Apple Working With LG on Foldable iPhone; Echo Dot Loses Its Touch; Toyota Hydrogen Trucks Go To Work in LA

We have heard rumors for a year that Samsung is working on a foldable phone. Now, it turns out Apple is, as well. Apple’s has some ‘one more thing’ type big trick, apparently…they are working with LG’s display unit on the OLED screens, for fear Samsung will steal their idea…which has happened wholesale in the past. According to 9to5mac.com, LG Innotek is also working on the rigid flexible circuit board that would power the phone. It’s expected in 2020. Samsung may have one out by next year.

Yesterday, we reported that Amazon’s preproduction Echo Dots were staying on all the time and eavesdropping on tech reporters that were supposed to be reviewing them. Google sent a patch, and said they were working on a more permanent fix. Now, 9to5google says it apparently wasn’t feasible…Google has killed the tap to wake feature…which was apparently causing the problem. Sorry, you’ll have to go to all the trouble of saying ‘OK, Google’ to wake your Echo Dot…but that beats the hell out of it recording everything in your bedroom 24/7!

All the attention is on electric cars, and even on a couple electric semi-trucks, with Tesla teasing showing their version soon. Another alternative fuel is hydrogen. While Mercedes and a couple of Japanese makers have done quite a bit with hydrogen fuel cell cars, not much has happened on the truck front…until now. According to techcrunch.com, Toyota is starting a pilot with fuel cell big rigs at the Port of LA. The rigs have 670 horsepower, and dan haul and 80,000 lb. load. They can run about 200 miles a day. If the fuel cells stand up to the frequent refueling, Toyota plans to test longer haul semi trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

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A Google Dot and Pixel Chromebook; Facebook Safety Check Gets Button; Apple’s iPhone 8 3D Tech Ahead of Qualcomm by 2 Years; ‘O’ is For Oreo

Google may put out a smaller version of its home speaker rivaling the Amazon Echo Dot. This would allow you to add voice control to traditional audio system or string together several Home units…Google Assistant everywhere! Also possibly bowing this fall may be a Pixel branded Chromebook. Theverge.com says since the Pixel Chromebook rumor just surfaced, that device may not be introduced in October, but later in a separate rollout.

Facebook is giving more prominence to its Safety Check feature. According to techcrunch.com, a dedicated button is rolling out on both the app and the desktop. In addition to checking to see if family and friends are safe after a crisis, it will indicate places around the world where Safety Check has been recently enabled.

It’s widely reported that the iPhone 8 will have 3D sensing, and now KGI Securities reports that the system is 2 years ahead of Qualcomm’s 3D tech in both hardware and software. This will give Apple a couple years head start over Android devices in 3D sensing abilities. Some tech reporters that have sneered at the cutout in the display atop the iPhone 8 for cameras and sensors may eat their words if the advanced 3D sensing turns out as spectacular as suspected.

Google announced yesterday…in an event during the eclipse…that Android O would be called Oreo. Cnet.com says a major focus on the update is better batter life. Oreo also gets smarter copy and paste. If it detects that what you have started to highlight is an address, it will highlight the entire thing, so you don’t have to. It then may suggest a map in addition to ‘paste.’ The update will be available by the end of the year on Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Essential, Huawei, HTC, LG, and Motorola. It should roll out to Pixel and Nexus phones ‘soon.’


Dual Vertical Cams for iPhone 8; Amazon’s Holiday Moves a Billion Items; Microsoft-First Tech to a Trillion in Valuation; LG’s ‘Floating’ Speaker

Another week, another new iPhone 8 rumor…and this one has nothing to do with curved screens, all glass, or the like. Bgr.com has picked up a report from Japanese site macotacara that the 5 inch iPhone 8 will move to a dual vertical cam setup instead of the horizontal orientation on the 7 Plus. The phone is supposed to be a bit taller than the iPhone 7 but not as wide as the Plus, so it could just be a matter of internal real estate…or maybe an even more killer camera. Time…and rumors…will tell!

Amazon Prime killed it again for the holidays. The online giant shipped over a billion items between November 1st and December 19th, according to cnet.com. The Echo Dot was the most desired item, selling out. It just got back in stock today, but the regular Echo is out of stock until January 26th. December 23rd was the most popular delivery day for Prime Now…nice going, last minute shoppers!

Microsoft under CEO Satya Nadella has had a rebirth, and is innovating and growing again. Geekwire.com says that following the acquisition of LinkedIn, analyst Michael Markowski of Equities.com claims Microsoft will be the first tech company to hit a market valuation of a trillion dollars, beating out Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook.

If you didn’t get an Amazon Echo with Alexa for Christmas, you might be coveting LG’s latest…which they just teased, and will show at CES next week It’s the PJ9 Bluetooth speaker, and it floats in midair above its base! 9to5mac.com reports that powerful magnets do the magic trick. It’s battery powered, and when it gets low, it lands on its base and wirelessly recharges itself! LG claims the 360 degree sphere has ‘deep bass, flush midrange tones, and crisp highs.’ We’ll find all that out plus the price and availability at CES next week.


Apple Now Testing Amazon Echo Competitor; Google & Salesforce May Bid on Twitter

Although Amazon smartphones bombed badly, they’ve had pretty good success with the Kindle tablets, and surprising success with the Echo- the voice controlled assistant in a speaker and now in the new Echo Dot. Now, Bloomberg says Apple has been working on something similar powered by Siri for a couple years, and it’s moved into the prototype testing phase. The Apple device may also include a camera and facial recognition that would let it identify household members and their preferences. It would be used less for purchases, and more to control appliances, locks, lights and curtains via voice activation. Considering a couple of recent Apple acquisitions, it may also detect a user’s emotional state. No indication of how soon it might be in users’ hands.

Rumors have been flying for a while now about some company picking up ailing Twitter, which gets tons of eyeballs, but hasn’t been able to convert users to money through ad sales or otherwise. Now, CNBC.com is reporting that both Google and Salesforce- and some media and carriers- Verizon has been mentioned, may be readying formal bids on the 140 character firehose platform.