Voice Calling On Amazon Echo & Google Home; Big Facebook Video Update; Apple May Add Additional OLED Screen Supplier

Voice calling may be coming to Amazon Echo and Google home. Theverge.com reports that the feature could be rolled out this year, but both companies ‘have concerns about privacy, emergency services, and regulatory hurdles.’ Apparently, you will only be able to make calls over speakerphone, which may put off some users. Google will probably just extend Google Voice, while Amazon is looking at options such as syncing to your present number, call forwarding, or even having the Echo get its own number. They also haven’t finalized switching to your phone if you leave the house or room where the Echo is located.

Facebook is rolling out a major update for video. Thenextweb.com says one of them will seem more like a bug than a feature…videos will now auto play sound. There is apparently an app setting to disable it, at least. On the plus side, vertical video will now take up more of the screen on Android and iOS devices, and there is a picture in picture mode. Facebook will also be rolling out a video app for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Smart TV, as well as other platforms, but no firm date on those yet.

Apple is apparently looking at adding China’s BOE as a supplier of OLED screens for the iPhone 8, according to macrumors.com. Samsung, LG, Sharp, and Japan Display are already believed to be used, but there are concerns that they couldn’t keep up with demand. At this point, it’s still thought that the OLED screen will only be available on the iPhone 8, with the 7S and 7S Plus models staying with LCD displays. BOE is opening an additional factory this summer, and another about 2 years down the line.


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.


New Moto Droid Doubles Down On A Monster Battery

Bgr.com says the Motorola Droid Turbo will be unveiled next week on Verizon. It has the specs you’d expect from a flagship smartphone, and appears a bit thick. The turbo has a 3900 milliamp/hour battery…more than TWICE the power of an iPhone 6!

Speaking of Apple, primary supplier Foxconn is angling to build future iPhone displays, and get a bigger piece of the ‘Apple pie’. 9to5mac.com reports they’re in discussions to build a new factory and take the business from Sharp, LG, and Samsung.

The auto world rolls on towards the self-driving car. According to engadget.com, Ford will introduce smart braking to some 2015 European models. The option uses cameras and radar to effect stops and avoid crashes.


Microsoft & HP Set to Take On Chromebooks

Microsoft isn’t ready to cede the super low laptop market to Chromebooks. They’ve partnered with HP on the HP Stream 14…a $199 Windows laptop. Gigaom.com says it will have 100 gigs of storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive servers for 2 years and will be out this year.

A nearly bezel free smartphone is coming from Sharp. According to theverge.com, they will sell an Aquos Crystal model with a 5 inch screen, and possibly the 5.5 inch model on Sprint’s system. No bezel makes the screen seem bigger, and they will use Harmon Kardon audio.

If you have a pickup or van and want to make some extra cash, check out Buddytruk. Techcrunch.com says think Uber or Lyft for moving…peer to peer via an app. It’s just in LA, but will be expanding soon to other large cities.


Google for Dinner and Call for Reservations From Your PC

Getting the jump a bit on Apple’s upcoming Yosemite system, Google search now allows you to call stores from your PC. Engadget.com says the Hangouts calling option will make it as easy as on your Android phone.

With preorders now on for the imminent Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet, tech crunch.com says they’ve cut prices on the Surface Pro 2 by $100 to $200, depending on the configuration.

Sharp has announced what they call the free form display…the circuitry is all through it, not just in bezels at the sides. The verge.com says this allows curves and angles. One of the first uses may be in car instrument panels.