2 New Google Pixelbooks Coming; Audi Integrated Toll Module; Apple Pay and Google Pay Live at 7-11 Stores

Google has already let us know the rollout date for the new Pixel Phones, and we’ve had rumors of a fresh Pixelbook, too. Now, thenextweb.com says there may be two new Pixelbooks coming. In a leaked video, one looks much like the one Google put out last year, but the other has a hinge similar to Microsoft’s Surface. So far, there aren’t any other rumors confirming this, but we may just see not only a couple of updated Pixel phones but also a couple new Pixelbooks next month…maybe a freshened Daydream View and additional or updated Google Home smart speakers, too!

Here’s the kind of tech innovation I like to see…Audi is going to make paying tolls simpler with an Integrated Toll Module. According to cnet.com, it’s built into the mirror, and will debut on the upcoming Tron e-SUV. It’s more than just a transponder. You can reconfigure it with the car’s infotainment module…for example, re-setting the vehicle occupancy for HOV lanes, or to use a different toll network if you are traveling out of your area. Audi will show off the e-Tron next week in San Francisco…and by the way, it has already gone into production!

7-11 says they now have Apple Pay and Google Pay available at nearly all their 10,000 US locations. Macrumors.com reports that they also have a 7-11 NOW app for on-demand orders, and a loyalty program. For Apple Pay, you need an iPhone 6 or better, and can use a compatible Apple Watch model if you want. In addition to 7-11, long time holdout CVS Pharmacy will start taking Apple Pay this fall.

**We will have a full recap of the Apple event tomorrow morning after the presentation from the Steve Jobs Theater that starts at 10am.

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Always On Apple Watch; Twitter Boss Kept White Supremicists; Audi Starts Building 1st e-SUV; Nanobots Swarm For Medical Procedures

It may not be out by the models next week, but Apple is working on an always-on Apple watch display. Bgr.com says the trick is to minimize burn on OLED screens, which an always-on condition causes. Apple is toiling on a method of artificially adjusting the brightness and colors of particular areas of the screen, which would minimize burn. People have been clamoring for an always on time display at the least (raising hand here), so lets hope this happens. The Apple Watch 3 can make it (barely) 3 days on a charge, and it may be that the new model coming out on the 12th can even improve on that.

Lots of sets of eyeballs, not to mention bots and trolls, must be pretty critical to Twitter. Gizmodo.com reports that Jack Dorsey overruled staff to keep Alex Jones and White Supremacist Richard Spencer on the platform. The Twitter CEO is apparently terrified of infuriating a loud, angry extreme conservative movement, so he caved on banning high profile accounts like conspiracy master Alex Jones. The Wall Street Journal reported extensively on this, but Twitter is officially denying it.

Audi ramped up production on its first all-electric SUV last week, according to techcrunch.com. The company plans to show the e-tron SUV September 17th in San Francisco. Audi had been working on an e-tron quattro for several years. The electric SUV is being built in Brussels, Belgium where the company also has its own battery production line. the e-SUV is supposed to have fast charging capability and a range of about 250 miles. It should go on sale by the end of the year.

New research from Chinese University/Hong Kong indicates that a magnetic field can be used to control movement of swarms of nanobots, and implement swarm behaviors. Cnet.com says this could be used by surgeons to perform complex medical tasks. By using swarms of nanobots, surgeons may be able to target drug delivery, cancer therapies, and do eye surgeries. A university team has already begun animal tests on the nano-swarms.


Digital Car Key; Instagram’s IGTV; German Flying Taxi; Netflix Sharing

First, we got the key fob that you don’t have to pull out of pocket or purse to open and start your car. Now, the Car Connectivity Consortium, and organization of the likes of Apple, Samsung, and LG on the electronics end and Audi, BMW GM, VW, and Hyundai representing the automotive side unveiling a new Digital Key specification. Macrumors.com says it will allow manufacturers to transfer a digital key to a Trusted Service Manager via NFC directly to the secure area of the smartphone. It could not only be used for operation of your own car key-free, but also car rentals and car sharing. 

Instagram has fired a cannon blast over the bow of YouTube and Snapchat. They just rolled out IGTV, which is a new app for publishing long form videos. According to businessinsider.com, content creators will be able to make 4K videos that are significantly longer that the current Instagram 60 second limit. What remains to be seen is whether high profile users, or even we mortal video shooters, will bite when it comes to shooting and uploading mobile-first vertical video.  There is a 10 minute limit, with exceptions running to an hour for accounts with huge numbers of followers. Initially, the longer form videos will be ad-free, but they will have them later. CEO Kevin Systrom says there will be a way for creators to make a living. The IGTV app is available now on  Android and iOS just by updating the Instagram app. F

The world has missed the George Jetson 60’s flying car debut so far, but now Germany is preparing to test out a flying taxi concept from Airbus and Audi! Engadget.com reports that the government has signed a letter of intent to green light tests around Audi’s home city of Ingolstadt. Uber has also been trying to develop a flying taxi at their research center in Paris. The letter didn’t give any indication as to when tests would start. At this point, neither the Airbus-Audi partnership nor Uber has produced and flown a functional prototype, but the letter from the German Transportation minister authorizing tests shows that a flying taxi concept isn’t just hot air any longer.

There have been jokes floating for years to the effect that there is only one paid Netflix subscriber…everyone else is using their password. Now, Exstreamist has done a survey to gauge just how much password and account sharing really goes on. Bgr.com says 22% of users log in with their parents’ credentials. For 20%, it’s the password of a friend, with another 17% using the login of their current boyfriend or girlfriend. 13% are even using the Netflix account of an ex! Netflix keeps growing and seems unconcerned. A few years ago, CEO Reed Hastings said they find that password sharers are likely to become paid users anyway down the road. Netflix revenue the 1st quarter of 2018 is up 43%, with a subscriber base of 125 million worldwide.


Prime Day-Best Deals Are Amazon’s Own-Natch; Galaxy S8 Sales Trail S7’s; Audi A8 First Level 3 Semi-Autonomous Car

Prime Day is in full swing, and it should come as no surprise to anyone that some of the primo deals are on Amazon’s own stuff. If you want to get your feet wet with Alexa, bgr.com says to check out the Amazon Echo in black for $89.99, or the 2nd Gen Echo Dot…also in black for $34.99. As for TVs, a Sony 65 inch 4K Smart TV is $1498, and a Samsung 55 inch Smart TV with 4K is $700.99!

According to 9to5google.com, brokerage analysts estimate that Samsung Galaxy S8 sales are trailing the S7 by about 20% for the 1st two months….9.8 million for the S8, where the S7 hit 12 million. They believe the sales hit may be due to stronger competition from Chinese brands, plus customer anticipation of the highly hyped iPhone 8.

Audi has revealed that their 2019 A8 sedan will have level 3 autonomous features. Engadget.com reports that the ‘AI Traffic Jam Pilot’ will move the car in gridlock situations on the highway without driver input. The system handles acceleration, steering, braking, and starting from dead stop. Drivers will be able to take their hands off the wheel at speeds up to 37 mph. As with all of these systems, it depends on local laws, and the car will nag you if you need to take over…no napping! It is a mild hybrid…not hybrid to the level of their e-tron plug in or a Prius, but should save on fuel.


iPhone 8 Supply Will Be Gorgeous and in Short Supply This Fall; Larry Page’s Flying Car; Audi Adds Useful ‘Nanny’ Feature

The iPhone 8 will just have a slight curve and very thin stainless steel bezels, according to the latest leak. It will also be in tight supply….possibly through the end of the year because of production issues that are causing production to start late. According to bgr.com, it will have the all glass front and back design, and the stainless bezel will be black to make it look virtually seamless. Apple has apparently cracked the code to put the Touch ID under the OLED screen, and the front camera will also be nearly invisible under it as well. Benjamin Geskin posted several pics of a mockup, one of which is shown here. For more, hit bgr.com.

Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk startup will release their flying electric ‘car’ later this year. 9to5google.com notes that what’s been seen of it so far looks more like a platform on pontoons that a rider can fly over land or water…primarily water It HAS, however, gotten FAA approval as an ‘ultralight’ that can be flown over uncongested areas. Kitty Hawk says the first iteration will be mainly for recreation, and will be different from the prototype, but still features 8 rotors powered by electric motors. You can lear to fly it without a license in less than an hour.

In the cars you can actually buy now department, the Audi A4 Allroad talks to you. While this seems like it could be annoying, venturebeat.com reports in a truly useful ‘why didn’t they think of that before’ feature. As with many current cars, you can plug your phone into a USB port to charge it while you drive. When you get ready to get out of the car, it will sense that, and remind you to take your phone with you! Cars are truly becoming computers on wheels…or maybe Alexa on wheels!


iPhone 7 May Have Fast Charging; New Audis Help With Speed & Green Lights; Ford Teams With Baidu, Buying LIDAR Tech

According to a rumor out of Asia, Apple’s iPhone 7 will have improved, fast charging circuitry supporting at least 5 volt, 2 amp charging. Right now, iPhone chargers put out a measly one amp. According to appleinsider.com, Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge already have fast charge tech that gets them from totally drained to half charged in 30 minutes. As a lot of iPhone users have griped for years that their phones don’t even make it through the day, this will be a welcome upgrade if true.

New Audi models have what is really a gimmick, but a pretty cool one at that. Arstechnica.com reports that they’ll have a display that will show the real time time to green light countdown in cities that have city-wide traffic management systems. It will be on 2017 A4s and Q7s. Now, you’ll be able to check that display, and know when to mash the pedal to the metal and beat that light. As Evel Knievel used to say, ‘Speed and Green Lights!’ (Ok, no he didn’t…I made that up.)

Ford and Chinese search giant Baidu have dropped a combined 150 million into LIDAR tech. Theverge.com says the two companies, which are both hard at work on developing self-driving tech, have invested in Velodyne, a Silicon Valley operation that makes LIDAR sensors for autonomous cars. LIDAR works on the same principle as RADAR, except using light waves, which gives you the ability to make more detailed 3D maps of what’s around the vehicle. Baidu already has 100 people in the Valley working on self-driving tech, and Ford plans to triple the size of its test fleet this year.


We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ AR Headsets; Amazon & Microsoft Look to Mapping for Self-Driving Cars

Having just recently had a conversation with a couple of friends in tech about how everyone is excited about virtual and augmented reality, but no one all that much about wearing big, bulky headsets, this caught my eye immediately…and it may be catching your eyes sooner, not later, and immersing them in VR and AR. Cnet.com reports Samsung has gotten a patent for smart contact lenses that will house a camera, movement sensors, transmitter, and display unit. They work in conjunction with a smartphone. You can look at photos and videos from the phone through the lenses. Google is also working along with medical provider Novartis on some smart contacts, albeit ones centering around health. Shrinking VR and AR down to contacts and earbuds? Now THAT’s something that can really take virtual reality mass market!

According to a report, both Amazon and Microsoft are close to getting involved with Here, the digital mapping business for autonomous vehicles. Here was started by Nokia, but bought by a group of German car makers….Mercedes, BMW, & Audi. Theverge.com says a board member at Daimler-parent of Mercedes-confirmed that both Amazon and Microsoft were interested in providing cloud computing capabilities for the mounds of data being gathered by Here’s sensors for autonomous vehicles.