Galaxy Note 9 Rumors; Snap Spectacles II on Amazon; Nintendo Switch Content Leak; Facebook Rebrands On This Day As Memories

More has leaked out about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, widely expected to be a minor upgrade coming in August. Bgr.com says one tweak may make a noticeable difference over the Note 8…the back cams may go horizontal instead of vertical, with the fingerprint sensor moving directly below. This will not only make the print sensor much easier to find and use, but the horizontal layout of the cams will allow for a bigger battery…perhaps even exceeding the 35 mAh battery of the Galaxy S9+. There’s also an additional hardware button showing up…no clues on what it is, but it may be related to the cameras.

Snap’s original Spectacles were kind of cool, but you had to hunt for a pop up store to get a pair of them. Now, mashable.com reports that the 2nd generation will be much easier to find…you can buy them on Amazon. There’s a price bump of 20 bucks to $149.99, but now they can be at your doorstep in a couple days in the US, UK, and Canada….even tomorrow if you’re terribly impatient! Snap only sold 220,000 of the original Spectacles, and lost a bundle ($40 million), but it appears they are confident about the round pic-taking glasses being a hit in version 2.

Best Buy may have spilled the beans about upcoming Nintendo Switch content at E3. According to businessinsider.com, Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix compatibility may be coming to the Switch. The added capabilities popped up on Best Buy’s online store. Nintendo had been expected to make an announcement anyway, but the retailer inadvertently stole their thunder.

Facebook is rolling out a rebranded On This Day as ‘Memories.’ Techcrunch.com says they are adding friends you made on the date to the usual pictures and posts from the On This Day version, in addition to ‘Memories You May Have Missed’. It’s a great way to get people to engage more…not to mention it saves Facebook server space by recycling posts. Hmm.

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Google Home Max Out; Big Apple Watch Series 3 Sales Uptick Coming; Deactivated Keylogger in Some HP Laptops

Google Home Max is rolling out to stores….it should be available in limited numbers today in Best Buy and Verizon stores, according to arstechnica.com. The $399 Home Has has dual 4.5 inch woofers and custom tweeters, and Google says it’s 20 times more powerful than the original Home. You can set it up either horizontally or vertically, and it has an aux input jack. Google’s ‘smart sound’ measures the room and it adjusts itself sonically to fit. With the delay of Apples HomePod, this gives Google a head start now in the premium home smart speaker market.

Number crunchers scouring supply lines are predicting that the Apple Watch Series 3, which was up in record territory for a wearable in November, will grow by 20% in 2018. 9to5mac.com reports that the Series 3 will hit 25 to 35 million units sold next year. The addition of health tracking, Gym Kit, Apple Pay Cash, and of course LTE connectivity seem to have been the magic combination that are propelling Watch sales now.

It’s bad enough that the FCC may be voting to allow paid fast lanes on the internet this week. Now, here’s a chilling nugget: Some HP laptops have a deactivated key logger on them. Techcrunch.com says the software has been found on over 460 HP laptop models. It’s deactivated by default, but could be turned on by any hacker getting physical access to the laptop. Upon raising the issue to HP, they have responded that it is a debug trace, that that there’s a software update out to remove it. Here’s a link to download the update: https://support.hp.com/us-en/document/c05827409


Patent Reveals Striking Future Google Pixel Feature; Survey Shows Way More Switching PC to Mac Than Vice Versa; Best Buy’s Interactive Alexa and Google Home Displays

Google will continue the unusual glass/metal back with the Pixel 2, and now we may know where they’re going with it. Bgr.com reports on a Discovery by Patently Mobile -a patent that highlights a touch sensitive surface on the back that would let the user control the device without touching with any elements on the screen-instead, touching the back of the handset. This allows commands and selection without obstructing anything you would be viewing on the screen.

A survey of US computer owners indicates that 21% of Windows laptop users will switch to Mac next time, but only 2% of Mac owners will change to Windows. The number switching Windows to Mac is even higher for Windows desktop users. According to 9to5mac.com, the survey is from Verto Analytics. The biggest no shock in the survey— most of the PC to Mac flippers are in higher income brackets, reflecting Apple’s pricey offerings!

Best Buy is rolling out Amazon Alexa and Google Home products in 700 stores, to be highlighted in separate, free standing display areas. Geekwire.com says the setup will allow customers to use Alexa devices and Google Home devices to interact with nearby products like Nest thermostats, Philips Hue lighting, and Insignia Smart Plugs…a way to try before you buy. 80 million smart home devices were delivered worldwide last year according to IHS Markit, up 64% from 2015. They expect 130 million to be sold this year.


Oculus Connect 3 Headlines; Where NOT to Buy Your Google Pixel Phone

Mark Zuckerberg was front and center yesterday for Oculus Connect 3. The VR company is working on a standalone headset that will tuck into the lineup between the expensive, PC tethered Oculus Rift and a Gear VR. It will have position tracking.

There’s a drop date for the very late Oculus Touch motion controllers…they’ll be out December 6th, and run $199. They do include an extra camera sensor for tracking. You can also add a 3rd sensor for an additional $79 for room scale VR, according to theverge.com.

Another December present….$49 in-ear Rift headphones to complement the on ear models the Rift comes with.

More games are on the way, and they have partnered with Disney on some original short films based on classic characters.

If you are lusting for a new Pixel phone from Google, here’s a tip…don’t buy it through Verizon, unless you want to wait and wait for software updates. According to arstechnica.com, Verizon will control when updates get pushed out, not Google, on the phones they sell. Although they are the ‘exclusive’ provider, you can buy the phones unlocked from the Google Store, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. The phone will work with any carrier. If you want to ensure that your software gets updated in a timely way, don’t buy it through Verizon.


Facebook’s Firing Trending Editors Brings SNAFUs; Future iPhones May Get Better Than OLED Screens; Amazon’s Amazing Numbers

It didn’t take long….barely half a week has passed since Facebook canned 18 editorial contractors and went algorithm only for its Trending Topics. There have been some obvious goofs, like wrong videos linked to stories, but yesterday a completely made-up story made it and stayed for hours. Theverge.com says the fake story about Fox commentator Megan Kelly’s secret affinity for Hillary Clinton sat in the trending topics for hours…proving that algorithms and engineers make lousy news editors! The story, by the way, came from libertarian source End the Fed.

We’ve reported that the iPhone 8 may switch to OLED screens. Now, according to thenextweb.com, Apple may already be looking at a better tech in the next couple years. It’s micro LED. Cupertino bought LuxVue two years ago, and a secret Taiwan facility is working on the tech…which supposedly combines the best advantages of LED screens with OLED ones. It would also be another way for them to cut a further tie with Samsung, which makes OLED screens.

Just how big a gorilla is Amazon online? More than 800 pounds! Businessinsider.com reports that Amazon sold 6 times more online than the next 8 biggest retailers COMBINED! That’s 59 billion worth of stuff in the 2nd quarter of the year, while Walmart, Target, Best Buy and the rest totaled $10 billion together. The Department of Commerce calculates Amazon generated around 30% of US retail sales growth by itself!


Twitter May Explode From 140 Characters to 10K, SanDisk Bows 200 Gig Wireless Flash Drive

Twitter may soon drop its 140-character limit and allow users to write as much as 10,000 characters in a single tweet, according to recode.net. The plan is for the expanded tweets to appear the same way as they do now, showing just the first 140 characters, but users will be able to click on them to expand. This would be one of the biggest changes ever to Twitter’s design-in fact, it would change the entire character of the service. Some are already complaining it would basically turn Twitter into more of a blogging space. Last month, the company started testing a timeline that didn’t show tweets in the traditional reverse chronological order.

Wireless flash drives are pretty handy. I’ve been using a 32 gig one for over a year now, and it connects easily with my phone, and recharges just by plugging it into a usb drive. Now, SanDisk has rolled out a 200 gig model. If you are running out of memory on your smartphone…like the entry level iPhones with their puny 16 gigs, this may be a fix for you. Bgr.com reports that the new 200 gig model is $199.99 from Amazon, Best Buy, and SanDisk, and works with iOS, Android, Macs, and PCs.


Apple TV in Stores Friday; GE Rolls Out Hubless Smart Lightbulbs

They went on preorder earlier this week, and priority deliveries start tomorrow for Apple TV…or, you can swing by an Apple Store and try to buy one. 9to5mac.com reports that Best Buy, B&H, and other resellers will also have the set top boxes, but check ahead to make sure they’re selling them tomorrow. Best Buy has said they will be stocking them in store by November 4th. Apple TV is $149 for the 32 gig model, $199 for the 64 gig one.

Long time dumb light bulb maker GE is a bit late to the smart bulb party, but is rolling out a pair of smart bulbs today, with one aimed at emulating natural light to help you wake and sleep better. According to theverge.com, the C Sleep bulb has 3 settings: a bright blue tone to wake you in the morning, a standard orange one for midday, and a softer yellow color for evening. GE says they better match actual lighting outdoors, and you’ll wake easier and get to sleep better with these. They’re controllable via Bluetooth from your smartphone, but you have to be in range…unlike many bulbs you can control remotely from outside the home. The plus is, there’s no hub to buy…you control them directly. The C Sleep bulbs are intended for bedrooms, a C Life model doesn’t have the color range, and it for the rest of the house. Right now, you need to visit GE’s website to buy a starter pack…2-packs will be showing up in stores soon.