Outlook for Mac Gets an Update

Microsoft has put a fresh face on Outlook for Mac. 9to5mac.com says an updated version of Office is coming in 2015. Microsoft claims the latest Outlook gives users a more consistent experience with the iPhone and iPad versions.

The next iteration of Amazon’s Fire phone will be less expensive. Amazon has admitted they considerably overpriced the present model. Gigaom.com reports that future Fire phones will have better software and a lower price, much like Amazon has done with Kindles.

Sprint is expanding its smartphone lease program. Cnet.com says in addition to Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, you can now rent Samsung Galaxy S5 and S5 sport models. The lease is $20 a month for 24 months, then you buy or pick a new phone.


Microsoft’s New Wearable

Microsoft Band is a new fitness focused wearable. Thenextweb.com says its $199, and tracks users’ heart rate, steps taken, sun exposure, stress levels, calories burned and sleep quality, relaying the data to Microsoft Health.

As for Android Wear devices…don’t look for them to be iOS or Mac compatable this year. 9to5mac.com reports a Google project manager, speaking at a media event, confirmed no Android wearables will talk to iOS or Macs by this Christmas.

Skype for iPhone has been updated. It now saves and deletes photos, and according to venturebeat.com has improved chat load times, and has easier to use filter options. It’s available at the App store now.

LG Smartphone Sales Are Up Dramatically

Sales are flat for Samsung, but LG shipped 16.8 million smartphones in the third quarter. Techcrunch.com says that’s up 39% from a year ago. The flagship G3 did well, but was helped by sales of mid price models.

The former head of Google Wallet has launched Poynt, a so-called ‘future proof’ point of sale machine for stores. The verge.com reports it will read magnetic strip cards, chip & pin cards, NFC like Apple Pay, QR codes, and even Bluetooth Beacons.

HP has revealed more about its new 3D printing tech. Engadget.com says it uses a 4 step process to print 3D parts similarly to how an inkjet printer prints documents. HP claims products like gears could be made 10 times faster than with conventional methods.

New Sony Smartphones Send Data to China

Not many people are buying Sony smartphones, but if you did, heads up. They are transmitting data to servers in China right out of the box. Geek.com says some have a Baidu folder that keeps coming back after deletion. A workaround is on their forum.

Upstart T-Mobile keeps on outgrowing the other phone providers. They signed 2.3 million new customers in 3rd quarter according to engadget.com. AT&T picked up 2 million, and Verizon grabbed 1.53 million.

If you have young girls, or are a fangirl, it’s jackpot time. Just in time for Christmas, Beats has unveiled Hello Kitty headphones. Cnet.com says they’re for Kitty’s 40th anniversary. As you might expect, they’re a pricey $249, and available mid-november.

Fire TV Stick-Amazon’s Answer to Chromecast & Roku

Amazon has launched Fire TV Stick. Geek.com says the Chromecast and Ruku streaming stick competitor is $39, but you can preorder it for $19 the next two days if you have Amazon Prime. It will ships November 19th.

Apple is in talks to expand their NFC reach for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. 9to5mac.com says they’re angling to integrate HID and Global building keycards, and transit fare cards. Forget your BART card or key card to get in the building…just bring your iPhone.

Your phone company will hate it, but in Britain, Swytch is building an app that allows multiple, simultaneous phone numbers on a phone with one sim card. Techcrunch.com reports the app would allow for business and personal numbers on one phone, use of a ‘burner’ number if you were selling something, etc. It will work on iOS and Android, and on tablets with cellular as well. Expect it to be here early next year.

LG Will Join the Roll Your Own CPU Club

Smartphone and appliance maker LG has made a big move. Their next smartphone will sport the company’s own CPU chips. Engadget.com says they’re an 8 core chip similar to Samsung’s.

A married couple has unveiled the world’s first 3D print graphene battery. Forbes.com reports that the prototype already matches the power of a AA battery, and can be made in any shape. They plan to offer materials for people to print their own at home!

Talk about a vanity app…Looksery has launched a video chatting app that makes you look more attractive. TechCrunch.com says the app is live on Apple’s app store, and you can make avatars with it, too. I’ll be George Clooney, please.

New Moto Droid Doubles Down On A Monster Battery

Bgr.com says the Motorola Droid Turbo will be unveiled next week on Verizon. It has the specs you’d expect from a flagship smartphone, and appears a bit thick. The turbo has a 3900 milliamp/hour battery…more than TWICE the power of an iPhone 6!

Speaking of Apple, primary supplier Foxconn is angling to build future iPhone displays, and get a bigger piece of the ‘Apple pie’. 9to5mac.com reports they’re in discussions to build a new factory and take the business from Sharp, LG, and Samsung.

The auto world rolls on towards the self-driving car. According to engadget.com, Ford will introduce smart braking to some 2015 European models. The option uses cameras and radar to effect stops and avoid crashes.

Gmail Security Key

Google has just launched Security Key, an open standard that allows you to log into Gmail with a USB drive or other physical device. The verge.com says you still use your password, but the key takes care of the 6 digit confirmation. Keys range from $6 to $50.

Apple Pay just launched in the US, but apparently it works overseas with some retailers already. 9to5mac.com says people in Australia found US issued cards work with the PayPass and payWave terminals there.

Verizon thinks the prepaid phone market is nearly dead. Engadget.com says the phone giant signed up 1.53 million new customers the last 90 days, and 1.52 million were on monthly plans. The days may be numbered for crooks using burner phones.

Microsoft Smartwatch Out Soon, Will Work With Multiple OS’s

According to geekwire.com, Microsoft plans to release it’s own health tracking smart watch in the next few weeks. It will be unique in that it will be able to work not only on Windows, but on iOS and Android. It will also talk with Microsoft’s X Box One.

If you really, really like your books on an e-reader and not a tablet, Amazon has just dropped the Kindle Voyage. Arstechnica.com reports that it’s sharp and crisp, can last 30 days on a charge, but priced from $199 to $289!

Apple is pressing to get Beats Music prices down to $5 a month. 9to5mac.com says Apple wants to keep the Beats Music Service brand, but the pricing matches what the best iTunes customers spend a year on music. No date has been set for the relaunch.

Tweets They THINK You’ll Like

Twitter is at it again, those tweets they were dropping into your timeline from folks you don’t follow…they’re now a permanent thing. Thenextweb.com says these are in addition to the paid ad tweets you see.

Last year, the iPhone 5c wasn’t exactly a runaway success. Bgr.com reports that since the 6’s have come out, fully 24% of iPhone sales have been the bigger 6 Plus. The iPhone 6 is taking 62%, with only 14% of buyers picking up an older model.

MasterCard is taking a page from Apple Pay’s book, launching a fingerprint enabled card. TechCrunch.com says hold your thumb on the reader, wave it over the terminal, and you’ve paid.