Apple Wins the Holiday; Galaxy S8 May Have a Stylus Supporting Model; How About a Paper Airplane Machine Gun?Posted: December 28, 2016
Ever since the Galaxy Note meltdown in late summer, the year has gone south for Samsung. Now that holiday figures are in, we know the extent. According to Flurry Analytics, if you got a phone for the holidays, it’s likely it was an iPhone. 44% of new phone and tablet activations were for Apple devices. Samsung didn’t quite hit half of that, with 21%. Huawei was a distant third at 3%, with 5 other phone makers tied for 4th at 2%. Medium phones are still most popular at 45%, but phablets are gaining fast…picking up 10% year over year to capture 37% of the form factor share.
A new rumor may throw a bone to Samsung’s hardcore Galaxy Note 7 fans. Bgr.com reports that there may be a ‘plus’ sized Galaxy S8 that will accept the S Pen stylus. The leak out of China says it won’t fit inside the phone, and will sell separately. Still, it’s a popular feature that may bring a lot of Note fans back to buy a new S8.
Everyone’s been to sporting events where they inspect for weapons and such. Everyone has also seen the occasional paper airplane sail down to the court or field. Now, gizmodo says you might see a blizzard of them without such checkpoints. A fellow named Dieter Krone has developed a 3D printed machine gun that folds and shoots 120 paper airplanes a minute! Take that, opposing team!
Record Number Shopping Online for Holidays; Amazon’s ‘X-Ray Vision’ for Packages; Reuters Poll Says Fiery Galaxy Note 7 Didn’t Damage Samsung Brand in USPosted: November 21, 2016
It’s not really a surprise, but more people than ever will shop over the holidays online. TechCrunch.com reports that holiday spending online is projected to go up by 18%. A full 47% of shoppers will do some shopping online this holiday season….and a third will buy using mobile devices. The survey was commissioned by Visa, which certainly has an intent interest in the topic! Clothing, accessories, and home decor are still categories people really prefer to buy in person, according to the poll.
The Amazon app is getting a new feature that kind of affords you X-Ray vision for your packages. According to mashable.com, you scan the barcode on the package through the app with your phone’s camera, and the app will show you which of your orders are inside. This should be a boon for those getting multiple items…and some of them perhaps Christmas presents you don’t want prying eyes to see!
After the global recall of millions of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, a lot of people thought Samsung might have to fold their tent and leave. Now, a Reuters poll suggests ‘not so fast.’ The survey had 27% saying they’d first consider Samsung when buying, but a whopping 91% of Samsung owners said they’d buy another. That’s only 1 percentage point under Apple, with their vaunted customer loyalty. It looks like the Galaxy Note 8 or whatever they call it should do just fine!
Pixel Preorders Outstrip Demand; Microsoft VR Headset Partners; Surface Book i7; Renewables Pass Up CoalPosted: October 26, 2016
Since the sputtering flameout of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, Apple has increased production of iPhones, expecting to pick up new customers. According to 9to5google,com, they aren’t alone. Google Pixel phone preorder deliveries have now slipped to mid-November. Some phones originally slated for delivery this week will now be shipped November 18th!
At their event today, Microsoft announced they are working with partners to release standalone VR headsets starting at $299. Dell, HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer are all involved. Thenextweb.com says Redmond also showed off a ‘HoloTour’ app that was initially developed for the HoloLens that lets you take Street View like trips around the globe.
Microsoft adds the Surface Book i7 to the Surface family. It contains a number of internal upgrades according to arstechinca.com, including a welcome 16 hour battery life! More from the Microsoft event-which is going on now-tomorrow.
Noting a major milestone, slashdot.org reports that renewable energy sources like solar and wind have passed up coal as the world’s largest source of power capacity! The International Energy Agency says a million solar panels were installed every day last year, and two wind turbines were added every hour last year in China alone.
Samsung Offers $$ To Keep Note 7 Owners in the Fam; Chipmaker Revenue Shows iPhone 7’s Selling Well; Google Pixel Phones on Verizon Get Android Updates With Unlocked PhonesPosted: October 13, 2016
Samsung is making the extra effort to hold on to customers burned (some literally) but the burning and exploding Galaxy Note 7. They will give $100 credit to exchange one for a Galaxy S7 Edge or other Samsung device. Engadget.com says this comes on the official Consumer Product Safety Commission recall of all Note 7’s. There have been 96 battery issues in the US alone since mid-August when the Note rolled out.
Chipmaker TSMC is reporting record profit and sales in Q3, and has raised its forecast for 2016 revenue. Yeah, so? This points to strong iPhone 7 sales, according to 9to5mac.com. After crunching the known numbers, like what percentage of TSMC business comes from the A10 chip in the new iPhones, it looks like Apple shipments of iPhone 7 models will be around 82 million…notably higher than earlier estimates. In other words, it’s not the boring dog of an iPhone a lot of the tech press predicted!
Contrary to earlier reports, Google says Pixel phones on the Verizon system will get Android updates simultaneously with unlocked phones. 9to5google.com reports that this indicates Google will be pushing out the updates like Apple does on iOS, not delivering them to Verizon, who many feared would sit on them.
Samsung Kills Note 7; Amazon Considers Convenience Stores; Apple Patents Super Resolution Multi-Sensor Cam; Ridiculous Rich Kids AppPosted: October 11, 2016
After suspending production and halting sales, Samsung has killed production of the Galaxy Note 7. 9to5google.com notes that since a number of the allegedly ‘safe’ Notes also caught fire, and US carriers stopped selling it, there was really no way to save the handset. Samsung shares dropped 8% on the news, and as of this writing are down another 9.5%. The Galaxy Note 8 is due out in just a few months, and it remains to be seen if that can save face for Samsung.
Amazon, which has already caused great disruption to retail, is now thinking of adding brick and mortar convenience stores in addition to drive up grocery sites. Geekwire.com reports that they are scouting for locations. The outlets would carry perishables like milk, meat, and produce, and you could order other less perishable items for same day delivery with your phone or touch screens in the store. The stores would be open only to AmazonFresh customers.
On the heels of the new iPhone 7 Plus with the dual cameras and all, Apple has updated a patent from last year for ‘super resolution’ multi-sensor cameras with cube prisms. Yes, I know that sounds like I just rattled off some futuristic gadget from Star Trek. According to appleinsider.com, instead of filters, the system would split light into red, blue, and green that would be directed to different sensors. Smartphone cameras right now only use a single sensor. The prisms help jam the works into an iPhone….the whole rig would resemble a tiny periscope. No word when this super resolution cam might actually make it into an iPhone.
The running joke ‘there’s an app for that’ has maybe jumped the shark. Thenextweb.com says something of an ‘anti-Facebook’ app has launched. Instead of lots of friends, it’s the world’s most exclusive social network…Rich Kids. It costs $1000 a month to belong. An unintended punchline: you can sign up with your Facebook account! Apparently, regular folks can view the app, but just can’t post or share photos on it. Wanna check it out? Go ahead…I’m going to pass on this one.
Galaxy Note Nightmare Continues; Two Tesla Launch Events This Month; German Bundesrat Votes to Ban Internal Combustion EnginePosted: October 10, 2016
After a 4th of the new, supposedly safe replacement Galaxy Note 7’s caught fire, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have stopped selling the phablet, and now Samsung is ‘temporarily’ suspending production of the device. 9to5google.com says Samsung has yet to comment on the suspension of production, which includes a plant in Vietnam that is responsible for global shipments of the Note, aside from saying they are ‘adjusting’ production.
Doing his best Apple impression, Elon Musk has tweeted that the company is planning two product launches in October. According to thenextweb.com, the first will be October 17th, and Musk claims it will be unexpected by most. The second is a joint Tesla/Solar City event scheduled 10 days later for October 28th. There’s some speculation that the first one will be for the Model 3. Musk has already indicated that there would be a joint unveiling of an integrated Powerwall 2.0 and Tesla charging unit. Tesla has recently added land that would allow them to double the size of the Fremont, CA factory.
In something of a shockwave, the German Bundesrat has voted to ban internal combustion engines by 2030. Arstechnica.com reports that it’s a non-binding resolution, but still a hell of a shot over the bow coming from the country where the internal combustion engine was invented, and where Karl Benz built the first ‘patent motorcar.’ Germany produces more cars than any country in Europe and the third most in the world. The Bundesrat is the federal council of all 16 German states.
Google on Self-Driving; Good News (Finally) for Samsung; Trio of Fresh Spring iPads; Facebook MarketplacePosted: October 4, 2016
In an interesting spin on self-driving cars, the head of Google’s program denies that they are building such things at all. Dmitri Dolgov says they’re really more like in the superhuman driver-making business. According to recode.net, he drilled down to make the point, talking about how the self-driving system has to recognize hand signals from human pedestrians and bike riders, and act appropriately. He points out that they already have run the system on Prius’, Lexus, their own ‘Googlemobiles,’ and now are working with Fiat Chrysler. Google wants it to be like getting into a rental car…it may feel and handle bit differently, but same basic system everywhere. Google says the cars communicate to learn from each other, but there’s firewall between that part of the software and the driving part, to prevent hacker access.
Now that the firebomb models have been replaced, Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s are flying off the shelves. Bgr.com reports that samsung sold 30,000 phones its first two days back on sale. Anything over 10,000 a day is considered good. They expect the demand to drop off, as it does with all new smart devices, but it appears they have dodged the bullet…or bomb…on what is considered the best Android handset you can by right now.
Apple will be freshening all 3 iPad sizes this spring, according to a Mac Otakara report picked up by macrumors.com. The 12.9 inch Pro will get a True Tone display like the mid sized model has, and all get upgraded to the 12mg camera. the Mini will get True tone, 4 speakers, and a smart connector. All 3 will have quad microphones…AND…keep the 3.5 mm headphone jack!
Facebook has rolled out Marketplace on Android and iOS. Appleinsider.com says it allows people to buy and sell goods locally like on craigslist. Facebookies can filter by price, category, and location, or just browse categories to see what’s out there. A tap on an item will jump to photos of the product and the seller, along with a price and general description. Shoppers can save an item, make an offer, or message a seller for more details. Sellers are identified not just by their usual Facebook details, such as friend connections, but also by how quick they are to respond to messages. Location is generalized.
Snapchat Shows Cam Glasses; Galaxy Note 7 New Non-Exploding Battery Issue; Apple Watch Sleep and Heart Rate Apps ComingPosted: September 26, 2016
Over the weekend, reports came out that Snapchat was re-branding as Snap, and rolling out connected, camera-equipped sunglasses. Theverge.com reports that they will sell for $130, have a 115 degree lens, which closely follows a person’s field of vision, record circular video, and record at the press of a button. Snap is doing a slow rollout, so don’t expect to see them in the next few days or weeks.
Samsung has already shipped 500,000 Galaxy Note 7’s to the US, and about half the phablets with explodable batteries have been replaced. Now, 9to5google.com reports that some users are having problems with batteries that drain very quickly and are having trouble recharging them. Samsung is looking into it, but says it’s unrelated to the batteries. They just can’t buy a break with the 7…and may end up rolling out the Note 8 a month or so early.
Apple is working on sleep tracking and more advanced heart rate apps for Apple Watch. According to 9to5mac.com, the new heart rate app will be more advanced—measuring a person’s fitness by observing the amount of time it takes for a heartbeat to fall from a peak to resting rate. Cupertino apparently is also looking at other ways to expand HealthKit, making it more of a ‘tool that improves diagnoses’ from doctors. None of that may come for a while, as added medical sensors would not only require new hardware, but probably also approval by the FDA.
So you can’t go for the new iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, and you’re still iffy about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, even with the safe batteries. There are 10 unlocked phones spotted by bgr.com on Amazon with big discounts today and tomorrow. Some examples: For fire sale price, there’s the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 for 99 bucks. Another C-note buys you the $400 Nesbit Robin at half off. You can pick up the $650 LG G5 for $479. You get the idea. Go get ‘em, bargain hunters!
On the higher end of the scale, Pax considers itself the Apple of vaporizers. Mashable.com reports that they’ve introduced 2 new app connected weed vaporizers. The Pax 3 heats up in 15 seconds, a full half minute faster than its predecessor, and recharges in and hour instead of 90 minutes. You can swap between flower and ‘waxy concentrates’ in seconds. The app will allow users to customize flavor and vapor volume by setting the precise temperature, as well as customizable LED color themes, interactive games and the ability to lock their device. $274.99 and you get haptic feedback and a choice of colors…10 year warranty, too.
The Pax Era uses pre-loaded cartridges, so it’s handy for when you’re on a hike or on the town. It also connects with the app. The down side? Right now you can only buy Pax Pods in Colorado or with a medical card in California. The Era is $59.99, with the Pods about $40. Everything should be out next month.