Apple Working With LG on Foldable iPhone; Echo Dot Loses Its Touch; Toyota Hydrogen Trucks Go To Work in LA

We have heard rumors for a year that Samsung is working on a foldable phone. Now, it turns out Apple is, as well. Apple’s has some ‘one more thing’ type big trick, apparently…they are working with LG’s display unit on the OLED screens, for fear Samsung will steal their idea…which has happened wholesale in the past. According to 9to5mac.com, LG Innotek is also working on the rigid flexible circuit board that would power the phone. It’s expected in 2020. Samsung may have one out by next year.

Yesterday, we reported that Amazon’s preproduction Echo Dots were staying on all the time and eavesdropping on tech reporters that were supposed to be reviewing them. Google sent a patch, and said they were working on a more permanent fix. Now, 9to5google says it apparently wasn’t feasible…Google has killed the tap to wake feature…which was apparently causing the problem. Sorry, you’ll have to go to all the trouble of saying ‘OK, Google’ to wake your Echo Dot…but that beats the hell out of it recording everything in your bedroom 24/7!

All the attention is on electric cars, and even on a couple electric semi-trucks, with Tesla teasing showing their version soon. Another alternative fuel is hydrogen. While Mercedes and a couple of Japanese makers have done quite a bit with hydrogen fuel cell cars, not much has happened on the truck front…until now. According to techcrunch.com, Toyota is starting a pilot with fuel cell big rigs at the Port of LA. The rigs have 670 horsepower, and dan haul and 80,000 lb. load. They can run about 200 miles a day. If the fuel cells stand up to the frequent refueling, Toyota plans to test longer haul semi trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

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German Car Makers Heating Up on Hydrogen; Samsung New Smartwatch/Fitness Tracker?

Audi and Mercedes are getting excited about hydrogen fueled cars. For Mercedes, it’s back to the future…they first had a fleet of them in 1980, but with a 150 mile range and 45 minutes to fuel up, killed the project. Now Audi has showed it’s h-tron Quttro fuel cell SUV at the North American International Auto Show, and according to arstechnica.com, Mercedes has green-lighted production of it’s fuel cell version of the GLC SUV to sell in 2017. BMW has showed an i8 and a 5 series with fuel cells, but neither is set for production so far. General Motors has partnered with the Army to investigate suitability of fuel cell EVs for military use. Toyota and Honda are well along in hydrogen fuel cell tech, too. Toyota has the 2016 Mirai that’s actually for sale. California…where you can buy a fuel cell EV, has now increased the subsidy on them up to $6500 on top of any federal incentive. A combination of hydrogen fuel cell and electric may be the wave of the automotive future…along with driving by Jarvis, apparently.

Details are sketchy, but Samsung may be about ready to launch new wearable, possibly to replace the less than exciting Gear Fit. It’s called SM-R150 for now, and a watch version has a rotating bezel like the Gear Fit. The interesting thing is a picture with one on a shirt…like a removable that you don’t have to keep on your wrist. Engadget.com points out that leaks so far don’t indicate if it will be a full blown smart watch or something more like a Fitbit, but expect it to be revealed in the coming months.


Toyota Pumping a Billion into AI & Robotics in Silicon Valley; One-Touch Google Play Update

Toyota is dropping an eye-popping billion dollars in a research company it’s establishing in Silicon Valley, focusing on artificial intelligence and robotics. The automotive giant is determined to lead the way with top flight self-driving cars, in addition to applying AI and robotics to other areas of life. The AP reports that the initial facility will be near Stanford, with a second one planned later on to be set up near MIT.

Google has released version 8.3 of Google Play Services, with one tap Google sign in, and better wearable sync, according to 9to5google.com. Now, you can just press ‘Sign in with Google,’ and presto…you’re done. The update also makes signing in across devices easier, with a simpler dialog. The new version is supposed to use smarter syncing for wearables, too, improving battery life.


Amazon Rolls Out Food Delivery Service

Amazon has announced that it’s adding restaurant delivery an option for its one hour delivery app Prime Now. The initial service is just in specific zip codes in Seattle for the launch. Prime Now customers can view menus from participating restaurants in the app, order, and then track their delivery in real time like with package deliveries via the service. Amazon says there is no additional charge for the hour or less delivery, unlike other Prime Now one hour deliveries, which cost an additional $7.99. There are several dozen restaurants participating, but no national chains as yet. It’s likely that New York will be the second city to get the service.

Most people know that plenty of patents are filed that never see the light of day in products. According to Jalopnik.com, Toyota has filed one that may well be in that category. It’s for multiple, stacked wings that expand out of the roof of a future flying car. In the drawings, it appears to borrow from a pre-1900 ill-fated multi-winged airplane! Besides the flying issues, it seems the thing would put additional drag on the car while on the ground, hurting mileage….or maybe it’s an electric car-plane? We may never know!


Car Tech Helps Deal With Squirmy Kids

The 2015 Toyota Sienna van will let you use the built in microphone to holler at the kids. Engadget.com says your admonitions to Junior will come through the back speakers.

Immedia Semiconductor has a home security camera on Kickstarter. This one’s half the size of a smartphone, and runs $69. Gigaom.com reports that the killer feature is that it can run on a pair of batteries for a year, like a smoke detector.

There are lots of chat apps that delete your messages, but don’t you wish you could do that easily on Twitter and Facebook sometimes? Geekwire.com says Xpire is an iPhone app that lets you set delete times for your posts on those two social media platforms.