Details Out on Google Pixel 3 & 3 XL; Netflix Buys Studio;LinkedIn Picks Up Glint; Princeton Identity-Walkthrough Biometric Scanner

With the non-stop leaks the last month or so, there wasn’t a ton we didn’t know about the Google Pixel 3 and 3XL, but now that they have been actually unveiled…yes, there are a few things to report. First of all, the prices are out now…Pixel 3 will start at $799 for 64 Gigs, the 3 XL will bow at $899. For 128 Gigs, add $100 more to either. Both phones run a Snapdragon 845, and have 4 Gigs of RAM. Screen size is bigger on both, thanks to thinner bezels. The 3 has a 5.5 inch display, and the 3 XL is 6.3 inches. Interestingly, both just have a single 12.2 MP camera on the rear…but TWO front facing cams. One gives a wider field of view for getting more people into a selfie, or taking in more of your surroundings.

Even with the single lens rear cam, Google has further beefed up software to carry on as one of the best…if not the best shooters on the market. New AI enhancements include a Top Shot option that picks the best image from a burst. Super Res Zoom uses multiple frames to deliver a sharper final photo, even without optical zoom.

Both Pixels now support wireless charging with a glass back, and there’s a Pixel Stand you can buy for charging. Phone-wise, the Pixels can use Google Assistant to screen spam calls, and let you decide to block or get a reminder to call back later. The phones answer themselves, and show you a transcription. Both phones will be exclusively on Verizon in the US, as has been the case with previous Pixel phones….although you can buy them unlocked directly from Google.

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Netflix is buying ABQ Studios in Albuquerque, and is indicating they will be investing a billion dollars in new TV and film projects. Bgr.com says the studio has already produced The Avengers, The Lone Ranger, and Sicario. The Netflix buy is expected to bring up to 1,000 production jobs to Ne w Mexico as they ramp up to produce original material at ABQ. A fun piece of trivia came out of the deal…the GPS coordinates of the location where Walter White of “Breaking Bad’ buried his barrels of cash are actually those of ABQ Studios!

LinkedIn is buying employee survey software company Glint for $400 million. According to businessinsider.com, Glint specializes in employee surveys measuring satisfaction with management, compensation, and other internal issues. LinkedIn expects to offer better insights than ever combining Glint’s data with their info about the broader workforce. Glint was already used by Alphabet’s Waymo, Dish Network, United Airlines, and other major companies.

Princeton Identity has showed off it’s new walk through biometric scanner. Techcrunch.com says it’s basically built into a shipping container. You walk through, pause to get your fingerprints scanned, and it also scans your face and irises as you walk through. The Biometric Conex can process 20 people a minute at normal walking pace, and Princeton claims near perfect accuracy, what with the fingerprints, face, and iris scans. The self-contained, air conditioned unit is actually smaller than a shipping container, and can be moved nearly anywhere on a heavy duty truck. It can integrate with almost any government database. The rig runs $280,000.

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Facebook Launches Portal Video Chat Screens; Google’s Pixel 3 Event; Microsoft Game Streaming Service; Oct Windows 10 Update Pulled

Facebook has dropped its first hardware product in the Portal line. TechCrunch.com says they are auto-zooming video chat screens ranging in price from $199 to $349. The Portal units will run Alexa and eventually Google Assistant in a countertop video chat screen that zooms to always keep you in frame. The big question will be whether people will want a Facebook cam and microphone in their house, even with a physical clip-on privacy shield. At any rate, the presale starts now. For $199, you get the 10 inch screen Portal, and for $349 you will be the proud owner of a 15.6 inch swiveling screen with a hi-fi audio Portal+. Save $100 if you buy any two Portal devices. The screens come with ‘Hey Portal’ voice navigation, bluetooth and voice activated music, Facebook Messenger for video calls, Spotify and Pandora. More video provers to come. Facebook claims there is built in privacy…no facial recognition but something called 2D pose that runs locally on the device to keep you in picture. They claim the unit only turns on with the wake word, and that it doesn’t save recordings…also they have data encryption. With a tap you can automatically disable the cam and mic, and it does have a plastic privacy shield you can slide over the cam if you still want to chat…without video. They ship in November. You can preorder at Portal.Facebook.com, Amazon, and Best Buy.

Tomorrow, October 9th, Google will be showing their latest at an event scheduled for 11am Eastern, 8 Pacific. Theverge.com reports that the flood of leaks has given us a good idea of what to expect. The Pixel 3 and 3 XL phones top the list…in fact, someone got hold of a working Pixel 3 in Asia a couple days ago from a source…talk about a leak! The phones sport target screens, wireless charging, and a second selfie cam. Also expected is a wireless charging stand for the handsets. There MAY be a Google Home speaker with a smart display to compete with the Amazon Echo Show. An expected item is the Pixel Slate, A Google branded Chrome OS tablet. Rumors have it with a detachable keyboard, and expect it to be fairly high end like the iPad Pro and Surface Pro.There will probably be a Pixelbook update, but probably not a major overhaul there. We’ll have details after the actual event tomorrow.

Look for a beta in 2019 of Microsoft’s game streaming service, Project xCloud. According to engadget.com, the idea behind the cloud system is to allow users to play any video game where they feel the most comfortable or where it’s convenient….on a console, a computer, or mobile device. Of course, Microsoft is most interested in making it as frictionless as possible for users to play their own Xbox One games. Even with the beta out next year, Redmond cautions that this is a complicated project, and may take a while longer to perfect.

Microsoft has pulled the October update to Windows 10 (version 1809) after complaints that it deleted user’s files. ZDnet.com says some users said they couldn’t even recover all files using a recovery product like Recuva. There was a similar issue with the April, 2018 update. In that case, Microsoft delayed the update until the end of the month to squash the bugs.


Pixel 3 Will Support Real Time Google Lens; iPhone Xs Max Outselling Xs; Changed Chrome Login Requirements; LinkedIn Sharing Company & Workforce Data

Lately, the leaks have been coming fast and frequently about the Google Pixel 3 phone, due out next month. 9to5google.com says a new one involves Google Lens. Lens already integrates with the camera app on Pixel phones. A leaked video, since taken down, shows the Pixel 3 supporting real-time results with Google Lens natively inside the Google Camera app. In other words, the Pixel 3 will be able to process results for things Lens recognizes directly within the viewfinder…for example, if you are looking at a business card, it will suggest adding an email address you don’t have…you won’t have to actually take a picture of the card to select dropping the address or other info into your contacts list.

So far, Apple’s biggest and most expensive phone ever is outselling it’s smaller sibling. Theverge.com reports that analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has found that the iPhone Xs Max is selling at 3-4 times the rate the smaller Xs is selling at. Gold and Space Grey are more popular colors, and the 256 gig storage version is most popular so far. There have been rumors out today that Apple is still having manufacturing issues with the cheaper iPhone XR, and the release date for it may be delayed a bit in October…but Kuo says he’s confident the choke points slowing it down will dramatically improve after October.

The latest Chrome update has new login requirements stashed in it, and Google didn’t bother to alert users. According to business insider.com, a cryptography expert and professor at Johns Hopkins named Matthew Green found the change. By being logged in, users unwittingly send their browser data to Google. There is apparently a new ’sync consent’ menu that Google claims allows users to opt out.

LinkedIn will, for the first time, share its data on companies and workers. Geekwire.com says their newest tool, Talent Insights, lets users run detailed reports on individual companies, talent populations, skills, and other categories….for a fee, of course. You can drill down on what areas are hotbeds for specific types of talent, who employs them, what schools they come from, pay range, and more. Around 100 companies have been testing Talent Insights ahead of the official launch. The annual subscription cost varies, depending on the customer.


Mercedes Teases Production e-SUV; Smart Speaker Sales Climb; Pixel 3 Rollout; iPhone Xs-or Whatever

Their company slogan for over 100 years, a personal motto of Gottlieb Daimler, has been ‘The best…or nothing.’ Now, Mercedes is going to reveal their first production electric SUV on September 4th. According to engadget.com, a very brief video clip dropped of the vehicle over the weekend. It does have a grill…unnecessary in an e-vehicle, but perhaps necessary from a branding standpoint…making it clear that it’s unmistakably a Mercedes. Interestingly, except for the tiny script on the crest on the hood, Mercedes-Benz has never put their actual name on a vehicle in the past 70 years…only the iconic 3 pointed star! The e-SUV will roll with a 400HP motor system and 70kWh battery pack. It will boast 0-62mph in under 5 seconds and a 310 mile maximum range. It should hit the roadways in 2019.

The smart speaker market is exploding, but no one knows how much longer it will sustain such growth. Geekwire.com reports that an analysis by Canalys estimates that in the second quarter of this year, the market grew 187% worldwide year over year, with shipments of 16.8 million smart speaker devices. Amazon still commands half the market, Google now has a quarter, and the final quarter is divided up amongst Chinese players and Apple. Canalys sees Google shipping more than Amazon in Q2, 32.3% to 24.5%, but others disagree. Futuresource and Strategy Analytics say Amazon is still on top. The latter gave amazon 41% and Google 27.6% in 2nd quarter, so we’ll have to stay tuned to see who actually comes out on top when the smoke all clear.

Google will roll out the Pixel 3 at an event in New York City on October 9th, according to a couple Bloomberg sources, in a story picked up by 9to5google.com. In addition to the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, we should also see a 2nd generation Pixelbook, a new set of Pixel Bud earphones, and a Pixel Watch running the Wear OS.

We are pretty certain Apple will roll out its 3 new iPhone models on September 12th, but no one is certain about the name. Macrumors.com says Apple has considered ’S’ since this would ordinarily be an ’S’ year for them…they may have more significant changes next year….BUT is waffling on naming the OLED models that. Maybe that’s due to how it sounds. Although the ‘X’ model was supposed to be TEN, most people called it X. An Xs model could bring snark and ridicule…say it fast…Xs….excess! Well, a lot of people feel that way about Apple’s prices! Anyway, whatever it is should roll out September 12th.


Pixel Watch; Sony Hits 3 Million VR Headsets; Credit Card Skim Detector

Google may roll out a Pixel Watch with the Pixel 3 phones this fall, in addition to a new Pixelbook. Bgr.com reports that a big tip-off is that Google is developing an app called Google Coach that is supposed to deliver fitness and health notifications on a daily basis to users. No size or shape has been leaked about the watches, but they will run on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform.

Sony has sold 3 million VR headsets for Playstation VR now. According to engadget.com, by then end of 2017, they were at 2 million after the 2016 launch, so their numbers have accelerated nicely in the past 8 months. They have also sold some 21.9 million PSVR games. Two new games have been announced, too: Creed: Rise to Glory pre-orders today, and ships September 25th, and Evasion also pre-orders today, and will drop October 9th.

There’s been a lot of news about a flood of ATM skimmers lately. Now, here’s a little good news. A couple of University of Florida researchers have developed a device they call the ’SkimReaper.’ Arstechnica.com says the gadget can detect virtually all overlays and ‘deep inserts’ in ATM machines. It detects when there are two or more sets of read heads. There are other ways of stealing from ATMs, but these two are by far the most widely used. In a test of skimmers the NYPD had, the SkimReaper found 100% of them. So far, 7 police agencies have signed on to get the detectors, so it may soon make it a bit harder to hackers to do their shady work.


Whole Foods Rolls Out Curbside Delivery; SnapChatting a Bit Less; Magic Leap One; Pixel 3 Leak Shows Apple-esque ‘Notch’

Amazon is launching curbside pickup at Whole Foods. Reuters.com reports the service is available starting today in Sacramento, CA and Virginia Beach, VA…other cities should follow later this year. Since pickup is cheaper than delivery, it has been pushed by bigger grocers like Kroger and Walmart. Amazon is gigantic, but Whole Foods actually only has about 1% of the vary fractured grocery market. Pickup in an hour is free for orders of at least $35, while pickup in 30 minutes costs $4.99.

Snapchat has decidedly mixed results the last quarter. They lost 3 million users, a drop of 2%, but is still up 8% year over year. They also lost $353 million, but that’s still 20% less than the previous year’s loss. Their monthly audience is up 3 million for 11 of its Shows, users spend over 30 minutes a day with the platform.

The Magic Leap One Creator Edition AR headset is available….some places…for developers now. It’s a breathtaking $2295. While cnet.com notes that the price is less than the Microsoft HoloLens at 3 grand, you may need to drop another $495 for the ‘professional development edition’, which comes with an extra hub cable and a service called RapidReplace…which gets you a replacement within 24 hours. Another catch: it’s only available in Chicago, LA, Miami, New York, San Francisco Bay Area, and Seattle. For the princely price, they deliver it and set it up for you in-home, to ensure a perfect fit. You can’t wear the headset with glasses, but can get prescription pop-in lenses at extra cost…or just get contacts. It does sport a bigger field of view than HoloLens, but not as wide as a regular VR headset. It’s brawn is PC-like, with a powerful system on a chip, 128 gigs of storage, 8 gigs ram.

Pictures of what’s said to be a pre-release final production Google Pixel 3 XL shows a notch at the top like the iPhone X has, and a number of other phones have emulated. Macrumors.com says the pics were put out by a Russian blogger and picked up by Android Police. The display on the 3 XL is not as wide as the iPhone X, but it is noticeably taller. It is supposed to be a 6.2 inch screen. The smaller Pixel 3 apparently does not have the notch…which reportedly holds improved cameras with two lenses.


Google Pixel 3 Launch Date; Tesla Drops Nvidia Chips for Roll Your Own; Wells Fargo-Homes Lost Over Computer ‘Error’; TSMC Hit By Virus; Apple Deletes Most Alex Jones Podcasts

It now appears that Google will launch the Pixel 3 phones on October 4th…making it the 3rd year in a row they have rolled out handsets on that date. 9to5google.com says there are some rumors that Google could begin actually selling the phones on that date, but they suggest taking that with a grain of salt…or maybe a whole salt shaker!

Tesla is rolling their own, and will drop Nvidia chips. Elon Musk says the auto maker is building its own chips that are optimized for machine learning. Arstechnica.com reports that they have been working on the chips for 3 years, and it will be out next year. The chips are designed to be backward compatible, so older hardware can be swapped out, giving Tesla owners a big performance boost. Musk claims that most CPU and GPU chips do neural network in ‘some kind of emulation mode,’ but the Tesla ones will ‘run the neural net at a bare metal level.’

An SEC filing has shown that around 625 customers of Wells Fargo were either denied loan charges or didn’t receive loan modification offers they were entitled to…with about 400 losing homes at lest partly as a result. According to engadget.com, the bank revealed a ‘calculation error’ in a loan modification tool as the culprit. The error was in place between April 2010 and October 2015. Wells now says it is ‘providing remediation’, including an $8 million fund set aside for those affected.

TSMC, which makes some of the chips for Apple’s iPhones, was hit with a ‘debilitating’ computer virus that attacked many of its fabrication tools Friday night. Macrumors.com reports that they are 80% back to normal, but issued a warning that customers…including Apple…may have shipments of chips delayed. TSMC has been making A12 processor chips for the 2018 iPhones. The company says no confidential info was taken, and that the virus came from a ‘misoperation’ during the installation of software for a new process.

Apple has followed actions by Facebook, YouTube, and Spotify, and deleted most Alex Jones and Infowars podcasts, citing hate speech that violates its guidelines. Reuters.com says Apple purged the entire library for 5 of Jones’ 6 Infowars podcasts. The only survivor was ‘RealNews with David Night’ as of last night.