Surround sound sneakers
Start up DropLabs has developed the EP01 sneakers that feature a power supply, a transducer (for vibrations) and Bluetooth connectivity. The shoes enable the wearer to experience the full musical effect, mimicking the vibrations in the floor during a live performance. The company’s CEO reports that brain functions are enhanced when an experience is received with four or more senses, making these shoes an important accessory for serious gamers and eSports competitors. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Sensurround was the product of speaker maker Cerwin-Vega and was added to theaters to support the release of 1974 movie Earthquake, along with a few other movies in subsequent years. The rise of the sale of subwoofers in theaters (home and big screen) is attributed to a trend started by Sensurround. Will DropLab’s vibrating sneakers also start a trend? The appeal for gamers is clear, and perhaps this technology would be very helpful to the hearing impaired. A larger market might be those people who silence their phones, and don’t wear a smart watch, but want to be notified of incoming messages through their feet.
Google enters the banking arena
Not to be outdone by Apple’s credit card, Google, in partnership with Citibank and Stanford Federal Credit Union, will be offering a checking account. The accounts will be tied to Google Pay, but will also be held by one of the banks to maintain insurance through FDIC or NCUA. A company spokesman stated that Google did not intend to sell personal data from this banking venture. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: All the Big Tech players are or soon will be bucking to enter consumer finance. In the U.S., banks and credit unions are highly regulated at the federal and state levels, so to offer banking services, Big Tech must partner with a bank and essentially be a sales agent for a bank. This could be a really attractive partnership for a bank, especially in light of increased regulation potentially being placed on Big Tech — meaning that banking laws will not soon be amended to enable more control by tech companies. The lesser-seen mad dash will be banks who do not yet have a Big Tech partner and who could be left with no giant digital distribution partner.
Will new Razr foldable put Motorola back on the map?
Motorola is resurrecting the Razr flip phone, but this time it is a smart phone with a foldable screen. At $1500 and on sale in December, it’s a great holiday gift for the high end phone buyer and those that want to be the first with a foldable phone. Technical specs include two cameras (16 MP main, 5 MP selfie), water-resistant outside coating, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 processor, Pie version of Android, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and 2510mAh battery. Mobile World Live
dis-rup-shun: This looks like the beginning of a new again form factor for smartphones. People like the large screen size of today’s smartphone models, but would really like one that folds up to more easily fit in pockets, purses and bags, plus foldables protect their own screens when closed, and the Razr can be used while closed when connected to Bluetooth accessories. Expect to see emulators of the Razr while prices for foldable screens plummet over the next two years, but these emulators will be Chinese versions that will make it hard for Motorola to stay in the game for the long haul.
Connected car cloud leaders are Amazon, Microsoft and Harman
The connected car cloud is the platform that does and will connect in-car technologies, including engine diagnostics, navigation, communication and entertainment, among other things. It is the place where new software updates for dozens of car systems can be updated. The market leaders, according to a new report, are, not surprisingly, Amazon, Microsoft, Harman (holding 70% of the market). The list of top 11 players includes Airbiquity, AWS, Continental, Ericsson, Google, Here, Harman, IBM, Microsoft, Mojio, and WirelessCar. ABI Research
dis-rup-shun: Just as other intelligent devices, the profits for the automotive industry may soon be the software — but this time the software is in the cloud, and the auto makers don’t own the cloud. Harman is the only player in the list that has long been a well-recognized name in the automotive business, as the brand purchased most of the car entertainment systems that were familiar a decade ago or more. Samsung acquired Harman in 2016, and is up against some big players in the car cloud business, but should have an edge in relationships with car manufacturers. Let’s see how long Harman can use insider relationships to maintain a competitive edge over the other 10 top players.