Flytrex
Flytrex

Reykjavik Becomes First City to Launch Commercial Delivery By Drone

Flytrex
Flytrex

Drone delivery may be the future, but in most places, that future is currently mired in a whole lot of red tape. Amazon, for instance, has had some major headaches dealing with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) while trying to get its Prime Air service in the air. In Iceland, though, that’s no longer a problem. Reykjavik will be the first city to allow commercial drone delivery, New Atlas reports.

The flights will be handled by the drone company Flytrex, which is partnering with the Icelandic shopping site AHA, an all-purpose online retailer that delivers restaurant food, groceries, appliances, books, and more.

Right now, AHA delivers over land, but Iceland’s geography makes that a time-consuming process. Reykjavik’s waterways and inlets create plenty of obstacles for drivers. According to Flytrex, their mule drones can carry up to 6.5 pounds over six miles. It can’t exactly crisscross the city (Reykjavik covers 106 square miles), but the drones will supplement AHA’s other delivery methods by flying between the parts of the city separated by water. The company estimates that the drones can cut a 25-minute drive down to just four minutes, reducing delivery costs by 60 percent. Plus, the drones are electric, cutting down on gas use.

While the company claims this will be the first urban drone delivery, The Washington Post notes that other companies have performed beta tests elsewhere. Amazon has beta-tested deliveries in the UK. And in 2016, Domino’s tested pizza delivery by drone outside of Auckland, New Zealand. Chipotle has tested out burrito delivery in Virginia. But this seems to be one of the first services to go beyond beta testing and actually launch a delivery service by drone, with the full regulatory go-ahead.

Those Reykjavik take-out orders just got a whole lot more speedy. Sushi that flies through the air to arrive on your doorstep? Yes, please.

[h/t New Atlas]

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Samsung Is Making a Phone You Can Fold in Half
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iStock

The iPhone vs. Galaxy war just intensified. Samsung is pulling out all the stops and developing a foldable phone dubbed Galaxy X, which it plans to release next year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It would seem the rumors surrounding a mythical phone that can fold over like a wallet are true. The phone, which has been given the in-house code name “Winner,” will have a 7-inch screen and be a little smaller than a tablet but thicker than most other smartphones.

Details are scant and subject to change at this point, but the phone is expected to have a smaller screen on the front that will remain visible when the device is folded. Business Insider published Samsung patents back in May showing a phone that can be folded into thirds, but the business news site noted that patents often change, and some are scrapped altogether.

The Galaxy Note 9 is also likely to be unveiled soon, as is a $300 Samsung speaker that's set to rival the Apple HomePod.

The Galaxy X will certainly be a nifty new invention, but it won’t come cheap. The Wall Street Journal reports the phone will set you back about $1500, which is around $540 more than Samsung’s current most expensive offering, the Galaxy Note 8.

[h/t Business Insider]

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Why a Readily Available Used Paperback Is Selling for Thousands of Dollars on Amazon
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iStock

At first glance, getting ahold of a copy of One Snowy Knight, a historical romance novel by Deborah MacGillivray, isn't hard at all. You can get the book, which originally came out in 2009, for a few bucks on Amazon. And yet according to one seller, a used copy of the book is worth more than $2600. Why? As The New York Times reports, this price disparity has more to do with the marketing techniques of Amazon's third-party sellers than it does the market value of the book.

As of June 5, a copy of One Snowy Knight was listed by a third-party seller on Amazon for $2630.52. By the time the Times wrote about it on July 15, the price had jumped to $2800. That listing has since disappeared, but a seller called Supersonic Truck still has used copy available for $1558.33 (plus shipping!). And it's not even a rare book—it was reprinted in July.

The Times found similar listings for secondhand books that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars more than their market price. Those retailers might not even have the book on hand—but if someone is crazy enough to pay $1500 for a mass-market paperback that sells for only a few dollars elsewhere, that retailer can make a killing by simply snapping it up from somewhere else and passing it on to the chump who placed an order with them.

Not all the prices for used books on Amazon are so exorbitant, but many still defy conventional economic wisdom, offering used copies of books that are cheaper to buy new. You can get a new copy of the latest edition of One Snowy Knight for $16.99 from Amazon with Prime shipping, but there are third-party sellers asking $24 to $28 for used copies. If you're not careful, how much you pay can just depend on which listing you click first, thinking that there's not much difference in the price of used books. In the case of One Snowy Knight, there are different listings for different editions of the book, so you might not realize that there's a cheaper version available elsewhere on the site.

An Amazon product listing offers a mass-market paperback book for $1558.33.
Screenshot, Amazon

Even looking at reviews might not help you find the best listing for your money. People tend to buy products with the most reviews, rather than the best reviews, according to recent research, but the site is notorious for retailers gaming the system with fraudulent reviews to attract more buyers and make their way up the Amazon rankings. (There are now several services that will help you suss out whether the reviews on a product you're looking at are legitimate.)

For more on how Amazon's marketplace works—and why its listings can sometimes be misleading—we recommend listening to this episode of the podcast Reply All, which has a fascinating dive into the site's third-party seller system.

[h/t The New York Times]

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