Each Monday, I 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. Elon's Musk Details Hyperloop
This week, Elon Musk--the uberprenuer who started PayPal and Tesla--released a document explaining how the Hyperloop high-speed train might transport passengers at 761 miles per hour across the U.S. The short answer: by using airpods. Already, an analyst at Navigant Research has started poking holes in the plans, wondering if the train would require too much heat. A bigger problem: Musk is pretty busy and has no firm plans to even start the project. Any takers?
2. Low-cost iPhone
Apple rumors hit a crescendo this week after leaked photos showed what appears to be a budget model called the iPhone 5C. Available in multiple colors (maybe), the phone might also ditch the Siri assistant, which uses too much processing power. Earlier reports about the iPhone 5S suggested a newer high-end model might have an 8 megapixel camera that could work well for video chats. We'll all find out the facts on September 10 when Apple holds an iPhone unveiling event.
3. BlackBerry for Sale
BlackBerry signaled this week that it's open to a suitor. Sales of the BlackBerry 10 smartphones, including the Z10 and the Q10 (which has a built-in keyboard) have not exactly sparked a rebound: IDC reported recently that the company saw a 12 percent decline in market share. My take is that there is still some signs of life, so no need to jump ship immediately if you're still a BlackBerry user. Many larger companies still use BlackBerry Enterprise Server for asset management and IT control.
4. VW SmileDrive
Entrepreneurs looking for trends in the world of mobile apps should take a look at the new SmileDrive offering from VW. The app automatically tracks where you go, how long it takes you to get there, and allows you to compare the results with other drivers. This next step in the quantified self trend is interesting, too, because the app works with any vehicle. The lesson: If you're going to release new and trendy technology, make it widely available.
5. HTC Tries Humor
Both Apple and Samsung have tried funny tech ads to much success. Now it's HTC's turn with a new ad campaign featuring Robert Downey, Jr. coming up with creative explanations for the three letter company name. The teaser suggests "humongous tinfoil catamaran." I'm curious to see what else the company can come up with to steal some thunder away from Apple and Samsung. HTC profits have dropped 80 percent despite the success of the well-made HTC One smartphone.