Samsung Galaxy A9-1st Phone With 4 Rear Cams; Apple Buys into Dialog Semiconductor; PayPal Partners With Walmart; Apple Watch Could Solve Journo Mystery

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The Pixel 3 just bowed, with a single rear cam that does amazing things. Now, Samsung fires back, introducing the Galaxy A9, a so-called ‘midrange’ phone with FOUR rear shooters! engadget.com reports that each has a different function. There’s a 24 MP ‘main cam,’ another lens with a 5MP sensor that just grabs depth info for bokeh mode, a 10MP telephoto with 2x optical zoom, and an 8MP extra-wide angle lens, with 120 degree field of vision…nearly fisheye. For a mid-range phone, it’s not cheap…the A9 will launch in Britain next month for $724.

Apple is dropping $300 million of it’s giant wad of cash to buy part of Dialog Semiconductor. Cupertino is also spending another $300 million committing to further purchases from what remains of Dialog’s business. Dialog has been making parts for Apple since the 1st iPhone. Apple picks up about 300 employees, chipmaking capacity in Europe, and licensing of some of Dialog’s technology.

PayPal has partnered with Walmart to offer some financial services in-store, a first in brick and mortar for PayPal. Zdnet.com says people will be able to deposit and withdraw cash from their PayPal accounts inside Walmart stores. It will be a flat $3 service fee for cash in or cash out. In addition, PayPal Cash Mastercard customers can access their cash balance using Walmart Service Desks, ATMs, and cash registers. In the US, about 7% of households are unbanked, and some 24.5 million households are considering ‘underbanked’ by the FDIC. This move will be squarely aimed at that market.

There have been lots of rumors swirling since Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished from the Kingdom’s consulate in Turkey. Now, according to appleinsider.com, there might be a way to learn if he was actually killed inside, or spirited away back to Saudi Arabia or otherwise. The contributor to the Washington Post had worn his Apple Watch into the consulate, but handed his iPhone to his fiancee outside before going in. It’s possible that the Watch could have transmitted info showing his location and pulse to the phone’s health app. Turkish authorities say they don’t have the Watch or know which model it was, but are following this lead in an effort to determine what happened. The Turks claim he was murdered by a Saudi team who flew in for the purpose. The Saudis say he just walked right back out (but doesn’t seem to have been seen by anyone.) If alive, he may have been captured and taken back to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the Watch health and location data will be able to crack the case.

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Apple Watch May Not Make Voice Calls at Launch; PayPal & Apple Pay Cut off White Supremacists; Nokia 8 Boasts Dubious ‘Bothie’ Photos

Despite the very strong rumors that Apple Watch will launch with an LTE capable model, it looks like it won’t initially make voice calls. Appleinsider.com says the LTE capability will initially just work for faster data. Voice calling will likely be activated later in the year. In the meantime, the Watch will support FaceTime, Skype, and other apps that make calls, so it will still be pretty Dick Tracy. KGI Securities says it might even be early 2018 before the Watch will make cell calls over the regular carrier networks.

Apple Pay and PayPal have both cut off websites that sell Nazi apparel and materials. According to buzzfeed.com, white supremacist merch will be banned. Uber, Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp, and WordPress have also taken some live of action against the groups. Earlier, Airbnb had cancelled lodging attempts by white supremicist groups trying to book in Charlottesville.

In a sign that feature creep has gotten to the point of ridiculousness, the new Nokia 8, an otherwise good hero smartphone, has introduced the ‘bothie.’ Mashable.com reports that the phone has a feature called Dual Sight, that lets you view the back and front cams on a split screen, and shoot simultaneous photos with them. The ‘bothie’ feature works on both photos and video, and can be live streamed to social media. It’s $701, and rolls out in September. If you buy one…and it’s a nice phone…PLEASE don’t post ‘bothies!’


Dueling Display Rumors for iPhone 8; Gmail Android App Adds Money Sending

Just yesterday, we had a rumor that the iPhone 8 would keep a flat screen as it goes to AMOLED. Now, macrumors.com says a new one points to a ‘slightly curved’ screen…not near as curved as a Samsung Galaxy Edge, but a gentle curve. Actually, the present iPhones curve at the edges very slightly, so it may be a matter of semantics or maybe it’s because Apple generally builds a number of different test models before settling on a final design. In this case, we may not really know for sure until fall.

Users of the Gmail app on Android can now send or request money with anyone, including those who don’t have a Gmail address, with just a tap. Mashable.com says
it’s designed to make exchanging money as easy as attaching a file. Just tap the attachment icon (the paperclip), then choose either send or request money. A pop-up window appears where you can input the amount and add a note, and send. The entire process takes place in the Gmail app — you don’t have to have Google Wallet installed. Recipients can configure it so the money they receive through Gmail goes directly into their bank account. There are no fees involved. A little late to the party, but Google joins PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Snapchat, and Facebook Messenger in adding a cash sending feature.


Apple Pay Coming to Websites by Holidays; Sony Bringing PS Games to Mobile

Apple is getting ready to move Apple Pay beyond apps to mobile purchases over the web. Recode.net reports that the service will be available on iPhones and iPads with TouchID using the Safari browser by the holidays this year. Paypal has already had a system called One Touch that more than 250 top retailers use, but Apple Pay will be quicker and cleaner at checkout, with just the touch of a fingerprint, and you’re done.

In other big mobile news, Sony has formed ForwardWorks corporation to develop games using PlayStation titles and characters for mobile games. 9to5google.com notes that they won’t be porting full blown PlayStation games over to Android and iOS, but even ‘lite’ versions of many titles will please mobile users…and considering that there are billions of them, that should be a huge market.


Big Bluetooth Speed & Range Boosts Coming; Apple Pay Between Individuals

Huge improvements may turbocharge people connecting more of their homes to the internet of things. Engadget.com reports that the firm that oversees Bluetooth is making big updates in 2016…meaning Bluetooth connections should see a 100% speed boost and quadruple the range. This will be for all Bluetooth, not just connected internet of things gadgets. They’re also working on mesh networking- so a whole area, home, or building can be connected.

As more stores embrace Apple Pay…I just used it for the first time at Trader Joe’s this week…Apple is expanding in a new way. Geek.com says they’re working with banks on setting up peer to peer payments between friends and family over Apple Pay. This will hit PayPal’s Venmo right in the pocketbook, as Apple doesn’t play to charge the banks processing fees. It looks like they will just use it to attract and keep Apple Pay users and financial institutions. Of course, it also gives them more data to better target ads towards you!


FAA Drone Study May Bring Good News For Amazon

The Federal Aviation Administration is beginning a study regarding drone flights beyond the pilot’s line of sight. Both Amazon and Google have clamored for this, and the Europeans are already getting ready for it. Geekwire.com notes that the present FAA policy-just set in February- limits drones to the pilot’s line of sight.

Home Depot is upgrading its point of sale equipment, and working towards accepting Apple Pay at all of its 2000 stores. Bloomberg.com says that would make the chain the largest retailer to accept Apple Pay. Home Depot doesn’t yet have an agreement with Apple, but already accepts PayPal, and is looking at including other kinds of mobile payment, too. This would presumably include CurrentC, the still developing pay system from the Merchant Customer Exchange.


Google Plans Apple Watch Access from Android

Google seems poised to pull something clever regarding the Apple Watch. Businessinsider.com notes they may be building support for the iPhone into their Android Wear smartwatch software. The present Android wear smartwatches only work with Android phones, and of course Apple Watch only talks to iPhones.

According to forbes.com, Paypal will be allowed to work with Amazon and Alibaba after the split from eBay later this year. The parent company has been positioning Paypal as a ‘true neutral third party’ to commerce and retail clients. In the short term, eBay will remain Paypal’s biggest client, however.

Microsoft has launched without fanfare a new Android app that lets you control Powerpoint presentations on a PC from your Android smartphone. Thenextweb.com reports says the Office Remote app also works with Excel and Word. The remote app has previously only been available on Windows phones.

Amazon has quietly acquired Shoefitr, a startup that uses 3D tech to help match online shoppers with shoes that will fit them better. TechCrunch.com says it’s unclear so far if they will operate it as a freestanding site, roll it into their Zappos subsidiary, or both.