White House Kicks in $400 Million for Fast 5G Testing; Google Search for Voter Registration

On the heels of yesterday’s FCC vote to adopt new rules to guide the development of 5G technology, the White House has announced a $400 million Advanced Wireless Research Initiative. Engadget.com says the project aims to build four “city-scale testing platforms” over the next 10 years. Part of the plan is to free up spectrum above 24 GHz for the high-speed networks that are said to be 100 times faster than the 4G we use today. Both AT&T and Verizon have already announce testing plans, and there’s sure to be others to follow soon.

According to thenextweb.com, Google has a announced a new Search feature to make it easier for people in the US to register to vote and find out more about their local requirements. Just type in ‘register to vote’, and the Search will show guidelines for registering online, by mail, or in person. You can also see the requirements (such as being 18 years old and not being in jail for a felony), as well as registration deadlines depending on how you choose to register.


Bigger Battery for iPhone 7; New Tiny Nintendo Classic Out This Fall

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If there’s anything smartphone users whine about, it’s battery life. Even Facebook has an entire center devoted to running their software on older phones, to ensure a change doesn’t cause a huge battery drain. Now, 9to5mac.com has picked up a report that the iPhone 7 will get a 1960 mAh battery, up from the 1715 mAh of the 6S (which, by the way was a downgrade from iPhone 6.) Of course, it may be that the A10 processor will be more power hungry, but we have to wait until September to actually find out. No leak about the 7 Plus or Pro, but if it also gets a 14% battery bump, it would go from 2750 mAh to 3140.

With the nostalgia mania about Pokemon Go, to quote Ron Popiel ‘but wait…there’s more!’ Thenextweb.com reports that Nintendo is going to launch the Nintendo Classic in November. It’s a miniature version of the original NES console that fits in your hand! It will cost 60 bucks, and come preloaded with 30 classic games. An extra controller will set you back an extra 10 bucks. Did I mention that it’s cute, tiny, and only 60 bucks?


Samsung Unpacked August 2-Galaxzy S7 Outselling iPhone 6S; Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’;Twitter gets the 72 New Emoji

Samsung officially announced their Unpacked 2016 event as August 2nd as rumored. 9to5google.com expects a reveal of the newest Galaxy Note 7. In the meantime, Samsung is excited to see the Galaxy S7 pulling ahead of Apple’s iPhone 6S in sales in the US…16% to 14.6%. Of course, the S7 is new, and most expect demand to pick up for the iPhone after the 7 rolls out in September. Both phones are keeping a loyal following, with 88% of iPhone users saying they’ll buy another, and 86% of Samsung Galaxy users.

According to macrumors.com, Apple has posted an open casting call for its upcoming original TV show Planet of the Apps, an unscripted program about apps and the people who make them. The show is currently looking for developers from San Francisco, Austin, New York and Los Angeles to participate. No islands are involved, unless it’s the concrete ones in the middle of busy intersections.

Unicode 9’s 72 new emoji officially rolled out today, and Twitter is getting support for them, including the creepy clown one. Thenextweb.com reports that skin color modifiers are available. A lot of computers don’t support manually typing them in yet, but you can always copy and past from places like Emojipedia. Take it easy on the clown, ok?


Honda Announces Rare Earth Free Hybrid Motor; Verizon Testing Gigabit 5G Service; Samsung 4TB SSD

In what amounts to a pretty big deal, Honda says it has co-developed the world’s first motor for hybrid cars that uses no heavy rare earth metals, a breakthrough that would reduce its dependence on the expensive materials, which are controlled mainly by China. Reuters.com notes that Japanese car makers have been working towards this since China put a temporary moratorium on rare earth exports to Japan in 2010. There are caches of rare earths in the US and Australia, and the US just last year began to reactivate a mine in Southern California. Mining the metals is an environmental issue.
Honda hopes to get from 5% ‘new energy’ vehicles now to 2/3 of it’s line up by 2030.

Verizon has announced final specs for its 5G service, and will indeed offer gigabit speeds….faster than cable internet in a lot of places. Bgr.com reports that Verizon is testing in New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Texas. We’re a few years from seeing this, as federal regulators have to sign off on the specs, but 100 mbps plus speeds in your pocket will be quite welcome as soon as we can get it!

The great news for data hogs…Samsung has a 4 terabyte SSD drive for laptops. The bad news….it costs as much as a MacBook Pro at $1500! If you can slide by with less storage though, thenextweb.com says they’ve dropped the 2 TB model to ‘only’ $675, and 1 TB clocks in at $317. If you’re on any kind of budget, you probably ought to opt for an old fashioned spinning drive for these higher storage options!


Pokemon Go Takes Off at Warp Speed; Amazon Prime Now Covers Half of Amazon Users

Pokemon Go has eaten the mobile world…at least for now. Similarweb.com reports that the game app, which dropped July 7th, had more installations than Tinder by July 8th, and was on over 5% of US Android handsets. Reuters says Nintendo’s stock is up 25% on the heels of the hot new game. Yes, a body was found by someone playing, but please keep your nose out of your phone and don’t become a body yourself. Also, be aware that crooks in Missouri have already used the game to track where people are going, and robbed them at gun point. Again…look up once in a while! The game launches in Europe and Asia in a few days.

According to new information picked up by geekwire.com, a study shows that Amazon Prime has now surpassed half of the Amazon customer base…63 million users. The study is from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, and is out just in time to remind you that tomorrow…July 12th…is Prime Day, so have your fingers and plastic ready to shop for some major bargains.


Samsung Smart Glow LED Coming to Galaxy J2 & Galaxy 8; More Memory for iPhone 7; The Chemputer Will Grow Drones & Our Robot Overlords

Samsung has been working on an LED ring that glows different colors and flashes different patterns surrounding the rear camera for notifications. 9to5google.com reports that it will be out on the Galaxy J2 next week in India, and will be a feature on the upcoming Galaxy S8 we should see next spring. It’s designed to give notification of priority messages or calls you can set from people you most want to her from.

After some iffy rumors elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal is now reporting that the iPhone 7 will indeed ditch the 16GB tier. For the first time ever, the base iPhone model will come in at 32GB. It’s looking like the 7 will have 64 and 128 gig options, and the bigger Plus or Pro will have 128 and 256 gig memory at additional cost. With bigger, better cameras, Apple figures we’ll all be shooting more pictures and video than ever.

BAE Systems has posted concept video footage of a process to create drones of the future. The so-called Chemputer could enable advanced chemical processes to grow aircraft and some of their complex electronic systems, conceivably from a molecular level upwards. They have trademarked the word chemputer, btw.

The video shows a drone being produced in a large vat of chemicals and then moved to a staging area where a robotic arm inserts what are, presumably, the drone’s engine components. Sure this is just a concept, but BAE Systems has a track record of turning concepts into reality. It’s kind of a logical extension to making things too complicated for 3D printing. Get ready to welcome our drone and robot overlords!


Leak Points to Couple Surprises With iPhone 7; 10 Million Twitterers in China; Samsung Sailing Towards Great Numbers With Galaxy S7; Apple Sandbagging With iPhone 7

A leaked slide from a Foxconn internal presentation shows a couple of features that may be coming on iPhone 7 that have been rumored, but not really solidly. Bgr.com reports that the Apple handset may indeed have an IP68 water and dust resistant rating and wireless charging support. If this slide posted by myDrivers.com pans out, it may be a ‘one more thing’ that Apple was saving back for the iPhone 7 rollout in September.

Twitter estimates it has 10 million users in China, which gives an indication of how many people there are using VPN to get around government censorship. According to techcrunch.com, earlier estimates were as high as 35.5 million. There’s no solid data, since the VPNs the scofflaws are using to Tweet show up as being in other countries besides China. With only around 10 million users out of Twitter’s 310 million, it’s not a crucial part of their business, but does give an idea of the people using VPN to get around the government censorship….and that’s usually journalists, activists, prominent business leaders, and decision makers. This is a significant leak in China’s ‘Great Firewall.’

According to analysts, Samsung is heading for the best quarter in a couple years, when they release smartphone numbers later this week. After some iffy quarters and phones that underwhelmed, Reuters.com says the Galaxy S7 has done better than expected…with about 16 million pumped out between April and June, and the curved screen model outselling it’s flat screened sibling.

Speaking of marketing, most everybody is predicting that since the iPhone 7 will be more like a 6 SS, and not a wow-year upgrade, it will mean a sales slump. Business insider.com reports that this may be intentional. Some Apple watchers are now saying that the so-called ‘tick-tock’ system of a major iPhone upgrade every other year is not sustainable, and Apple is just going with the math. Normally, about 33% of iPhone owners might upgrade this fall…that’s been consistent for 6 quarters, but if things really are a little disappointing, Apple can look forward to a huge jump of about 43% for the next 5 quarters after an iPhone 7S, or 8, or Anniversary model or whatever the 2017 model will be called. That will be a bonanza for them, and it sounds like just the kind of thing a nuts and bolts guy like Tim Cook might ‘cook up!’