HP Education Chromebook is Out; Sprint & T-Mobile Merger Talks; iOS 11 is Out for iPhone & iPad; Microsoft Mixed Reality Event

HP has released their touted Chromebook x360. It had been only available as an education edition, but now is on sale to the public. According to theverge.com, it has a 1.1 Gig processor, 4 Gigs of RAM, and 32 Gigs of storage. The touch screen is Gorilla Glass, and it has 2 USB-C ports and two USB 3.0 ports. The rugged laptop will make it 11 hours on a charge. Best of all, it’s $299….and on sale at Amazon, Walmart, and Costco.

We’ve heard this story before, but now, it appears that Sprint and T-Mobile are actually in serious talks about a merger. Engadget.com reports that CNBC has picked up on the scent that the two are in active talks about a merger. This was a story back in 2014 too, but now the regulatory environment may have loosened enough that they think it will work. While less competition is usually not great for customers, it can be a boon to investors…or not. Sometimes, it’s like tying two bricks together and seeing if they’ll float. Time will tell…stay tuned.

Today is iOS 11 release day…10 am is the usual time Apple makes operating system updates like this live. Cnet.com notes that this upgrade really shines on the iPad. The iPad gets a dock much like the Mac OS has on laptops and desktops, and a Files App keeps files and folders handy…much like on a regular desktop. Also, the App switcher supports drag and drop…text, images, and more. Apple has said that the send money feature to friends via Apple Pay won’t go live until later…maybe when the iPhone X comes out in November.

Microsoft has invited a small number of journalists to a ‘mixed reality’ event in San Francisco October 3rd. Mashable.com says they don’t expect a huge reveal of gear, but more about Microsoft’s mixed reality strategy and Redmond has teased the opportunity to ‘experience Windows Mixed Reality for yourself.’

Advertisements

Sprint Will Have Exclusive on Essential Phone Launch; Xbox One X Reveal; HelloSign Gets $$ to Help You Stop Having to Sign Paper DocumentsSprint will be the exclusive vendor for Android father Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone. 9to5google.com says the titanium and ceramic phone with the edge to edge display will sell separately from the 360 degree camera attachment for VR content, though. Interestingly, there’s no word on availability or price, but you can pre-register online at Sprint’s website. So….do you feel lucky? It’s the most powerful and smallest Xbox yet…the Xbox One X was revealed yesterday. It will be $500, and should be out November 7th. According to businessinsider.com, it is capable of 4K gaming and can handle 4K Blu Ray discs. Microsoft is touting that it has ‘6 teraflops’ of processing power, which blows away the Xbox One and Playstation 4 Pro. Anyone who has had to sign a 6 inch stack of documents to buy a house will love this…HelloSign, the eSignature platform, has obtained 16 million in financing. Techcrunch.com reports that they will have a ‘freemium’ product for up to 3 documents per month, and are comparing themselves to Box and Dropbox. They also are offering HelloWorks to turn .pdf forms into easy to edit digital files. HelloSign claims they have talked 55,000 companies into using its paid subscription service, competing with Docusign and Adobe Sign. Here’s hoping one of those companies is your title company next time you have to re-fi or buy a house!

Sprint will be the exclusive vendor for Android father Andy Rubin’s Essential Phone. 9to5google.com says the titanium and ceramic phone with the edge to edge display will sell separately from the 360 degree camera attachment for VR content, though. Interestingly, there’s no word on availability or price, but you can pre-register online at Sprint’s website. So….do you feel lucky?

It’s the most powerful and smallest Xbox yet…the Xbox One X was revealed yesterday. It will be $500, and should be out November 7th. According to businessinsider.com, it is capable of 4K gaming and can handle 4K Blu Ray discs. Microsoft is touting that it has ‘6 teraflops’ of processing power, which blows away the Xbox One and Playstation 4 Pro.

Anyone who has had to sign a 6 inch stack of documents to buy a house will love this…HelloSign, the eSignature platform, has obtained 16 million in financing. Techcrunch.com reports that they will have a ‘freemium’ product for up to 3 documents per month, and are comparing themselves to Box and Dropbox. They also are offering HelloWorks to turn .pdf forms into easy to edit digital files. HelloSign claims they have talked 55,000 companies into using its paid subscription service, competing with Docusign and Adobe Sign. Here’s hoping one of those companies is your title company next time you have to re-fi or buy a house!


Verizon Rolls Out $80 Unlimited Data Plan; Google Maps Lets You Share Faves; Cook Says AR May Rival iPhone’s Impact

For the first time since 2011, Verizon has an unlimited data plan. Macrumors.com says the $80 a month plan called Verizon Unlimited gets you unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data on one smartphone or tablet or $45 a month for 4 lines. Verizon has had an access charge of $20 per month per smartphone, but it’s not clear if that applies or is included. If it applies, the plan is really $100 per month. Unlike the cheaper T-Mobile and Sprint unlimited plans, Verizon’s includes full HD streaming.

Google Maps has unveiled Lists on Android and iOS. According to techcrunch.com, the feature lets you make lists of places you can share with friends. Some power users have been testing this out since Fall. It appears that Starred and Favorites have some overlap. The Lists can be shared with friends, and even public Lists can be created, similar to Foursquare.

More and more, AR looks like Apples Next Big Thing. In an interview with The Independent, picked up by cnet.com, Tim Cook called Augmented Reality a big idea, like the smartphone. He noted that like a smartphone, AR isn’t limited to certain demographics, countries, or other niche….it can be for nearly everyone. With AR overlays seen through some lightweight glasses….which Apple is reputedly working on with Carl Zeiss, Apple’s Next Big Thing could soon be right before our eyes.


iPhone Users on Sprint Join T-Mobile Users With Wi-Fi Calling

With Apple’s latest update, iOS 8.3, iPhone users gain Wi-Fi calling on Sprint. T-Mobile users have had it since fall. The verge.com says AT&T and Verizon will cave, and allow the feature later this year. Wi-Fi calling routes calls through Wi-Fi you’re connected to, instead of over the cellular system, so doesn’t count against your minutes.

Samsung is expecting record sales from the Galaxy S6, but warns that the S6 Edge will be in short supply at launch. 9to5google.com reports that Samsung has warned that manufacturing difficulties will make the ‘edgier’ phone scarce at first.

According to thenextweb.com, YouTube will launch a paid service later this year for users that don’t want to see ads. It will cost you 10 bucks a month. Content creators will still get a percentage of revenue from the paid views.


Sprint Adds An Apple Bundle For Life Deal

If you’re big on Apple, and due for an upgrade, Check out Sprint. Engadget.com says an addition to their For Life deals gets you an iPhone 6, an LTE iPad Mini 3, and service for $100 a month. That’s $17 less than separately.

With the Samsung Galaxy S6 due to roll out March 1st, new big leaks that include pictures show a round edged metal chassis like the iPhone 6. Bgr.com reports that It will feature a smaller, thinner battery and an Apple Pay rival.

For transporting most sensitive files, or offsite storage, Toshiba has released a hardware encrypted flash drive, with physical buttons to key in a passcode. Betanews.com says it comes in 4 to 32 gig sizes, and costs from $95 to $200.


Motorola Makes Some Strong Smartphone Gains

They’re not up there with the big boys like Apple and Samsung, but Motorola did sell 10 million smartphones last quarter. 9to5google.com says that’s up 118 percent! Lenovo says the division will be profitable in a year and a half.

Apparently, Sprint isn’t the only company interested in some of Radio Shack’s 4000 locations. According to gigaom.com, Amazon is looking at dipping its toe into brick and mortar retail. It could show off it’s mobile and living room gadgets with the locations, which could also serve as a physical pick up and drop off for packages.

Citing 3 studies, Google’s Nest claims the learning thermostat pays for itself in less than 2 years with savings on heating and cooling. TechCrunch says heating costs dropped by an average 10-12 percent, cooling by 15 percent.


The Smaller Phone Carriers Duke It Out

The carrier wars have escalated. A day after T-Mobile rolled out a program letting loyal customers avoid credit checks, Sprint has unveiled one guaranteeing any T-Mobile customer $200 credit for a working and activated T-Mobile smartphone. 9to5google.com says it’s still not as sweet a deal as Sprint offers switchers from AT&T and Verizon.

According to BGR.com, the upcoming Apple Watch, currently seeing much hand wringing over lack of battery life, will actually be more powerful than the first iPad. Meanwhile, Apple has hired Burberry’s VP of Digital Retail Initiatives. Chester Chipperfield is expected to help reorganize part of Apple’s stores to feature the watch.

Scientists have developed self-destructing nano-bots and implanted them in mice. Engadget.com reports that they are first being used to treat peptic ulcers and other stomach disorders. They can survive the gastrointestinal tract long enough to release medication, then destroy themselves without leaving any trace of harmful chemicals behind. You won’t be turning into a Borg for a while, yet!