Google Workplace & Chat for Everyone; Upcoming Apple Watches; Chip Shortage & Smartphones; Amazon Warehouse ‘Bots-Bert and Ernie

Google is opening up things in its Workspace suite of apps and services. As of now, anyone who has a Google account can switch over to Google’s more modern system for Gmail, Docs, and Chat. Google has about 3 billion users of its apps (mostly Gmail), so that’s a lot of people that potentially may jump to their Chat. reports that the apps can be integrated into a single tab, too. They are changing the nam of Chat Rooms, though…they will become Spaces. Google says they will have a streamlined interface for Spaces by later this summer. 

It’s not that long until September, and the traditional roll out of new iPhones and Apple Watches. According to, the latest has the new Watch getting a faster processor and a better screen. Apple is also working on even more for next year…the 2022 Watch line will have more health features, and extreme sports model, and a freshened entry-level Watch. This Fall’s Watch will be very slightly thicker, but reports are that people won’t really notice. The processor will allow Ultra Wideband connectivity. In a letdown for many, it looks like no glucose monitoring feature will be out this year. No word on if it will be in the 2022 Watch, either…but a body temperature sensor is apparently in for 2022, along with a ‘Walking Steadiness’ feature. 

The worldwide chip shortage has already been affecting computers, laptops, and cars, as has been widely reported. Now, it looks like it’s hitting smartphones, too. says smartphone shipments should hit 1.4 billion this year, a 12% growth figure. Apparently, demand is higher than that, so not only will there be some shortages, but also we could see prices rise. The toughest shortages are with LTE chips, which will affect low and mid price smartphones mostly. All the top line phones have 5G now. Those phones accounted for 37% of shipments in the 1st quarter, and analysts are looking for a 43% share for the year. 

You have to love the moxie of a company like Amazon, where there has been pretty continuous criticism for their treatment of warehouse workers, naming robots in those fulfillment centers warm fuzzy names like Bert and Ernie. reports that Amazon touted their robots in a blog post. Apparently Ernie is designed to take boxy product containers known as totes off shelves at different heights, and then use its robotic arm to deliver the totes to warehouse employees at a standard height. The goal is to reduce the amount of reaching up or bending down that workers have to do. Bert carries items across the warehouse. Perhaps Amazon is taking the advice of the German auto maker of Mercedes-Benz, which clear back in the 80’s stated that the goal of robots in its factories was ‘to save backs, not replace hands.’ 


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