1. Facebook Weans Off Huawei
In the latest U.S. move to clamp-down on China, Facebook is no longer allowing the pre-installation of its apps on Huawei phones. This includes Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Huawei, a global powerhouse, struggles in the U.S. in part due to a ban on its purchase of American parts and software. Google is closing off Android software for Huawei phones after a 90-day reprieve granted by the US government. In May, Washington banned U.S. companies from supplying technology to Huawei, part of a long-running campaign against the company. The U.S. government believes Huawei is too close to the Chinese government. There is concern of Huawei being a conduit for espionage, which Huawei denies. What will Huawei do now? Huawei said it was prepared for U.S. action and vowed to work around any disruptions. However, some customers at stores in Europe and Asia have told Reuters that they are reluctant to buy Huawei phones now, which analysts expect a dramatic drop in its smartphone sales.
2. Space Tickets Open for Business
If you have $58M lying around, this is the cost for space tourists to get a ride to the galaxy, plus an additional $35K per night. Last week, NASA announced plans to open the International Space Station (ISS) to private astronauts and businesses. In the past, NASA has hosted nonprofit researchers, but this new program will be the first to offer for-profit companies the chance to go to space, too. NASA is partnering with SpaceX and Boeing to offer companies ISS trips lasting up to 30 nights. ISS is open to in-space manufacturing, marketing projects, and healthcare research. When will these starstruck individuals start liftoff? NASA will be collecting proposals from private companies for other commercial partnerships over the next several months and plans to begin the program in 2020.
3. Walmart’s Direct-to-Fridge Deliveries
Just when we thought curbside pickup and grocery delivery services couldn’t be any more convenient, Walmart has decided to take it one step further by stocking groceries right into your fridge. Starting this Fall, Walmart will offer this service to a million households in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Vero Beach, Florida. Walmart InHome works by “… associates [using] smart entry technology and a proprietary, wearable camera to access the customer’s home – allowing customers to control access into their home and giving them the ability to watch the delivery remotely,” said Marc Lore, CEO of Walmart. What’s the setback? Many people do not like the idea of someone coming into their home while they’re gone. However, Lore explained that employees will “go through an extensive training program which prepares them to enter customers’ homes with the same care and respect with which they would treat a friend’s or family’s home.” On top of that, Walmart sees near-future potential in “hub and spoke” deliveries from supercenters to remote pickup locations. These regular routes are more predictable, which can be a big plus for programming driverless vehicles. Hopefully, they add a service where the person throws away all your expired jars of pickles.