Samsung In-Person Phone Repairs; Google Bans Crypto Ads; Netflix May Bow Weekly Newsmagazine Show; Walmart Expands Grocery Delivery

A strong plus for Apple’s iPhone line has been the ability to make an appointment, and hit an Apple store when your phone is on the fritz. Now, Samsung has announced they are acting to offer in-person service for Galaxy phones in the US. Engadget.com reports that after March 15th, users will be able to visit one of 300+ uBreakiFix locations around the country and get Samsung authorized repairs in person on late model high end Galaxy phones, from the S6 and Note 5 on up to the new S9’s. Both Samsung and uBreakiFix are promising same day repairs, and in most cases 2 hour fixes. Walk-ins are ok, but appointments are encouraged. The repair chain is also adding 200 more locations, and that is expected by 2019.

Google AdWords has banned all cryptocurrency ads. 9to5google.com says the ban will take effect in June to give advertisers time to wrap up schedules. The ban includes related content in addition to actual cryptocurrencies…initial coin offerings, exchanges, wallets, and trading advice ads will be stopped. The action is no doubt in response to the high volatility in the virtual currency market lately. Google notes the havoc that can wreak in less savvy people.

Word is, Netflix may be dipping its toe into news. According to cnet.com, the streaming programming giant is working on something in the vein of ’60 Minutes’ or ’20/20,’ a newsmagazine type format that will run weekly. In addition to entertainment programming, Netflix has already expanded to documentaries, so this may be another nature extension to position them as a full service program provider.

With Amazon now utilizing their acquisition of Whole Foods to expand their own grocery delivery business, Walmart has reacted with an aggressive lan to expand its own grocery delivery service from the present 6 test markets to 100 metro areas. Geekwire.com says Walmart will be able to leverage its 800 physical stores to reach what they say is over 40 percent of US households. Walmart will charge a $9.95 fee on orders of over $30. Using the Whole Foods grocery delivery service, Amazon Prime Now members can get free delivery in 4 test markets: Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas, and Virginia Beach. If they want delivery in an hour or less, it’s an additional $7.99.


Samsung Kills Note 7; Amazon Considers Convenience Stores; Apple Patents Super Resolution Multi-Sensor Cam; Ridiculous Rich Kids App

After suspending production and halting sales, Samsung has killed production of the Galaxy Note 7. 9to5google.com notes that since a number of the allegedly ‘safe’ Notes also caught fire, and US carriers stopped selling it, there was really no way to save the handset. Samsung shares dropped 8% on the news, and as of this writing are down another 9.5%. The Galaxy Note 8 is due out in just a few months, and it remains to be seen if that can save face for Samsung.

Amazon, which has already caused great disruption to retail, is now thinking of adding brick and mortar convenience stores in addition to drive up grocery sites. Geekwire.com reports that they are scouting for locations. The outlets would carry perishables like milk, meat, and produce, and you could order other less perishable items for same day delivery with your phone or touch screens in the store. The stores would be open only to AmazonFresh customers.

On the heels of the new iPhone 7 Plus with the dual cameras and all, Apple has updated a patent from last year for ‘super resolution’ multi-sensor cameras with cube prisms. Yes, I know that sounds like I just rattled off some futuristic gadget from Star Trek. According to appleinsider.com, instead of filters, the system would split light into red, blue, and green that would be directed to different sensors. Smartphone cameras right now only use a single sensor. The prisms help jam the works into an iPhone….the whole rig would resemble a tiny periscope. No word when this super resolution cam might actually make it into an iPhone.

The running joke ‘there’s an app for that’ has maybe jumped the shark. Thenextweb.com says something of an ‘anti-Facebook’ app has launched. Instead of lots of friends, it’s the world’s most exclusive social network…Rich Kids. It costs $1000 a month to belong. An unintended punchline: you can sign up with your Facebook account! Apparently, regular folks can view the app, but just can’t post or share photos on it. Wanna check it out? Go ahead…I’m going to pass on this one.