Tag Archives: technology

Google’s new Pixel 5

Ready for a new phone? Just the thought of researching new phones and then paying hundreds of dollars more can give consumers a headache. Google seems to be paying attention this fatigue and is making its phones a little simpler and a little less expensive.

It seems like Google is responding to pandemic economic concerns and is pricing its phones in a comfortable middle ground. These products seem made for watching TV or listening to music at home, all without needing to shell out a thousand dollars for a new device. [A Google executive stated that “The world doesn’t need another $1,000 phone right now.”]

The new Pixel phones are priced a bit differently than the past. For example, last year’s Pixel 4 pricing started at $800, but the new Pixel 5 starts at $700. There is even a lower-priced model called the Pixel 4a5G that is priced from $500 – $600.

The Pixel 5 eliminated facial recognition to unlock the phone (good for mask-wearing users!), as well as radar technology that recognized a user waving a hand over the phone, and telephoto and zoom lenses. But on the other hand, it added a larger battery and ultralow-power mode that lets the phone run 48 hour on a charge. The screen is larger and users can wirelessly charge other devices by laying them on the back of the phone.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What phone do they have? How long have they had it? Are they going to buy a new phone in the next few months? Why or why not?
  2. Video of Pixel 5 phone: https://youtu.be/twNDke-cfv4
  3. Show Google’s new phones: https://store.google.com/product/pixel_5
  4. Discuss competition: Who are the direct competitors for this product?
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team do a chart of a different brand of phone, including features and pricing.
  6. What are the points of difference between the various phones?
  7. How much does pricing matter?
  8. How much do features matter?

Sources: Associated Press; New York Times; Washington Post; The Verge; other news sources

 

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Amazon Drones get U.S. Approval for Delivering Packages

Drones seem to be ready to take over the skies, but are they really ready for prime time? Can they deliver the goods? And how does this change delivery services around the globe? We may soon find out the answers to some of those questions.

Amazon is the latest company to receive FAA approval to operate a fleet of delivery drones. The approval gives Amazon Prime Air broad privileges to “safely and efficiently deliver packages to customers.” Amazon will test its drones with the goal of achieving 30-minute deliveries for packages of up to five pounds within a 15-mile radius of a warehouse. The company has been working on using drones for deliveries since 2013, continually innovating the drone models. The FAA approval gives Amazon permission to operate a fleet and is not tied to a specific model of drone.

Amazon isn’t the only game in town though. Last April, Wing (owned by Alphabet) received FAA approval for commercial deliveries. UPS also received approval to operate a fleet of drones as an airline last year. However, in all these cases, widespread use is likely still years in the future as the FAA needs to establish new, automated air-traffic systems as drone operations will exceed what human air controllers can handle.

Ready for your drone delivery?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Show Amazon drone video: https://youtu.be/3HJtmx5f1Fc
  3. Optional: Here is an older version of the Amazon drone model: https://youtu.be/MR9PoBAssw0
  4. Show competing drone services:
  1. Discuss which industries and services will be most impacted by drones. Why these?
  2. Will drones benefit consumers? How?
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for drone delivery services. What will be most important to consumers?

Sources: Associated Press; CNBC; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

 

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Smart Shopping Cart – Amazon’s Dash Cart

Raise your hand if you get irritated by long lines at the supermarket checkout. Go ahead – don’t be shy! It would be very rare indeed if all shopping experiences were trouble-free. A major annoyance of shoppers is the checkout process. It should be simple and fast.

In a move intended to shake up the grocery industry, Amazon’s new Dash Carts calculate and pay the bill – meaning no need to stand in any kind of check-out line. The Dash Carts have embedded cameras, sensors, a built-in scale, and a smart display that will automatically tally the items. The smart carts will be available later this year at a planned Amazon grocery store in Los Angeles. The technology is similar to that used at Amazon Go stores with their “Just Walk Out” cashier-less technology.

The carts are easy to use and require little change in shopper behavior. Shoppers use their Amazon account information and smart phone. After entering the store, the shopper scans a QR code in the Amazon app that signs them into the cart and even loads up stored shopping lists from Alexa. The technology speeds up shopping, eliminates checkout and aims to improve the overall shopping experience.

Shop. Exit. Simple.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This product vividly reminds us of the famous IDEO shopping cart redesign. That video can be found at: https://youtu.be/izjhx17NuSE
  2. The original design was from 1999. Why do students think it never caught on?
  3. Show video of Amazon’s new Dash Cart: https://youtu.be/rQO9u6-KOJk
  4. What are the features similar to the IDEO redesign? Why is this design possible for today’s consumers?
  5. Discuss the purchasing process and the problems with having consumers use new innovation.
  6. Poll students: Is the Dash cart continuous innovation, dynamic innovation, or discontinuous innovation. Why?

Source:  CNET: CNN; Forbes; IMPO; TechCrunch; other news sources

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