Samsung May Merge Flagship Lines; Pixel 4 Event October 15th; Amazon Bows High-Def Streaming Service; e-Car Drivers May Get to Select Sounds

After ‘flaming out’ a few editions ago, the Samsung Galaxy Note has done nothing but grow in popularity. Now, it appears that the flagship phablet may either be merged into the S brand, or replace the top Galaxy S as early as next year. Bgr.com reports that these sort of rumors have popped up and been denied by Samsung in the past, but now a well-known leaker says the merger may happen. Samsung will then use its pricey Fold as the flagship release for the 2nd half of the year, with whatever the Note/S is called holding sway over the 1st half of the year. The rumor has the combined line being re-branded ‘Galaxy One.’ If makes some sense…even a company that sells as many phones as Samsung doesn’t really need THREE flagship lines! Of course, this all hinges (ok, go ahead and groan at the pun) on how well the Fold is received with its new, more robust hinge and screen.

Google has sent out invites to a hardware event in New York City on October 15th. According to theverge.com, Google is expected to formally announce the Pixel 4, Pixel 4 XL, a Pixelbook 2 and new Google Home speakers. The media invite says “Come see a few new things Made by Google.” There have been quite a few details leaked already, including that the Pixel 4 will have the Google version of Face ID.

Amazon has bowed a new feature for its music streaming service. Geekwire.com says its Amazon Music HD, and it includes 50 million songs with ‘lossless’ audio quality…which Amazon equates to CD quality, and millions of songs with ‘Ultra HD’, which is 24 bits and sample rate up to 192 KHz for you audio nerds. The HD service will set you back $12.99 a month if you’re a Prime member, or $14.99 a month otherwise. If you already subscribe to Amazon Music, it will cost you another $5 a month. Songs can be streamed OR downloaded using the Amazon Music app.

A notable feature of all electric vehicles is their stealth. They are all much quieter than an internal combustion engine vehicle, and that can be a problem….particularly around pedestrians and animals in city settings. Now, cnet.com reports that the NHTSA- which finalized regs for e-cars to produce sounds at speeds under 18.6 mph last year- is proposing that drivers be able to choose from a variety of sounds. There will be a public comment period, which could be entertaining in and of itself (recall the public naming contest for a ship where ‘Boaty McBoatface’ was the leading name!) The government wants people’s opinions on whether thee should be a limit on the number of sounds a car maker can build in, and what that limit should be. Actually, starting this month, all manufacturers have to equip 50% of their ‘quiet cars’ (i.e. electric vehicles) with an alert noise at low speeds. The NHTSA has determined that above 18.6 mph, there is enough tire and noise to make the sounds unnecessary. Anyone for ‘vroom, vroom,’ or the sound effect of playing cards in bicycle spokes?

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