Home Dining & Drinking Arts & Culture Politics & City Life Real Estate & Neighborhoods Style & Shopping Home & Garden Travel & Visitor’s Guide Video Best of Chicago Marketplace & Classifieds Subscribe Newsletters How a culture shift nearly doomed an iconic local company that once dominated the telecom industry. By Ted C. Fishman Published Monday at 11:50 a.m. O n the 18th floor of the Merchandise Mart, in a soaring two-story space underneath a vast industrial-looking stairway, a small crowd of business types, pols, and journalists gathers. They’re here on this warm April day to check out the geek-chic new offices of Motorola Mobility, the mobile phone maker that spun off from then-struggling telecommunications company Motorola (now Motorola Solutions) in January 2011 and got snapped up by tech giant Google seven months later. A big, silver-haired man wearing a dark suit, a Silicon Valley–style open-neck shirt, and a high-wattage smile steps up to the podium. Rick Osterloh has been the president and COO of Motorola Mobility for all of 10 days, the fourth man to run the place since its split from the mother ship. In a few minutes, this amiable Stanford grad will launch visitors on a tour of the slick 14-acre space. They’ll see images and artifacts from Motorola’s storied history—the first car radios, the first handheld mobile phones, the first device to carry voice and video from the moon to the earth—interspersed with lots of glass and metal and Google-bright colors. They’ll visit a game room complete with retro pinball machines, seven big labs with see-through walls, and 10 kitchens with tech themes. (In the NASA kitchen, snack bags nestle inside an Apollo space helmet.) But first Osterloh gives a short speech. He feels good about the future of Motorola Mobility and of Chicago, he says. The company’s growth rate, he claims, would be the envy of any startup: “Motorola Mobility shipped 6.5 million devices in the first quarter of the year, up 61 percent over the same quarter last year.” What Osterloh doesn’t mention is that those devices represent a paltry 2 percent of the global market for smartphones.
Popular travel app Kayak has put augmented reality to clever use with a new feature that lets you measure the size of your carry-on bag using just your smartphone. Its updated iOS app now takes advantage of Apple’s ARKit technology to introduce a new Bag Measurement tool that will help you calculate your bag’s size so you can find out if it fits in the overhead bin – you know, before your trip. The tool is handy because the dimensions of permitted carry-on luggage can differ from airline to airline, Kayak explains , so it’s not as simple these days to figure out if your bag will fit. In the new Kayak iOS app, you can access the measurement tool through the Flight Search feature. The app will first prompt you to scan the floor in order to calibrate the measurements. You then move your phone around the bag to capture its size. Kayak’s app will do the math and return the bag’s size, in terms of length, width, and height. And it will tell you if the bag “looks good” or not to meet the carry-on size requirements. Plus, the company says it compares all the airlines’ baggage size requirements in one place, so you’ll know for sure if it will be allowed by the airline you’re flying. Augmented reality applications, so far, have been a mixed bag. (Sorry). Some applications can be fairly useful – like visualizing furniture placed in a room or trying on new makeup colors. (Yes, really. I’m serious). But others are more questionable – like some AR gaming apps, perhaps.