Need a new Hyundai? Just ask Alexa.
This week, the Korean automaker announced it will start working with Amazon to sell some of its vehicles on the gargantuan ecommerce site. The Hyundais purchased on Amazon will not, in fact, come in a very big box, but buyers will have the choice of having their new car delivered or picking it up at a local dealership. Sales will begin in 2024, and other brands will likely hop onto Amazon after Hyundai’s first steps.
It’s the latest move in the increasing Amazonification of car buying. Online car sales are a big, though perhaps natural, progression of the always-on online marketplace. While it’s becoming increasingly common to buy EVs online, the practice of buying a new car on the web really picked up steam during the pandemic, when some companies offered the option of having the car delivered right to your door soon after you clicked the Buy button. Now, having vehicles available on one of the biggest ecommerce websites is likely to make the prospect of one-click shopping even more enticing. Just know that Jeff Bezos probably won’t let you haggle.
Here’s some other consumer tech news from this week.
Sonos Is Releasing … Something
Sonos, builder of all kinds of speakers and audio equipment, has a new product coming next year. It’s not clear exactly what the device will be, but in an earnings report released this week, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said the company planned to release its first entry in a “multibillion-dollar category” in the second half of next year.
Previous leaks have pointed to the company potentially getting into the headphone game. That could be a big move for Sonos, which has until now been solely focused on connected speakers and amplifiers. The same sources who spilled the headphone news also revealed the company is considering laying off some of its labor force, which could either be because the company is struggling to move hardware or because layoffs are just the thing for big tech companies to be doing these days.
Inventor Simone Giertz has gone from building shitty robots to making useful devices that you probably might not even realize you need. Her web store Yetch (a phonetic spelling of how her last name is pronounced) features an LED-powered calendar and a ring with a Phillips head screwdriver fashioned into it. Giertz’s latest invention is the Coat Hinger—a metal coat hanger that folds in on itself to take up less room. It’s a clever solution for people with small closets or minimal space to hang clothes. There’s also an option to buy a set of hangers on a custom rod that can be resized to fit a variety of spaces. The rod even has grooves to space out clothes properly. Giertz announced the product on Instagram.
The Hinger is being funded via a Kickstarter campaign and will eventually be sold at Giertz’s Yetch store. We don’t normally recommend Kickstarter projects here. Too often, the thing you paid for long ago never shows up. Or if it does, the final product doesn’t deliver on the original promise. But the campaign has already well exceeded its goal. And Giertz, who has graced the cover of WIRED, has a proven track record of actually producing cool, useful gadgets.
One day in 2016, the internet collapsed. A malware tool called Mirai enabled a massive denial-of-service attack that took advantage of thousands of connected smart home devices to overload the servers supporting some of the biggest sites online. Netflix, Spotify, Twitter, PayPal, Slack, even WIRED all went down, causing chaos across the web. It left cybersecurity researchers reeling. It also made the FBI sit up and take notice.
Turns out, Mirai was the creation of three young hackers, all in their teens or barely 20 years old. This week on the Gadget Lab podcast, senior writer Andy Greenberg joins the show to talk about how he got the three hackers who created Mirai to tell their story for the first time in WIRED’s latest cover story.