Dates for Galaxy S8 Release; Apple- 5 Groups Working on Wireless Charging; Tesla Formulating All-in-One Pricing & More Gigafactories

Samsung had originally wanted to show the Galaxy S8 at Mobile World Congress, but the Note 7 mess threw a wrench into that plan. Now, bgr.com says they will show the latest handset on March 29th, and likely preorders in the US will begin on April 13th. Competitor LG WILL show their new G6 model at MWC, and it will go on sale March 10th.

Apple reportedly has 5 groups working on wireless charging. There has been speculation for months about the iPhone 8 getting that feature, but disagreement about whether it would be inductive charging…which other phones have…or a longer range system. According to macrumors.com, they have also been testing 10 different versions of the iPhone 8. It’s likely things are pretty well finalized, and Apple did join the Wireless Power Consortium, which pushes the Qi inductive system. They may be looking to the across the room charging systems for future iPhones.

Tesla is working on formulating all-in-one pricing for their cars, which would include lifetime insurance and maintenance. Thenextweb.com reports that the insurance would come from traditional insurers. Tesla feels that with their autopilot and future self-driving, the accident rate would be low enough to make this work financially. Their electric cars have far less mechanical systems to maintain already. Also, Elon Musk wrote to shareholders that they may be looking at adding 3 more Gigafactories. The first one is in Reno, and they call the solar plant in New York Gigafactory 2.


iPhone 8 May Just Get Inductive Charging; Newest Snapdragon Chip May Be Exclusive to Samsung Galaxy S8; Amazon Echo For Trekkies; Kids & Internet Devices in Bed

We’ve reported before that Apple will probably have wireless charging for the iPhone 8. Some rumors have it getting the Energous system, which uses radio waves, and works across the room. Now, macrumors.com reports that patents filed as late as 2013 indicate Apple may just roll their own with inductive charging….in other words, the tried and true set the phone on a charging pad method. It’s not as zoomy or futuristic, but in filings, Apple claims the wireless radio charging is too inefficient and not practical now.

There’s a new Qualcomm chip coming out, the Snapdragon 835, and it looks like Samsung’s Galaxy S8 will have it exclusively at first. 9to5google.com says LG’s new G6, which will be shown at Mobile World Congress, will ship with the 821 chip, the same as the Google Pixel. The Snapdragon 821 is a perfectly good chip, and not quite a year old, but for the latest and greatest, you’ll have to get the Galaxy S8 after April.

Amazon may have added a killer feature to the Echo for Trekkies. You can now change the wake word in the settings to ‘Computer.’ Cnet.com says in addition to ‘Alexa’ and ‘Computer,’ you can also choose ‘Amazon,’ or ‘Echo.’ A Cnet reporter asked Echo to set phasers to stun, and it replied that was coming in a future update!

According to a new study by Intel Security, 76% of parents let their kids take internet connected gadgets to bed, while only 23% of them monitor the kids’ usage. Venturebeat.com says the survey polled 13,000 people. They come by it honestly….the survey also found that 36% of parents had been called out by their kids for checking their smartphones during family time. Even though parents aren’t monitoring kids as they should, 34% of parents have caught children visiting inappropriate sites.


Future iPhones Could Be Inductively Charged-WITHOUT Added Parts!

A patent application by Apple is all about inductive charging…which several other smartphones have had for a while. Bgr.com reports that this is different because NO additional parts are required…a clever idea from thinness-obsessed Apple. Using software, Apple’s system uses electric coils already in the speakers, microphones, and haptic engines in iOS gadgets. It may even be possible to charge older iOS devices in this manner, using a dock designed for inductive charging. Amazingly, the tiny speakers and microphones would still be able to do their normal duties while charging. Since these coils are tiny, don’t expect rapid charging with them, and no word on when…or if Apple will introduce the feature.

Here’s a biggie for those of us in California that value what little privacy we think we have left…yesterday, Governor Brown signed into law an act that requires police to get a warrant before collecting email, IP addresses, or other electronic information. The new law has been pushed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ACLU, and it should apply to the notorious Stingray, the surveillance gadget that scoops up your info by posing as a cellular tower. Washington state has a similar new law, and the US Department of Justice has vowed to obtain a warrant when they utilize such tech.


Thinner Apple Laptops Coming

According to macrumors.com, Apple will launch a thinner Macbook by the end of the year or early 2015. The 13 inch non-retina Macbook Pro will be retired at that point.

Dropbox just announced that Dropbox Pro is being consolidated from 3 price tiers to just one. Thenextweb.com reports that it’s $9.99 a month for a massive 1 TB of storage, plus remote wipe and password protected guest files.

Engadget.com says London is trying out inductive charging stations at bus stops for their electric and hybrid busses. If it works well, it could be huge. Imagine San Francisco streets without the overhead wires currently there for electric busses.