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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Apple AirPods Available-But Ship Next Year; Google Partnering on Self-Driving Car Now; Samsung Will Have Only Curved Screen Phones; Uber Continued to Spy on Users

The Apple Store earlier suddenly had AirPods available today-Tuesday for delivery next Monday. Now, 9to5mac.com says delivery has slipped already to 4 weeks from today. Apple did note on their site that they have rolled out the wireless Bluetooth ear buds in 100 countries. If you want to drop $159 for the ill-fitting and odd-looking Apple wireless cans, you might try an Apple Store next week.

Google is apparently no longer going it alone in developing a self-driving car. According to theverge.com, which picked up a story from the Information, Google is now partnering with automakers on more conventional cars, with a goal of launching an autonomous ride-sharing service by the end of next year. Fiat Chrysler is making a new prototype for Google based on a minivan. Reports are that they found their own radical car with no steering wheel or pedals just too radical. The so-called ‘spin out’ division for Google’s car project is being called Waymo, and will be run like a startup, only with the resources of Alphabet, the parent company, according to a news conference today.

A hot feature for Samsung has been the curved screen on the Edge models. Apparently due to that, and Apple’s rumored move to curved OLED screens next year made by Samsung, the Galaxy S8 models will all come with the curved screens. Bgr.com reports that there will be 5.7 and 6.2 inch S8 models with the front panel being over 90% screen. Samsung continues to work on two foldable smartphone models, which can be unfolded into tablets. They may roll out in 2017.

Uber has previously been dinged for having a ‘God mode,’ that allowed some company employees to track customers. Now, in a legal filing by a former Uber security exec, it turns out that dubious feature is still around. Bgr.com notes In the filing, Ward Spangenberg said “Uber’s lack of security regarding its customer data was resulting in Uber employees being able to track high-profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances of Uber employees, including ex-boyfriends/girlfriends, and ex-spouses.” Spangenberg is at least the 5th former Uber security pro to reveal the mode, which might be more accurately be called ‘stalker mode.’


Next MacBook Pros May Be the Real Deal; Apple Patents Foldable Smartphone; Amazon Rules the Cloud; Mobile Web Passes Desktops; Facebook Extends Longevity

With the continued griping that the new MacBook Pros aren’t all that ‘pro,’ here’s an interesting tidbit…9to5mac.com reports that KGI Securities says Apple was constrained by a late release of new Intel chips that are more powerful but use less juice. If the next Intel chips are more timely, 2017 may see faster, more powerful MacBook Pros with 32 gigs of ram!

Meanwhile, Apple has patented a bendable or foldable smartphone. Patentlyapple.com says this is different than Samsung’s designs…it uses advanced carbon nanotube structures. This could be done with a ceramic case…something the top Apple Watch uses, and rumored for the iPhone 8. the iPhone 9 or 10 could fold up and slip into a shirt pocket if this is put into use.

Synergy Research Group has crunched numbers, and Amazon Web Services is truly the 800 lb. gorilla of public cloud infrastructure…at 45%, they have more than Microsoft, Google, and IBM combined. According to Geekwire.com, this remains true even though Microsoft and Google are growing cloud revenue at over 100% per year. IBM does lead in managed private clouds, however.

Mobile internet use has passed desktop use for the first time, according to techcrunch.com. Mobile is now at 51.2%, with 48.7% of use still on desktops. Mobile is a whopping 75% in emerging markets like India!

Shades of ‘I want to believe’ from “X Files,” thenextweb.com has picked up a report that moderate Facebook use can lead to longer lives. It has been long known that people with strong social networks live longer, but what about online friends? A study of 12 million Facebook users by UC San Diego says yes. One of the researchers has ties to Facebook, but they claim the social media giant didn’t have a hand in determining the results. The average Facebook user is allegedly 12% less likely to die than non-users. Fox Mulder is using Facebook to look for aliens, and thinks you’re one.