It’s official…Samsung has announced their Galaxy Unpacked event at Mobile World Congress February 21st in Barcelona. 9to5google.com says the event will be live streamed at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern over Samsung’s YouTube channel. A teaser video has a person wearing a Gear VR virtual reality headset reaching for a cube with a 7 on it, a nod to the rollout of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.
Tesla is looking at allowing smartphone apps from iPhones and Androids to be mirrored on it’s big display in the centre console of the cars. Theverge.com reports that the maker may be going this direction instead of putting out their own native developer kit to wall the phone apps off from the system that controls the functionality of the car itself. Although Tesla has one of the better infotainment systems in any car, they haven’t embraced Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at this point.
A fair amount of movement at Facebook of late. On the heels of successfully splitting off private messages to their Messenger app on mobile, Facebook is doing the same now with their Photo Syncing, making users use their Moments app instead. But there’s something being tested out that may be a ‘Yelp’ killer, according to thenextweb.com. It’s called ‘Professional Services,’ and it helps you search for businesses around you, then shows you ratings and recommendations on where to go. You can search for things like dentists, pizza or veterinarians, type a city, and results appear with a star rating and a review. Contact details and a map are included. Right now, it’s only on the desktop, but if they launch it for mobile, Yelp and Foursquare could take big hits.
Giving people what the want…what a concept! It’s working for GM, and dealers say it’s helping them sell cars. What ‘it’ is is Apple CarPlay. Appleinsider.com reports that General Motors has rolled out CarPlay faster and across more models than competitors, and dealers are reporting that it’s helping close deals. For 2016, GM has added 14 Chevrolet models and now most Cadillac models have the system…for a total of 27 models with CarPlay…far more than any other auto company. Apple Maps is a big selling point, as navigation systems usually run around $1000, and you get navigation free with CarPlay. Users report GM’s CarPlay works better than those in BMW or Porsche.
Google is apparently getting set to revive Google Wallet to compete with Apple Pay. 9to5google.com says they are in talks with banks, carriers, and handset makers, and plan to re-launch Wallet at Google I/O in late May. A fly in the ointment may be Samsung…which just this week acquired LoopPay to roll their own mobile payment service.
According to theverge.com, Apple will open iOS to public testing, like the beta program they reinstated on Macs with Yosemite. iOS 8.3, with support for CarPlay, new emoji, and simpler Google logins will be out in beta form the middle of next month. Apple will reportedly accept 100,000 beta testers.
Bing, the Avis of search, has added a couple features to lure more users. Thenextweb.com reports that you can now check out hotel info and reviews right from the search results. Even better, there’s a new ‘order online’ button with the restaurant listings, so you can place orders for take out through services like eat24 right from your browser.
More is out about Apple’s Home Kit. The good news is, it won’t need Apple TV for a hub. Cnet.com says the downside is that it needs Apple TV to use Siri to control it from outside your network. That may be temporary, according to Homekit partners.
Bgr.com reports that GoPro’s Hero 4 cameras are about to get better. The Silver and Black editions are getting a firmware upgrade in a couple months that auto converts time lapses into videos, and gives you burst mode and auto rotate.
Stereo maker Harman has rolled out a touchscreen free Carplay competitor called Integrated Essentials Cockpit. 9to5mac.com says It puts the controls on your steering wheel, and the display is centered between the speedometer and tachometer. So far, no word on what car makers may use it.
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.