Rough on Phones? Check the Galaxy S5 Active

Samsung is readying an Active version of it’s Galaxy S5 smartphone. Gigaom.com says the ruggedized version that meets Military spec loses the fingerprint scanner for 3 large buttons at the bottom. It’s weatherproof, available in camo, and out next week at AT&T. If you’re rough on phones, but want an iPhone or other brand, at least get an Otterbox!

Apple is talking to some high profile retail brands about its iPhone payment service. 9to5mac.com reports that Cupertino now has an amazing 800 million credit cards on file for iTunes accounts. Depending on how things work out, your phone as wallet may finally be coming to the US.

Businessinsider.com says Amazon is about to join the music streaming party, with a catalog of songs 6 months old and older available free to Prime members this summer. Amazon is hoping this will help justify their price increase for the Prime service.


Apple Going Bigger on Biometrics

According to KGI research, Apple will include the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on all iOS devices that come out this year…two new iPhone models and two sizes of iPads. They are also changing the sensor to make it more durable, utilizing tin to replace part of the sensor components.

Google is looking at picking up Dropcam, and getting into the home surveillance business. The Information reports that the automated home surveillance business could be combined with Google’s Nest products. With Apple rumored to be launching a smart home system that can be controlled by iOS next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, it could get interesting!

Twitter may have leveled off in the US, but a report from eMarketer picked up by techcrunch.com says by 2018, 40% of Twitter users will be from the Asia Pacific region.


Cellular Bay Area Internet of Things Coming

A French company called SigFox is going to build a cellular slow lane for the internet of things that will cover from San Francisco through Silicon Valley. Technologyreview.com says they already have done this in France to connect appliances, bike locks, and even dog collars.

Want to make your own modest game app? Businessinsider.com reports that you can build your own simple app in about 5 minutes using Appy Pie. It is uploaded to their servers, and for a fee, can be uploaded to iOS, Android, and others.

Restaurant payments app Cover now lets you dine and dash…legally…in 20 select San Francisco restaurants. Techcrunch.com says they’ve been running in 80 eateries New York City.


Solar Powered Bike Lock

For your two-wheeled transport…and specifically making sure it stays yours… cnet.com reports on the Skylock from Velo Labs. Velo is crowd funding a solar powered bike lock you can access from your smartphone. An hour in the sun, and it’s good to go for a week. It will notify you via your smartphone if your bike is moved around, and you can lock and unlock it from your phone via either Bluetooth or wifi. The company was founded by former Boeing and Jawbone people. Skylock similar to BitLock, but BitLock doesn’t work over wifi and isn’t solar. It’s $159 for backers, and will be $249 retail.

If your transportation leans towards the 4 wheeled variety, Pioneer has demoed a number of automotive entertainment systems using Apple’s CarPlay. 9to5mac.com says Pioneer demoed them this past week…they’re already discounted on Amazon from $536 to $984!

The Steam PC gaming system continues to gain steam…Gamasutra.com says more games have been released on Steam so far this year than in all of 2013! The Steam game platform from Valve Corporation runs on Windows, Apple OSX, and Linux. Valve has plans to convert Steam into an open platform, where any developer can publish their games, with Steam users acting as the curators.


Samsung Galaxy Gear Dropping Android and Name?

In something of a big break, Samsung is moving the Galaxy Gear smart watches from Android to the Tizen operating system. Tizen may be pushed as an over the air update to Gear watches. Geek.com says they will likely also drop the Galaxy name.

A useful feature has been added to Facebook for iOS…thenextweb.com reports you can now create posts offline, and they’ll automatically upload to Facebook when you have a better signal, or switch out of airplane mode if you’ve been flying.

Cnet.com says UC Irvine Med school has handed out Google Glass to all the medical students. Irvine is the 1st med school to fully incorporate Glass into its 4 year curriculum. It could be a boon for doctors to check files or lookup info without having to use their hands. (At $1500 each, don’t hold your breath for your employer or your school to do this!


Order That Takeout From Your Phone

Ordering takeout from your phone just got easier. Techcrunch.com reports that Square has launched a new app called Square Order, which lets you order from nearby restaurants, pay for your food, and then the app pings you when the food’s ready for pickup. Meanwhile, Square has quietly pulled Square Wallet from the App Store.

LG adds to their 8.3 inch tablet by rolling out no less than 3 additional sizes of the G Pad: 7, 8, and 10.1 inch versions will be available soon…maybe this month. 9to5google.com says all use the personalized ‘Knock Code’ screen lock feature.

The Microsoft morality police have struck, and removed the hidden rude emoticons from Skype. Geek.com says Microsoft has known about them, but no reason was given for pulling the trigger on them now. No more fubar or mooning, until someone comes up with a hack!


Bye, Bye ‘Feature Phones’

The so-called ‘feature phone’ is all but gone. Anandtech.com says ARM expects a billion entry level smartphones by 2018- twice as many as are shipping now- and $20 Android smartphones coming later this year! They don’t expect manufacturing scale to allow anything much cheaper…but that ought to be cheap enough!

9to5mac.com reports that Walgreens and retail giant Walmart are testing Apple’s iBeacon indoor positioning system. Walgreens already has them in 10 test stores. Walmart says 90% of retail still happens in store, and has to do with proximity.

Thenextweb.com says LinkedIn has shut down its CardMunch business card scanning app, and has partnered with Evernote for card scanning. Just a month ago, Evernote added the ability to reach out to LinkedIn connections without leaving the Evernote app. The updated Evernote app is already out for iOS, but Android is still ‘coming soon.’