Samsung Revealing Foldable Galaxy F; Amazon Drops Free Ship Minimum for Holidays, Apple- 5G by 2020; 7-11 Test Driving Cashier Free Checkout

The annual Samsung Developer Conference is coming up Wednesday, November 7th. After the last round of top line Galaxy phones only got a slight facelift, and sales have dragged, Samsung is finally going to drop its bombshell folding phone, the Galaxy F this week. Bgr.com says the Samsung folder will have a large 7.3 inch OLED screen when opened up, and a second 4.6 inch OLED screen on the outside that you can use as a regular smartphone. The clamshell design will allow a phablet to be carried in a normal pocket or purse. The actual Galaxy F will probably ship next year, but a lot of details will be revealed Wednesday…stay tuned.

Amazon is giving out an early Christmas present…free shipping without a minimum purchase for everyone…not just Prime members. According to arstechnica.com, you can start making those holiday orders today, and your bargains will all ship free until Christmas. Normally, Amazon requires a $25 minimum for free shipping if you don’t have Prime. Target also has waived its $35 minimum for free shipping over the holidays…Walmart is holding the line so far, still requiring a $35 minimum sale for free shipping.

Apple is shooting for 2020 for its first 5G iPhone. Macrumors.com reports that the 5G phones will use exclusively Intel chips for the higher speed cellular operation. Those chips, the 8161, will be 10 nanometer. Apple is already down to 7 with its latest mobile CPU chips.

It’s one thing for Amazon to open it’s ‘Go’ stores that are cashier and line free. Walmart has been experimenting with it as well, but now, in a major add to the push for no checkout lines, 7-11 is trialing cashier free checkout. Theverge.com says the company is installing scan-and-go tech in 14 Dallas area stores this week. Customers can scan the bar code on their items, then pay with their phone, card, Apple Pay or Google Pay. You’ll need the 7-11 app to skip the cashier lines, and cashiers will still be on hand to handle hot food…and alcohol…which requires an ID check.

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Apple Invests in Laser Chips for iPhone; T-Mobile Launching TV Service; Amazon Expands Same and One Day Delivery Service; Target Enters Same Day Delivery Biz

Apple has plowed $390 million into laser chip maker Finisar. Cnet.com says they will use the money to refurbish a plant in Texas to make chips designed for iPhones, running features like Face ID, animojis, and portrait photography. The plant is in Sherman Texas, and will employ 500 skilled workers…Finisar expects to start shipping by the 2nd half of 2018.

Oft times renegade wireless provider T-Mobile is launching a TV service in 2018, with the purchase of Layer4 TV. According to geekwire.com, T-Mobile CEO John Legere says will take on cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter, Frontier and Fox with the same competitive zeal that he has applied to Sprint, AT&T and Verizon. Legere made the announcement in a video, noting about cable and satellite providers ‘It’s no secret that these guys are the absolute worst”

Amazon has announced that it is expanding same day and one day delivery service to thousands more cities for Prime members. Now, the rapid deliveries will be available in some 8,000 cities! Faster delivery has been a major selling point for Prime, and lately Walmart has been getting into Amazon’s jeans with their 2 day delivery service. Now, techcrunch.com reports that Target is buying same day delivery service Shipt for $550 million. Shipt will run as an independent division of Target, and work to expand partnerships with other retailers in addition to serving Target. Target customers will need to sign up to be able to use Shipt. The first products available for same-day delivery will include groceries, non-perishable essentials, home and electronics equipment, and will expand over time to include all of Target’s wares by 2019.


Oculus Connect 3 Headlines; Where NOT to Buy Your Google Pixel Phone

Mark Zuckerberg was front and center yesterday for Oculus Connect 3. The VR company is working on a standalone headset that will tuck into the lineup between the expensive, PC tethered Oculus Rift and a Gear VR. It will have position tracking.

There’s a drop date for the very late Oculus Touch motion controllers…they’ll be out December 6th, and run $199. They do include an extra camera sensor for tracking. You can also add a 3rd sensor for an additional $79 for room scale VR, according to theverge.com.

Another December present….$49 in-ear Rift headphones to complement the on ear models the Rift comes with.

More games are on the way, and they have partnered with Disney on some original short films based on classic characters.

If you are lusting for a new Pixel phone from Google, here’s a tip…don’t buy it through Verizon, unless you want to wait and wait for software updates. According to arstechnica.com, Verizon will control when updates get pushed out, not Google, on the phones they sell. Although they are the ‘exclusive’ provider, you can buy the phones unlocked from the Google Store, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart. The phone will work with any carrier. If you want to ensure that your software gets updated in a timely way, don’t buy it through Verizon.


Facebook’s Firing Trending Editors Brings SNAFUs; Future iPhones May Get Better Than OLED Screens; Amazon’s Amazing Numbers

It didn’t take long….barely half a week has passed since Facebook canned 18 editorial contractors and went algorithm only for its Trending Topics. There have been some obvious goofs, like wrong videos linked to stories, but yesterday a completely made-up story made it and stayed for hours. Theverge.com says the fake story about Fox commentator Megan Kelly’s secret affinity for Hillary Clinton sat in the trending topics for hours…proving that algorithms and engineers make lousy news editors! The story, by the way, came from libertarian source End the Fed.

We’ve reported that the iPhone 8 may switch to OLED screens. Now, according to thenextweb.com, Apple may already be looking at a better tech in the next couple years. It’s micro LED. Cupertino bought LuxVue two years ago, and a secret Taiwan facility is working on the tech…which supposedly combines the best advantages of LED screens with OLED ones. It would also be another way for them to cut a further tie with Samsung, which makes OLED screens.

Just how big a gorilla is Amazon online? More than 800 pounds! Businessinsider.com reports that Amazon sold 6 times more online than the next 8 biggest retailers COMBINED! That’s 59 billion worth of stuff in the 2nd quarter of the year, while Walmart, Target, Best Buy and the rest totaled $10 billion together. The Department of Commerce calculates Amazon generated around 30% of US retail sales growth by itself!


Shop ‘Till Your Fingers Drop; Uber Moves into Mobile Health Care

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are rapidly turning into a week to 10 day long orgy of deals from both online and brick and mortar retailers. Bgr.com notes that Amazon.com’s ‘Black Friday’ sale went live a full week before Black Friday. Target’s Black Friday ’10 days of deals’ is already live, with Target Redcard members getting an automatic 5% additional off on deals, and 25% off on toys through the day before Thanksgiving. Walmart will light off Cyber Monday deals the Sunday evening before…the 29th, starting at 8 P.M., with online only bargain prices on over 2000 products. Wanna buy a car? Chevrolet is saying it’s Black Friday ALL MONTH LONG! When it comes to retail, times and days have a very elastic meaning. Happy shopping!

Uber is experimenting with something bordering on mobile health care. For 4 hours last week, they offered customers a flu shot for 10 bucks across 36 cities. You summoned a nurse to show up and administer the shot, according to buzzfeed.com. This week, the company announced they’ve hired their first health advisor, who is director of the Computational Epidemiology Group at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is John Brownstein, and he says Uber’s drivers may someday shuttle patients to clinical trials or doctor’s offices…or, as with the flu shots, bring a medical professional by for a ‘house call!’


Samsung Says TVs Don’t Have a ‘Volkswagen Problem’

A testing group in Europe funded by the European Union accused Samsung of using software to make its TVs look better in regulatory lab tests yesterday. Now cnet.com reports that Samsung has strongly denied its gaming the system. The feature is called motion lighting, and it reduces screen brightness, and therefore energy consumption when the picture on screen is in motion. ComplianTV said they detected the behaviors, but were unable to prove that Samsung was gaming the system…but they got that impression. Samsung says motion lighting is a default setting that works in the lab and at home to reduce environmental impact. This reporter confirmed that on his own TV after digging through a deep stack of menus. Let’s just be glad we don’t have diesel TVs!

Apple will begin selling some models of Apple Watch at some Target stores this week. Expect to see the Watch at target.com by October 18th, and at all Target stores effective October 25th. According to thenextweb.com, there will be 20 models available, priced from $349 to $599, in both the 38mm and 42mm sizes. In other words, Target will have all but the expensive Edition models. By adding Target to Best Buy, Apple is giving a more mid-market aura to the watch heading into the holidays.


Interactive Shopping Maps From Target

Target has added an enticement for holiday shoppers. Geekwire.com reports they’ve added interactive maps of all their stores to their iPhone app. They’ve also added free shipping for target.com buys to battle Amazon.

The European ‘right to be forgotten’ by Google may be extended worldwide. A French court has ruled that way, according to 9to5google.com. Google is reviewing the ruling and considering its options.

There’s a way coming to connect to your dumb smoke alarm. It’s a Kickstarter called Roost…a 5 year battery in a 9 volt size that also connects to your smartphone with an app. $55 buys you two, and it’s out late Spring.