Galaxy Note 8 Launch in August; Virgin Mobile Goes iPhone Only; Classic Sega Genesis Games FREE on Mobile

Hot off the press…or web, anyway, Samsung will unveil its Galaxy Note 8 in August. According to cnet.com and Reuters, it will have a curved screen that will be slightly larger than the Galaxy 8’s 6.2 incher, and have 2 rear cameras. Despite the flameout…in a number of cases literally…of the Note 7, there is a substantial hard-core fan base that will snap up the Note 8 models as soon as they hit the market!

Galaxy Note 8 fans, Samsung fans, or any other Android users will have to look elsewhere for a carrier if they were considering Virgin Mobile…they have announced that after June 27th, they will sell nothing but Apple iPhones. Bgr.com reports that Virgin will be kicking off a new wireless plan to go along with the change. A new promotion for the $50 per month Inner Circle plan is out too…buy a new iPhone through Virgin, and get the 1st full year of unlimited service for just a dollar. After that, the monthly fee pops back up to $50. (Check the fine print…like with everyone else’s ‘unlimited’ plan, there are limits!)

The venerable Sega Genesis managed to attract substantial hard core, dedicated fans to its games. If you were one or know one, you’ll be happy to find out that Sega has launched the 1st wave of its Sega Forever collection on mobile…for free! Engadget.com says there are ads, but for $2, you can play ad free. The initial launch includes the 1991 version of Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon, and Altered Beast. All are available today on iTunes and Google Play. For iPhone or iPad, you also get some iMessage sticker packs. Sega will be adding new titles about every two weeks.

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Preorders Back for Microsoft Surface Book…But Wait Time Slips

Microsoft temporarily shut down preorders for the new Surface Book combo laptop/tablet, but they’re back online. That’s the good news, if you want one of the powerful new devices. The down side? Cnet.com reports that ship times have slipped to between 6 and 8 weeks…two months! If you really want to get one sooner, some vendors…including frys.com have shorter ship times, or you can roll the dice and show up at a Microsoft store October 26th. Best Buy will carry the Surface Book, but their website only says ‘coming soon.’

Since the introduction of larger screened iPhones, China has rocketed to being Apple’s biggest market. TechCrunch.com says that App Annie’s analysis shows that China led all countries in absolute growth 3rd quarter of this year, both measured by app downloads and revenue. Google Play still has more downloads than Apple’s App store in China, but iOS App Store revenue is 80% higher than Google Play! Most of that action is in social video apps and games.


Microsoft Apps Coming to Android Via Samsung

Microsoft appears to be making a major move to invade Android’s turf. Business insider.com has picked up a report from Sam Mobile that says Redmond may have cut a deal to have apps like Microsoft Office Mobile, OneNote, OneDrive, and Skype pre-loaded on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S6. We’ll know for sure March 1st when the S6 is introduced.

If you’ve been wanting to use Apple iWork apps on other than your home Mac, you’re in luck. Apple has made Pages, Numbers, and Keynote accessible through iCloud Beta to users without an apple device. Mac rumors.com says you get a gig of storage when you sign up for a free iCloud account.

The contextual home screen for Android called Aviate, which changes through the day to suit your needs, has added search outside the US. Engadget.com reports that the app…which was bought by Yahoo last year…is a free download from Google Play.


The Next HTC Flagship Phone Will Be Two

Leaked renderings show the upcoming HTC One M9…code named Hima. 9to5google.com says usually reliable Evan Blass sees a regular and a ‘plus’ size, and the regular one doesn’t have a hardware home button.

It helped sales before, so Motorola is again discounting the Moto X. According to theverge.com, it will be $140 off February 2nd through Valentine’s Day…the same price as Moto had Cyber Monday.

With all the hoopla about Apple’s sales and earnings, here’s something that slipped under the radar. Appliedsider.com says Google Play downloads are growing, but Apple’s App Store still commands 70% of digital storefront revenue.


MacBook Air Will Gain An Inch But Lose Girth

Apple will reportedly release a 12 inch Macbook Air before April. Geek.com says it will replace the 11 inch model, and..as rumored…will be even slimmer and drop all ports but a USB type C for charging and other connections.

You can already turn your Nest thermostat from ‘away’ to heating from your phone, but engadget.com reports Automatic has a car tracker that plugs into the ODB port of your car to do it hands free. It’s $100. The dongle also tracks your driving and helps save fuel.

According to appFigures, Google Play passed up Apple’s App Store in the number of new apps for the first time in 2014. Techcrunch.com says Google Play also now has more developers building its apps…388,000 to Apple’s 282,000.


Apple May Add a 4 Inch Model to the iPhone 6S

After going big with the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple is rumored to be looking at a return to a 4 inch model with an iPhone 6S Mini. Appleinsider.com says an analyst at Cowen and Company indicates it would have specs like last year’s iPhone 5S. This would be the first time Apple has had 3 different sizes of a current model if it happens.

Techcrunch.com reports that Samsung has released Look At Me, and app for autistic kids. It’s supposed to help kids to make better eye contact. Developed by South Korean psychologists and professors, it’s on Google Play.

App maker Confide is offering services to entertainments, labels, and networks. Cnet.com says their app has end to end encryption, and automatically self destructs…leaving no embarrassing email trail. No word on whether Sony has reached out to them.


A Preemptive Strike at Apple Watch From LG

Another tech company makes a preemptive strike at the yet to be released Apple Watch. 9to5google.com says LG has cut the price of the G Watch temporarily to $180 at Google Play.

Prime Instant Video from Amazon is now available on Android phones in the US, Britain, and Germany, according to techcrunch.com. You have to update their app, and download their video player to use it, though.

Microsoft has begun quietly replacing some excessively noisy Xbox One systems. Geek.com says this is after months of complaints on their official forums.