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Android tablets are getting a new Entertainment Space for media consumption
by João Carrasqueira
Google has announced a new feature for Android tablets, called Entertainment Space. Inspired by last year's Kids Space that debuted alongside some Lenovo tablets, this new feature is designed to make it easier for users to browse and find shows, games, and books to pass the time.
The Entertainment Space interface is split into three major tabs: Watch, Games, and Books, and each one does what you'd expect it to. In the Watch tab, users can view content from all the services they have accounts for. The interface will surface content from all the available services, including recommendations based on your history and the ability to quickly jump back into something you were watching before.
The Games and Books tabs are a bit more limited in scope, since you can only rely on Google Play Games and Google Play Books. Each category will feature popular content at the time and highlight games you've playing or books you're currently reading. Some games also support Instant Play so you can get started without any downloads, while books offer free previews so you can know more about them before committing to a purchase.
The Entertainment Space is coming to Walmart onn. tablets later this month, and tablets from other brands such as Lenovo and Sharp will also add it later in the year.
By Jay Bonggolto
Walmart to test self-driving delivery services next year using Cruise's electric vehicles
by Jay Bonggolto
Walmart announced today that it has partnered with Cruise to pilot self-driving delivery services using electric vehicles (EVs). The test will kick off in early 2021 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The retailer will use Cruise's autonomous EVs to pick up your orders from a local store. The orders will then be delivered to customers contact-free. Walmart hopes for the upcoming initiative to not only save pickup time for customers but also to help reduce its impact on the planet.
Tom Ward, Senior Vice President of Customer Product at Walmart U.S., said in a blog post:
The alliance with Cruise complements Walmart's earlier self-driving delivery experiments. Late last year, the company teamed up with autonomous vehicle-making firm Nuro to test autonomous grocery deliveries in Houston, Texas. Prior to that, Walmart partnered with Ford to test delivering groceries and pet foods, among other products, using self-driving cars.
That said, Cruise could offer a more appealing delivery service especially for environmental advocates with its fleet of all-electric vehicles. It remains to be seen, however, when commercial autonomous delivery will see wider adoption.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Walmart to launch drone delivery of COVID-19 test kits
by Usman Khan Lodhi
Walmart announced today that it would start a pilot project to deliver COVID-19 self-collection kits using automated drones at customers' doorsteps. The retail giant recently started similar trials to deliver grocery, household essentials, and certain health and wellness products.
Walmart has partnered with Quest Diagnostics and DroneUp, a drone service provider, and plans to conduct trial deliveries of collection kits in North Las Vegas today and Cheektowaga, New York, in October. To qualify for the drone delivery, the retailer has laid out some requirements:
Drones launched today will drop the self-collection kits for coronavirus on driveways, front sidewalks, or backyards of houses that lie within a one-mile radius of the specified Walmart stores in the aforementioned locations. Customers will themselves perform the nasal swab and send back samples to Quest Diagnostics for testing.
Walmart said it plans to learn what role drone deliveries can play in pandemic response, delivery of healthcare products, and retail.
By Usman Khan Lodhi
Walmart introduces cheaper subscription service to rival Amazon Prime
by Usman Khan Lodhi
In a bid to rival Amazon Prime, Walmart is launching a cheaper subscription service called Walmart+, which costs $12.95 a month or $98 a year, compared to $119 for Amazon Prime. On orders exceeding $35, subscribers will get unlimited free deliveries from Walmart's network of 4,700 stores across the US, many of which offer same-day delivery.
Walmart+, which includes a 15-day free trial period, promises more than 160,000 items for same-day delivery, which include fresh groceries, household essentials, and more. In addition to delivery savings, the membership includes fuel discounts of up to five cents per gallon at roughly 2,000 Walmart, Murphy USA, and Murphy Express fuel stations, and the option to shop in-store using Walmart's Scan & Go mobile app. Using this, customers can scan items as they shop and pay through their phone.
Last year, the retail giant tested a similar service named Delivery Unlimited that also offered free grocery deliveries for $98 a year. Existing customers of the service will be inducted into Walmart+.
At launch, Walmart+ isn't offering a wider range of benefits that Amazon Prime offers, including access to Amazon Prime Video, Twitch Prime, Prime Music, and Prime Now, which offers one and two-hour delivery on specific items. Unlike Walmart+, Prime does not have a minimum purchase amount to qualify for free delivery . The retail giant stated that it will add new perks to the service in the coming months.
TikTok sale faces red tape as China changes export rules
by Paul Hill
China’s press agency, Xinhua, has reported that ByteDance will have to comply with ‘approval procedures’ when it comes time to sell its U.S. TikTok operations. China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Science and Technology jointly published new documents on Friday that added new items to an export restrictions list.
Professor Cui Fan from the University of International Business and Economics said that the specific changes that apply to TikTok include export controls on services that use ‘personalised information push service technology based on data analysis’ and ‘artificial intelligence interactive interface technology’.
Discussing the changes and their relevance to TikTok, Cui said:
Last week, Neowin reported that the TikTok acquisition could wrap up in the next couple of days with Microsoft or Walmart emerging as the buyer. It’s unclear at this point whether the new export rule changes will delay the process further.