HTC’s Blockchain Phone; Magic Leap Signs With AT&T; Britain Fines Facebook over Cambridge Data

HTC may have a reduced presence, but they are still kicking, and plan to release the fabled first major blockchain phone in third quarter. Techcrunch.com says HTC has partnered with CryptoKitties, and the popular blockchain game will be available on a few of the company’s handsets, leading off with the U12+. HTC says that ‘the partnership with Cryptokitties is the beginning of a non fungible, collectible marketplace and crypto gaming app store.” Although a blockchain phone may not be mainstream, it may be enough of a hook for HTC to revive its flagging smartphone line.

Magic Leap, the company with the unusual and secretive AR glasses, has signed a deal for mobile data service with AT&T. Theverge.com reports that, in addition to selling the device, AT&T will let customers demo the glasses at stores in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, LA, and San Francisco. Magic Leap is supposed to be putting out a ‘Creator Edition’ later this year. In this deal, AT&T will only start distributing the glasses once the consumer version becomes available. So far, Magic Leap hasn’t released a timeline for that. AT&T seems to feel that the Magic Leap AR glasses will be a game changer. They previously had cut an exclusive deal with Apple for the iPhone…and we know how that turned out!

Britain’s data watchdog has fined Facebook $664,000 over the Cambridge Analytica mess. It will take the social media giant a screaming 18 minutes to pay the fine! According to businessinsider.com, if they had been fined under the new EU law that went into effect in May, the maximum penalty would have been $1.6 billion. Facebook made $4.8 billion in profit just in the first 3 months this year. The EU fine can be up to 4% of a company’s global turnover. Zuckerberg can eat a sandwich at his desk, and the British fine will be paid.

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Next iPhone-More Details on 3rd Model; Hacking Android Phones for Bitcoin Mining; Magic Leap’s Semi-Reasonable AR Glasses

Frequently reliable Apple analyst KGO Securities estimates that Apple could ship 100 million of the new 6.1 inch screen LCD iPhone. Macrumors.com says KGI has already predicted that Apple will drop the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in favor of this new, lower priced iPhone. It won’t have the OLED screen, but will be full screen with ‘the notch.’ It also will have an aluminum frame instead of stainless steel, a single lens camera, and no 3D Touch. On the other hand, KGI says it could be priced starting at $699, which will pull in a lot more buyers than the $1000 or $1000 top iPhones for 2018. KGI thinks the lower priced model will account for half of all new iPhones after the new models roll out this fall.

Mining cryptocurrency with ‘unused computer power’ is great…IF you’re doing the mining on your own machines. According to 9to5google.com, MalwareBytes says a substantial number of Android handsets have been hijacked to mine the cryptocurrency Moreno. All the websites that do this use a redirect, so if you get one of those while browsing, you should run tools on your phone (like those from MalwareBytes, of course.)

Magic Leap has been trying to stay under the radar until recently, when they showed a model of what their AR glasses will look like. Now, theverge.com reports that they will produce several versions, including one priced like a ‘higher end mobile phone to higher-end tablet.’ They also plan a high end version for pros and developers, but may end up with as many as 3 models in the beginning. Although dropping around $1000 for a set of AR glasses doesn’t sound cheap, Magic Leap points out that over time, the headsets can replace your phones, televisions, laptops, and tablets….which could save thousands of dollars.


Magic Leap Unveals AR Headset; Apple Allowing Universal Apps-Mac and iOS; UK Deems High Speed Internet a Legal Right

We’ve been hearing whispers for years, and now Google-backed Magic Leap has taken the wraps off their augmented reality headset’s Creator Edition. 9to5google.com says they will be shipping in 2018, too! The setup consists of a ‘Lightwear’ headset connected to a circular ‘Lightpack’ via a couple cords…the Lightpack contains the processing and graphics, in a mid-sized disk that hangs off a belt or pocket…and a Control’ remote (smaller than most TV remotes) that provides for 6 degrees of freedom and movement. The headset has tech that detects and stores the exact location of walls, surfaces, and physical objects, and also what they are calling ‘360 degree sound field audio.’ The interface accepts inputs from voice, gestures, head poses, and eye tracking. No word on pricing for the Creator Edition yet, but their SDK should be released along with it, in addition to other tools for web and game developers.

Apple is readying to let developers release universal apps that will work across iPhones, iPads, and Macs early next year. In a Bloomberg News writeup picked up by macrumors.com, the official announcement and details could come in June at WWDC 2018. So far, it’s not known if Apple will merge the Mac App Store with the vastly more popular App Store for iOS, but that seems logical. The move would mean better apps for the Mac, since developers put a lot more time and energy into making apps for the more widely used iPhones and iPads.

In the wake of the FCC killing net neutrality here in the US, Britain has taken the opposite position. According to rawstory.com, the UK has deemed high speed internet a legal right for all citizens, and will require that never household is wired for it by 2020.. Communications company BT has pledged to drop around $788 million to connect about a million and a half rural homes to the net. Right now, about 95% of homes in the UK have broadband connections with 24 Mbps or higher speed.


Google-Virtual Reality Right On Your Eyeballs!

Google-owned Magic Leap has posted a video demoing how they are putting together an augmented reality capable of displaying extremely realistic images directly on users’ retinas. 9to5google.com says it’s not clear from the video what is working product and what’s still a concept, but it looks pretty amazing.

This may be the coolest thing for your kitchen counter ever…better than that coffee maker that makes lattes and cappuccinos. According to engadget.com, Somabar has a $430 robotic bartender in the works. It began as a kickstarter, and uses remeasured ingredients from pods like a coffeemaker. It’s not up to matching a good human bartender, but it’s a start.

The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are out before long here, and preorders start the 27th, with the launch on April 10th. Bgr.com reports that Best Buy might be the best deal…they will apparently offer a free wireless charger that normally sells for $49.99.