What do automotive shoppers really want? A few years ago, those who kicked the tires on new vehicles might have prioritized fuel efficiency, comfort, or perhaps horsepower. "The race never ends to develop'must have' vehicle technologies," says Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and human machine interface research at J.D. Power. "New technology continues to be a primary factor in the vehicle purchase decision." "However, it's critical for automakers to offer features that owners find intuitive and reliable," Kolodge adds.
If you're also tired of taking daily Zoom calls on your laptop, maybe you'd prefer to just turn on the TV, lay back, and learn or conduct business from the couch. Earlier this week, we wrote about a new video device for Microsoft Teams, but it's really large, at 85 inches, and really costly, at $21,199. Amazon is introducing a less pricey option later this year. "I just believe that your big, beautiful TV is a great place for communications and we're going to continue to lean in to make that a better experience well," said Marc Whitten, vice president of Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services. To drive the new device,you'll need the Fire TV Cube, a $119 accessory that's different from the Fire TV streaming stick units.
Consumer drones are notorious for being hard to fly at first, before you learn what you're doing, and the odds are, you will crash it. So how about a drone that flies automatically, in the home as a roaming security camera? One the manufacturer promises won't crash into a ceiling fan or a flower pot, because it has obstacle avoidance technology. And flies back into its cradle when the flight is complete. Jamie Siminoff, the founder of the Amazon Ring subsidiary, insists that it will because there's an app for it.
Amazon just announced its new line of Echo devices, and they are drastically different than the ones we have grown to love. Their form factor is completely new for 2020, and even more exciting is the fact that they are now available for pre-order. Echo devices and their built-in smart assistant, Alexa, have become the most popular names in smart home following their 2014 debut. Every year since, Amazon has launched new smart speakers, displays, earbuds, fashion assistants, and even eyeglasses. Some of it sticks, and some gets phased.
Video game fans who missed out on pre-ordering a PlayStation 5 will get another chance Friday. Retailer GameStop revealed on Twitter on Thursday it will offer more pre-orders of Sony's PS5 on Friday, Sept. 25. GameStop didn't offer a specific time for when the pre-orders will open up to consumers. "We are pleased to announce that further quantities of PS5 consoles will be made available to pre-order," said GameStop in its tweet, noting they will be offered both online and at stores. Video game lovers have experienced a September scramble as pre-orders for both the PS5 and Xbox Series X launched.
Amazon launched a new program to help make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. Amazon now has a page dedicated to products with a Climate Pledge Friendly label, according to a statement by the company, signifying they meet sustainability standards that help preserve the natural world. Customers can browse through over 25,000 products with one or more sustainability certifications. Product categories include grocery, apparel, beauty, computers, electronics, among others. As part of Amazon's Climate Pledge Friendly program, the retail giant is also launching Compact by Design, an externally-validated certification that identifies products without excess air and water and products that require less packaging and become more efficient to ship.
The full-self driving car is about to take a step closer to reality. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Tuesday that the test version of company's Autopilot system will be released in "a month or so." While he didn't describe its capabilities, Musk said that once it's out, "you'll see what it's like. It's clearly going to work." A number of startups and established automakers have been racing to develop self-driving technology.
Sam's Club is giving its members a new way to see the doctor – virtually. The Walmart-owned warehouse club chain announced a partnership with Seattle-based virtual primary care provider 98point6 Tuesday to provide members with an exclusive introductory fee and quarterly subscription. Sam's Club members with either a Club or Plus membership level can sign up for a quarterly subscription to 98point6's telehealth virtual clinic via a text-based app for $20 per participant for the first three months, $10 less than 98point6's regular sign-up fee of $30. With the subscription, unlimited virtual visits are $1 each with "access to U.S. board-certified doctors 24 hours a day and seven days a week," the retailer said in a news release. Walmart raises:Walmart increasing pay for approximately 165,000 hourly workers across U.S. stores, introducing new roles The quarterly subscription costs increase to $33.50 every three months per participant after the first three months.
It's been a big month for video game fans. A week after Sony opened up preorders for the PlayStation 5, Xbox lovers will get their chance to scoop up Microsoft's next video game console. Preorders for the Xbox Series X and Series S kick off Sept. 22. The Series X launches Nov. 10 for $499, while the Series S goes for $299. In the U.S., preorders will be available at the following retailers starting at 11 am ET: Consumers can also preorder the new Xbox consoles through Microsoft's All Access program, where you can get the Series S or X and two years of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for $24.99 per month for 24 months.
The studio behind video game franchises Doom and Fallout has a new home. Microsoft announced Monday it will acquire ZeniMax Media for $7.5 billion. The deal includes Bethesda Softworks, the Maryland-based publisher that works on video game properties including Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. "As a proven game developer and publisher, Bethesda has seen success across every category of games, and together, we will further our ambition to empower the more than three billion gamers worldwide," Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda, was founded in 1999 and currently has more than 2,300 employees.