DMA TECH WATCH: Google’s Monocle, Disney’s Dolls, Amazon’s Drones & More!

By Phill Powell

Welcome to DMA Tech Watch, where we review the biggest news events and tech trends now on the radar. Here’s what we’re watching as of November 30, 2015:

GOOGLE GLASS: BACK TO THE OLD DRAWING BOARD

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Google prepares to market a new (and hopefully more successful) version of Google Glass.

Google has been working on a replacement design for its stalled Google Glass headset, recently receiving a patent for a new version that would be held on by an adjustable band instead of frames.

Google Glass gained headlines with its ultra-selective early adapter’s program. Chosen users had to be pre-screened, write about why they should be picked, fork over $1,500 for the evaluation device, and even travel to one of three U.S. cities for special training.

In hindsight, with such hefty user hurdles, Google may have made it too difficult for critically important early adapters to get firmly behind the product. Google stopped manufacturing Google Glass in January 2015, and has seemed to be in “redesign” mode since then.

DISNEY JOINING FORCES WITH 3D PRINTING GIANT

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Soon you’ll be able to order a Makies doll adorned with your favorite Disney characters.

In a true sign of the times, The Walt Disney Co. now has a working partnership with MakieLab, manufacturer of customized 3D-printed dolls.

The arrangement is based on a system whereby girls go to the MakieLab website and design a doll as they want. That includes how the doll will be dressed, and now those dolls can be accessorized with Disney-themed characters, such as a Minnie Mouse T-shirt the doll wears.

Once MakieLab receives the order, it goes ahead and uses 3D printing techniques at its London factory to export the doll, which is shipped to its eager young designer. Cool!

INTERNET NEARLY EVERYWHERE NOW, ALMOST HALF OF ALL PEOPLE ON NET

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The ITU studied Internet usage around the world.

A UN agency has confirmed what we all suspected: that the Internet is now everywhere and everyone’s online in some way, shape or form. The International Telecommunication Union recently studied Internet usage and connectivity patterns and came to some startling conclusions:

First, up to 95 percent of the world’s people are within reach of a mobile network signal – an astounding figure.

Next, some 7.1 billion people globally use a mobile broadband network.

Finally, some 3.2 billion people are now online, and that’s roughly 43.4 percent of the earth’s population. So nearly half of everybody.

The agency also studied where people had the most access to an online signal. South Korea was determined to be the “most connected” country, followed by Denmark, Iceland, the United Kingdom and Sweden. The U.S. placed far out of medal contention, landing at number 15 on the list.

L.A. AUTO SHOW: DRIVING THE FUTURE HERE NOW

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Self-driving cars were a big subject of interest at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The Los Angeles Auto Show, one of the car industry’s premier events, wrapped yesterday, after offering fascinating glimpses of futuristic technology – specifically, driverless vehicles, which ended up being a major topic of discussion among attendees.

The keynote address was given by Lyft co-founder and president, John Zimmer, who boldly announced he would not be purchasing his daughter a car when she one day turns 16, nor would he even be teaching her how to operate a car.

“It’s because she won’t want to own one. And by then, she won’t need to.” Zimmer believes heavily in ride-sharing, a concept that he feels will eventually bring about the end of mass ownership of cars.

In other auto news, Microsoft is said to now be exploring the concept of driverless vehicles.

HERE COMES AMAZON’S DRONES!


Now this is what the future’s supposed to look like! Amazon drones in action…

Finally, a tantalizing look at what to expect soon from mega-retailer Amazon, which is steadily building its air force of flying, package-delivering drones.

In this most-recent commercial, you can see the delivery process Amazon is prepping and already testing in certain markets.

Someone places an order electronically, and the Amazon distribution center goes into action, processing the transaction and filling the order, which is loaded by robots into the belly of the drone. The drone takes it from there.

And the footage is great and real: a flying drone calmly navigating the skies and landing on a suburban lawn, touching down just long enough to eject its cargo, before ascending and starting a return route.

What an amazing time to be watching tech!

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