The Bluetooth Special Interest Group, the group that sets the standards for the low power wireless standard, is going to rollout Bluetooth 5 next week. Theverge.com reports that it will have 4 times the speed and double the range of the best Bluetooth now available. It will also offer much more support for connectionless services…like beacons that can help people navigate around, both in buildings and outside. The added range and speed are particularly aimed at all the Internet of Things devices popping up for your home.
Snapchat is working on a Google Glass style AR headset, according to businessinsider.com. Snapchat has snapped up a couple of hardware specialists from GoPro, and a tech recruiter from Google’s Project Aura, the division that came up with Google Glass. These strengthen rumors of a Glass-type product from March when it leaked out that Snapc had hired an eyewear designer and a man specializing in miniaturized low power electronics. They are now listing jobs for a 3D mobile software engineer and mobile prototype developer, among others. Stay tuned.
Another rumor has the iPhone 7 being waterproof, and in addition, appleinsider.com is reporting it will used new compound materials to conceal antennas, losing those unsightly plastic antenna cover bars. There is some hand wringing that iPhone 6S sales won’t be as good as the 6 had, but the holidays were great for Apple…according to a Flurry Insights report picked up by appleinsider.com, 49.1% of all devices activated Christmas week were from Apple. Phablets were only 13% of last season’s sales, but this year they grabbed 27% of the device market.
Whether we like it or not, there will be more glassholes. Google Glass lives! Hi resolution images of the next generation Google Glass have showed up on an FCC site. They look almost identical to the previous model, but have a hinge to fold just like regular glasses. The prism is larger, as well, according to arstechnica.com. This version of Google Glass is supposed to be enterprise only, and not intended to retail customers.
Google had previously said they were killing off Google Glass, but apparently, there was a change of mind. Engadget.com reports that they’ve hired engineers and software developers from Amazon’s Lab126 for what they’re calling ‘Project Aura.’ They will work on other wearables besides Glass. Apparently Project Aura will stay under the Google ‘aura,’ instead of being a separate entity under the Alphabet umbrella. Ivy Ross will still head up the operation, but she’ll report to Nest CEO Tony Fadell now.
Speaking of Amazon, they’ve shown their answer to Apple TV…it’s a Fire TV box with Alexa and 4K video support. Theverge.com says that similar to Apple’s ‘Hey Siri,’ you will be able to command Alexa to go look for shows you want to watch. Amazon plans to add reordering through amazon.com later, like with the Echo speaker. Don’t expect to be able to set alarms or timers as you can on the Echo, though. The new Fire TV box is $99. Amazon has also upgraded the Fire TV stick with newer software, and a new remote in a $50 bundle. There’s also a gamer-specific edition of the Fire TV box for $140, that comes with a useable controller and two free game downloads. It’s all open for preorder now, and all three products ship in October.
It’s been off the radar for a while, but Google has been quietly toiling on the next iteration of Google Glass. The soon to be released Enterprise Edition will be the successor to the original Explorer Edition, according to 9to5google.com. It sports a bigger prism and a faster Atom processor. The bigger prism allows the user to just look up, rather than up and to the right. Reports have it spotted with a Google made external battery pack, too. Yes, if you wear it out in public or try to get into a bar, you’re still a Glasshole!
The latest beta of Apple’s iOS 9 changes up how it confirms that you’re the rightful owner of your iOS device or Mac. Cnet.com reports that the two factor identification baked into IOS 9 and OS X El Capitan will add an extra layer of security, even if someone steals your password. The system uses both a password and a 6 digit code when you sign into a new device using your Apple ID. The code will pop up on any Apple computer or Mobile device you are already signed in to.
A makeover is coming to Apple’s Genius Bar. 9to5mac.com says they’re launching what they call a Concierge service. Once you’re in the store and the problem is inputted in their system, they will send you text messages…freeing you to go shop elsewhere while you wait.
Google Glass’ demise is apparently greatly exaggerated. According to bgr.com, Glass 2 prototypes are already in the hands of developers. This time, it’s a very small selection of trusted developers, and no word yet on what improvements Google has made.
Valve is jumping into the virtual reality market. Geekwire.com reports that the Steam games developer will show a new VR hardware system at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.