New Samsung & LG Hero Phones Out in January; Amazon Jumps into VR & AR, Lyft Gets Self-Driving Permit

We were expecting Samsung to show off the new Galaxy S9 in January. Now, it looks like it will be launched at CES 2018, and according to bgr.com, LG will also show its latest and greatest, the G7. Last year, the LG G6 was overshadowed by Apple and Samsung, and with the runaway success of the iPhone X and a strong Samsung Galaxy S9, they will need the new G7 to have some ‘wow’ factor. The G7 is rumored to have and OLED display, like the iPhone X and Galaxy S9, but does add its own wrinkle…the fingerprint sensor will be under the screen, not on the back like the S9’s. For those leery of the iPhone X’s facial recognition scheme, this might be a real draw.

Google, Apple, and Microsoft are busily working on VR and AR products, so it was only a matter of time. Geekwire.com reports that Amazon is jumping in with its new ‘Sumerian’ service for Amazon Web Services. Sumerian will allow creation of VR, AR, and 3D scenes for Oculus, Vive, iOS, and Android. Sumerian has a web based editor for creating interactive 3D scenes, and a library of objects and templates. It launches in preview today on all but Android, which Amazon says is coming soon.

Another company has a permit to test self-driving cars in California, and this one is a biggie. Cnet.com says Lyft was granted a permit, and now brings to 45 the number of companies testing or getting ready to roll driverless cars on public roads. They join VW, General Motors, Tesla, Google’s Waymo, Uber, and Apple. You’ll be able to spot them by the apparatus on top, but don’t expect to see no one in the driver’s seat…all the permits require a driver on board, just in case.

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Next MacBook Pros May Be the Real Deal; Apple Patents Foldable Smartphone; Amazon Rules the Cloud; Mobile Web Passes Desktops; Facebook Extends Longevity

With the continued griping that the new MacBook Pros aren’t all that ‘pro,’ here’s an interesting tidbit…9to5mac.com reports that KGI Securities says Apple was constrained by a late release of new Intel chips that are more powerful but use less juice. If the next Intel chips are more timely, 2017 may see faster, more powerful MacBook Pros with 32 gigs of ram!

Meanwhile, Apple has patented a bendable or foldable smartphone. Patentlyapple.com says this is different than Samsung’s designs…it uses advanced carbon nanotube structures. This could be done with a ceramic case…something the top Apple Watch uses, and rumored for the iPhone 8. the iPhone 9 or 10 could fold up and slip into a shirt pocket if this is put into use.

Synergy Research Group has crunched numbers, and Amazon Web Services is truly the 800 lb. gorilla of public cloud infrastructure…at 45%, they have more than Microsoft, Google, and IBM combined. According to Geekwire.com, this remains true even though Microsoft and Google are growing cloud revenue at over 100% per year. IBM does lead in managed private clouds, however.

Mobile internet use has passed desktop use for the first time, according to techcrunch.com. Mobile is now at 51.2%, with 48.7% of use still on desktops. Mobile is a whopping 75% in emerging markets like India!

Shades of ‘I want to believe’ from “X Files,” thenextweb.com has picked up a report that moderate Facebook use can lead to longer lives. It has been long known that people with strong social networks live longer, but what about online friends? A study of 12 million Facebook users by UC San Diego says yes. One of the researchers has ties to Facebook, but they claim the social media giant didn’t have a hand in determining the results. The average Facebook user is allegedly 12% less likely to die than non-users. Fox Mulder is using Facebook to look for aliens, and thinks you’re one.


Tiny LiteOS Prepares for the Internet of Things

Huawei is readying their minuscule operating system, LiteOS, to power everything from wearables to cars to the electronics around your home. The system is 10 KILObytes! For a little perspective, Apple’s iOS 8 takes a gigabyte of space, and ancient DOS 2.11 was 28 kilobytes! The mini-system is designed for zero configuration, auto-discovery, and auto-networking. The verge.com says it isn’t intended to compete with iOS or Android, but to power small internet connected gadgets from light bulbs to toothbrushes.

From the very small to the biggest on the block…or in this case, the planet. Despite growing competition from Microsoft and Google, Amazon is the 800 pound gorilla of the cloud world. According to geekwire.com, Amazon Web Services not only increased market share in 2014, but operates more cloud capacity than the next 14 providers combined! Google cut cloud prices by 30% just yesterday, to try to grab more share, but it’s a long climb. Microsoft’s strategy is to provide more complete services for a price, where Amazon sticks to a la carte pricing. Microsoft’s revenues from cloud were up 96%, making them the leader by that metric.