Samsung Foldable Smartphone 2018; Xiaomi May Drop 1st 5G Phone; Mercedes Shows e-SUV; New Snap Spectacles 2 Frames

2020 Mercedes-Benz EQC

Long rumored…really long rumored, the folding smartphone will finally roll out in 2018…at least that’s what DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung Mobile is saying. Macrumors.com reports that Samsung plans to drop a model of Galaxy Note that folds by the end of the year. It will have a giant screen made of the two sides inside, and a third screen when folded on the outside. The phablet is rumored to be 7 inches diagonally, but can be folded in half much like a wallet. Samsung may show it off at their developer conference in November.

Xiaomi plans to beat every other smartphone maker to the punch, releasing the first 5G smartphone in the Mi Mix 3 later this year. 5G is going to be stunning…with download speeds 10 times that of 4G. Mashable.com notes that right now, only Verizon has any 5G, and that’s just in 3 cities and only at fixed locations…so not really mobile. 5G is expected to be more widely available in 2019 and 2020, and look for many handset makers to debut 5G phones by then. For this year, though, if you want to be first on your block with 5G capability, it’s going to be Xiaomi!

Mercedes has finally given a real look at their EQC e-SUV, which was first teased as a concept car at the Paris Auto Show two years ago. According to arstechnica.com, it goes into production in 2019, and will be on sale in 2020. Mercedes is touting 402 horsepower and up to 200 miles of range on a charge. The e-SUV will roll on the same wheelbase as the hybrid or fueled GLC, but is a little tighter…a bit shorter, thinner, and sporting a bit lower profile. It will run a pair of motors…one for each axle. Mercedes says it will charge from 10% up to 80% in 40 minutes.

Snap is showing off a couple new styles of frames for its Spectacles 2 video glasses. Thee frames are still oversized, but aren’t the total round, uber-nerd shape of the originals. Engadget.com says they are on sale at Snap’s website for $199. The frames are dubbed ‘Nico’ and Veronica,’ although Snap showed both on female models!

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Galaxy Note 9 Rumors; Snap Spectacles II on Amazon; Nintendo Switch Content Leak; Facebook Rebrands On This Day As Memories

More has leaked out about the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, widely expected to be a minor upgrade coming in August. Bgr.com says one tweak may make a noticeable difference over the Note 8…the back cams may go horizontal instead of vertical, with the fingerprint sensor moving directly below. This will not only make the print sensor much easier to find and use, but the horizontal layout of the cams will allow for a bigger battery…perhaps even exceeding the 35 mAh battery of the Galaxy S9+. There’s also an additional hardware button showing up…no clues on what it is, but it may be related to the cameras.

Snap’s original Spectacles were kind of cool, but you had to hunt for a pop up store to get a pair of them. Now, mashable.com reports that the 2nd generation will be much easier to find…you can buy them on Amazon. There’s a price bump of 20 bucks to $149.99, but now they can be at your doorstep in a couple days in the US, UK, and Canada….even tomorrow if you’re terribly impatient! Snap only sold 220,000 of the original Spectacles, and lost a bundle ($40 million), but it appears they are confident about the round pic-taking glasses being a hit in version 2.

Best Buy may have spilled the beans about upcoming Nintendo Switch content at E3. According to businessinsider.com, Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix compatibility may be coming to the Switch. The added capabilities popped up on Best Buy’s online store. Nintendo had been expected to make an announcement anyway, but the retailer inadvertently stole their thunder.

Facebook is rolling out a rebranded On This Day as ‘Memories.’ Techcrunch.com says they are adding friends you made on the date to the usual pictures and posts from the On This Day version, in addition to ‘Memories You May Have Missed’. It’s a great way to get people to engage more…not to mention it saves Facebook server space by recycling posts. Hmm.


New Snap Specs; No 3D Touch on Upcoming 6.1 Inch iPhone, Ford Dropping Most Cars for Trucks & SUVs

As rumored, Snap has revealed its new version of Spectacles…and updated the camera glasses with a new feature…and, of course, bumped up the price. According to businessinsider.com, the new Spectacles are a little slimmer, can take photos as well as video, and they are water resistant. Snap also says they have new and improved audio. The latest version are priced at $149.99, a $20 bump from the originals. You can buy them now at spectacles.com.

Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities, probably the most accurate Apple prognosticator on the planet, has reaffirmed that the 6.1 inch LCD screen iPhone coming this fall…which will be priced noticeably lower than the successor to the iPhone X with its OLED screen…will not have 3D Touch. Apparently, it’s due to a tech Apple plans to use called Cover Glass Sensor tech that makes the display lighter and more shock resistant. Macrumors.com says the updates to the iPhone X and X Plus will continue to have 3D Touch, which is pretty well integrated through iOS. Apple is known to be moving towards a touchless gesture controls, but that is thought to be a couple years away. It’s possible the CGS tech can integrate some substitute for 3D touch, but what and how is unknown right now.

Talk about the end of an era. Ford has announced that it will kill off all its cars except for the Mustang and Focus Active. Arstechnica.com reports that the company would focus almost entirely on SUVs, crossovers, and trucks in the US. The very thing Henry Ford pioneered with mass production….the automobile…will become a virtual sideline. What would the old man think?


Snap May Buy Chinese Drone Maker; Huawei Nearly Even With Apple in Phone Sales; IBM Crams 330TB into the Palm of Your Hand

Because selfies from phones, and Spectacle glasses for short clips just aren’t enough, Snap is looking at picking up Zero Zero Robotics, a Chinese drone maker. According to thenextweb.com, they make the ‘Hover Camera Passport’ drone for $500. It is tiny, made of light carbon fiber, and uses facial recognition to track the user…making sure you’re in those shots you can later filter or plaster with stickers! The drone is being sold through the Apple Store, and so far, Zero Zero denies any deal with Snap.

Huawei is relentlessly pushing to be the world’s largest smartphone maker, and wants to do it by 2021. Macrumors.com reports that they are nipping at the heels of Apple right now, with 38.4 million shipped in the 2nd quarter of this year, compared with Apple’s 41 million. It’s still a ways to top dog Samsung, at 79.5 million. These 3 brands account for nearly half the 360 million smartphones shipped out in the 2nd quarter of 2017.

While some chase the dream of storing nearly unlimited data in your genetic material, the scientists at IBM have managed to cram 330 TERAbytes of data into a cartridge that will fit in the palm of your hand. Theverge.com says that’s enough for 330 million books! The IBM folks went old school for the medium, too, with a twist. It’s a special prototype sputtered magnetic tape. The original back up tape drives IBM made 60 years ago could hold 2 megabytes on reels of half inch wide tape! They think the medium will work well for cold storage of vast amounts of data being stored in the cloud.


Snap Working on Drone; Twitter Ups Troll Protections; Facebook Using AI for Suicide Prevention

Snap has reportedly been working on a drone. The New York Times says it’s not clear that it’s a product that will make it to production, but the company has said they feel we are just at the beginning of what cameras can do, and that their products are moving towards making taking videos a fun and seamless part of everyday life.

Twitter has been a virtual haven for trolls over the years, and now the company is announcing some new features to help stem harassment. According to recode.net, you will be able to mute specific words including usernames from your timeline. You can mute for a day, month, or permanently. You can also mute ‘eggs’, those accounts that use the egg avatar and haven’t provided a photo. Further, you can block accounts without confirmed email addresses or phone numbers. While this won’t kill off trolling completely, it will at least thin them out and slow them down.

Facebook has started using artificial intelligence to spot people that may be at risk of killing themselves. BBC.com reports that the algorithms pick up on comments in posts or the comments friends leave, and then a human review team jumps in to contact the person and works to suggest ways the person might get help. Right now, the AI tool is just testing in the US.


Across the Board iPad Refresh Coming; Snapchat Starts Selling Spectacles Online; BMW & VW Partner With Mobileye To Crowdsource Info For Self-Driving Cars

Apple will do a top to bottom refresh of iPads next month. Arstechnica.com reports that often reliable site Mac Otakara reaffirms that apple will add a new 10.5 inch iPad to the 7.9, 9.7, and 12.9 inch models. It will be something of a ‘mini’ version of the 12.9 inch iPad Pro, and will sport 4 speakers, Smart Connector, True Tone Display, and a 12 MP rear camera. The biggest iPad will also get True Tone and the better camera.

Snapchat maker Snap has been selling its Spectacles camera glasses in pop up vending machines for a while now, but has put that on hold as they have started selling them online. According to businessinsider.com, anyone in the US can order a pair of the $130 glasses which record 10 second video clips and send them to the Snapchat app.

BMW and Mobileye are partnering to crowdsource traffic data for self-driving cars, starting in 2018. Techcrunch.com says BMW will join Volkswagen in the crowdsourcing of road hazards, traffic delays, weather info, and parking availability. The more cars that provide data to the cloud and then back to other cars, the more accurate it will be.


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.