Samsung Folder-Massive Battery; Huawei Nova 4 Has 48 MP Cam; Apple Steals Top Tesla Designer; Google Dropping A Billion on NY Campus

More is seeping out about Samsung’s folding phone, after the brief and slight showing of it last month. Bgr.com says the Infinity Flex screen phone will have a crazy high price of $1700 or $1800 dollars, will run a Snapdragon 855, and have dual 12 MP cams, with an 8 MP selfie cam. There will be TWO battery cells, for a total capacity of 5,000 mAh or 6,000 mAh. The folder will be out next year, and analysts think that it might drop in price by 2022 to $1300…which will be the price of an iPhone by then!

With most of the news about their CFO being arrested in Canada, Huawei has rolled out a new phone that should grab headlines back for their actual business. Theverge.com reports that the Nova 4 features a 48-megapixel main camera with 3 lenses, and a ‘hole punch’ cut out for the front cam…which is a whopping 25 megapixels…on a selfie cam! Samsung has a similar ‘hole punch’ setup on the galaxy A8. The Nova 4 has a 6.4 inch display, 8 gigs of RAM, 128 gigs of storage, and a 3750 mAh battery. It will run about $490 in the US.

We’ve all heard for over a year that the Apple car…Project Titan, was dead, and that Apple was focusing on self-driving software and hardware for other cars. Now, that may be questioned a bit. According to macrumors.com, Cupertino has poached Andrew Kim, who reimagined Microsoft’s design language, then moved to Tesla in design. With Kim now at Apple Park, as well is Tesla’s chief vehicle engineer…who returned to Apple earlier this year. Kim had worked on the designs for the Models, 3, S, X, Y, the new Roadster V2, and the Semi.

With Amazon busily working on its two HQ2s outside D.C. and in NY, and Apple announcing a huge new billion dollar campus in Austin, TX, you knew Google couldn’t be sitting on their hands. Now, techcrunch.com says Google has announced it will pump a billion into setting up a campus at Hudson Square in New York. Google already has 7,000 located in NY, and this will double that over 10 years…in a 1.7 million square foot campus the company is touting as ‘the primary location’ for Google’s ‘Global Business Organization.’ The facility will be operational by 2020.

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Big Tesla Auto Pilot Update Coming; 7 Inch Google Tablet by 4th Quarter; Apple Car Division Restructures; Amazon Continues Retail Push

A major upgrade will be pushed out to Autopilot in Tesla Model S vehicles in the next week or two. TechCrunch.com reports that the so-called Version 8.0 will have updates to signal processing that will let the autopilot rely more on the radar sensors, without confirming data from cameras. According to Elon Musk, the upgrade should see “any thing that’s metallic, anything that’s large and dense,” and then brake the vehicle, “as long as it’s not large and fluffy.” So short of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in the lanes, it should brake, and even guide the car off to an exit.

Google may roll out a 7 inch Android tablet made by Huawei before the end of the year. According to theverge.com, it will have 4 gigs of RAM. Considering that they don’t seem to be sticking with Nexus for the phones, it will probably have a different name as well. We could well get more details at Google’s rumored event on October 4th.

Apple’s Project Titan has laid off dozens of staffers. Macrumors.com says that since Bob Mansfield left, Apple seems to be pivoting towards autonomous driving systems instead of going for building an entire Apple car. The division still has between 500 and 1000 employees working on the project.

In addition to the brick and mortar book store Amazon opened last year, it looks like now the online giant will open over 100 pop up stores in malls around the country. Businessinsider.com points out that these much smaller locations will operate mainly to showcase Amazon hardware like Kindles, Fire TV, and the Echo speakers — as well as accessories. The real goal is to drive more traffic to Amazon’s online store. There are already 21 Amazon pop up stores in 12 states.


Amazon’s British Drone Tests; New (Old) Apple Car Boss; Future iPhones—Iris Scanning and Glasses-Free 3D

Amazon has gotten permission to test drone deliveries in the United Kingdom, according to venturebeat.com. They will test beyond line of sight operations, obstacle avoidance, and single-person supervision of multiple, highly-automated drones. FedEx and UPS have also shown interest in drone delivery.

Former Apple exec under Steve Jobs Bob Mansfield has come out of retirement to run Project Titan, the Apple car project. Businessinsider.com reports that he originally intended to retire in 2012, but moved to a special projects team that built the Apple Watch. Since then, not much has been heard from him. Apple allegedly intends to start selling vehicles in 2021.

A couple of interesting features may be coming to iPhones, one in 2018. Appleinsider.com says we might see ‘Iris ID’ replace Touch ID, as Apple brings iris scanners to the iPhone family. Meanwhile, Samsung may introduce iris recognition tech in its flagship Galaxy S series this year. More exciting than Iris ID, Apple has patented a method of ‘autostereoscopic’ displays. This would allow for 3D without the special glasses. It uses a pixel array featuring a second array of subpixels and lens structures, the latter emitting light at a number of different angles. The key component though would be the “beam steerer,” pointing the correct light at the viewer. No word on when we might have this in our hands yet.


Apple Car Delayed at Least A Year; Dyson Tests Robot Vac With 360 Degree Vision

This was probably telegraphed by the fact that Steve Zadesky, who’d led Project Titan for Apple, left after 16 years with the company, but now it looks like we won’t be seeing an Apple car before 2021. 9to5mac.com says Cupertino had been shooting for 2020. One tidbit…Apple is apparently looking into its own charging systems that would replace gas stations for EV drivers. Earlier this week, Elon Musk over at Tesla claimed that 2020 would be too late for Apple to enter the market…but anyone who remembers what happened when Apple entered the mp3 player market late with the iPod isn’t going to believe that! Right now, about 600 people are still working on Project Titan, the alleged Apple car.

Dyson has been hard at work on their ‘360 Eye,’ a robotic vacuum with 360 degree vision and connectivity. It’s bigger than a Roomba, and Dyson claims it will be far better, as the software and cameras plus sensors will let it get around rooms better and easier, even if you move the couch. According to techcrunch.com, Dyson has been refining the 360 Eye concept for 18 years, and is now working on version 3. After a lot of testing in Japan and then release, the 360 Eye launches in Canada today, and will roll out in the US soon. Dyson claims they can update the software over the air, and that they plan to do so frequently. They also hint that the tech in the vacuums is more widely applicable…will we see a Dyson household robot some day like Rosie from the Jetsons?


Apple Leases Former Sunnyvale Pepsi Plant- Apple Car; Paying With Your Face…or Your Car Coming

Apple has leased a nearly 100,000 square foot building in Sunnyvale that used to be a Pepsi bottling plant. 9to5mac.com says the facility is more like a warehouse than office building, and sits on 5 acres…and is probably for Project Titan, the Apple Car. Apple already has an 80,000 square foot building and a 140,000 square foot facility in Sunnyvale thought to be for the project…both are a 10 minute walk from the old Pepsi plant.

Last year, MasterCard announced its pay with a ‘selfie’ option. Now, they’ve showed it off at Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. It uses the front camera of a smartphone and a single blink to identify a buyer. Cnet.com reports that rival Visa showed off a connected car that pays for your gas or for parking seamlessly. A chip in the car ‘talks’ to the gas pump or parking meter. It might be thrifty…pumping just enough gas to fill up, or paying for only the exact time you are parked.


Could the Reviled iPhone ‘Camera Bump’ be Going Away; Apple Car on Hold; Amazon Prime’s Explosive Growth

A clever Apple patent filed in 2013 and granted today points to the hated camera bump on the back of iPhones going away. 9to5mac.com reports that Cupertino has come up with an interesting way to defy physics, and make a smaller lens. Physics determines just how thin you can make a sensor and lens arrangement for any given aperture while retaining quality. But instead of the usual flat sensor, the patent describes a ‘spherically curved photosensor’ that would allow the distance between the lens elements and the sensor to be reduced, allowing for a thinner camera module…and no bump. It’s unclear if this will make it into the iPhone 7.

After the exit of Steve Zadesky, who was running Apple’s semi-secret car project dubbed Project Titan, macrumors.com is hearing that the Apple Car is on hold due to execs not being happy with progress being made on it’s development…especially Jony Ive. Rumors are that the Titan team feels Apple’s deadlines and goals are unattainable. Apple has apparently wanted final engineering specs for the car by 2019 or 2020…now, it looks like that deadline will slip for certain.

Amazon Prime’s US membership grew by 35% to 54 million in 2015. Think about that. The figure is according to a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners picked up by geekwire.com. When they went to $99 a year for the package of free shipping, videos, and audio, a lot of people predicted a fall off in members, but the exact opposite has happened. Prime members spend an average of $1100 a year with Amazon, compared to $600 for non-members, so Amazon can afford free Prime shipping as a bit of a loss leader.