Posted: 3:07 p.m. Monday, July 29, 2013
By John Brandon
This week, Starbucks gets phone-charging countertops, Zagat is reborn (a few years late), and BMW goes electric.
Each Monday, I'll cover the tech trends, gadgets, business services, and apps of note. The goal is to highlight not just consumer flash-in-the-pan ideas, but actual developments that could impact your business. Post in comments if you know of any other trends!
1. Starbucks Offers Wireless Charging
Tech advances take time. Just look at wireless charging. I first covered the cases and charge ports way back in 2010. Now, Starbucks has announced they will pilot countertops that can charge your phone when you set them down, but only in Silicon Valley. You need a compatible case, like this one from Duracell. Oh, some extra time--it takes just as long as wired charging.
2. Zagat Reborn
Acquisitions also take time--sometimes longer than they should. Google acquired the local restaurant review portal Zagat way back in 2011. (Curiously, the site still ranks numero uno on Google.com when searching for restaurant reviews--kind of a big coincidence.) There are brand new apps and a brand new Website. As you might expect from the age of visual networking, the new site is incredibly photo-centric.
3. BMW i3 EV
BMW announced the BMW i3, an electric vehicle that can go for about 190 miles on a charge in the extended range version. Small companies should keep an eye on this market--there may be savings for small delivery companies and company-provided cars, as well as potential in the ancillary start-up market for charging stations and other services.
4. Google Chromecast Streamer
There is yet another way to stream content off the mobile gadgets we all use to the massive television we all have in our living rooms. Chromecast, which costs just $35, is like a finger-sized version of the Apple TV and plugs into a port on your LCD. For start-ups, the big news is the small size and small price tag. Go tiny on both and watch your sales soar.