Amazon Looks to Build 2nd HQ in 2nd US City; New Surface PCs Out Next Month; Apple Paying Dearly for Single OLED Supplier Samsung

Amazon is ‘seeking proposals’ for a second US campus which they will drop about 5 billion on…and which will create as many as 50,000 jobs. According to geekwire.com, it would be the ‘full equal’ of the Seattle operation. They are looking at cities of over a million with a stable, business friendly environment and urban or suburban locations with the ability to attract and retain strong tech talent. Expect a bidding war like for the Olympics or a professional sports franchise from cities! Stay tuned.

Microsoft will drop at least one new Surface at its Future Decoded event in late October. Thenextweb.com reports there could be LTE versions of the Surface Pro, and maybe a refresh of the Surface Book, which dates to 2015. It’s also expected that Microsoft will show some Snapdragon powered Windows devices, but those may be third party, not Surface machines.

Apple is racing to help things along for a second supplier of OLED screens. Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities estimates that those Samsung displays for the iPhone 8 or Edition are running around $120-$130 per handset for Apple….compared with about $45-$55 per phone they pay for the LCD screens on the iPhone 7 Plus! This is one of the major reasons analysts think the new hero iPhone will run around $1000. At any rate, we’ll know for sure what it will cost next week!


Pixel 2 To Get OLED Screen; Twitter Users Want to Buy Twitter; TaskRabbit For Sale

The Samsung Galaxy S8 has one, the iPhone 8 is supposed to be getting a curved OLED screen, now it appears that Google may up their game….literally, with a larger, edge to edge curved screen. Bgr.com notes that the Pixel already features an OLED screen, but they have been buying them from Samsung…which will be pretty tapped out with their own phones and Apple’s. Google may drop almost a billion into LG Display, and will likely try to step up to the more technically advanced type like Samsung has built into the Galaxy S8.

Last fall, a group of Twitter users got a petition together to get the social net to sell itself to its users, and turn into a co-op. Now, recode.net reports that Twitter has actually put the idea on the agenda for their shareholder meeting next month. It doesn’t appear like the board is too keen to do it, but just the fact that they are considering it is interesting. A hybrid ownership model is also a possibility, which would give users a portion of voting shares and a few board seats. The Associated Press operates this way as a non-profit cooperative.

One of the pioneers of the so-called ‘gig’ economy, TaskRabbit, is thinking about selling itself. As startups for more specialized areas of pick up work have crowded the marketplace, continued capital has dried up. Techcrunch.com says tthere is still plenty of demand for handyman services, light home renovation, and the like…which are predicted to become a billion dollar business. Time will tell if TaskRabbit will outrun them all or become rabbit stew.


ALL 2019 iPhones Will Have OLED Displays; New Battery in Works-Lasts Longer Than Li-Ion and Won’t Explode; Twitch Rolls Out Pulse- a Twitter for Gamers

Numerous reports say the top line iPhone 8 will join Samsung and others in adapting an OLED screen this fall, but the 7S and 7S Plus will retain the current LCD screens. Macrumors.com says Apple plans to outfit ALL iPhones with the OLED displays, which have brighter colors and more vivid black, by 2019.

A team led by the co-creator of the lithium-ion battery is working on a replacement battery that lasts much longer and can’t explode! According to mashable.com, the so-called ‘solid state’ battery lasts up to 3 times longer and charges faster than lithium-ion. It also uses glass instead of liquid electrolytes, which don’t form dendrites that can grow, causing shorts and explosions. They also use sodium instead of lithium, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Don’t hold your breath…there’s no timetable for these hitting the market yet.

Amazon owned Twitch has announced Pulse, which they call “a place where streamers can post and engage with all of their followers and the greater Twitch community right from the Twitch front page.” Theverge.com reports that the rollout will happen over the next few weeks, and that broadcasters will be able topmost to friends and followers a mix of text, links, videos, and pictures. The Twitter clone will hit the Twitch app later.


iPhone 8-Bigger Screen, Smaller Form Factor; WWDC Moves to San Jose; Verizon Snags Drone Management Software Maker

We’ve written plenty about the iPhone 8’s OLED screen, as has everybody, and how it will have a 5.8 inch size. Now, macrumors.com, in a report from KGI Securities, picks up some new tidbits. The form factor of the handset will be about like the 4.7 inch iPhone 7, easing one hand operation. Because the front will be virtually all screen, the display size will be like that of the 5.5 inch iPhone Plus in the smaller chassis. The bottom of the screen will feature a row of virtual buttons, but KGI Securities says it may not have a home button or fingerprint sensor at all…instead, adapting ‘other biometric technologies,’ like iris or facial recognition.

Apple has announced WWDC 2017. 9to5mac.com says it is moving from San Francisco to the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, and will be June 5th through the 9th. Registration for tickets starts March 27th. The San Jose venue is roughly the same size as Moscone Center in San Francisco, so will accommodate 5000 developers and around a thousand Apple engineers. The Proximity to Apple’s Cupertino HQ and Campus 2 will ease attendance of more Apple engineers.

Verizon has picked up Skyward, a startup out of Portland that makes drone management software. According to geekwire.com, the code helps commercial drone operators track, connect, and manage drones. The software can be used by businesses in agriculture, construction, film production and telecommunications, and helps smooth compliance with FAA regulations.


Better Battery Life for iPhone 8; People Carrying Flying Drones This Year

iPhone 8 getting a more expensive stacked logic board. According to macrumors.com, this…combined with a less power hungry OLED screen… will enable the 4.7 inch size iPhone to pack the battery capacity of the 5.5 inch model. The stacked logic board and OLED screen are what will likely push the 10th anniversary iPhone past the $1000 price barrier.

We’ve been promised flying cars for years…really since the ‘40s and ’50’s. Now, something approaching them may be on the way yet this year. Bgr.com reports that Chinese company EHang has been working on a single passenger, self-flying airborne vehicle, much as Airbus and Uber have been. Apparently Dubai may be getting a program using them underway this year. The EHang 184 has 8 rotors on 4 arms, and can carry 220 lbs at just over 35 mph. It has a cruise time of about 25 minutes. Counting takeoff and landing, it will probably be limited to about a 15 mile range.


Samsung Galaxy S8 Will Have Killer Selfie Cam; iPhone 8’s Third, Higher-Line Model Gets OLED; Netflix Allows Some Downloading of Shows

The Samsung Galaxy S8 will have autofocus on the selfie cam. According to bgr.com, Samsung has figured out a way to add autofocus to the front camera without increasing the size of the camera module or the thickness of the phone. The Galaxy S8 will use an “encoder” method that has coils at the side, rather than a Voice Coil Motor that’s used in rear cameras for autofocus.

KGI Securities now says only a new, top line model iPhone 8 will get the OLED with better picture and lower power consumption. Businessinsider.com says updates to the current iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will get glass cases and wireless charging, though.

At long last, Netflix is allowing limited downloading of shows to be watched later offline. Theverge.com reports that it’s Netflix originals like Stranger Things, The Crown, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, and the like, but also a number of random other shows like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Paddington and Minions and Kung Fu Panda 3. It works on iOS and Android, with two quality versions: Standard and Higher. Netflix hasn’t said how much higher, but notes it will take longer to download. Finally, viewing for that plane flight or commuting over subway systems!


Another 3-Model iPhone 8 Rumor; Snap IPO-Could be worth $20-40 billion

KGI securities says Apple will roll out a 4.7 inch iPhone next year with a single lens camera, plus a dual lens 5.5 inch model with an LCD display like the smaller model, and one with an OLED screen. According to macrumors.com, some sources think that third, even more premium model will have a larger screen, maybe 5.8 inches. KGI didn’t speculate on that size, however. There are already grumblings from people who don’t want a larger phone, but would like the dual camera setup…which is predicted to be on 65-70% of iPhones by next year. It’s too early to get all that exercised…several sources said there would be 3 iPhone 7 models, and that didn’t happen!

Businessinsider.com is reporting that Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc. has quietly filed paperwork for an IPO. It could happen as early as March, but could also occur in the second quarter of next year. The company is seeking a valuation of $20 billion to $25 billion. Bloomberg has reported that Snap’s IPO valuation could go as high as $40 billion.


Sharp May Be Third Supplier of OLED Screens for 10th Anniversary iPhone; Netflix May Launch Downloading

According to 9to5mac.com, Apple may not need to rely completely on the two major manufacturers of OLED screens for the iPhone 8. While Samsung and LG currently manufacture most of the world’s OLED screens, Sharp expects to be doing the same ‘before 2018’.

A story in Light Reading picked up by bgr.com says Netflix will go live by the end of the year with downloading, which would allow offline viewing as an option. Not surprisingly, Netflix will not confirm or deny this. Although most people are generally happy streaming TV shows and movies, this would be a big plus for road trips and flying, or places where you know they aren’t going to have a fast or reliable internet connection.