Tech Trends- Feb 13-14
A new BB-8, Tesla’s new policies, the new iPhone release date and more in this week’s Weekend in Tech Trends.
Tech Trends 1) A more life size BB-8 may be entering our lives soon
After the major success of Sphero’s app controlled BB-8, another company is jumping on board. A company named Spin Master is set to reveal a new 16 inch BB-8 this weekend at the New York Toy Fair.
Spin Master’s BB-8 will be controlled through a remote control that lets you drive BB-8 around. What’s even better than that is that users can now talk to BB-8 through voice commands, including having BB-8 follow you around like the droid sidekick you always wanted. When talking to BB-8, it will automatically turn its head towards you, waiting for your command.
The only bad thing about this BB-8 is the potential release date, which isn’t until fall 2016. And if it’s anywhere near as popular as Sphero’s BB-8, you may have to wait much longer than that just to get your hands on one.
Tech Trends 2) Tesla goes under the radar in new update to their policies
In a very under the radar update to their policies, Tesla will be raising their prices on after sales service options. More importantly, they will also now prevent buyers from transferring their warranty and prepaid service plans when reselling their car.
Previously, owners could transfer their plans and warranty to the new owner for ony $100, now they can’t at all. On top of that, Tesla owners will also have to pay $200 more for their service plans, which really isn’t a huge jump considering the car is $80,000.
“Tesla has an affluent customer base, and these buyers rarely keep a car longer than 4 years or 50,000 miles,” says Karl Brauer, automotive industry analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “By eliminating the warranty transfer option Tesla has largely neutralized the benefits of its extended warranty coverage. It lets Tesla technically offer longer vehicle coverage while exposing the automaker to minimal real-world cost increases… Bottom line, if you can’t transfer the warranty, your options as a buyer are reduced.”
Only time will tell if any of this has a real impact on Tesla’s performance.
Update: Tesla has now updated their website stating that the changes were a mistake. The statement read.
“A change to Tesla’s Extended Service Agreement was posted with an error. Tesla owners can indeed transfer the unused portion of their Extended Service Agreement with the sale of their Tesla. Our practice of refunding the unused portion of the Extended Service Agreement also continues. In addition, Tesla owners can transfer the unused value of their Extended Service Agreement towards an Extended Service Agreement for a new Tesla Model S or Model X.”
Tech Trends 3) Apple set to release iPhone 5se and iPad Air 3 March 18th
Apple’s latest products, the 4 inch iPhone 5se and the iPad Air 3, are set to be unveiled Tuesday March 15th and go on sale on March 18th, according to 9to5Mac. What is different about the release of these products is that as of now, Apple will not be making them available for pre-order. Instead, they will just go on sale online and in stores a few days after the event.
The new iPhone 5se is meant to be a cheaper but also fast and reliable option for people who are not yet ready to upgrade to the larger iPhone 6 or 6s. The iPhone 5se will also include an NFC chip, which Apple hopes will help spur further Apple Pay adoption. The iPad Air 3 may include a smart connecter so that it can be used with the Smart Keyboard as well as the Apple Pencil. Unfortunately, this has yet to be fully confirmed.
Stay tuned as Apples spring event is just under a month away and is sure to contain some cool products such as the Apple Watch 2.
Tech Trends 4) Android app wants to detect earthquakes using everyones phones
A group at UC Berkley wants to use your Android phone to help detect earthquakes. MyShake uses your phone’s motion sensors to detect the telltale signs of tremors and when combined with the data from every other user, the app can detect an earthquake before it happens. In the future, the MyShake app would be able to give users a warning with hopefully enough time for them to find a safe area. Of course, the app will also have an iOS version in the future as well. Check out the video below for more information.