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Re/act: E-scooters, Hearables, and Digital Wallets

Ready to catch up on some of the latest tech news? Here’s what caught the attention this week. If you’re interested in knowing why we launched this blog series, catch-up from the beginning.

One final note, we'll be taking a two week hiatus starting next week to enjoy some time off. We'll be back on August 31st with a brand new Re/act post. Thanks!


Not Just Tech Bros: E-scooter Fans Are Surprisingly Diverse - article by Aarian Marshall (@AarianMarshall)

“The so-called mobility space is stuffed with cash, moving so quickly that everyone is having a hard time keeping track. Electric scooter-share, led by newborn unicorns like Bird and Lime, only started expanding beyond southern California this year.” Aarian Marshall, Staff Writer at WIRED

Major cities are witnessing the rise of a new ridesharing platform in the foreseeable future: electronic scooters. Just when Uber is facing a cap in New York City and other cities potentially follow suit as they study the effects of all these cars on the road, new startups like Lime and Bird are looking to disrupt the already-crowded ridesharing industry with e-scooters, which are low cost, mostly able to ride on sidewalks and allow users to get where they need to go without working up a sweat. Much like Zipcar and city bike programs, users never have to talk to a human to catch their morning ride; simply download the app and pay $1 to unlock a scooter. It’s 15 cents a minute after that. Early studies indicate that pretty much everyone except upper class individuals are really behind the idea, with a diverse group of individuals embracing the idea of scooting to and from work every day in major cities.

The Future is Ear: Why “Hearables” Are Finally Tech’s Next Big Thing - article by Peter Burrows (@pburrows)

Artificial intelligence itself was supposed to be the next “big thing,” but it appears it’s simply a driver for what could truly be the next wave of devices in the connected health market: “hearables.” The tech conglomerates like Apple, Amazon, and Google are racing to leverage exploding growth of their AI voice assistants to create a device that will essentially have all the powers of your smartphone in a headset. There are a lot of challenges to overcome that will test the ability of these companies to provide an acceptable user experience; battery power equivalent to a smartphone’s, proper price points, and a near-weightless device that users are comfortable wearing for hours at a time. The deregulation of the hearing aid market also opens up a host of opportunities for new cost-effective hearing enhancers to hit the market.

Will the Smartphone Ever Truly Replace Your Beloved Wallet? - article by Matthew Kitchen (@matthewkitchen)

"When a phone can do anything a wallet can, and a million things more, what’s the point of a billfold?” Matthew Kitchen, Editor at Wall Street Journal

There’s something to be said for technology moving too quickly at times; one of the places that’s being affected more than we’d like is (literally) in our wallets. This article features a variety of contributors who lament the mementos wallet holders could use if they disappear entirely, and yet pivots to discuss their favorite things to “never leave home without,” referring to revolutionary apps that have enhanced their daily lives (health-based apps, Notes, and others such as Voice Memos - for a musician, of course, and the Baby Tracker app for a couple parents, among other practical, time-saving apps). While the nostalgia is real, the article insightfully notes that simple apps on any smartphone that are easy to use and practical have quietly transformed a number of industries forevermore.


Re/act is our weekly take on some of the tech world’s biggest stories curated by humans not bots. Cantina is a strategic design and development agency based in Boston, Massachusetts. We help organizations innovate, grow and deliver better digital products and services that matter to customers.

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