is moving into the 21st Century. It’s Wicue, a Kickstarter campaign for a large, marker-free smart liquid crystal writing board you write on with your finger. It can be controlled from your iPhone or Android smartphone, too. It should ship before Christmas.
Philips has just opened the door to LED light bulbs replacing standard bulbs more quickly. Geek.com reports they just came out with a 60 watt equivalent LED bulb for $4.97! Even cheaper…you can get a 2 for 1 pack starting in May at Home Depot.
Apple has been known for making healthy markups on its products, but bgr.com says the new Apple Watch may be their most profitable one ever. Research from Think Big Analytics shows the average gross margins for Apple Watch will be over 60%! Obviously, even with the costs of gold, the Edition version will be much more profitable than that since it’s the same inside as the other two models!
Google is killing the YouTube app on older gear like the 2nd generation Apple TV, and Sony and Panasonic Blu-rays and TVs made before 2012. Thenextweb.com reports older iPhones and iPads will have to run iOS7 or later to still use the app.
Engineering students at Rice University have created a simple gadget to make shots hurt less. According to gizmodo.com, the salt shaker sized device uses a chemical reaction to make skin numb in 60 seconds, allowing the nearly painless shot.
Yelp has announced an Apple Watch app with local listings and reviews. 9to5mac.com says you will see the majority of the info you’re used to seeing about eateries right on the small screen, without having to fish in your pocket or purse for your phone. As with the Yelp smartphone app, the Watch app is integrated with Apple Maps, too.
Google has announced that it’s encrypting the vast majority of its search ads and YouTube ads….finally. TechCrunch.com notes that gmail was encrypted back in 2008. The new HTTPS encryption will apply to Google Display Network, AdMob, and DoubleClick, and will be in place by June 30th.
Amazon is dropping one of the coolest features of its Android app store. Engadget.com reports they are killing TestDrive, the try before you buy feature where you could run apps on a virtual machine, and compare them before downloading. Amazon points to the fact that the vast majority of apps are free now anyway as the reason for dropping the service.
The strong pre-sales of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge may indirectly hurt future iPhone 6s sales. Bgr.com says Apple had previously announced that the new A9 processors would be built entirely by Samsung, but now Samsung may not be able to keep up with the demand as Galaxy sales pick up. Now, Apple will look to Taiwanese maker TSMC to build 30% of their processor chips. TSMC already builds chips for the present iPhones.
Google now lets you install apps directly from search on Android. According to thenextweb.com, when you search for an app, there’s an install button right with the search results that takes you directly to the Google store and downloads the app.
Microsoft has enjoyed a lot of success with their Halo game franchise. Forbes.com reports that Redmond has released Halo spinoffs for iOS, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and the gamer favored Steam machines. The 3 Halo Spartan games can be bought in a bundle for $9.99 in the various app stores.
Samsung is expected to raise guidance on the new Galaxy S6 by almost 50%…from 35-40 million smartphones to 50-55 million this year..due to the new Edge model. 9to5google.com picked up that figure from usually reliable KGI Securities.
In the wake of Microsoft renegotiating a search deal with Yahoo, geekwire.com reports that Bing’s desktop search share in the US has edged past 20% for the first time. Google still dominates search with 64.4% of the market, though.
Speaking of Microsoft, they’ve patented a way to use ultraviolet light to disinfect filthy touchscreens. According to thenextweb.com, UV light runs from a source on the side of the screen through a new transparent film on the screen’s surface.