technology

In recent weeks, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds the world over have been awash with videos of triumphant participants taking part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, a stunt in which an individual has – you guessed it – a bucket of icy water dumped over their heads, all in the name of charity.

The hook that’s taken this viral is the subsequent nomination of others to take on the challenge within 24 hours, or to donate $100 to the ALS Association, raising both awareness and cash for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known Lou Gehrig’s disease. Read more

Reading all the (somewhat gleeful and ongoing) reports of the Nike Fuelband’s demise over the last few days, I’ve been struck by the fact that while they all seem to agree on the fact that it was maybe a defensive move in anticipation of the looming possible iWatch threat, they also seem divided as to what, exactly, Nike’s problem was: hardware (it didn’t have big enough margins)or software (it didn’t actually do enough). But let’s call a spade a spade: it didn’t look good enough. Read more

Yahoo has just signaled its belief that part of its future lies in fashion and beauty, signing cosmetic guru Bobbi Brown (whose eponymous makeup line is owned by Estee Lauder), left, as their first-ever “beauty editor-in-chief.” She’ll run a vertical on the site, as well as doing her own blog. In this they are, of course, joining a race where Apple and Google already have palpable leads, with Intel jockeying for its own position not to mention Amazon. What’s interesting is that, as Yahoo demonstrates, it’s not just about wearables: it’s also partly about being the go-to platform for the sector, or those interested in the sector. We shouldn’t get so blinded by the product possibilities we ignore more traditional routes in. Read more

All the kvelling and anticipation, all the oh-my-god-wait-for-it-game-changer rumours that have had both the tech and fashion worlds on the edges of their respective metaphoric seats since last summer, when Apple started poaching luxury executives supposedly with an eye toward developing an iWatch – well, it turns out that has all been something of a sleight of hand: while we were staring in one direction, and competitors were rushing THEIR smartwatch to market, the folks in the super-secretive headquarters on the West Coast had other things up their sleeves. In fact, forget the iWatch entirely. Think iWear. Read more

Much to-do over the weekend at SXSW following Google SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps Sundar Pichai’s announcement that they were about to release a software development kit for wearables, so that your clothes could talk to Android devices. Immediate speculation on motives followed. They were looking to corner the market by owning the common platform! They were going to make more wearables of their own (Well, duh)! It was sneaky and smart strategy! But here’s what I was thinking, reading about all this: there is enormous fashion potential here, if they want to seize it. Read more

Lately it is beginning to feel like for every shopper there is a new technology start-up — maybe because so many new technology start-ups are driven by shoppers trying to solve their own problems. Like, for example, how, when you see a really cute blue blouse by you are not sure who, sold you are not sure where, pinned to someone’s inspiration board, you can find it and buy it. Good luck with googling that one. Which, presumably, is why ASAP54, just raised $3 million from, among others, Carmen Busquets of Net-a-Porter investment fame.  Read more

The general take this morning seems to be that Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO (left), is not really such a new type after all: an insider, well-liked, who won’t shake things up too much, etc etc. I am sure this is largely true – the politics of the tech world are not my area of expertise. But in one area at least, I think the analysts are wrong: public image. I mean, take a look at the photograph on front pages everywhere (including our own): Mr Nadella, looking relaxed, staring into the distance in a…hoodie. Let me say that again: a hoodie. A hoodie! This signifies, it seems to me, a real generational shift, and an effort for Microsoft to at least appear to be part of the current buzz-worthy conversation. Read more

OK, giant luxury conglomerates: time to think even more broadly about brand extensions. According to a new report from Boston Consulting Group, the luxury experiences market is now worth a whopping $980 billion (luxury experiences being defined as cars, art, home, tech, dining, hotels, travel, spas, yachting, etc.). Aka almost $1 trillion. By comparison, the personal luxury goods market is a piddling $390b. Now, where would YOU put your investment? Read more

Well, finally: Google glass has made the leap from nerd-wear to pretty acceptable actual glasses. They just unveiled four new styles of titanium frames – lightweight black numbers that range from a kind of sexy secretary style (my personal favourite) called Curve to a thick-rimmed architect look (Bold). They can take both prescription lenses and non. The weird Google viewer that, when worn alone as previous turned people into Star Wars-geeks, attaches to one side. It’s still a little odd, but not odd enough to cause the sort of double-takes it did on its own. It could actually pass as…a fashion statement. Read more

And so it has finally come to pass: a tech company has partnered with a design name to create a wearable product. Hallelujah. Took ‘em long enough. The pioneering duo is Intel and Opening Ceremony, aka the designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim (left, with Justin Beiber), who own trend-setting stores by the same name and are also the designers behind Kenzo, the LVMH-owned brand that is moving into the contemporary space, and had its first show at New York Fashion Week last season. They will work together to create a “smart bracelet” (new word alert!), which will be sold exclusively at Barney’s NY – or so they announced at CES. When exactly it will be sold, and what it will look like, as well as what it will do and how much it will cost, is unclear, but hey: it’s a start. According to one insider, it will be effectively a bracelet that has communication functions. Beam me up, Scottie! Read more