New product development can mark lucrative returns or laughable losses for established companies, but it’s a gamble some are willing to take. And while a large number of the new product development in recent years has come out of the tech sector, gadget makers are far from the only ones joining in the fun. This year has already seen a vast range of established company throwing their weight behind new ideas ranging from outlandish coffee concoctions to apps that could enlighten a user’s fashion sense.
They may be boom or may be bust, but here are five new products set to hit the market this year from big time established companies.
AAA Car Sharing
The American Automobile Association, better known as AAA, will dip their toes into the ride sharing marketplace. That space has been largely dominated by companies like ZipCar and Car-2-Go, but now triple has entered the market with a new app called Gig. Thus far the app is only active in the Oakland, California area and it allows users to pick up a car in place and drop it off in a different place. Thus far their fleet includes 250 Prius C’s and users can rent them for $2.50 per mile, $15 per hour or $85 per day.
Amazon has launched a new fashion-based product called Echo Look that will help users judge their wardrobe. The Alexa-driven product makes use of their Echo unit with a camera to take photos and videos to compare and contrast outfit choices. It includes all the features of the already-release Echo speaker, but also allows users to get a second opinion using a feature called Style Check. That feature combines machine learning algorithms with pre-loaded fashion advice from experts. The Echo Look device will retail for $199.
Starbuck’s Unicorn Frappuccino
Starbucks made headlines earlier this spring with the released their bright, multi-colored Unicorn Frappuccino. The drink was in Starbucks stores in the US, Canada and Mexico between April 19 and 23 and combined various sweet berry flavors for a purple-y pink drink that changed colors. Starbucks described the drink as a “color-changing, flavor-changing, sweet and pleasantly sour spectacle, here for only a few days.” The drink followed the widely spread unicorn food craze that has gone viral on the Internet over recent months. News of the drink leaked and stirred considerable controversy after workers in many Starbucks locations leaked photos of the beverage on social media.
Coke No Sugar
Coca-Cola revealed their plans to launch a new variety called “Coke No Sugar” in Australia later this year. The soda giant is testing the new drink after roughly five years of recipe testing and claim that it is “remarkably close” to the flavor of Coke Classic, but without any sugar. If it is successfully the company could roll the drink out worldwide and it will replace their current Coke Zero flavor. The sweetening of Coke No Sugar still makes use of the Ace-K sweetener, which is the same sweeteners used in Coke Zero and Diet Coke. The drink has already seen limited releases in Japan and Mexico, but thus far they have not confirmed a release plan for North America.
Walmart’s Grocery Vending Machine
Walmart is currently testing a massive grocery vending machine aimed at competing with Amazon’s new drive-up grocery facilities. The machine is currently in operation at one of the retail giant’s locations in Oklahoma City and allows users to pick up groceries at any time of the day. No employees are needed to fulfill the orders and customers receive their orders within 60 seconds of placing an order code into the machine. Thus far Walmart is offering as many as 30,000 grocery items with the kiosk and a spokesman for the company said that right now it is fulfilling several hundred customer orders daily. The company is also experimenting with vending machine style grocery machines in various cities nationwide.