Alibaba Singles’ Day-Biggest Online Shopping Day; French Will Look at Facebook Moderation Processes, Samsung Folder Could Cost…Gulp… $1790; CLEAR Tech Moves From Airports to StadiumsPosted: November 12, 2018
This year on Singles’ Day, a huge day in China, Alibaba absolutely blew up online shopping. They took in $30.8 billion in sales in 24 hours Sunday, according to businessinsider.com. As a point of reference, total online sales last year on Black Friday were $5 billion, and Cyber Monday hit $6.6 billion! Alibaba sold as much in 5 minutes Sunday as Amazon does on an entire Prime Day (which was 36 hours long last year, and it’s estimated to have taken in $4.2 billion.) Singles’ Day sales for Alibaba were across its main Alibaba site as well as Taobao.com and Tmall.com, two other sites it owns and operates.
Facebook continues to get heat for doing too little with regards to protecting user rights and policing fake news and other political manipulation. Now, techcrunch.com reports that the company will cooperate with the French government as they look into FB’s moderation…including Facebook giving ‘unprecedented access’ to their internal processes. France is looking for a third way to regulate tech…not the hands off of the US nor the locked down, repressed system China has in place.
We’ve now seen a glimpse of the Samsung folding phone at their developers’ conference, and now hear it should be hitting the streets by next March. 9to5google also notes that the phone/phablet with the Infinity Flex display will retail for $1790!! It will be known as the Samsung Galaxy F, as predicted. Folded, you have a 4.6 inch outside display, but unfolded, you get a nice, phablet-sized 7.4 inches. A cool tech that has taken a long time to come into being, but at nearly $1800, it may remain a boutique gadget, and not a top seller.
CLEAR…the folks that charge $179 a year to get you more quickly through airport lines using biometrics…is now up and running in stadiums. Geekwire.com says the service is free for sports events…besides handing over your fingerprints and taking about 5 minutes to make an account. Both CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field have implemented the service, which gets you in via a shorter line AND it enables you to both age verify and pay with your prints when buying a beer at concession stands! There are currently 4 stands at Seahawks games with the CLEAR scanners, so you can grab that brewski a little faster and get back to the game!
Microsoft Plans Cheaper iPad Rival; Apple Vein Face Scan; New Whole Foods Discount for Prime MembersPosted: May 16, 2018
Microsoft is gearing up to release a line of lower cost Surface tablets by later this year that would compete with the hot selling cheaper iPad. Bloomberg.com reports that the last (somewhat) cheaper Surface kind of bombed at $499 back in 2012, but the pricey Pro has sold well. Of course the cheaper iPad is just over $300, so that may be a sweet spot. The cheaper Surface would have a 10 inch screen…just above the 9.7 inch size of the iPad. It is expected to sell for $400, will have USB-C, and be lighter than present Surface tablets. That comes at the cost of battery life…only 4 hours! The Surface Pro can make 13.5 hours on a charge. Again look for these the 2nd half of the year.
As if Apple’s Face ID and the fact that Ticketmaster is testing out facial recognition for concert admission wasn’t enough, now Apple may be going deeper…literally. According to appleinsider.com, Apple is are looking at taking biometrics to the next level…scanning the veins in a user’s face! In a patent just published called ‘Vein imaging using detection of pulsed radiation,’ Apple can scan the blood vessel patterns below the skin in your face. They claim it can even tell identical twins apart. By the way, ‘radiation’ is relative…you won’t glow in the dark…it’s from infrared light, not radioactive material! As with all Apple patents, this may or may not make it into a phone.
In an effort to build business, Amazon has dangled two new discounts for Prime members at Whole Foods. Arstechnica.com says one is an additional 10% off sale items, and another is ‘deep discounts’ on select best-selling items (or what grocers have called ‘loss leaders’ for decades.’) The deep discounts at Whole Foods will include meat and fish, however. The first deep discount items include organic strawberries, wild-caught halibut, cold brew coffee, and granola.
Supplier Appears to Confirm iPhone 8 Wireless Charging & Waterproof; Twitter Freshenes Design; Flight Prescreening By Fingerprint Being TestedPosted: June 15, 2017
the CEO of Apple’s prime partner in India, Wistron, let it slip that the iPhone 8 will indeed be waterproof and have wireless charging! 9to5mac.com reports that he was speaking to shareholders about different testing for the new handset, and mentioned that those features would alter the assembly and after-testing process a bit. iPhone 7 already got a good level of water resistance.
Twitter is trying to bulk up on new users, and has put a new coat of paint on the app across all platforms….mobile desktop, and web. According to techcrunch.com, its’ not a major makeover…mainly a move in settings, different typography, change in icon shape, and round profile pictures. A lot of these features were already in use on the Android app, but now have made the jump to all Twitter’s other platforms.
The TSA Precheck is nice for people who fly frequently, but now they are testing out making it even quicker and less painful. Cnet.com says TSA is testing out a fingerprint scanner….you won’t even need to show your boarding pass and Driver License or passport. The biometric screening is being tested out in Atlanta and Denver right now. As long as bad guys don’t get hold of James Bond type peel off fake fingerprints, it should be golden.
Comcast Partners with YouTube; Twitch Readying ‘Buy Now’ Button for Games; iPhone Getting Cam with 3D For Both Biometrics and Putting Users in GamesPosted: February 27, 2017
Comcast is partnering with YouTube, and will offer an app to watch it over their Xfinity boxes later this year. According to variety.com, no details are out about the deal, but you will be able to browse and watch YouTube’s entire catalog of videos, and use the X1 remote to do it by voice command if you like.
Twitch is getting ready to roll out a buy now button to allow you to pay streamers and buy games right in a stream you’re watching. Partnered streamers will get 5% share of the purchase, an game developers 70% of the revenue. Cnet.com says for starters it will only be available in the US to players with Amazon accounts. Ubisoft, Telltale Games and 11Bit are making their games available through Twitch stream.
Apple appears to be working on a camera for iPhones with ‘3D sensing and modeling capabilities,’ that will reinvent the user experience. Businessinsider.com reports that KGI Securities thinks it may appear in the new iPhone 8, but may well be improved on even more in a later phone. One application might be facial recognition for new biometric security, but another could be to put the user’s face into games on a character.
We have reported that Amazon was looking to go full tilt into logistics, cutting out UPS and FedEx to a great degree, and how they were working to acquire planes. Now, zdnet.com reports that they’ve inked a deal with Air Transport Services Group to lease 20 Boeing 767 freighters to expedite order deliveries for Amazon Fulfillment Services. ATSG will operate the planes, along with ABX Air and Air Transport International. It’s a 5 year deal, and Amazon has rights to acquire just under 20% of ATSG over that period.
Biometrics seem to be a pretty rock solid method of identifying a person…unless it’s a James Bond movie, no one is going to poach your eyeball for an iris scan in real life. Here’s one that goes even deeper…NEC has developed an earpiece with a tiny speaker and microphone that detects the unique echo in your earhole. Geek.com says the device looks and works like a regular earbud you listen to music through. When identification is needed, it sends a series of sounds, the mic detects them and they’re compared to an earlier recording. It takes less than a second. NEC expects to have the tech out commercially by 2018. In addition to transactions, it could even replace the venerable key card you use to get around in the building at work!
In an effort to get people to switch to their handsets, HTC has announced the ‘Uh-Oh’ program for the One M9 that launches in a couple weeks. If you break your phone, they’ll replace it free for the first 365 days. Thenextweb.com says HTC will extend the coverage to the M8 after the M9 launches, too.
Windows 10 is coming this summer from Microsoft, sooner than most expected. According to bgr.com, Windows Hello will be able to use your face, fingerprints, or iris scanning, instead of a password or PIN number. The biometric data is local, so hackers can’t grab it as it travels over the web.
The latest version of Apple’s mobile system, iOS 8 is now on 77% of its mobile devices, ahead of the Apple Watch release next month. 9to5mac.com reports that upcoming
update 8.3 has more Emoji characters and more languages for Siri.
According to KGI research, Apple will include the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on all iOS devices that come out this year…two new iPhone models and two sizes of iPads. They are also changing the sensor to make it more durable, utilizing tin to replace part of the sensor components.
Google is looking at picking up Dropcam, and getting into the home surveillance business. The Information reports that the automated home surveillance business could be combined with Google’s Nest products. With Apple rumored to be launching a smart home system that can be controlled by iOS next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference, it could get interesting!
Twitter may have leveled off in the US, but a report from eMarketer picked up by techcrunch.com says by 2018, 40% of Twitter users will be from the Asia Pacific region.
A new startup is demoing a way to pay at stores that’s always with you…Quixter has a reader that reads the veins in your palm…no card, no phone no wallet. Techcruch.com says its up and running at a university in Sweden. Since it involves replacing readers at point of sale, don’t look for it to spread like wildfire.
Gigaom.com says continued security concerns on the web are prompting Google to look at listing encrypted sites higher in search results. Thousands of websites will encrypt so as not to lose their ranking.
Car electronics maker Alpine will be out this year with a standalone aftermarket console that supports Apple’s CarPlay. Macrumors.com reports it will sell for between $500 and $700.