Not Charmin, But You’ll Want to Squeeze Google Pixel 2; Amazon Partners Sell 40 Million Items Prime Day; Apple Teases New Emoji for iOS and macOS

Mr. Whipple might not buy one, but you may want to buy and squeeze a Google Pixel 2. Cnet.com says it will have a squeezable frame. Frame squeezes activate a feature or launch a specific app. The HTC U11— out now—already has this feature. You can configure it to launch the app or shortcut of your choice. One potential issue…how will the feature respond with a very protective case like an Otterbox? Some folks have saved at least hundreds in phone damage with such cases, and may not be ready to give up that protection for a cool new feature.

Amazon has announced that small businesses sold 40 million items this Prime Day. That’s up from 20 million last year. According to geekwire.com, this Prime Day was Amazon’s biggest shopping event of all time…well, maybe until next Prime Day!

Apple is teasing new emoji that will be released with iOS, macOS, and WatchOs later this year. Macrumors.com reports we can expect them with the public launch of the updated systems later this fall. All of the new Apple emoji are in the new Unicode 10 standard that bowed in June. I particularly look forward to the new barfing emoji and the head exploding one!


Apple’s Siri Speaker in Production; Skype Gets Major Makeover With ‘Me Too’ Features

Apple’s smart speaker, powered by Siri, is apparently in production and will be showed off at WWDC, according to bloomberg.com. In an effort to outshine Amazon and Google offerings, it will feature virtual surround sound, be louder and reproduce sound more ‘crisply’ than others, and (of course) have deep integration with other Apple products. It will also serve as a hub for Apple HomeKit connected devices. The device will be built by the Taiwanese company Inventec, which produces AirPods for Apple. It is expected to be out later this year.

Microsoft is giving Skype yet another makeover, but this one is much more than a fresh coat of paint. The latest iteration takes on the look of Snapchat. Theverge.com reports that although Skype has done well for video and audio calls, it hasn’t made much of a dent in Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, iMessage, or Snapchat….and messaging is where the growth in conversations live. The new interface includes 3 sections in a conversation: find, chat, and capture. Chat is what is sounds like, but the other two allow you to search a convo, or find images, restaurants, or content to drop into a message. Capture is where Microsoft has added the Snapchat like capabilities….the cam opens so you can shoot pics or video, then you can add stickers, text, or annotate the shot. There’s also a Highlights feature so friends can stream pics and videos of yours and react with emoji.


iPhone 8 May Be Slightly Taller Than 7s; ARM Chips For Brain Injury Implants; Emojis Prove Intent in Court

Molds for new iPhones (the design of which is probably finalized by now) have been spotted that show the iPhone 8 as slightly taller than the 7S, but not as tall as the 7S Plus. Bgr.com says the mold pics were originally shown by Weibo, and they also show the vertical rear camera that has been widely reported for the 8…and no cutout or knockout for a rear fingerprint reader…so Apple must have gotten the under screen one to work. They are expected to be rolled out in September.

ARM is working with researchers to develop tiny, very low power processors that can be implanted in the brain. According to bbc.com, they would be made to help people with brain and spinal injuries, and would be placed inside the skull. The goal is to let people with such injuries carry out tasks and receive sensory feedback. They might be available within 10 years.

It hasn’t happened in the US yet, but in Israel, a court has ruled that emoji can be evidence of intent. Mashable.com reports that it was in a landlord/tenant dispute. The parties had exchanged texts for days, The court found that a sting of positive emojis from the prospective renter, while not enough to consist of a binding contract, did convey their desire to rent the place. The landlord relied on the text, and took down the ‘for rent sign.’ He was awarded $2200.


Samsung May Still Make a Galaxy Note 8; New Emoji on the Way in 2017

As of now, Samsung may still make a Galaxy Note 8, even in the wake of the fiery demise of the Note 7 and related terrible publicity. Bgr.com says they could still kill it, but it’s on for now. The other two Galaxy S8 models will both have edge screens…Samsung is ditching the flat screen completely. If they do kill the note 8, it’s possible one of the S8 models will be larger to take its place without the branding.

Emoji….how we love ‘em. Years from now, archeologists will be trying to interpret them like they do now with Egyptian hieroglyphics! According to appleinsider.com, we can look forward to 51 additional ones in 2017, including a woman breastfeeding, T-Rex, a Zombie, and for some people after the latest election….a Shocked Face with Exploding Head.


Samsung Unpacked August 2-Galaxzy S7 Outselling iPhone 6S; Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’;Twitter gets the 72 New Emoji

Samsung officially announced their Unpacked 2016 event as August 2nd as rumored. 9to5google.com expects a reveal of the newest Galaxy Note 7. In the meantime, Samsung is excited to see the Galaxy S7 pulling ahead of Apple’s iPhone 6S in sales in the US…16% to 14.6%. Of course, the S7 is new, and most expect demand to pick up for the iPhone after the 7 rolls out in September. Both phones are keeping a loyal following, with 88% of iPhone users saying they’ll buy another, and 86% of Samsung Galaxy users.

According to macrumors.com, Apple has posted an open casting call for its upcoming original TV show Planet of the Apps, an unscripted program about apps and the people who make them. The show is currently looking for developers from San Francisco, Austin, New York and Los Angeles to participate. No islands are involved, unless it’s the concrete ones in the middle of busy intersections.

Unicode 9’s 72 new emoji officially rolled out today, and Twitter is getting support for them, including the creepy clown one. Thenextweb.com reports that skin color modifiers are available. A lot of computers don’t support manually typing them in yet, but you can always copy and past from places like Emojipedia. Take it easy on the clown, ok?


HoloLens Rolls Out Email and Calendar Apps; 72 New Emoji Late June, Including All-Important Bacon!

Because everybody needs to be working all the time, even when you’re using your Virtual or Augmented Reality system, Microsoft has rolled out dedicated email and calendar apps for HoloLens. Theverge.com says the apps look just like the standard ones, except…you know….in AR. The apps can be pinned into the side area of your view, so as not to spoil your game quite as much. Microsoft did throw in an image of the Seattle skyline at least. If you’re a developer, and have a $3000 HoloLens system, now you’re in luck…you can check your work email constantly.

72….count ‘em….72 new emoji have been approved, and will be out in Unicode 9 June 21st. 9to5google.com reports this includes the all-important bacon one, as well as a selfie one and a clown face…and as the saying goes, ‘many more.’ It’s worth noting that we probably won’t actually get our hands on these until Google releases Android N, and Apple drops iOS 10 this fall.


Twitter Testing Emotion Emojis as Plus to Hearts; Uber’s Carpooling Feature for Drivers

As some users are still pining for the star that Twitter killed in favor of the new heart, a user has uncovered the fact that Twitter is testing out a variety of emoji you will be able to use to express your reaction to Tweets. According to thenextweb.com, the user found the emoji through a hack that opens up developer test features. Right now, clicking on one makes the floating emoji go ‘poof,’ and revert to the heart. No word from Twitter as to when the feature might be rolled out.

Uber drivers wanting a few extra bucks on their commutes to and from home — especially those who drive part-time — will be able to with the ride-hailing app’s new “destinations” feature. Theverge.com says drivers rolling in a particular direction can plug their destination into the app, and Uber’s algorithm will send them ride requests that appear along the way. Requests that would force them to deviate from their route would be filtered out. Uber says it will heighten driver flexibility, but it could have much more far-reaching consequences. 61 percent of drivers in the US have full- or part-time jobs outside Uber. If you never have to deviate from your route, suddenly anyone has the potential to be an Uber driver, regardless of employment status. It will launch in San Francisco first.