iPhone 8 May Just Get Inductive Charging; Newest Snapdragon Chip May Be Exclusive to Samsung Galaxy S8; Amazon Echo For Trekkies; Kids & Internet Devices in Bed

We’ve reported before that Apple will probably have wireless charging for the iPhone 8. Some rumors have it getting the Energous system, which uses radio waves, and works across the room. Now, macrumors.com reports that patents filed as late as 2013 indicate Apple may just roll their own with inductive charging….in other words, the tried and true set the phone on a charging pad method. It’s not as zoomy or futuristic, but in filings, Apple claims the wireless radio charging is too inefficient and not practical now.

There’s a new Qualcomm chip coming out, the Snapdragon 835, and it looks like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will have it exclusively at first. 9to5google.com says LG’s new G6, which will be shown at Mobile World Congress, will ship with the 821 chip, the same as the Google Pixel. The Snapdragon 821 is a perfectly good chip, and not quite a year old, but for the latest and greatest, you’ll have to get the Galaxy S8 after April.

Amazon may have added a killer feature to the Echo for Trekkies. You can now change the wake word in the settings to ‘Computer.’ Cnet.com says in addition to ‘Alexa’ and ‘Computer,’ you can also choose ‘Amazon,’ or ‘Echo.’ A Cnet reporter asked Echo to set phasers to stun, and it replied that was coming in a future update!

According to a new study by Intel Security, 76% of parents let their kids take internet connected gadgets to bed, while only 23% of them monitor the kids’ usage. Venturebeat.com says the survey polled 13,000 people. They come by it honestly….the survey also found that 36% of parents had been called out by their kids for checking their smartphones during family time. Even though parents aren’t monitoring kids as they should, 34% of parents have caught children visiting inappropriate sites.


Samsung & Google Partner on New Chromebooks; Batteries Now Rolling off Lines at Tesla Gigafactory; Energous Wireless Charging Debuts This Year; Nvidia Co-Pilot Driving Computer

The Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro have finally bowed from Samsung, in collaboration with Google. Theverge.com says they will be worthy competition for Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface Pro. The Plus is out in February for $449, and sports baked in Android app support, a self-contained stylus, and on-screen inking. It has a 360 degree hinge to allow for both tablet and laptop modes. The Pro will be out later this year, and is basically the same except for a more powerful processor.

It took almost 3 years from the groundbreaking, but batteries are now rolling off the lines at Tesla’s Gigafactory. The first of the custom cells will go into Tesla’s storage products…the Powerwall 2 and Powerpack 2, but are designed to fit into all Tesla cars according to theverge.com. They will start installing them in the new Model 3s when they start production this year. Tesla says the Gigafactory will eventually crank out enough batteries for 1.5 million cars.

Energous will begin shipping its truly wireless systems by later this year, but is holding off due to a partner. Macrumors.com notes that most believe that partner to be Apple, and that the Watts Up system will debut in the iPhone 8 in September. The difference between Energous and other wireless systems is that theirs is truly over the air, and can charge a device from up to 15 feet away…no need to lay the phone on a charging pad. Energous did show off several devices that use contact charging at CES this week.

Nvidia had teased a powerful AI system earlier, and now has announced Co-Pilot. They are baking the tech into their Xavier drive computers they are making to assist drivers when they are doing the driving. Techcrunch.com reports that the system will utilize data from sensors inside and outside a car, and alert a driver when they need to take action. The system can either operate in self-driving mode, or as the Co-Pilot, continuing to monitor and warn drivers to react…say, should you not spot a pedestrian. They are already partnering with ZF in Europe, and may with Bosch as well.


Peeking Ahead at Apple; Samsung’s Amazing Coming AI Assistant; Future Tesla Buyers & Superchargers; New Old Sega Genesis Goes into Production

Apple has a few things up its tree, including something fresh for the present iPhone 7. Thenextweb.com says they may be readying a ‘Jet White’ shiny new color to the 7 and 7 Plus to bookend the Jet Black color.

As for the future, they may add a feature to Find My iPhone that would surreptitiously turn the phone on for you with the proper authentication, so you could find a stolen phone without alerting the thief, according to bgr.com. What about the iPhone 8? We reported earlier that they were working with Energous on wireless charging. Now, again according to bgr, this is moving forward with Energous getting an infusion from a power management chip maker. You would be able to charge your phone from a source 15 feet away…no charging pad…and it would draw current whether you were at home, work, or wherever!

Appleinsider.com has discovered that Apple was just granted a patent detailing an augmented reality mapping system that harnesses iPhone hardware to overlay visual enhancements onto live video, lending credence to recent rumors suggesting the company plans to implement an iOS-based AR strategy in the near future. Tim Cook has strongly hinted about this.

Meanwhile, over at Samsung, a sea change in digital assistants. The Galaxy S8 will have a digital assistant that takes ‘smart’ to a new level. Samsung will add Viv, from San Jose’s Viv Labs (which they bought last month). Reuters.com says Viv not only can answer questions and look things up, but can effectively write software on the fly to accomplish tasks that you ask it to! This is beyond Star Trek, folks!

A huge change for future Tesla buyers. According to theverge.com, anyone getting a Tesla after January 1st, 2017 will have to pay a small fee to use Tesla Superchargers. Previous owners will still get to use them for free. Tesla says the fee will be much less than the cost of filling a car with gas.

For hardcore Sonic fans, here’s something cool from the dailydot.com: The Sega Genesis is officially back in production. TecToy is making the machines, with Sega’s blessing. Aside from the SD card slot, it’s pretty well a duplicate of the original. It comes with 22 games on the SD card. Preorders are $125 for the box. Are you hearing the Sonic the Hedgehog theme?