Special Report

The Biggest Product Launches of 2018

Source: Courtesy of Plume Labs

15. Plume Labs Flow
> Product type: Pollution detector
> Unit cost: $179

Environmental technology company Plume Labs began shipping its personal air quality tracker Flow in June 2018. The small, Bluetooth enabled, USB chargeable device tracks the concentration and presence of particulate matter and harmful gases in the air so users can avoid the most polluted parts of their city and track their personal exposure to pollution. Anticipation for the product’s arrival has been building since it went up for pre-order in 2017.

Source: Courtesy of Toyota

14. Toyota Corolla Hatchback
> Product type: Automobile
> Unit cost: $19,990

After the Land Cruiser, the Corolla is the oldest nameplate in Japanese automaker Toyota’s current lineup. This year, Toyota is offering the compact car to American motorists in a hatchback model, a practical style not sold in the U.S. with a Corolla nameplate in decades. Toyota’s expansion of its fleet of car models is a break from the larger trend in the U.S. automarket as Americans are increasingly choosing trucks and SUVs.

Source: Courtesy of eBay

13. HeadGaze
> Product type: Software
> Unit cost: N/A

HeadGaze is a piece of software that allows users to use their phones simply by moving their head. The technology, developed by a team of interns at eBay, uses smartphone cameras to track the users’ head movement. The technology could be useful for any one, but for those with motor impairments, it could be life changing. eBay will release HeadGaze on code sharing platform GitHub for other app developers to integrate into their products.

Source: Antony Jones / Getty Images

12. Apple HomePod
> Product type: Wireless speakers
> Unit cost: $349

The Apple HomePod, which hit stores in February 2018, markets itself as a voice activated premium quality speaker system. But the device’s additional capabilities also make it look a lot like Apple’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa devices. Through Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, the HomePod can send messages, check the news and weather, and set timers, among other features. HomePod sales were weak early in the year, but holiday sales will be the true test.

Source: Courtesy of Facebook

11. Facebook Portal
> Product type: Hands-free video calling device
> Unit cost: $199

The Portal marks Facebook’s first foray into hardware. More than two years in the making, Portal is a stationary hands free video call device meant to kept on a countertop or other surface. The device’s chief accomplishment is its ability to track and remain focused on the person as he or she moves around a space during the course of a call. Whether or not the device will resonate with consumers remains to be seen, as many have expressed concern over privacy issues in the lead up to its Fall 2018 release.

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