In an effort to expand in China, Google has agreed to license patents with Chinese firm Tencent. Google has struggled to expand in China's restrictive market, and working with Tencent, which boasts nearly 1 billion users on WeChat, could offer a way in.
Adoption of smart thermostats is rising, with 13% of all US broadband households equipped with the devices last year, per Parks Associates research. That's up from 11% in 2016, and a majority of broadband households say they plan to acquire smart home devices in the year ahead.
Rokid, a Chinese firm that develops artificial-intelligence-based smart devices, gained a reported $100 million in an extension round of Series B funding. Rokid is working on augmented reality glasses, dubbed Rokid Glass, along with a developer platform called the Rokid Full Stack Open Platform.
Apple has about $252 billion in cash overseas and intends to bring $245 billion of it back to the US. The company says it will build a new campus and new data centers and hire 20,000 additional workers.
Walmart will start dispensing DisposeRx packages for free with each opioid prescription it sells at its namesake and Sam's Club pharmacies, the company said. About one-third of opioid prescriptions are unused and DisposeRx dissolves the leftover medications.
Wegmans will open a new store April 29 at a mall in Natick, Mass., where it is taking over a space that formerly held a JCPenney. Extensive interior renovation has been done to make the location into a grocery that will include a Mexican restaurant and burger bar.
Supermarkets in the UK, France and Germany offer far more private-label merchandise than US stores do, accounting for 51% of spending in the packaged category, according to IRI. "Suppliers don't look on these products favorably and as a result, retailers don't invest in the innovation and the sophistication that they could," said Mike Paglia, director of the retail insights firm Kantar Retail.
Electric kettles can quickly heat water for much-needed hot chocolate and tea on chilly days, and many automatically shut off when the water is ready, writes Jennifer Kopf. The inexpensive Hamilton Beach 1.7-liter cordless kettle boasts unique features such as a mesh filter and illuminating base.
Sales of natural pet food accounted for roughly 25% of market share in 2016, according to a Packaged Facts report, and manufacturers are increasing ingredient transparency even though labeling is not regulated, Richard Rowlands writes. "We know consumers are increasingly aware, and increasingly appreciative, of food companies that own the sourcing and manufacturing process themselves," said Jeff English of Horizon Pet Food.
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