Google Will Launch Hybrid OS; Xiaomi’s New Flagship Has Ultrasonic Fingerprint Reader; Apple Patents Laser Mapping System & Hybrid Keyboard

Google looks to launch its upcoming Andromeda…Android/Chrome hybrid OS on a Huawei Nexus tablet and a convertible laptop, according to 9to5google.com. The convertible laptop will probably sport the new Pixel brand, as Google appears poised to call the phones they will show October 4th. It will have either an Intel M3 or i5 Core processor, 32 or 128GB of storage and 8GB or 16GB of RAM. There’s also apparently a fingerprint scanner, two USB-C ports, stereo speakers, four microphones, and a 10 hour battery. It’s apparently priced around $800.

Chinese phone maker Xiaomi has showed off its Mi 5s and 5s Plus handsets. According to theverge.com, they have a better camera, faster processor, but of most interest…and ultrasonic fingerprint reader that is under the glass on the front. The portion of the front with the reader doesn’t have screen space under it. Apple has a patent for similar tech, but the iPhone 8 will likely have an all glass screen on the front, edge to edge. On the Xiaomi phones, an indentation in the glass is the only spot that will read prints. Apple’s may not be so restrictive. Ultrasonic fingerprint readers are generally more accurate than the capacitive ones currently used by Apple, Samsung, and the rest.

Apple has also patented laser based positional and 3D mapping hardware…this could give far more reliable mapping for…say…self-driving cars! Appleinsider.com says they were also granted a patent for a hybrid mechanical/ capacitive touch sensitive keyboard. They also have an optical connector that converts signals to light which connects accessories to a laptop through micro-perfs that are invisible to the naked eye. It uses infrared laser light, which draws less power than Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.


Waze Ridesharing Coming to San Francisco; Google Dropping Nexus Brand; Ford Patents Button Press Car Passcodes

In what may be a precursor to driverless service, Google is going to open up a ride share pilot program through the Waze app this fall. They had already tested a smaller version near Google headquarters that allowed people to grab a ride with another Waze user. Appleinsider.com says this may not just be aimed at Uber and Lyft, but to get a head start on Apple in the driverless car arena. The service will roll out in San Francisco.

Google is also dropping the Nexus brand for its smartphones. Theverge.com reports that they’ll still be made by HTC, but will be branded with a ‘G’ logo. For the first time, they won’t run a ‘pure’ version of Android. The next version of Google phones will be slightly smaller, with 5 inch and 5.5 inch screen models offered. This will be the first use of the Google brand on hardware for the company.

Ford has patented an interesting method to safeguard your car. With key fobs being relatively easy to hack, Ford has developed a way to set a security code with a series of presses. Cnet.com notes that the interesting part is it’s not all buttons, which makes it much tougher to hack. It will use the radio buttons, both on the dash and steering wheel, and the brake pedal. The car won’t start without the correct sequence. It could be used with keyless and keyed entry systems, or maybe without any key fob at all. No word from Ford on when…or if…the feature might be available.


Google Weighs Building Its Own Smartphone From Scratch; Samsung Galaxy S7 Update

Google already has the Nexus, and two models just recently rolled out. Now, according to bgr.com, which spotted something in The Information, Google may not look to HTC, Samsung, LG, Motorola, or Huawei for future smartphones, but may roll their own. The Silicon Valley giant is apparently considering developing its own chips for mobile devices…like Apple does. Even though Android dominates the smartphone market, they continue to lose share to Apple. Nothing’s decided yet…including whether or not they would use the Nexus brand.

Earlier, we reported that Apple may be on track to drop the iPhone 7 by June or July, instead of September as with the iPhone 6S and 6 before it. Now, it appears Samsung is at least a month ahead of last year in developing firmware for it’s next iteration of the Galaxy, the S7. 9to5google.com notes that his could allow them to get the drop on Apple with a rollout as early as January or February.


Google Shows New Smartphones, Tablet, & Drops New Chromecast

Google rolled out two top line smartphones at its big Nexus event in San Francisco Tuesday…first, the brand new Nexus 6P. It’s made by Huawei and sports a 5.7-inch AMOLED display, powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor. The 6P has a unibody aluminum design. For comparison it weighs 178 grams… Apple’s new iPhone 6s Plus has a smaller 5.5-inch display and it weighs 199 grams.
It comes with 3GB of RAM, a 12.3-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing selfie camera, a massive 3,450 battery and either 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage. So how much? it starts at $499 off contract, and you can preorder at the Google Play store, with shipping sometime in October.

Google also showed a smaller handset…the Nexus 5X. This year, Google is taking a page out of Samsung and Apple’s playbook and offering two distinct flagship phones, one with a smaller screen and one that’s phablet sized. The Nexus 5X features a 5.2-inch LCD display with full HD resolution. A 2GHz 6-core Snapdragon 808, and 2GB of RAM. The phone will be available with either 16GB or 32GB of storage. It sports a 12.3-megapixel rear camera, a 5-megapixel front facing camera, and fingerprint scanner. The Nexus 5X will start at $379 with no contract, and like the 6P, it’s available for preorder now in the Google Play Store, and ships in October.

Google rolled out an actual tablet, too… the Pixel C. This tablet, unlike the Pixel devices that preceded it, will launch not with Chrome OS, but with Android — 6.0 Marshmallow to be exact. There’s an optional detachable keyboard you will probably want. This tablet is amazingly made by Google, and not just built for them.
The Pixel C features a 10.2-inch screen. It will ship sometime in November, starting at $499 for the tablet itself at 32 GB (and $599 for the 64 GB), and $149 for the attachable keyboard.

As you heard or read here last week, the 2nd generation Chromecast is out. Besides the lollypop shaped dongle, the device offers improved WiFi and connectivity features, a new home screen that features new “feeds” for displaying content on-screen while your device is in standby, and “Fast Play,” which allows your devices to connect to Chromecast faster and easier than ever before…the Chromecast Audio, including Spotify support is also out now. Chromecast 2.0 is $35. You’ll be able to grab one from the Google Store, Best Buy, and Walmart.


New Nexus’ from Google…and Android Lollypop

Google has stopped selling the Nexus 5, 7, and 10, which tips their hand that rumored new smart devices are on the way. The Nexus 6 packs a 6 inch screen, and is available for preorder later this month. Geek.com notes that the latest version of Android is Android L, which stands for Lollypop!

With Apple’s event tomorrow, macrumors.com says KGI Securities predicts initial iPad Air 2 supplies will be tight, the iPad Mini will just be a minor upgrade, and the expected 27 inch Retina iMac will ship before the end of the year.

Amazon has integrated their Cloud Drive with Amazon Instant Video. You can store up to 5 gigs of your pictures, videos, documents, etc for free, according to thenextweb.com.


iPhone 6 Getting Conquest Sales from Android

You may have heard Apple sold a record number of iPhone 6’s (10 million since Friday and over the weekend), but here’s something that flew under the radar…bgr.com says that the week the new Apple phones were announced, trade-in site gazelle saw Android trade-ins triple!

Techcrunch.com reports that the Windows 9 preview that was expected for the Microsoft event September 30th may not actually be released now until October. No word on what the holdup is.

The next Google Nexus 9 tablet could be beautiful. Gigaom.com says the 64 bit Android tablet will be made for them by HTC, makers of the gorgeous HTC One (M8). It’s likely to replace the $400 Nexus 10, which has been built by Samsung.