The Swiss Army knife of credit cards
According to a recent survey, one in five consumers in America no longer carry any cash on them. From next year, they won’t need their ever-growing collection of plastic payment cards either. San Francisco company Coin has invented a device the same size as a credit card that holds the information of up to eight debit, credit, loyalty or gift cards. Customers press a button to choose which one they want to use and then simply swipe their Coin in the usual way. And if you lose your Coin? The card is synched to your smartphone and when the two are separated your phone receives a notification. In other words: you can’t leave home (or a shop, or a restaurant) without it.
Shanghai’s Underground Hotel
In an abandoned quarry at the base of China’s Tianmenshan Mountain, 30 miles outside Shanghai, an extraordinary hotel is taking shape. At a cost of £345 million, the InterContinental Hotels Group is building a five-star resort that will boast two floors above the top of the 330ft rock face and another 17 storeys below ground level, two of which will be underwater. If construction goes to plan, the first guests at “the world’s lowest hotel” will check-in by the end of 2014.
Formula E Racing
If you think the atmosphere at a Formula 1 grand prix is electric, you’re going to love the new motor sport starting next year. Formula E will see drivers racing around city-centre circuits – including London – in battery-powered electric cars. The new championship, which is backed by the FIA, motor racing’s governing body, promises cars as sexy as those driven by Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel et al, but with lithium-ion batteries and electric motors instead of fuel tanks and pistons. And, while their top speed is expected to be 155mph, slower than Formula 1, the event will compensate with exciting street circuits and brightly-lit night events. The pit stops will be different too: with the batteries running out of juice after 20 minutes, drivers won’t just change their tires, they’ll jump into new cars
Faster Online Deliveries
In this age of instant gratification, waiting days for internet purchases to arrive suddenly seems very 2013. So, from next year, behemoths like Amazon and eBay will be stepping up their efforts to deliver goods on the same day they’re bought, even if that day’s a Sunday. Eventually, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos envisions unmanned drones bringing products to our doors within half-an-hour. In the meantime, he’s increasing his number of warehouses and overhauling his partnerships with couriers to get us what we want as quickly as possible. It’s another nail in the coffin of traditional bricks-and-mortar stores.