The smartphone’s rapid growth phase looks to be over as only 48% of global consumers plan to purchase such a device in the next 12 months – a six-point drop from the purchase intent rate last year and a more than nine-point drop from the 2014 peak, according to research from Accenture. The biggest slumps in purchase intent are in markets which previously experienced pacey growth, think China (from 82% to 61%) and South Korea (64% to 54%). The US and UK remain flat in purchase intent at 38% and 37%, respectively.
Londoners commute an average of 47 minutes to work each way compared to the national average of just 31 minutes – but despite these longer travel times they are less likely to work flexibly than workers in the rest of the UK, according to research by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development. And the CIPD says there is strong support among workers for a government-led campaign to boost the uptake of flexible working to reduce the time and cost of commuting.
UK fashion retailer Topshop has launched its Top Pitch innovation hub in partnership with tech investment firm L Marks to support entrepreneurs looking to develop affordable wearable technology and smart accessories. Start-ups have until 22 May to apply on the dedicated Top Pitch website, with selected companies going on to participate in a four-week programme offering mentorship and advice from the likes of Maddy Evans, fashion director of Topshop, and Technology Will Save Us CEO Bethany Koby.
The Mouse has picked up Ozo, Nokia’s new $60,000, eight-lens, out-of-the-box virtual reality camera. And Walt Disney is now testing the kit with a view to creating a raft of content, with a full-length movie shot with the Nokia Ozo likely to make a high-profile debut. Disney has already come up with the short-form VR goods in the shape of two 360 videos, the red carpet and cast interview for this month’s premiere of The Jungle Book.
US digital media publisher Vox Media, which produces online brands such as The Verge, Curbed, Eater, Vox and Re/code, has launched a new title in the shape of Circuit Breaker, a Facebook-only publication whose stories appear solely in the social network’s Instant Articles format. Circuit Breaker is a common or garden gadget blog which says aims to obsessively cover new kit, as well as ways to use that emerging kit. While The Verge already does its bit in covering tech and gadgets, Circuit Breaker will apparently put more focus on the gadgets themselves because, according to Vox, gadgets are getting really interesting lately.
No wonder tech sector developers are heading to London – the city’s digital employers make them some of the highest paid coders in Europe, thanks to an average annual salary of £55,460 ($79,500), outpacing the likes of Berlin and Stockholm, writes Root Wilson*. However, London wages don’t quite stand on a par with those in the US where developers earn an average £66,400 ($95,000), according to the latest metrics from London & Partners and Stack Overflow.
Sony’s Future Lab Program, launched last month to add a dash of co-creation to the tech research and development process, has unveiled its first project in the shape of Concept N. Cue a new piece of connected wearable technology with an audio-based, hands-free headset which sits around a user’s neck along with a voice-controlled camera and other sensors. Its Siri-like features combined with GPS means the device can deliver the likes of local news, weather and restaurant information, while Sony has clearly learned from Google Glass’s travails by opting out of always-on camera functionality.
Airbnb is pushing into the reviews and recommendations business with the launch of its Guidebooks feature which enables hosts and users to post information about hoods’ best eateries, bars and hangouts, with an emphasis on going more local and in-the-know than established travel info providers. It’s not starting small either – cue around 3 million tips from 35 cities around the world, including the likes of New York, London, Paris and Sydney.