Apple Supplier Cuts Deal to Make Lenses for AR Glasses; Self-Driving Nissan Leaf Taxi Test; Amazon Handmade in Hand in 2 Hours

It’s an open secret that Apple has been working on AR smart glasses. Now, 9to5mac.com reports that Apple supplier Quanta has inked a deal to start making lenses for augmented reality smart glasses. This deal isn’t apparently specific to Apple, but it sure opens the door for Cupertino to bring such a wearable to market. Last year, Quanta poured $45 million into Lumus, which makes AR lenses, and they now have apparently struck a licensing agreement that will make AR glasses much more affordable. Quanta has indicated that full AR headsets could be priced at less than the cost of a high end cell phone, or under $1000. Quanta says an AR product may be out in 2019, but maybe not from Apple, which is shooting for 2020.

Nissan has fired up 2018 Leaf production in the US, with the promise of battery packs coming that will get drivers 150 miles between charges…and down the road 225 miles. Now, according to techcrunch.com, the company is working with Japanese software maker DeNA to test an autonomous ride-hailing service. They expect to start testing the self-driving cabs in Japan this March. The interesting wrinkle about Nissan’s project is not just getting from point A to point B…you can apparently put in a general written inquiry such as wanting a specific kind of food, and the car will find and take you to a restaurant that serves it!

Stepping things up a notch for people using Amazon Handmade so they can better compete with Etsy, Amazon will start offering Prime Now 2 hour delivery for handmade artisan products. According to geekwire.com, customers in select Prime Now cities will be able to buy handmade items between now and Christmas Eve for the 2 hour delivery. The cities include: Austin, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh, San Diego, San Francisco Bay Area and Seattle.

Advertisements

Lobbying for Self-driving Cars Takes Quantum Leap; Amazon Prime Now SF Launch With New Guarantee

A gigantic lobbying group has just been formed to press regulators to allow for self-driving cars. Google, Ford, Uber, Lyft, and Volvo are all involved. It’s called the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets, according to theverge.com, and is headed by David Strickland, a former NHTSA administrator. They will press the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to come up with a clear set of federal standards by this summer.

Amazon has added San Francisco as the 8th city for its Prime Now one hour restaurant delivery service. With over 4000 restaurants packed into 49 square miles, San Francisco may be the restaurant capital of the world, and Amazon has thrown in a new feature…for all markets with Prime Now…a price guarantee. Geekwire.com says if you find a lower price on the restaurant’s in-person menu within 24 hours, you’ll get a refund. 33 zip codes in the City by the Bay will get the service, and there are 117 restaurants to choose from. If you want to try it out, it’s FREE during launch. Regular price for One Hour Prime Now is usually $7.99.


Apple’s Trade Up Plan Moves into Conquest Sales; Amazon Expands Flex Delivery

Apple has introduced Trade Up with Installments, which lets you put the price of a trade-in towards payments on a new iPhone, with payments down to as low as $15 a month. This is on top of your phone plan, of course, but the interesting thing noted by techcrunch.com is that Apple will take non-Apple trade-ins. Android users can get up to $300 for their used devices…like a Samsung Galaxy S6 in good condition will net you $290 towards the purchase of a new iPhone. Apple basically gets you and writes a mini-loan through Citizens Bank. If you like to trade more than every 2 years, this might be the deal. Apple is cleverly stealing the concept of conquest sales from the auto business, which has done this as well as loyalty discounts for decades.

Amazon has had Flex, and Uber-like home delivery service for Prime Now customers. The retail giant is now working to contract with private drivers to take even standard packages to customers’ doors, cutting out UPS, FedEx, and the Post Office more than ever. According to geekwire.com, the program is in effect already in part of Texas. They are reportedly paying drivers $18 an hour, and shifts can be scheduled 8a to 4p 7 days a week. Considering that Amazon has been working on leasing over 20 planes from Boeing, and flying out of a center formerly used by DHL, it sure looks like they are moving full force into doing their own logistics.


Amazon Rolls Out Food Delivery Service

Amazon has announced that it’s adding restaurant delivery an option for its one hour delivery app Prime Now. The initial service is just in specific zip codes in Seattle for the launch. Prime Now customers can view menus from participating restaurants in the app, order, and then track their delivery in real time like with package deliveries via the service. Amazon says there is no additional charge for the hour or less delivery, unlike other Prime Now one hour deliveries, which cost an additional $7.99. There are several dozen restaurants participating, but no national chains as yet. It’s likely that New York will be the second city to get the service.

Most people know that plenty of patents are filed that never see the light of day in products. According to Jalopnik.com, Toyota has filed one that may well be in that category. It’s for multiple, stacked wings that expand out of the roof of a future flying car. In the drawings, it appears to borrow from a pre-1900 ill-fated multi-winged airplane! Besides the flying issues, it seems the thing would put additional drag on the car while on the ground, hurting mileage….or maybe it’s an electric car-plane? We may never know!


Fuel Cell Could Run Your iPhone for a Week!

Some companies have been working on hydrogen fuel cells for cars since the 80’s. Now, one has managed to shoehorn one into smartphone size. Geek.com says Intelligent Energy has added a very slim hydrogen fuel cell to an iPhone 6! It reportedly doesn’t replace the rechargeable battery, but complements it. The company has been working closely with Apple on integrating it without modifying the phone. The back of the phone with the hydrogen cell is covered with vents to allow heat and water vapor to escape, but not enough that you will notice that. The upside? You can use your iPhone for a week without recharging! They are working on a disposable cartridge at this point, and have to decide on pricing, but this could be a huge game changer in smart devices and our other portable electronics!

Amazon has added home town Seattle and surrounding area to it’s one hour delivery service Prime Now. It was already available to Amazon Prime members in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Manhattan, Miami, and Indianapolis. More cities are on tap for later this year. Speaking of on tap, they have added the option to order beer, wine, and liquor for quick delivery, according to techcrunch.com. Other last minute needs are included in the service, which is via a standalone iOS or Android app…including party supplies, gifts, household items, and cold items like milk or frozen ones such as ice cream. Cheers!