Tech’s future is likely to be in goods, with launch of Google Home
researches product recalls. “It was only when the second batch of phones began to fail The company also received more bad news last Friday when federal regulators issued an emergency order banning the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone from airplanes. The US Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said the phones can’t be carried on flights to, from or within the United States. Passengers can’t put them in checked baggage, and the phones can’t be shipped as airfreight, the agencies said. The order went into effect at noon EDT last Saturday. “We recognise that banning these phones from airlines will inconvenience some passengers, but the safety of all those aboard an aircraft must take priority,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are taking this additional step because even one fire incident inflight poses a high risk of severe personal injury and puts many lives at risk.” Passengers who try to take their Galaxy Note 7 phones aboard aircraft may be forced to relinquish their devices and may face fines, the agencies said. “Passengers who attempt to evade the ban by packing their phone in checked luggage are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident,” they said. “Anyone violating the ban may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines.” (TNS): IT’S EASY to imagine a future in which products as mundane as toasters and window blinds will be connected to the internet and controlled by software. It’s harder to guess who’s going to make them. Leading producers of consumer software such as Google, Facebook, Amazon.com and Snapchat are branching into designing physical goods at accelerating rates. Driven by intensifying competition for consumer attention and enabled by declining manufacturing costs, software companies are entering battle with firms as far removed from Silicon Valley as Timex and Ray-Ban.
The years to come could see Amazon making bookshelves that know what’s on them, grocery delivery app Instacart peddling refrigerators that restock on their own and music-streaming service Spotify designing headphones with a cellular chip and flip-down video display.
It’s all conjecture for now, but they are real considerations for software behemoths that want to solidify monopolies as well as start-ups seeking to upend traditional consumer brands, technology executives and advisors say.
“Everything that’s a physical object is eventually going to be a combination of hardware and services,” said Amar Hanspal, senior vice-president for products at design software giant Autodesk. “The more industrial and complex ones are going to come from a traditional hardware company. But the more consumeroriented and less complex software companies will enter those product categories a lot more.”
The latest signs of that future emerged last Tuesday when Google launched Home, a $130 tabletop device comparable to an alarm clock, except it responds aloud to spoken commands and search queries. It also revealed a Wi-Fi router and the first fully Google-branded smartphones. The unveiling caps a turnabout for a company that originally limited its mobile ambitions to supplying free software to handset makers.
Google’s announcement came the week after Snap Inc, formerly Snapchat, shared details about US$130 video-camera sunglasses it’s shipping later this year.