Product Promotion Network


Walmart files patent applications for drone shopping assistants and smart shopping carts

Walmart filed a host of patents today related to how it keeps track of inventory — and the technologies could change the way its customers shop, as reported by Gizmodo.

One of the patents is clearly for the in-store experience, and proposes a sensing device to make shopping carts smart and communicate with a mobile device (presumably to help you navigate to where items are). There’s also a patent that tracks users through wearables, and several for managing / sensing inventory levels.

Walmart has also filed a patent for drones that would assist customers shopping in-store. The patent outlines a method where a drone can be summoned via a mobile device — either personal or one temporarily provided — and then “provide assistance to the user in the form of price verification or navigation assistance.”

There are also two patents for autonomous tech.

One outlines a method for detecting items placed in a container, and the other is a system of sensors, a processor, and a communication interface for automatically gathering information about vehicles (presumably transporting goods), like pre- and post-delivery weight, size, and temperature.

Whether any of this will actually come to fruition is hard to tell.

Companies routinely file patents that are never realized, but the idea of a future where drones are at your command as shopping assistants is interesting at the very least.

Walmart has been raising its efforts as of late to compete with Amazon and other large retailers.

It boosted prices for items bought online versus in-store late last year, made the jump to start producing and selling its own meal kits, and struck a deal with Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten to be the exclusive mass retailer for Kobo e-readers.

Walmart reported in February its US e-commerce sales grew 23 percent over fiscal year 2017 and its online revenue increased 44 percent, but a former employee claims the company lied about results in order to “win the e-commerce war at all costs.” A Walmart spokesperson told The Verge the allegations were “by a disgruntled former associate, who was let go as part of an overall restructuring.”

We need to talk about tablets

Late last year, Apple ran a video ad framing the iPad Pro as a Real Computer, a narrative it has pushed since it first launched the tablet and smart keyboard coupling — but it’s one that hasn’t stuck. Apple did this not by hitting viewers over the head with the specs of its big tablet or fancy pencil, but through a bit of reverse psychology: at the end of the ad, the young iPad Pro user asks innocently, “What’s a computer?”

Point being: the whole notion of a “computer” is being redefined for generations of people who are being raised on (or by) touchscreen devices with desktop-grade processing power.

The thing is, the tablet market is actually on the decline when you look at global shipments, and it has been for awhile. There are different ways to categorize tablets; research firm IDC differentiates “slate” tablets from “detachable tablets,” which means you can say that one of these categories has slowed but the other is on the up-and-up, and it would be true.

People tend to hang on to their tablets longer and replace them less frequently, which aligns them more with laptops. But slate tablets also run on mobile operating systems, which means few people are thinking, “Let me edit my entire feature-length film,” or “Let me work on that massive Excel spreadsheet” on them.

There’s a convergence happening, for sure. It’s a place where tablets now have very powerful processors and laptops now have touchscreen and stylus pens.

But none of these things make it any easier to say definitively what a computer is in the modern age.

I can’t promise that we manage to come to a conclusive answer in the latest episode of Versus, but it’s a topic that’s at least worthy of a good debate.

And isn’t that what Versus is all about?

Fortnite surpasses PUBG in monthly revenue with $126 million in February sales

Epic Games’ Fortnite is making boatloads of money on in-app purchases, taking in £126 million in the month of February and surpassing the monthly revenue pull of competitor Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds for the first time, according to game analytics firm Superdata Research. The news should come as no surprise to those who’ve been following the meteoric trajectory of Fortnite and its popular battle royale-style game mode, which puts up to 100 players against one another on a deserted island in a last-person-standing contest.

Though Epic borrowed the concept of parachuting onto an island and competing against a large number of other players from PUBG, the developer has a few key advantages over its PC-focused rival. For one, Fortnite is free-to-play.

So while PUBG earned almost as much revenue in the month of February with £103 million in sales, most of those sales are one-time £30 purchases for the software license of the game itself through Steam. Fortnite, on the other hand, makes a vast majority of its money on an ongoing basis from in-app purchases, mostly of cosmetic items like goofy character skins and emotes.

PUBG also allows people to spend money on cosmetic items, but developer PUBG Corp / Bluehole hasn’t ramped up that initiative quite as fast and successfully as Epic. The developer announced this month that it plans to add emotes to the game in the future, something Fortnite has had since its battle royale game mode launched back in September. Another advantage Fortnite has is its multiplatform accessibility.

The game launched on both PS4, Xbox One, and PC all at the same time last year, and just this month, it added iOS in an invite-only beta phase.

Already, in roughly one week, mobile analytics firm SensorTower estimates Epic has pulled in as much as £1.5 million from the iOS port alone.

“Fortnite also has an easier learning curve and is more kid friendly thanks to its cartoonish looks.

These factors have combined to make Fortnite a bona fide social phenomenon, inspiring high school exams and finding its way into sports celebrations,” writes Superdata Research in its blog post. “The title’s recent mobile launch also appeals to young players without access to game-ready PCs or consoles.” Superdata also makes a good point that PUBG suffers from problems independent of Fortnite‘s success. Cheating in PUBG remains rampant, and Bluehole has been forced to spend resources fighting this instead of creating new content and polishing the core gameplay,” the firm explains.

1 2 3 272