Snapchat Shows Cam Glasses; Galaxy Note 7 New Non-Exploding Battery Issue; Apple Watch Sleep and Heart Rate Apps ComingPosted: September 26, 2016
Over the weekend, reports came out that Snapchat was re-branding as Snap, and rolling out connected, camera-equipped sunglasses. Theverge.com reports that they will sell for $130, have a 115 degree lens, which closely follows a person’s field of vision, record circular video, and record at the press of a button. Snap is doing a slow rollout, so don’t expect to see them in the next few days or weeks.
Samsung has already shipped 500,000 Galaxy Note 7’s to the US, and about half the phablets with explodable batteries have been replaced. Now, 9to5google.com reports that some users are having problems with batteries that drain very quickly and are having trouble recharging them. Samsung is looking into it, but says it’s unrelated to the batteries. They just can’t buy a break with the 7…and may end up rolling out the Note 8 a month or so early.
Apple is working on sleep tracking and more advanced heart rate apps for Apple Watch. According to 9to5mac.com, the new heart rate app will be more advanced—measuring a person’s fitness by observing the amount of time it takes for a heartbeat to fall from a peak to resting rate. Cupertino apparently is also looking at other ways to expand HealthKit, making it more of a ‘tool that improves diagnoses’ from doctors. None of that may come for a while, as added medical sensors would not only require new hardware, but probably also approval by the FDA.
Although Amazon smartphones bombed badly, they’ve had pretty good success with the Kindle tablets, and surprising success with the Echo- the voice controlled assistant in a speaker and now in the new Echo Dot. Now, Bloomberg says Apple has been working on something similar powered by Siri for a couple years, and it’s moved into the prototype testing phase. The Apple device may also include a camera and facial recognition that would let it identify household members and their preferences. It would be used less for purchases, and more to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation. Considering a couple of recent Apple acquisitions, it may also detect a user’s emotional state. No indication of how soon it might be in users’ hands.
Rumors have been flying for a while now about some company picking up ailing Twitter, which gets tons of eyeballs, but hasn’t been able to convert users to money through ad sales or otherwise. Now, CNBC.com is reporting that both Google and Salesforce- and some media and carriers- Verizon has been mentioned, may be readying formal bids on the 140 character firehose platform.
So you can’t go for the new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, and you’re still iffy about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, even with the safe batteries. There are 10 unlocked phones spotted by bgr.com on Amazon with big discounts today and tomorrow. Some examples: For fire sale price, there’s the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 for 99 bucks. Another C-note buys you the $400 Nesbit Robin at half off. You can pick up the $650 LG G5 for $479. You get the idea. Go get ‘em, bargain hunters!
On the higher end of the scale, Pax considers itself the Apple of vaporizers. Mashable.com reports that they’ve introduced 2 new app connected weed vaporizers. The Pax 3 heats up in 15 seconds, a full half minute faster than its predecessor, and recharges in and hour instead of 90 minutes. You can swap between flower and ‘waxy concentrates’ in seconds. The app will allow users to customize flavor and vapor volume by setting the precise temperature, as well as customizable LED color themes, interactive games and the ability to lock their device. $274.99 and you get haptic feedback and a choice of colors…10 year warranty, too.
The Pax Era uses pre-loaded cartridges, so it’s handy for when you’re on a hike or on the town. It also connects with the app. The down side? Right now you can only buy Pax Pods in Colorado or with a medical card in California. The Era is $59.99, with the Pods about $40. Everything should be out next month.
Replacements for the Galaxy Note 7 should be in stores today! Samsung has shipped a half million to carriers and retailers, according to 9to5mac.com. The replacement phones show the battery icon green in the bar at the top of the screen to indicate a safe battery. This is a no-no according to Google…they’re supposed to be all grey…but so far, Google hasn’t complained. Samsung has also pushed out a software update, which will nag owners of phones with the bad batteries until they take them in and exchange for a replacement.
On the momentum of House of Cards, Stranger Things, and Master of None, Netflix will move towards 50% original programming over the next few years. Arstechnica.com says they will continue to stream half licensed TV shows and movies. This is a sea change….not just for Netflix, but a king-sized cannon shot over the bow to cable and over-the-air TV when it comes to the way more and more people consume video. Right now, Netflix is already a third to halfway to the 50% original mark. No matter how you cut it, ‘cord-cutters’ are here to stay!
New GoPros Including Drone; Waze Gets Parking Help; Google’s Pixel Event; GM Sets Bolt Price & Pledges 100% Renewable PowerPosted: September 20, 2016
GoPro has revealed 3 new cams- the Hero 5, Hero 5 Session, and Hero Session. Businessinsider.com says they start at $399 for the 5. They also showed a foldable drone called Karma. The Drone is $799, but can be bundled with the cams…with the Hero 5 Session the combo is $999, and it’s $1099 for the Hero 5 Black and the Karma. It has a gimbal to stabilize footage you shoot.
Parking in cities can be infuriating. Now, Google’s Waze throws you a lifeline, as they’ve partnered with Inrix to bring additional parking lot data to the Waze app. According to 9to5google.com, the beefed up parking adding parking lot data to the already available street parking data is available on both the Android and iOS Waze apps.
We reported a rumor last week about Google’s Pixel smartphone event in early October. Now it’s official. Engadget.com reports that the invites are out and the event is October 4th. Google may show 2 new Pixel branded phones, a 4K Chromecast, and a new Daydream VR headset.
GM has announced pricing for it’s all electric Bolt, due out the end of the year. Reuters.com says it will start at $37,495. This should bring it under the ‘magic’ $30,000 level with the Federal tax break of $7500. It’s supposed to go 238 miles fully charged. Also, the General has just pledged that it would move all its facilities to 100% renewable energy by 2050…that’s over 350 facilities in 59 countries! Walmart, Unilever, and Apple are also moving to all-renewable facilities.
We tend to report pretty much ‘all mobile, all the time,’ as people don’t replace their PCs or laptops quite so often anymore. Now, zdnet.com reports that H-P has rolled out updates to its ProBook line of business laptops. There are 5 in all, with the lightest-the ProBook 430 G4…weighing in at 3.3 lbs. They are decked out in a new Astroid Silver case, and have all passed the MIL-STD 810G tests for drops, shocks, dust, and extreme temperature. The line starts out at $499.
In a report from Bloomberg picked up by 9to5mac.com, Samsung’s exploding and burning Galaxy Note 7’s were due to an effort by the company to beat what they thought would be a ‘dull’ iPhone 7 to market. In the effort to push the phone out quickly, with a more powerful, faster charging battery, testing was incomplete…and thus, the fires and explosions, and the recall of 2.5 million handsets The batteries were from one of Samsung’s own subsidiaries…another battery supplier’s batteries that are in some of the phones work fine. Still..the Note 7 has been reviewed as the best Android ever by a number of tech writers. You might wait a month or so, and see how much they have to drop the price on the corrected ones, and get a relative bargain on a great Android phablet.
Tentative Date for Tesla Autopilot Update; Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Apology & Recall; Clarkson Netflix Show November StartPosted: September 16, 2016
Elon Musk has announced that Tesla hopes to begin a worldwide rollout of V. 8.0 of their Autopilot software next Wednesday. Bgr.com says this is barring any last minute issues popping up. The revised version will utilize radar a lot more than previous versions…which primarily used it to supplement cameras. The update will be pushed out over the air as in the past.
Samsung’s president has issued a video apology for the fires and explosions of Galaxy Note 7s. According to 9to5google.com, they have replaced 130,000 of the 2.5 million bad handsets so far. They have implored people to power present devices down until they can be replaced. Since the Consumer Product Safety Commission stepped in, Samsung has said that replacement phones will be available no later than September 21st, and now you can take yours in and get your money back, then just go buy the new one when they are available.
The new car show starring the original Top Gear guys: Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond, will premiere on Amazon November 18th. It’s called The Grand Tour. If you’re a Prime member, you can watch it free, or pay a monthly video subscription of 8 bucks a month.