iPhone 8 Color Rumor; 3 OLED iPhone 9 Models; Amazon Prime Poised to Pass Up Cable TV; Alexa Can Tell When Your Stuff is Out for Delivery; Future 3D Printing-Star Trek Replicator?

The latest iPhone 8 rumor is that there will be 4 colors, and one will be mirror like. 9to5mac.com says it will be either sliver or black…which is confusing, since there is already the pretty mirror-like Jet Black. Perhaps with the glass back, it will be even more mirror-like. You can admire it before you stuff it in an Otterbox so you don’t break your precious thousand buck toy! In other future iPhone news, 2018 reportedly will bring 3 new iPhone models, and all will have OLED displays. It’s over a year away, but Nikkei sees Apple suppliers preparing to meet the expected demand.

Amazon Prime is nipping at cable TV’s numbers. According to recode.net, there are 79 million US homes that have Amazon Prime, including Prime Video. That compares to 90 million who are paying for cable or satellite this year. Amazon’s numbers grew from 66 million to the 79 million year over year, to they may pass up pay TV by next year! It’s a desirable market, too…over 80% of America’s wealthiest households have Amazon Prime.

If you are like most of us, you probably go to Amazon’s website and obsess over when your loot is going to be delivered. Theverge.com says you can ask Alexa ‘where’s my stuff,’ and your Echo will track deliveries. Now, just in time for prime day, your Echo will also light up a different color on delivery day. Alexa will ask you if you want to be notified when your package is out for delivery. For some of us, the Echo’s LED ring will probably actually stay that ‘out for delivery’ color all the time!

3D printing just gets more amazing all the time. They are building everything from toys to food to cars to houses right now…some admittedly pretty crude. Zdnet.com says the logical extension will be the Star Trek replicator making our food …or ‘Tea…Earl Grey….hot!’ They point out that there is a difference between printing materials at the molecular level and the micron level, but it’s really not that much. We may not see this right away, but it’s definitely on the horizon. With improving printers to work at the molecular level and better voice assistants, we could all be Captain Picard in this lifetime!

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Dual Vertical Cams for iPhone 8; Amazon’s Holiday Moves a Billion Items; Microsoft-First Tech to a Trillion in Valuation; LG’s ‘Floating’ Speaker

Another week, another new iPhone 8 rumor…and this one has nothing to do with curved screens, all glass, or the like. Bgr.com has picked up a report from Japanese site macotacara that the 5 inch iPhone 8 will move to a dual vertical cam setup instead of the horizontal orientation on the 7 Plus. The phone is supposed to be a bit taller than the iPhone 7 but not as wide as the Plus, so it could just be a matter of internal real estate…or maybe an even more killer camera. Time…and rumors…will tell!

Amazon Prime killed it again for the holidays. The online giant shipped over a billion items between November 1st and December 19th, according to cnet.com. The Echo Dot was the most desired item, selling out. It just got back in stock today, but the regular Echo is out of stock until January 26th. December 23rd was the most popular delivery day for Prime Now…nice going, last minute shoppers!

Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella has had a rebirth, and is innovating and growing again. Geekwire.com says that following the acquisition of LinkedIn, analyst Michael Markowski of Equities.com claims Microsoft will be the first tech company to hit a market valuation of a trillion dollars, beating out Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook.

If you didn’t get an Amazon Echo with Alexa for Christmas, you might be coveting LG’s latest…which they just teased, and will show at CES next week It’s the PJ9 Bluetooth speaker, and it floats in midair above its base! 9to5mac.com reports that powerful magnets do the magic trick. It’s battery powered, and when it gets low, it lands on its base and wirelessly recharges itself! LG claims the 360 degree sphere has ‘deep bass, flush midrange tones, and crisp highs.’ We’ll find all that out plus the price and availability at CES next week.


Samsung Clones ‘Jet Black;’ HTC May Leave Smartphone Biz; Amazon’s Clarkson Show Has Big Debut; Electric VWs to be Made in USA

In the past, when Samsung has just plain poached Apple ideas and designs, it’s been a big hit for them. (It’s also hit them in the wallet sometimes, as Apple has sued and won.) Now, Samsung is going to clone Apple’s hot “Jet Black” color. According to bgr.com, they aren’t even waiting for the Galaxy S8….they will roll out Jet Black S7 models as soon as next month. Hey, it’s hard to get sued for using the same color!

HTC has made some really cool phones, and I have several friends that have had them and loved them. They haven’t really caught fire…figuratively…not in the Galaxy Note 7 way, however. Digitaltrends.com says rumors are flying now that HTC will bail out of smartphones completely by this coming spring. They have quietly been shopping the division around, but nothing so far. It wouldn’t be out of the question for Google to snap them up, since the success of the new Google Pixel phones.

Yesterday, Netflix snarked that Amazon hadn’t really paid $160 million to produce their ‘Top Gear’ type show titled ‘The Grand Tour,’ saying it was more like $250 million. The show, starring Jeremy Clarkson, and his former Top Gear colleagues, debuted Friday. It was the biggest premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, according to businessinsider.com, eclipsing ‘The Man in the High Castle.’ Not only that, it was the top rated show on IMDB with a 9.6 and got 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Amazon says it got the second most one day sign ups for Prime ever last Friday. Sounds like a hit!

Volkswagen says they will begin building electric vehicle models in North America,and even the US by 2021. Techcrunch.com picked up a report from Automotive news, citing VW brand lead Herbert Diess. Vee Dub will also build large SUVs and limos here. The Mexico factories will also crank out EVs for the North American market.


Amazon Prime Adding Monthly Subscriptions; GoPro Rolling Out VR Camera

Amazon Prime has been $99, and if you get a lot of stuff from them, it’s a bargain in just the saved shipping, let alone Prime Video. Now, gizmodo.com reports that Amazon is offering Prime for $11 a month, and you can get just Prime Video for $9 a month…undercutting Netflix by a buck. The new pricing is available now.

On the heels of Facebook’s $30,000+ insane virtual reality camera that you’ll have to make yourself, GoPro has launched one you can buy from them for $4999. GoPro’s Omni only has 6 cameras….6 Hero4’s…compared to Facebook’s 17, but GoPro says the rig will capture up to 8K video. It’s available for pre-order at their website now. They have also introduced GoPro VR a website and app for iOS and Android to show off VR content and allow for sharing it. Mashable.com says GoPro will continue to offer its high end 16 camera GoPro Odyssey model for 16 grand.


Amazon Prime Adds Free Photo Storage

You can never have too many backups, and now if you have Amazon Prime, you get unlimited photo storage in the cloud, according to theverge.com. Note that this will work on PCs, Android, and iOS, but not yet on Macs. Amazon says that’s coming. Keep in mind that cloud storage is great for convieninece, but do keep a local backup or 3 of your pictures.

Apple Pay has grabbed a big chunk of the pay with your phone market, even though Google Wallet was already available. Now, gigaom.com reports that Windows phone users can make payments at NFC retail terminals with the Softcard app.

HP is taking orders for a new gaming laptop to compete with Alienware models. Engadget.com says the big plus for the $1500, 15.6 inch touch screen rig is that it’s noticeably thinner than Alienware machines. It will ship this month.


Skype Joins the Disappearing Video Chat Club

Skype is joining the disappearing video world with Skype Qik (quick). Venturebeat.com says it does videos up to 42 seconds, which auto delete in 2 weeks. It runs on Android, iOS, and Windows, and you need the Skype app too, but not an account.

Google Shopping Express has Amazon Prime in its sights. 9to5google.com reports the $95 a year service is now available in San Francisco & San Jose, with overnight delivery in Northern California…and includes alcohol delivery!

If you need a super cheap Windows tablet that is just about good enough, check Emdoor or Ployer. Geek.com says they’re both $65, and 7 and 8 inches respectively. If you want a cheap tablet for a child, these may do the trick.


Rough on Phones? Check the Galaxy S5 Active

Samsung is readying an Active version of it’s Galaxy S5 smartphone. Gigaom.com says the ruggedized version that meets Military spec loses the fingerprint scanner for 3 large buttons at the bottom. It’s weatherproof, available in camo, and out next week at AT&T. If you’re rough on phones, but want an iPhone or other brand, at least get an Otterbox!

Apple is talking to some high profile retail brands about its iPhone payment service. 9to5mac.com reports that Cupertino now has an amazing 800 million credit cards on file for iTunes accounts. Depending on how things work out, your phone as wallet may finally be coming to the US.

Businessinsider.com says Amazon is about to join the music streaming party, with a catalog of songs 6 months old and older available free to Prime members this summer. Amazon is hoping this will help justify their price increase for the Prime service.