New ARM Chip Will Be a Big Boost to Samsung Phones; Apple Working on Flexible Touch Displays; Base iPhone 7 Gets a Simple, Big UpgradePosted: May 31, 2016
ARM will have new chips out in time for next year’s flagship smartphones like those from Samsung that will boost performance by 30% while giving 30% better power efficiency. Cnet.com says ARM claims you will be able to run a phone’s chip at full speed for the duration of a movie, game, or VR experience! It’s the Cortex-A73 computing processor and Mali-G71 graphics processor. The graphics processor gives 50% higher performance with 20% energy savings. Samsung and a couple others have already licensed the tech…no word about Apple, but they’ve used ARM in the past.
An Apple supplier, TPK…which is a division of Foxconn, has a silver nanowire tech rolling out that will allow for flexible touch screens. Since Foxconn is the major supplier of iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, patentlyapple.com notes that there’s a high probability that you’ll be seeing these everywhere in the next 2-5 years. More to the point, TPK says they expect their clients to launch flexible touch panel devices in the 2nd half of 2016! If they’re talking about Apple, a folding 7 inch tablet or display that wraps around your arm will be one hell of a ‘one more thing! Stay tuned!
One of the most boring, yet important tidbits has just dropped about the iPhone 7…bgr.com reports it will finally ship with 32 gigs of memory instead of the nearly useless 16 gigs in the base phone. No more cheapskate Apple buyers whining about having to delete pictures and songs from their iPhones anymore!
A jury has ruled that Google’s use of Java software — owned by Oracle — in the creation of Android constitutes fair use and is thus not a copyright violation.Posted: May 27, 2016
A jury has found yesterday that Google’s use of Java software — owned by Oracle — in the creation of Android constitutes fair use and therefore is not a copyright violation. Recode.net notes that this fair use decision is huge for the entire software industry. Much of Silicon Valley and software developers around the world turn to fair use as their ‘not to reinvent the wheel’ when they make every new product. Although Oracle plans to appeal, the unanimous verdict should carry some weight with an appellate panel, even though they primarily look at the law and what happened in the case from below.
Earlier this week, we reported that Apple was indeed working on it’s version of Amazon’s Echo and Google’s new response to the Echo. Cnet.com reports that the Apple version…not expected until next year…will likely feature an always-on camera that will make it aware of who’s in the room with facial recognition tech. This would allow it to automatically pull up the preferences for music, lighting, and entertainment when they are in the room. Like with Microsoft’s X Box accessories, it will also very likely creep some people out who will cover the cam if they buy the gadget at all. Some users aren’t quite ready for the 1984-esque all-seeing eye watching you…which could be hacked just like a security camera, of course!
HP is bringing the Omen name to all it’s gaming hardware, with a new lineup of laptops and desktops. In the laptop arena, according to engadget.com, they’ll lead off with an $899 model sporting a 15.6 inch screen, and in desktops, they say they’re VR ready with enough power to run HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR setups. A tradeoff to power up and stay cheaper…cheaper plastic cases on the laptops instead of aluminum. The laptops will bow July 10th, with the desktop and 32 inch monitor shipping in August.
One of the biggest silver bullets for electric cars is range…battery life. Another is getting recharged when and where you need to. According to theverge.com, Apple is diving into charging electric cars. A Reuters report says Cupertino is reaching out to charging station companies about their ‘underlying technology’ and has staffed up with engineers having experience in vehicle charging. If they are indeed working on an electric car with Project Titan, a network of charging stations will be critical to their success….as will cruising range.
Electric Car Builder Faraday to Build Factory in SF Area; Apple Joining the Voice Command Speaker ClubPosted: May 25, 2016
It would be the biggest employer to hit Vallejo, Northeast of San Francisco, since the Navy closed the Mare Island submarine base. Los Angeles based Faraday Future, the electric car startup rumored to be backed out of China, is apparently about to lock in a deal to buy a 157 acre site on Mare Island to build a car production facility and showroom. According to San Francisco Business Times, if the deal is done, Faraday has a 6 month window to firm up a proposal to build a million square foot facility on Mare Island. Faraday is already building a billion dollar, 3 million square foot facility in North Las Vegas.
Now that Google has showed it’s answer to the Amazon Echo, there are reports that Apple will have a new speaker and mic, and tools for Siri developers by their upcoming World Wide Developers Conference next month. Thenextweb.com says Apple probably intends to stitch in their Home system for the internet of things in addition to polling for restaurants and checking Maps and the rest. The lone holdout in the AI assistant sweepstakes now is Microsoft with Cortana.
With all the announcements at Google I/O last week, this one didn’t get much glory, but could actually end up being pretty huge. According to theverge.com, Google is working to replace passwords with ‘trust scores’ that pull from user-specific data points, including current location, facial recognition, and typing patterns to detect if they’re really that person. A banking app would require a higher score than a social media app, for example. The Trust API has been in the world at least a year, and will rollout to several ‘very large’ financial institutions in the next few weeks. If all goes well, it will be opened up to all Android developers by the end of the year.
Apple will roll out a big revamp of the Macbook Pro by 4th quarter this year, according to KGI Securities and other sources. 9to5mac.com reports that it will be thinner and lighter, have Touch ID support, and a new OLED touch bar above the keyboard that will replace function keys. Apple will also put out a 13 inch MacBook similar to the 12 inch Retina MacBook, giving them 3 levels of laptops…the MacBook Air will stay the entry level, and the Pro the top tier.
LG beat them out of the blocks with their G5 phone and it’s bottom drawer that slides out so you can swap components, but Google will release their Project Ara modular phone to developers this fall. Thenextweb.com points out that it’s quite modular…but not as originally touted…the RAM, storage, and display won’t be customizable. What will be is and e-ink second display, fingerprint reader, fisheye camera assembly, fresh battery, and a speaker/microphone setup…oh…and non-functional ’style’ tiles…yippee!
Apparently, Sony has not been able to supply Apple with enough dual lens cameras for the upcoming iPhone 7 Plus…or Pro, depending on the rumor. Macrumors.com says Cupertino is switching to LG to get it enough in time for launch. Part of the problem was damage to Sony’s facility from an April earthquake. Also, there’s a prototype case that’s appeared on a French blog with 4 speakers. It doesn’t have a headphone jack, as previously rumored, but this single 4 speaker leak is iffy.
Google’s cheaply priced Chromebooks outsold Macs in the US. first quarter. The verge.com reports that it’s mainly due to purchases of primary and secondary schools. According to IDC, Mac shipments 1st quarter of the year were around 1.76 million, and Dell, HP, and Lenovo combined to pump out almost 2 Million Chromebooks. While Apple can’t be happy about this, the real angst hast to be at Microsoft. Android apps running under Chrome will only further serve to erode Redmond’s grip on the PC market when that happens this Fall.
Brace yourselves….Facebook is once again monkeying with news feeds. According to thenextweb.com, they are testing out customizable news feed categories. Some people are seeing their mobile app news feeds separated by categories, like travel, music, TV and movies, food, and science. You can apparently also customize the specific news you want to see under those categories, such as animated films or reality TV under the entertainment category. Facebook tests out a lot of features, and if this one is adapted, it may be different than it appears right now.
In the keynote at Google I/O, they rolled out Google Assistant, which supports ‘conversational understanding’ and should give users more natural and better support of voice searches. In addition, bgr.com reports that Google showed off their answer to Amazon Echo, Google Home, a little always on speaker that will be out later this year. Home will find and start TV shows, call an Uber car, or book a restaurant, and a lot more for you with just a voice command.
Google’s new messaging app, Allo, also took a bow. One new feature is a whisper/shout feature that enlarges the text size if you want to ‘shout,’ instead of using all caps. It also interacts with a range of bots. As a bookend to Allo, Google showed off Duo, which is a video calling app. Duo has some clever new features like Knock Knock…which shows an incoming video call feed before you decide to pick up. It also switches seamlessly from cell to Wi-Fi connection.
Android N was previewed, and will be out later this year, emphasizing performance and graphics. It will also use file based encryption instead of block -based. You can download the beta to N now.
Daydream is the new VR platform that is aimed at standardizing mobile based VR. This includes both hardware and software, and Google is expected to start selling a VR headset and controller by late summer. They are also making a reference design for other suppliers to make VR headsets using their system.
Android Wear 2.0 bowed, and the big news there is it can function independently of a smartphone.
Last, and definitely not least, Google showed what may be the biggest deal since the App Store…Instant Apps. With Instant Apps, you can start using an app immediately right within the Google Play store without even having to download and install it.
Startup Aims to Make Existing Big Rigs Self-Driving; Twitter Excluding Links & Pix From 140 Character LimitPosted: May 17, 2016
Four ex-Googlers have launched Otto, a startup aimed at making big rigs autonomous. The San Francisco based company has drawn employees form Apple, Tesla, and Cruise Automation. Backchannel.com reports that they will aim to retrofit existing semis instead of trying to build new trucks from scratch. There are over 4 million big rigs on the highways. Otto has already installed their system on 3 big rigs. They claim to be able to do the retrofit for a ‘small fraction’ of the 100-300 grand it costs for a new big rig tractor cab.
In case you missed it, Twitter is getting ready to exclude pictures and links from the 140 character limit sometime in the next couple weeks. Thenextweb.com notes that links currently gobble up 23 characters out of that miserly 140. No official word from Twitter as yet.