Rolling out in the new year wherever Lyft operates and in several cities — Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco — in time for the New Year's Eve rush, drivers for Uber's chief rival will be equipped with a snazzy new LED beacon that Lyft is calling an "amp." A replacement for the pink mustache symbol that introduced many to the ride-hailing industry itself, the amp was announced Tuesday on Lyft's blog.
The device magnetically attaches to a car's dashboard and connects to a driver's app via bluetooth. Changing color, it indicates to passengers that the vehicle is a Lyft, or more specifically, their Lyft, with the ability to change to a color corresponding to one indicated on the riders' app. The amp can also display your name, another feature the company says will make ride pick-ups as easy as, I dunno, raising your hand for a taxi.
Lyft lost its furry pink "carstaches" for good in January of 2015, replacing them with glowing pink mustaches. The original mustaches, while playful and a clever advertising gimmick, were impractical in the long run, and they did they get awfully dirty.
The Verge clarifies that the device has two screens, one side equipped with 24-LEDs and the Lyft logo, facing the windshield, and a 120-LED screen on the back facing into the car. The street-facing display will show one of five colors to start, and the interior facing display can show a name or message. The Associated Press learns that messages won't be used for external ads but might be used for internal Lyft promotions or public advocacy campaigns.
The idea for a glowing indicator on a ride-hailing vehicle isn't altogether new, and might be seen as based on Uber's device, SPOT, which is a color-changing windshield bar that was being tested in Seattle last December. The rivalry between the two companies is heating up, then, and on full to display in a new Lyft ad campaign launched along with the amp, in which a dark boardroom of conniving businessmen for "Ride Corp" are clearly meant to represent Uber.via Lyft