I'm sure you have seen the news about Snapchat. Besides filing for the biggest IPO in a long time, they're physical product is exploding. Many thought that Spectacles would be a huge flop, mostly because Google Glass was not the revolutionary product everyone thought. However, Snapchat did something that no other company has: It has let their fans market for them! Word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is, and they have mastered it.
Can you buy them online? No. Instead they have been dropping adorable minion-looking vending machines around the country. While people await for the next one to be mapped, the ones that have been dropped sell out in minutes. Snapchat has officially turned buying a product into a bizarre and delightful game. Rather than letting anyone buy them online, they have been dropping adorable Snap Bot vending machines around the country, providing a countdown and map on its website so fans can breathlessly await the next appearance. Talking about appearance, once you reach the bot, you can see what you would like with the Spectacles on. The machine has facial recognition software just like the app! Now that's impressive. Would you look best in coral, blue or black?
Making the glasses a limited edition item, along with the weird method of placement, has successfully built up a surprising amount of interest for such a silly gadget. In fact, when people get their hands on a pair, they tweet, Facebook and Instagram pictures and thoughts to the world. With every drop, people are tweeting their excitement (and disappointment), as sometimes the bot is hundreds or thousands miles away.
It's clear Snapchat doesn't want this to be thought of as a traditional tech gadget, but a fun part in people's lives. They have officially been dubbed the kings of understanding culture. When you think about it, they're JUST a pair of sunglasses that lets you shoot short videos. However, that's a brilliant strategy: It lowers expectations as Snapchat ventures into the unknown that is face-mounted wearables. How much longer will the surprise bot strategy go on? Not sure, but are you going to nab one before they stop?
By: Erica Amatori | Snapchat & Instagram: @ericaamatori
Twitters stock has taken quite a hit over the past couple years. It had a high of $69, but now is down to just scraping on $20. Recently, Twitter announced it’s killing the mobile app Vine. And, as a result, a lot of potential video content. Now, lets take a look at some stats.
What does this tell us? It screams that Twitter may be making a huge mistake. Not to mention Rus Yusupov and Dom Hofmann, founders of Vine, wished they never sold the company.
Let me give you some hope. Video apps are still being created. Here is some info on a new video/photography startup that is bringing it back: Pie. Pie is an app that allows you to make and watch 360 videos with your phone. Their popularity is rising, as currently Pie is at the top of Product Hunts Tech list. So obviously, people still love video and want video. Did Twitter make a huge mistake?
By: Erica Amatori | Instagram & Twitter: @ericaamatori
You are either a Pokemon master or a Pokemon hater. Nintendo hit popularity in the late 1990’s and has now rekindled it with this app. It’s so popular that it’s on the verge of overtaking Twitter in terms of daily active users on Android! People are raving about this new game, so much so they spend an average of 45 minutes a day on it. Here are some explanations on why it is so popular if you do not understand the craze:
However, the haters do have a reason to hate. It has caused robberies, disruptions at work and business annoyances (restaurants are putting up signs saying, “you can’t catch Pokemon here unless you buy something”). Some stores though look at it as an opportunity. They spend real money on adding “digital lures” to their stores, which increases the chance of special Pokemons to arise. Of course, the people flock to these locations.
Even if you don’t want to play the game, maybe consider investing in Nintendo stock.
📝 Erica Amatori Twitter & Insta: @ericaamatori
Device synchronization for all
We want everything to be connected, because lets face it, seamless connection makes life easier. So when companies announce that meshing all devices (mobile devices, wearable, consumer/home electronic devices, automotive devices and environmental devices) may be possible in 2016, we naturally freak out and want (correction: need) it to happen. This can enhance our ability to access applications and interact with people at any place on any device. I welcome 2016 with my arms open.
Transportation takes no work
If you told me at the beginning of 2015 there would be hoverboards and self-driving cars, I would have laughed. Both Apple and Google have come a long way in self-drive technology. With BMW, Tesla, Mercedes, Audi and Ford all racing to be the first to release connected-car systems, we will be seeing a lot more auto-pilot…but for cars. As for a more portable transportation device, the hoverboard is making a huge scene in the tech industry. I mean, these things are flying off the shelves (even when they catch on fire). Following this, drones are becoming increasingly more advanced and are another way to transport things fast. With Amazon hot on this technology, it’s no wonder drones are innovating at a speedy rate.
Say goodbye to college…or at least recruiting from campuses
College tuition is going up and up, and organizations are realizing this. For example, Goldman Sachs has partnered with MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and is even recruiting their new employees through it. They’re not only able to train and customize the online experience, but also track progress and see program impact. Saving time and money is MOOC’s main selling point, and it’s growing at a fast rate each year. Why spend $80,000 on college when you can take courses online and get that dream job? My second question is, why am I in college?
Wearables, wearables and wearables
Wearables are beginning to be for everyone. The Fitbit is widely popular with people ranging from very athletic to not much at all. The Apple Watch, Pebble and Samsung Gear also made a splash. Reviews of these are so-so, but there is no doubt that 2016’s improvements will change these reviews to “can’t live without it”. Plus, wearables are being designed to get less noticeable and bulky, and therefore, more popular. We see this with Google redesigning the impressive (but not really wearable for people yet) Google Glass.
3D printing expands
The materials that 3D printers are using are increasing to not only carbon fiber, but also glass, chocolate, pharmaceuticals, biological materials and more. These materials are leading to practical applications that revolutionize many industries. With 3D printing breaking into more sectors including energy, automotive and military, its no wonder demand is soaring.
📝 Erica Amatori Twitter & Insta: @ericaamatori
Pebble vs. Samsung Galaxy Watch
Both are pretty similar, but which is better? Both the Samsung Gear and Pebble are stainless steel and have swappable bands. However, the pebble can be paired with the iPhone or Android, while the samsung can only sync with (you guessed it) Samsung phones. Though, the Samsung Gear has a higher resolution display with multi-touch capabilities. It also has a heart rate sensor unlike the Pebble. What is the deciding factor between the two? The Gear can take phone calls and has a camera, and the Pebble does neither. Samsung Gear wins hands down.
Fitbit vs. Jawbone
Starting with the basics, the Fitbit can be used in the shower (but not swimming) and has a 5 day life. The Jawbone is completely water resistant and lasts 7 days. Price wise, the Fitbit is cheaper at $149.95 as the Jawbone is $179.99. Although neither has GPS tracking (too bad for runners), they both monitor the heart, track distance and calories burned, and monitor sleep. The Jawbone tracks sleep with more accuracy and works alongside a UP3 app that has a smart coach. With either device, you will be getting a top-of-the-line activity tracker, but in this battle, the Jawbone takes the cake.
Google Glass vs. HoloLens
Google Glass can take photos, videos, show messages and maps, find information, translates...however, do people see it as a flop? Oculus Rift has surpassed Google's $1500 gadget. Meanwhile, the HoloLens by Microsoft is a new holographic generator that allows you to virtually communicate, skype, message, play videos and engage in video games. A release date has yet to be announced, but for now, check out Microsoft's video for the HoloLens.
NFC Ring vs. ?
Simply, this metal ring is embedded with a radio chip that opens doors, makes payments, links people and unlocks your phone. It never needs charging and is water resistant. Funded by Kickstarter, the NFC ring is out on the market. The only competition right now would be Apple Pay, though that isn't even a direct competitor.
📝 Erica Amatori Twitter & Insta: @ericaamatori
Sometimes it's nice to sit in bed and go ham on Netflix, but lets not be that person that sits in their 450 square foot apartment on the regular. Fever has been the best boredom solver for me since I've been in New York. The app lists events that relate to your interest: music, art, food, exercise, fashion, party, Brooklyn, culture, etc. Separate the events going on that very day, tomorrow or later in the week. The best part is RSVPing to a party right on the app, sometimes getting free admission! Get some sunlight people.
Yea, you knew this was coming, but it's seriously a life saver. Whether you are lost in the streets of New York, don't want to deal with subways or just want to cry because you were stupid enough to wear heels...Uber is there to pick you up fast. I even used it to move all my stuff from apartment to apartment when I was switching areas. Yes, that Uber driver may have hated me, but it sure did save me money not renting a uhaul. Fun fact: the driver can rate the customer! This way, if other drivers have left bad reviews on you, guess who has to suck up those extra few blocks in heels?
I'm really not up for walking to the grocery store and getting a weight lifting work out from lugging bags back to my apartment. Oh, and then there's that cooking part. Maybe it's 9 pm and I'm still at work, not wanting to leave my desk because all hell will break loose if I do. Seamless cures the hunger or your stomach, laziness of your legs and lack of time to eat. Order anything from your phone or on the site. The satisfaction of food coming to you? Nothing greater.
I don't do confusing. I like intuitive, actually, I enjoy an app a 5 year old could navigate. When it comes to subways, most have missed a stop, got on the wrong one, or even gone to the end of a line (never get really involved in a good book on a subway). KickMap Lite is the subway map that I prefer over Embark, HubStop and Exit Strategy. The maps are easy to follow and won't have you going to Coney Island on a Thursday night.
Unfortunately, Smorgasborg doesn't happen everyday of the week. I would live in that little pack of food vendors if I could. Menu Pages finds restaurants and allows you to browse through their menu before walking in. The most handy is being able to filter results by price, distance, cuisine and popularity. I love finding new places to eat, and the reviews provide me with tips on what to eat or if it's a local place. For some reason, Yelp just isn't doing it for me anymore after Menu Pages came around.