Twitter Opens Up Verified Accounts; Apple Gets Well From Pokemon Go

Twitter has opened up getting a ‘verified account,’ the ones denoted by the little blue checkmark. Arstechnica.com says that the blue check…previously the domain of celebrities, journalists, and high profile users, will be more widely available, but you’ll have to convince Twitter why they should verify your account. They plan to only give the coveted symbol to accounts that are ‘determined to be of public interest.’ If you want to apply, set your tweets to “public” and you have to fill in a form with a verified phone number, e-mail address, website, and birthday. They may also ask for a scan of government-issued ID.

We’ve reported that Nintendo’s market capitalization has doubled in the couple weeks since Pokemon Go rolled out, making them more valuable than Sony. Now, apple insider.com reports that the hot mobile game could add $3 billion to Apple’s coffers over the next couple years. If it stays hot, it could actually do much more…Candy Crush brought in $10 billion for Cupertino in 2013 and 2014 when it was at its peak.


Bitmoji Come to Snapchat; iPhone Pro Looks Unlikely; Nintendo Now Worth More Than Sony-Pokemon Go

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Snapchat snapped up Bitstrips earlier this year for 100 million, and today rolled out the little comic style characters in the main Snapchat app. Businessinsider.com notes that user s will have to download the Bitmoji app separately, the feature isn’t 100% integrated in the main app as yet. Once you do that and link the apps, though, you can drop the Bitmoji stickers into chat or stick them on snaps.

Pictures have surfaced of 3 iPhone 7 models, including a Pro model. Now, 9to5mac.com reports that Evan Blass tweeted out the code names of the iPhone 7 models, and there are only two….Sonora and Dos Palos. Meanwhile, a site has examined the pictures, and the Apple logo on the back is a sticker! They also used a clone detection model to point out where the pictures were cloned and ‘shopped. It appears that the more widely rumored two models…the 7 having a larger camera opening and the Plus having the dual camera are most likely what’s coming in September.

One very hot game, and a company’s value can go through the roof. Nintendo is now more valuable than Sony, thanks to Pokemon Go. According to geekwire.com, Nintendo’s market cap has doubled in less than two weeks to over $42.5 billion. Sony is worth about $39 billion. After originally launching in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, Pokemon Go just arrived in Japan this week!


Google Still Working on Second VR/AR Project; Flight Recorder for Self Driving Cars

For those saddened by an article over the weekend that Google had killed their VR project aimed at Oculus Rift…take heart! Engadget.com reports that while it’s true, Google has ANOTHER team working on a dedicated headset that blurs the line between virtual and augmented reality! The headset still being worked on does not require a computer or phone to power it. It appears that it would be aimed at competitor’s headsets that focus mainly on gaming.

With all the flap about several crashes involving or possibly involving Tesla’s Autopilot, Germany is looking to pass a law requiring black boxes in self-driving cars, much like those in commercial aircraft. According to techcrunch.com, the flight recorder type boxes would record whether the autopilot is engaged, when the driver is controlling manually, when the system asked the driver to take over, and when it is disengaged. Most modern cars already have systems that record functions like speed, brake application, and so forth which police and insurance companies can tap into. If the Germans pass this law, expect it to be copied throughout the EU, an probably in the US.


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!