Whole Foods Rolls Out Curbside Delivery; SnapChatting a Bit Less; Magic Leap One; Pixel 3 Leak Shows Apple-esque ‘Notch’

Amazon is launching curbside pickup at Whole Foods. Reuters.com reports the service is available starting today in Sacramento, CA and Virginia Beach, VA…other cities should follow later this year. Since pickup is cheaper than delivery, it has been pushed by bigger grocers like Kroger and Walmart. Amazon is gigantic, but Whole Foods actually only has about 1% of the vary fractured grocery market. Pickup in an hour is free for orders of at least $35, while pickup in 30 minutes costs $4.99.

Snapchat has decidedly mixed results the last quarter. They lost 3 million users, a drop of 2%, but is still up 8% year over year. They also lost $353 million, but that’s still 20% less than the previous year’s loss. Their monthly audience is up 3 million for 11 of its Shows, users spend over 30 minutes a day with the platform.

The Magic Leap One Creator Edition AR headset is available….some places…for developers now. It’s a breathtaking $2295. While cnet.com notes that the price is less than the Microsoft HoloLens at 3 grand, you may need to drop another $495 for the ‘professional development edition’, which comes with an extra hub cable and a service called RapidReplace…which gets you a replacement within 24 hours. Another catch: it’s only available in Chicago, LA, Miami, New York, San Francisco Bay Area, and Seattle. For the princely price, they deliver it and set it up for you in-home, to ensure a perfect fit. You can’t wear the headset with glasses, but can get prescription pop-in lenses at extra cost…or just get contacts. It does sport a bigger field of view than HoloLens, but not as wide as a regular VR headset. It’s brawn is PC-like, with a powerful system on a chip, 128 gigs of storage, 8 gigs ram.

Pictures of what’s said to be a pre-release final production Google Pixel 3 XL shows a notch at the top like the iPhone X has, and a number of other phones have emulated. Macrumors.com says the pics were put out by a Russian blogger and picked up by Android Police. The display on the 3 XL is not as wide as the iPhone X, but it is noticeably taller. It is supposed to be a 6.2 inch screen. The smaller Pixel 3 apparently does not have the notch…which reportedly holds improved cameras with two lenses.

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Pixel Preorders Outstrip Demand; Microsoft VR Headset Partners; Surface Book i7; Renewables Pass Up Coal

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.


Galaxy S8; Microsoft’s Surface Event; How Amazon Drones Will Land for You

Even after the catastrophe with fiery Galaxy Note 7’s, time marches on for Samsung and everyone else. According to bgr.com, Sammy is pressing ahead with the expected Galaxy S8 models for February 26th rollout. Expect an edge to edge 4K Super AMOLED screen (and wraparound in the case of the Edge), with just a bezel at the top and bottom. Screen real estate is supposed to be 80% of the front, so it sounds like they are getting rid of the home button. Inside, expect a faster processor, and either 6 or 8 gigs of RAM!

Microsoft’s Surface event is tomorrow, the 26th. Theverge.com reports that it will be jam packed, but look for the spotlight to be on a new Surface all-in-one PC. Think of a Microsoft iMac, only with a hinge to lay flat on a desk. It will rock a touchscreen and have stylus support. Other big areas to watch for are emphasis on creating 3D content, and it looks like Redmond will be letting 3rd parties build their own HoloLens headsets. Microsoft may also show an Amazon Echo competitor with Cortana built in.

We’ve been reporting for over a year about Amazon’s drone program. All well and good, but how are those little rascals going to find a place to drop off your package?
Geekwire.com says Amazon plans for you to print out a symbol on your printer, and put it where you want the drone to land. You’ll have to supply your own rocks to keep the paper from blowing down the street!


HoloLens Rolls Out Email and Calendar Apps; 72 New Emoji Late June, Including All-Important Bacon!

Because everybody needs to be working all the time, even when you’re using your Virtual or Augmented Reality system, Microsoft has rolled out dedicated email and calendar apps for HoloLens. Theverge.com says the apps look just like the standard ones, except…you know….in AR. The apps can be pinned into the side area of your view, so as not to spoil your game quite as much. Microsoft did throw in an image of the Seattle skyline at least. If you’re a developer, and have a $3000 HoloLens system, now you’re in luck…you can check your work email constantly.

72….count ‘em….72 new emoji have been approved, and will be out in Unicode 9 June 21st. 9to5google.com reports this includes the all-important bacon one, as well as a selfie one and a clown face…and as the saying goes, ‘many more.’ It’s worth noting that we probably won’t actually get our hands on these until Google releases Android N, and Apple drops iOS 10 this fall.


Apple Event Moved Back a Week; Microsoft HoloLens Developer Kit Out March 30th-for 3 Grand!

Apple’s spring event will be the week of March 21st, instead of earlier, as previously reported. It’s expected that they’ll show off the 4 inch iPhone SE, with the beefed up A9 processor, Live Photos, and Apple Pay. According to 9to5mac.com, the smaller phone won’t have 3D touch like the 6 and 6 Plus. It’s supposed to have 16 gig and 64 gig models, and sell for between $400 and $500. Apple will probably drop the price of the aging 5S down to $250 or less upon rollout of the new SE model.

Preorders have started for Microsoft’s developer edition today. It will start shipping March 30th, for a princely $3000! Microsoft didn’t say when the consumer version would be available. Theverge.com says the HoloLens will be bundled with 7 apps and games for developers. The 30th is also the date for Microsoft’s Build developer conference in San Francisco…tickets sold out in less than a minute!


Virtual Reality Headset from Samsung & Oculus Here; Volvo & Microsoft Team for VR Car Shopping

We’re about to get a real feel for how fast virtual reality will catch on. Samsung and Facebook’s Oculus VR division are dropping the Gear VR headset for $99.99. Cnet.com notes that it basically lets you strap a samsung smartphone to your head. It debuts with a Netflix app, and over 100 other apps and games, to offer what Oculus is calling ‘bottomless content.’ Apps on the special app store will go for $1.99 to $9.99.

In a more specialized…and maybe long term use of virtual realty…Volvo has partnered with Microsoft on a HoloLens based virtual car shopping experience. Geekwire.com reports they are testing out sitting in your living room, office, or wherever, strapping on the VR headset, and checking out and configuring car models. One touch in midair, and you change the color…another the interior, and so on. You can rotate the model on the table in front of you, then gesture and poof….it’s full size, and sitting on a rotating platform across the room. Volvo expects to have the HoloLens based system available to customers next year.


Microsoft’s Rollout Event

Today in New York, Microsoft showed their latest and greatest in Lumia phones, Surface Tablets, Microsoft Band 2, Xbox, and Hololens. First off, a new custom Halo 5 Xbox with a Terabyte of storage…that’s out October 20th for $499. The Hololens will have what Microsoft calls Console Class Graphics. It puts virtual game enemies right in your room, and is untethered…no wires, phones, or PC connection needed. According to theverge.com, Microsoft is taking applications for a Hololens development kit, and it should be out 1st quarter of next year for $3000.

Microsoft Band 2 is more circular, and has a curved Gorilla Glass 3 OLED screen. It has Built in GPS, UV monitoring, sleep and calorie tracking, a barometer to track elevation, and Cortana elevation. For golf, it knows if you’re putting, doing practice swings, or crushing the ball down the fairway! It works across iOS, Android, and Windows. It’s $249, and out October 30th. Trick or Treat!

The Lumia 5.2 inch 950 and 5.7 950 XL smartphones feature adaptive antenna tech, octacore and hexacore processors, and liquid cooling tech. There’s a 20 megapixel camera, better image stabilization, triple LED flash, and a dedicated camera button. 32 gigs of storage and USB C connector. They recharge to 50% in 30 minutes. The new Lumias run full Windows 10, and will be out in November starting at $549 for the 950 and $649 for the 950 XL.

The Surface Pro 4 tablet will have a fingerprint sensor on the keyboard and a larger GLASS trackpad. It has a 12.3 inch display, and thinner cover. It gets a hybrid cooling system and 6th generation Intel Core processor, with 16 gigs or RAM and 1 terabyte of storage. Microsoft claims Surface 4 is 30% faster than Surface 3, and 50% faster than a Macbook Air. The pen attaches magnetically to the side…it doesn’t need charging for a year! Double click one end and it launches One note…hold the ‘eraser’ button and it launches Cortana. Preorders open October 7th and it starts at $899.

New to the lineup is a 13.5 inch laptop they’ve dubbed Microsoft Surface Book. The display detaches into a tablet, which they claim is the thinnest and lightest Intel Core i7 tablet. The whole thing is 1.6 lbs, and 7.7 millimeters thick. It starts at $1499. Preorders start October 7th, and it’s available October 26th.