What’s new in tech
Amazon delivers to cars
Amazon has a new delivery spot: the trunk of your car, said Nick Wingfield in The New York Times. The company announced last week that Prime customers in 37 U.S. cities could have packages shipped to a parked car, so long as the vehicle has the proper technology. “With a few taps on a smartphone screen, the courier can unlock the car and drop the box inside.” The service is aimed at customers who worry their packages might be swiped from their front porch or who can’t receive an Amazon order at work. For in-car delivery, customers must have a 2015 or later Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac vehicle with OnStar—GM’s roadside assistance and navigation service—or a 2015 or newer Volvo with a similar service, On Call. Amazon said the delivery service will expand to other carmarkers over time.
Smartwatch sales tick up
Smartwatches are finally catching on with consumers, said Dan Gallagher in The Wall Street Journal. When the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Gear launched some three years ago, “neither was a huge seller out of the gate.” Smartwatch sales in 2015 totaled less than 20 million units worldwide, according to IDC research—“barely 1 percent of the number of smartphones sold that year.” But demand is growing. An estimated 32.7 million smartwatches were sold in 2017, up 60 percent from the year before. Analysts say the sales gain is driven mostly “by a greater level of acceptance from consumers, particularly health-conscious ones who are drawn to more advanced fitness and health-tracking capabilities.”
Gmail’s Outlook-ish update
Watch out Outlook, Gmail is coming for your lunch, said Tom Warren in TheVerge.com. Google unveiled a major overhaul of its free email service last week, adding some smart business-focused features that are found in rival software like Microsoft’s Outlook app. “Microsoft dominates workplace productivity software. Google obviously wants to change that.” The new Gmail has a confidential mode for setting expiration dates on emails, and users can block recipients from forwarding, downloading, or printing certain messages. There’s also a new sidebar that lets you look at calendar appointments side by side with emails—just like in Outlook—and a robust offline mode so traveling business users can access old emails when they don’t have Wi-Fi or cell coverage.