Uber Snags NASA Engineer in Look at Flying Taxis; LG G6 Gets US Drop Date; Rumor-Apple VR Headset This Year

Uber has hired a former NASA engineer named Mark Moore for its Uber Elevate flying taxi project. According to thenextweb.com, Moore worked on feasibility of short haul helicopter type vehicles for urban flight while at NASA. It seems like a crazy wild idea, but hey….could happen, and would that ever revolutionize transportation!

It’s already been known that LG would show its G6 smartphone at Mobile World Congress February 26th. Now, venturebeat.com says it will launch in the US on April 7th, after rolling out in Korea March 9th. The April 7th drop date will give LG a head start on Samsung, which plans to launch the Galaxy S8 April 21st. Word is, the G6 will be the first non-Google phone to launch with Google Assistant.

Augmented and virtual reality evangelist Robert Scoble is saying Apple’s partnership with Carl Zeiss on smart glasses may put an Apple VR headset in the hands of consumers as soon as the middle of this year, or at the latest, next year! Appleinsider.com reports that he claims multiple sources at ‘the highest levels’. Scoble says he expects a very lightweight pair of glasses, with the electronics living elsewhere on the body, like in an iPhone or some other wearable. Zeiss already sells the VR One Plus, which is a headset that holds a user’s smartphone and converts it to a VR or AR system. Scoble is pretty optimistic on the timing…others Apple watchers, like KGI Securities, have said it will be another year and a half before Apple rolls out such a product.


Galaxy S8 Delayed; iPhone 8 Gets Improved 3D Touch Sensor and Flex OLED Screen; All 2017 Chromebooks Will Run Android Apps

Samsung won’t be showing the Galaxy S8 at the upcoming Mobile World Congress, as they have done for years with predecessors. Instead, 9to5google.com reports they will show it at a dedicated event in New York City in April. In addition to rumors about losing physical keys, borrowing Apple’s 3D Touch, and wireless earbuds, Samsung will probably show off their dedicated assistant, Bixby.

Meanwhile, Apple will refresh 3D Touch to work with the expected new flexible OLED screens. According to 9to5mac.com, it will have a higher sensitivity and wider range of touch pressure levels. Analysts are still expecting a wrap around all glass front screen and glass back with stainless steel bezels and for the 8 to be larger than the 7 Plus.

All 2017 Chromebooks will support Android apps right out of the box. Techcrunch.com says none will require updated software, you can just fire them up and immediately hit the Google Play Store. Up to now, only select Chromebook models could run Android apps….this should goose popularity of Chromebooks, and give them an ecosystem more akin to Windows or mac OS.


iPhone 8 May Have Facial Recognition; LG Will Probably Show New Flagship at Mobil World Conference

Another analyst has predicted that Apple will bake facial and gesture recognition into iPhone 8, along with the Touch ID fingerprint biometrics. According to macrumors.com, the facial recognition will be powered by both a laser sensor and infrared sensor that will live near the front facing camera. This would not only increase security, but are steps towards augmented reality. Apple’s Tim Cook has strongly hinted that Apple is heavily involved in developing AR.

LG will host an event at Mobile World Congress next month, and likely roll out their latest flagship phone, the G6. 9to5google.com reports that LG has struggled to take market share from Samsung or Apple, but hopes to claw a percent or two with the 5.7 inch screen with multi-window support. They will have a ‘heat pipe’ cooling system to cool the battery, in a little shade throwing to Samsung.


Apple Leases Former Sunnyvale Pepsi Plant- Apple Car; Paying With Your Face…or Your Car Coming

Apple has leased a nearly 100,000 square foot building in Sunnyvale that used to be a Pepsi bottling plant. 9to5mac.com says the facility is more like a warehouse than office building, and sits on 5 acres…and is probably for Project Titan, the Apple Car. Apple already has an 80,000 square foot building and a 140,000 square foot facility in Sunnyvale thought to be for the project…both are a 10 minute walk from the old Pepsi plant.

Last year, MasterCard announced its pay with a ‘selfie’ option. Now, they’ve showed it off at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. It uses the front camera of a smartphone and a single blink to identify a buyer. Cnet.com reports that rival Visa showed off a connected car that pays for your gas or for parking seamlessly. A chip in the car ‘talks’ to the gas pump or parking meter. It might be thrifty…pumping just enough gas to fill up, or paying for only the exact time you are parked.


Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 Edge Revealed; LG’s Svelte VR Headset

The long-awaited Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were showed off yesterday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Looking great with a premium metal and glass case, the latest Edge has a bigger screen than last year’s S6 at 5.5 inches. The regular S7 has a 5.1 inch Super AMOLED screen. The micro SD slot is back, so you can expand to an insane 200 GB of memory! The upgraded 12 MP camera is almost flush with the back, and shoots 4K video. The S7 has a 3000 mAh battery, and the edge a 3600 mAh power supply. Pre-orders start February 23rd, and they go on sale March 11th in black, gold, wine red, and gray/silver.

LG has showed off their new 360 VR headset, and it’s a pleasant departure from others. Instead of large goggles that hold your smartphone in view, the 360VR looks like an overgrown pair of glasses, something like those telescopic ones you could buy. The smartphone plugs in, and you also jack into it for audio. LG says it simulates a 130 inch TV that’s 2 meters away, with a resolution of 630 ppi. It works with their own 360 cam footage, and also with Google Cardboard content. Pricing and availability to be announced later.


Samsung Announces Galaxy Unpacked Date; Tesla May Mirror Apps On Big Screen

It’s official…Samsung has announced their Galaxy Unpacked event at Mobile World Congress February 21st in Barcelona. 9to5google.com says the event will be live streamed at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern over Samsung’s YouTube channel. A teaser video has a person wearing a Gear VR virtual reality headset reaching for a cube with a 7 on it, a nod to the rollout of the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

Tesla is looking at allowing smartphone apps from iPhones and Androids to be mirrored on it’s big display in the centre console of the cars. Theverge.com reports that the maker may be going this direction instead of putting out their own native developer kit to wall the phone apps off from the system that controls the functionality of the car itself. Although Tesla has one of the better infotainment systems in any car, they haven’t embraced Android Auto and Apple CarPlay at this point.


Samsung Looks Like Apple’s Primary OLED Screen Supplier; Microsoft Planning 2 New Flagship Phones

There’s been a lot of buzz that Apple will move to OLED screens, like a number of Android phones have and as Apple uses in the Apple Watch. Now, 9to5mac.com reports that a deal is all but signed for Samsung to supply the bulk of OLED iPhone screens. Don’t look for a screen with the more vivid color and deeper blacks in the iPhone 7, though…they’re unlikely to get the new screens into a phone before 2018.

Every now and again, Microsoft does something to remind the world that they still make smartphones. According to businessinsider.com, Redmond may be planning a pair of flagship phones, which they’ll show next month at Mobile World Congress. The Lumia 850 would replace the 830, and there’s a 750 to take over for the 735. Microsoft appears to be keeping the 950, which came out in October. No details on the 750, but the 850 will have a 5.5 inch screen, Qualcomm processor, and 2 gigs of RAM.