MS Surface Go Debuts at $399; Facebook Tests AR Ads; Auto Download for Netflix; Apple iOS 11.4.1 With GrayKey KillerPosted: July 10, 2018
Microsoft is diving back in to the budget-priced tablet market with the Surface Go. The 10 inch screen tablet has a built-in kickstand, and is loaded with Windows 10, and starts at $399. Theverge.com reports that preorders are open now, and it will ship in August. It basically looks like a Surface Pro that shrunk in the wash, except with somewhat more rounded corners. The smaller Surface weighs 1.15 lbs, which is a little more than the similar iPad, but still half a pound lighter than the Surface Pro. As the Pro, it has the optional keyboard cover in 4 colors, and uses the optional Surface Pen.
In the continuing quest to get and keep more advertisers, Facebook is testing out ads with augmented reality in the newsfeed. According to techcrunch.com, the ads look like normal ads in the feed but there’s a ‘Tap to try it on’ option that activates the AR capabilities. If you like the way the product looks in AR, you can go ahead and buy it. The first test advertiser to test the feature is Michael Kors. Sephora, NYX Professional Makeup, Bobbi Brown, and Pottery Barn are planning to launch tests with AR ads yet this summer.
Your Netflix binge watching just got easier on Android phones. Buzzfeed.com says Netflix is automating downloads of a series with a feature called Smart Downloads. When you finish watching an episode, Netflix will automatically delete it and download the next one as long as you are on a WiFi network. The feature will be coming to iOS phones and tablets later this year. It really only works for series…they haven’t figured out how to program the feature for movies you might want to see next. BTW, if you don’t want the feature…what’s wrong with you? You can go to settings and turn it off.
Apple has dropped iOS 11.4.1, which is mainly just bug fixes and not a terribly big deal…except for what could be one of Steve Jobs’ famous ‘One more things.’ Cnet.com reports that the lates version of iOS brings USB Restricted Mode with it. That’s the feature that keeps the police, government, or thieves from plugging a GrayKey into the handset and using that box to unlock your phone and get your data. A charger will still work, but if you haven’t used the phone in an hour, the phone has to be unlocked with your Face ID and Passcode or Touch ID and Passcode. Apple claims they were more concerned with bad guys using the GrayKey device to hack peoples’ phones than police or governments, but neither of those latter two groups will be any too happy.
Samsung is getting in on the growing market for laptops that convert to a tablet, thanks to a bendy hinge. Lenovo has had success with their convertibles, and Mashable.com reports that now Samsung had dropped the Notebook 7 Spin in 13.3 and 15.6 screen sizes. They run Windows 10 with Intel’s Core i5 or i7 processors, and start at $800 for the 13 incher and a grand for the 15. The Notebook 7 Spins should be in Best Buy stores the 26th.
Besides moving the antenna bands, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus should be indistinguishable from the 6S models…that is, unless you are a case or screen protector maker. According to appleinsider.com, Apple has moved the ambient light and proximity sensors, on the front panel. Those, in addition to the larger camera openings needed will make present case models and screen protectors obsolete. I will probably go for the larger phone model anyway, but for those who aren’t…thanks a lot, Apple….you’ll have to buy new cases when you upgrade.
Elon Musk Tweeted yesterday that the Model 3, the smallest Tesla, will go into production in 2017. Silicon Valley Business Journal reports that pre-orders will start next March when the car is unveiled. It’s expected that the Model 3 will sell for around $35,000, nearly half the price of the current top line Model S, and have a 200 mile cruising range. Musk said the 2017 date is because demand for the cars will mean the giant battery producing factory will have to be up and running. It will come in both sedan and crossover suv models.
Intel has rolled out it’s new 6th generation core processor, Skylake. The advanced chip has 2-1/2 times better speed, 3 times the battery life, and 30 times the graphics power of an average 5 year old PC. According to businessinsider.com, it will enable cutting the weight and thickness of a PC in half, and for some laptops to go fanless…great news if you’re looking at a laptop, but a blow to the struggling tablet market. Expect the Skylake chips to start showing up in laptops late this year.
Nokia is jumping back into the tablet business. Slashdot.org says they’ll launch a one piece aluminum bodied tablet running Android Lollypop in China on January 7th.
Legendary film company Kodak is going to roll out a smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show. According to engadget.com, the Android phone will be made for them by British firm Bullitt, who make the ruggedized Caterpiller phones.
LG and Mercedes-Benz are partnering to make a system to power self driving cars. Techcrunch.com says the system is based on LG’s Advanced Drive Assist Program. LG’s entertainment systems are also slated to go into Mercedes cars.
Sony has unveiled a clip on unit that turns any eyewear into smart glasses like GoogleGlass. Thenextweb.com says the concept will go into production later next year, and be out in 2016…hopefully with a better name than “SmartEyeglass Attach!”
For Crackberry addicts pining for old school, Blackberry has rolled out the Classic. According to cnet.com, it’s based on the Bold, but with straighter rows on its physical keyboard.
Fujitsu has launched a pair of business oriented Windows 8.1 tablets. Zdnet.com says the Stylistic Q555 combines a tablet and a laptop…the Q335 is a straight tablet. They’re being positioned as semi-rugged under military specs, and both will be out early next year.
Geekwire.com says Amazon Fire tablet sales tripled and e-reader sales almost quadrupled on Black Friday. Amazon was the #3 tablet seller last holiday season, but then fell off to 5th. No word on the hapless Fire phone’s sales.
Speaking of e-readers, gizmodo.com reports that 95% of US public libraries now carry e-books. This is according to a survey by Library journal, and it’s an increase from 89% that checked out e-books last year. Most carry a little over 20,000 e-titles.
Apple’s tablet sales have slowed up to now, and 9to5google.com says Google sold more Chromebooks to US schools third quarter than Apple sold them iPads. Chromebook’s $199 price is given as the primary reason.