Companies in any industry know the importance of innovation. While our Trailblazer winners provide some great examples of that from within our own industry, tech companies are constantly improving upon their products to further the capabilities of what they can do. Well, that and they want people to keep buying new things. With the holiday shopping season fast approaching, it is no surprise some of the biggest companies recently announced new products.
Amazon: Smart Home Made Easy
Amazon is tripling down on Alexa-enabled products with the latest version of the Echo; the new, compact Echo Spot (which has a small screen); and finally, the Echo Plus ($150). In addition to more powerful speakers, the Echo Plus’ real claim to fame—which no other Alexa product currently offers—is a built-in hub that seamlessly connects to and controls compatible smart devices. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices,” and it will connect to your smart light bulbs, locks, switches, plugs, and whatever else you have.
Fitbit: Personalized Workout Guidance
Fitbit is entering the smartwatch space, while sticking with what it does best—helping you stay fit. The Fitbit Ionic ($300) is designed to give you more guidance during your workouts with personalized exercises that play on the screen. It also adapts exercise routines based on your feedback and offers recommendations based on your workouts (for example, suggesting yoga after a run). The smartwatch also has access to popular apps like Pandora, can make payments through its NFC chip, and can get calls, texts, and emails.
Sony: Super Zoom Meets Super Speed
Sony’s RX10 line of cameras was already known for its incredible zoom range, but the RX10 IV ($1,700) adds top shooting speeds to the mix. The camera’s BIONZ X image processing engine enables continuous shooting—even with autofocus and autoexposure tracking—at up to approximately 24 frames per second. And it can shoot at that speed for up to 249 frames at a time. All of which makes it a great camera to capture the most exciting moments during fast-paced action.
Apple: A New Way Home
Apple unveiled a slew of upgrades including its latest Apple Watch, Apple TV, and the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, but the device with the most drastic changes is the iPhone X ($999 to $1,149). The most noticeable difference—the phone is all screen. The 5.8‑inch Super Retina screen stretches from edge to edge, which means the familiar home button at the bottom of the phone is no more. Instead, the user navigates through gestures. For instance, now a single swipe from the bottom takes you home while swiping up and pausing reveals all of your open apps.
Levi: Technology Infused Jacket
Even a clothing manufacturer is getting into the tech game—with a little help from Google. The Levi’s Commuter Trucker Jacket with Jacquard by Google ($350) is mainly aimed at commuters, such as bike riders, who can’t access their phone while riding. The jacket has touch interactivity woven into its sleeve so that different gestures can be programmed to do different things. For instance, a tap on the sleeve increases the volume of your music, while a swipe up could repeat your next navigation instruction. Just don’t get it too dirty—the rumor is the sleeve loses its connectivity after around 10 washes.