Hi all! This week in the news, Connecticut-based online travel booking website Priceline Group announced plans to expand its business in China and is partnering up with Ctrip, Hilton Worldwide has created an app that allows its guests to use their smartphones as a room key, and a device, dubbed the world’s smartest baby monitor, is now on sale for $299. Click and get the latest technology news from around the world.
- Priceline Partners with Ctrip
Priceline, the largest travel website in the US, said it will invest $500 million in Ctrip International, the largest travel website in China, enabling Priceline with the help of Ctrip to expand its reach in the Middle Kingdom. The investment will be made through a convertible bond, along with buying open market shares over the next 12 months. This combination of shares and bonds will enable Priceline to hold a 10% stake in Ctrip, after which it will also get the right to nominate an observer to Ctrip and the company’s board of directors. (Bidness News)
- Samsung Loses Top Smartphone Spot in China
Xiaomi, a 4-year-old Chinese smartphone company that sells high-end handsets, is now the leading device maker in China. According to new data from research firm Canalys, during the second quarter of this year, Xiaomi was the most popular smartphone maker in China, earning 14 percent of the market. Samsung, which has held the top spot in China since 2012, has fallen to second place with a 12 percent share. Xiaomi’s success has been due to its unique ability to capture the attention of the burgeoning consumer market in China. The company builds a wide range of high-end smartphones and offers them in somewhat limited quantities to build up demand. More importantly for Chinese customers, the devices come with good design, high-end features, and prices that are much lower than those from competing firms. (CNET)
- Hilton Hotel App Lets You Skip the Front Desk Altogether
Hilton has created an app that lets you choose a specific room ahead of time, skip past the front desk and go straight up to your room. By the end of this year, Hilton expects the app to cover more than 4,000 hotels, including its namesake Hilton hotels, plus DoubleTree, Embassy Suites, Hampton and other brands. The company has invested more than $500 million on technology upgrades over the past seven years with the hope that it will increase customer loyalty and attract new customers, especially younger ones who are used to doing everything on smartphones. (Daily Finance)
- “World’s Smartest Baby Monitor”
The creators of Sproutling believe your baby could and should be the most high-tech family member of all. They’ve created a wearable baby monitor that lets you know what your baby is up to via an iOS app. The app will keep track of whether they are awake or asleep, and specify how long they have been sleeping and what kind of mood they are in. Sproutling is a bit pricey—$299 per device—but for new parents who are hoping to seek out an extra hour or two of sleep, it seems worth the cost. (The Wire)
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