Charge me up
Digital devices are proliferating, but we can’t forget about battery life. Our amazing devices are worthless if they have no juice. Some brands are taking this head on: Huawei’s new Mate 8 phone promises 2 days of battery life, while the new FitBit boasts a 5 day battery life (which might be the only positive for them this week…more on that later). Most impressive? Cota, the wireless charging hub from Ossia. Cota makes wireless charging actually, well, wireless. Cota does requires either a bulky case or, more ideally, a chip placed into the device, and it will take longer for your phone to charge than it does on a conventional charger. But Ossia has also developed an AA battery that will stay charged when in range of your Cota. While imperfect and early days yet, this signals a real step forward in battery technology.
Cool phone, now put it down
Yesterday, we touched on how you can’t go anywhere at CES without coming across something having to do with cars: driverless plans, better infotainment systems, connectivity to smart devices. While much of the new technology around cars promise a safer future, we’re still a long way off from a lot of these developments. Perhaps a good safety stopgap is the Smartwheel, debuted on Wednesday. It’s a steering wheel cover that monitors the driver’s hands, delivering real time alerts if the hands aren’t in the right position. It also logs activity, so a parent or supervisor can learn how focused their child or employee is while driving. A gimmick? Maybe. But Smartwheel’s head is in the right place.
Netflix Ain’t Chillin’
How’s this for real-time? Netflix CEO Reed Hastings unveiled that in the time he was on stage delivering the company’s keynote, Netflix was now available in over 130 countries (China continues to hold out). Hastings also talked about their partnership with LG to aid the expansion by offering prepaid service, which is crucial for moving into markets where monthly subscription models aren’t as consumer-friendly. What’s next for Netflix? They’re working on better picture and sound quality and approved recommendations. And we’re sure there are more Emmys and Golden Globes on the horizon, too.
The Style of Tech
There’s always been a bit of a speed bump where technology and aesthetics intersect. This year, Samsung has rolled out fashion smartwatches, and Fitbit is continuing its partnership with fashion designer Tory Burch. But technology plays more of an underlying factor in fashion. Designers are excited about the new levels of personalization that can be achieved via 3D printing, in particular. For the first time ever, people can wear something that is completely their own – no one else can buy it. But if they do want to share it, it’s as easy as sending through a file.
Transparency is crucial
As a whole new crop of IoT devices is introduced to the world this week, we must not forget what actually happens with the data once it’s been collected. These days, the FTC has found that many companies are collecting a whole lot more information than they actually need, and are doing so without users’ explicit knowledge. For that reason, it’s no surprise that many Americans are confused about the data practices of big companies. While the vast majority of people are willing to share their data with you, you must be transparent about how their data will be collected in an easy-to-understand way. You also must provide an option for them to opt-out and respect their decision if they choose to do so.
Click here to download the report.