NOkay Google; New iPhones Get Apple Pencil Support & Lower Price; Banks Monitoring Phone & Computer Use; No Wake Word for Cars

In the ‘just another thing to creep you out’ department, Google can apparently track your location even if you have Location Services switched off. Businessinsider.com reports that on Android devices and iOS devices running Google’s apps, if you use Google Maps, the app stores your minute to minute location. Even with Location History paused, Google stores a snapshot of where you are when you open Maps. Also, daily weather updates on Androids pinpoint your rough location. Google searches…even if location neutral? Yep, they store your location. Google says this is ‘made clear’ in their agreement…like anything is clear and easy to find in those!

Apple may have a couple things up their sleeve with the new iPhones that will rattle SamsungWorld. According to zdnet.com, Cupertino will not only add Apple Pencil support to the new iPhones (in direct threat to the brand new Samsung Galaxy Note 9), but also may have squeezed suppliers on costs to offer lower across the board prices. The price range will apparently be from $699 for the mid-sized LED screen, single cam ‘budget’ model people are calling iPhone 9 to $999 for the supersized OLED screen XI Plus (or whatever they are calling it.) All three new iPhones will have Face ID.

In an effort to fight fraudsters, banks are secretly Hoovering up as many as 2,000 data points on how you use your phone and computer. 9to5mac.com says they run from the angle at which you hold your phone to whether you use the numeric keypad or the numbers at the top of the keyboard, and even if you use the mouse scroll wheel or not. Royal Bank of Scotland said they already caught one fraudster with the data…the hacker used the scroll wheel and typed numbers with the keys at the top…something the customer had never done before. Then, the crook tried to transfer a 7 figure blast of cash out of the account…and was blocked. Yeah, it seems creepy as hell, but OTOH, who wants a million or so sucked out of your account? For the record, I’m ok with any of you transferring a million or more IN to my account as often as you want to!

Wake words…they work for voice assistants, but sure sound stupid. “Hey, Siri,” “OK, Google,” “Alexa”, and all may not be necessary in cars much longer. Engadget.com reports that Nuance is putting an updated system into next year’s BMWs that will understand when the driver is talking to passengers, on the phone, or to the car. Nuance calls it ‘Just Talk’ mode. According to Nuance, the system listens for expressions, grammar, phrases, words and even sentence structure that it can determine with a high probability that the driver is directing toward the car. A plus for you, not to use a wake word or push a button or touch a screen…but also, a plus for the car makers. They feel it will help keep drivers in their system instead of using Apple Car Play or Android Auto.


More Galaxy S8 Leaks; Netflix Will Have 20 Originals in 2017; Toys Pulled From Stores for Spying; Google Hits 100% Renewable Energy in 2017

SamMobile often has accurate tips about upcoming Samsung products, and according to the latest, they say the Galaxy S8 will lose both the headphone jack and physical home button. 9to5google.com reports it will have a USB-C port like the Note 7, and won’t jump to 4K screen resolution. There should be an optical fingerprint sensor in the display, too.

Netflix will debut 20 original unscripted shows in 2017. Arstechnica.com says they will be competition and reality shows. One will be ‘Ultimate Beastmaster,’ 10 episodes that will follow athletes over obstacle courses, with the winner in the finale being dubbed ‘The Ultimate Beast!’

Some high tech toys are being pulled from some store shelves, and a consumer council in Norway is demanding that the Federal Trade Commission and the European counterpart to it clear all of them from shelves. According to thenextweb.com, ‘My Friend Cayla’ and i-Que from Genesis Toys let kids communicate with the toys via a smartphone app. The company claims all communication is between the app and product, but apparently it really gets sent to the company’s Nuance server. Nuance underpins Siri for Apple and Dragon Naturally speaking. The data can apparently be used for marketing and shared with third parties. Not cool for toys that tout a ‘safe internet’ for kids.

Google has announced that it will power its entire worldwide operations with 100% renewable energy in 2017. According to techcrunch.com, they will be able to claim to be world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, and will be twice as large in that respect as Amazon. Some of the power comes from energy credits, but Google says it plans to further diversify into renewables…particularly to get away from as much reliance on wind power.


Dragon Anywhere Mobile Apps Coming

As Apple does more and more with Siri, and Microsoft does the same with Cortana, a long time player in speech recognition will be dropping mobile apps this fall. Thenextweb.com reports that Dragon Anywhere…the app…will be released for iOS and Android, with the focus on professionals. At least the initial release will be designed for lawyers, social workers, insurance adjusters, and public safety officers, according to Nuance…which envisions such pros using the app to create and edit complete reports and documents, or take detailed notes on the go. It will play nice with Evernote and Dropbox, according to the maker. Updates to the PC desktop app will be out in August, and for the Mac in September.

We previously reported on Silent Circle’s 2.0 product, the Blackphone 2. Now, techcrunch.com says it should be launching in September….a little bit of a slide from a promised summer launch, and still no word on a price. It will sport an all-glass front and rear, plus a larger 5.5 inch full HD display, have a 64-bit processor, and more RAM.