Google & Walmart Team Up to Take on Amazon’s Voice Based Shopping; Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 Launch Date; Samsung’s Bixby Spreads to 200 Countries

Samsung officially rolled out the Galaxy Note 8 in New York today. The widely anticipated successor to the flameout Note 7 has a 6.3 inch display, dual cams, and 6 gigs of RAM. You get 64 gigs of storage plus what you can add with an SD card. 9to5google.com reports It has a more ‘boxy’ look than the 7, in a callback to previous Notes. The dual 12Mp cameras on the back are different than Apple’s different focal length system. One is a standard cam, and the other shoots black and white. The standard lens takes wide angle shots and the monochrome one shoots telephoto. This should produce a 2X optical zoom and take better low light shots. The phablet should be available September 15th, and will come in silver, orchid gray, gold, and the new ‘deep sea’ blue.

Google and Walmart have announced you will be able to use Walmart’s ‘Easy Reorder’ feature via Google Assistant through a Google Home speaker. Techcrunch.com says Google Express has also ditched membership fees and now promises 1 to 3 day free delivery for minimum orders or more. Amazon with Alexa will still remain the 800 pound gorilla of voice online shopping, but a partnership of Google and Walmart should give them a serious run for their money. It’s a LOT of money, too…RBC Capital figures Alexa could be a $10 billion business by 2020.

Bixby…the intelligent assistant which Samsung dropped very late earlier this summer in the US, for the Galaxy S8 phones, is now live in 200 countries in addition to Korea and the US…including UK, Australia, and Canada. This rollout just a day before today (Wednesday’s) big unveiling of the Galaxy Note 8 in New York City.


Verizon To Test Insanely Fast 5G!

Later this year, and into next, Verizon will be testing out 5G for mobile devices. It’s insanely fast! How fast? Faster than Google Fiber’s direct connection into homes. 30 to 60 times faster than 4G. For example, you could download ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ in 6 minutes over 4G, but with 5G, it’ll be downloaded to your smartphone in 15 seconds! Cnet.com says according to Verizon, some commercial deployment will start by 2017. All that blazing speed and responsiveness will become more important as we add to the ‘internet of things’ around the house and office, and more connected cars come online. South Korea and China are pushing to upgrade to 5G quickly, too…South Korea hopes to have it showing up by 2018, but Verizon may well beat them by a year.

Yesterday, Amazon announced they were rolling out restaurant food delivery via Prime Now, starting in Seattle. Google is jumping into food delivery, but fresh food and groceries, starting later this year through Google Express. According to bloomberg.com, they will begin trials in San Francisco and one other city to be named later. Whole Foods and Costco will be among the rollout partners for the grocery delivery service. Grocery delivery is already a space populated by Amazon Fresh, and startup Instacart. Note that they will be delivering fresh food…they won’t have the capacity for refrigeration to deliver refrigerated or frozen items. For those, you’ll have to drag yourself to the supermarket!


Skype Joins the Disappearing Video Chat Club

Skype is joining the disappearing video world with Skype Qik (quick). Venturebeat.com says it does videos up to 42 seconds, which auto delete in 2 weeks. It runs on Android, iOS, and Windows, and you need the Skype app too, but not an account.

Google Shopping Express has Amazon Prime in its sights. 9to5google.com reports the $95 a year service is now available in San Francisco & San Jose, with overnight delivery in Northern California…and includes alcohol delivery!

If you need a super cheap Windows tablet that is just about good enough, check Emdoor or Ployer. Geek.com says they’re both $65, and 7 and 8 inches respectively. If you want a cheap tablet for a child, these may do the trick.