iPhone XR Bests Rivals in ’19; Pixel 4a- Hole Punch Cam; VW’s Robot EV Charger; Oculus Quest Backordered Until February; ‘Data Leak’ of IoT Gadget Maker Wyze Exposes Millions of Accounts

Apple apparently hit a home run with the iPhone XR. The lower cost, ‘semi-top line’ handset has bested competitors, and comes up the best-selling handset in the world for nearly all of 2019 according to Counterpoint Research…beating out the Samsung A10, Huawei P30, and Xiaomi Redmi 7A. Part of the draw has been Apple’s cutting the price down from $750 to $700…that appears to be a real sweet spot for the entry level ‘higher line’ phones, which mostly cluster around $1000 to $1100 now.

The latest rumor has the Google Pixel 4a launching with a hole punch selfie cam….becoming notch free. According to zdnet.com, the mid range phone will also have just a single rear cam, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. It is expected that Google will upgrade the rather poor battery and slower processor of the Pixel 4. The display grows from 5.6 to 5.8 inches. It may bow with a rear fingerprint scanner as opposed to a face unlock system.

One noticeable issue with electric vehicles…having to hunt for a charging station…may become less of a problem with something Volkswagen has cooked up. It’s a robot that brings a charger right to your vehicle! Geek.com notes that the in-concept robot would be a little ‘mule’ which would pull a battery wagon charger over to your car and connect, then go back and pick up another charger and take it to the next car, and so forth. It is intended primarily for parking structures. The robot is summoned via a mobile app. VW conceptualizes cars that could actually call the robot for a top off without human intervention! The chargers would be 25 Kwh and would support DC quick charging up to 50Kw. VW plans to hold off production ‘until conditions are right,’ which probably means seeing a certain penetration of EVs into the general car market.

The Oculus Quest is now sold out until mid February in the US. Venturebeat.com says Facebook’s standalone VR headset had already sold out at several online stores before Christmas…but now new orders are totally sold out for the $400+ device until around February 18th. Previously, preorders had been promised by February 1st. The standalone headset works fine in wireless mode, but if you plug into a high-end PC, you can play some of the more powerful, expansive PC VR games…including No Man’s Sky VR, Skyrim VR, and Valves Half-Live VR. By the way, Valve’s high end PC powered Index VR headset is also backorder until February. It has been available through the Steam Store, and sells as a kit for $1000.

There has been plenty written about the ease of hacking of Internet of Things devices. Usually, it’s those physical devices that give up our data, not the makers or cloud companies. Now, mashable.com reports that smart home gadget maker Wyze confirms that personal date of millions of users was left exposed on the internet for weeks…they claim due to human error. The data of 2.4 million people includes users’ emails, nicknames given to cameras, Wi-Fi names, health data like weight and gender, and information on users’ Wyze devices. The info was open to the world from December 4th to the 26th! If it’s any consolation, Wyze claims no passwords, financial information, or “government-regulated” personal information was exposed. Your home address should still be safe, even if your email address is not.


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