Upcoming iPad & iPad Pros; Twitch Extensions Now on Mobile; Send Money Via Google Assistant; Microsoft Cuts Biggest Corporate Solar DealPosted: March 22, 2018
Apple has an event coming up March 27th, and a lot of people expect a new or freshened iPad to drop. Since the Pro hasn’t been out a year yet, the refresh to it may not show up, but other iPads have been rumored to get something akin to a new coat of paint…including a rumor of a price cut on the entry level 9.7 inch model. A more robust upgrade to the Mini may be part of it, and there’s also a rumor of Apple Pencil being added to the feature set. The Pros may be updated at WWDC this summer…it’s widely expected they will get FaceID like the iPhone X.
The Game Developers Conference is going on in San Francisco, and Twitch has announced that extensions have been made available on Mobile. Techcrunch.com reports that the tools that allow streamers to customize pages with leaderboards, polls, schedules, and the like have been widely sought on mobile by streamers…and now, they’re here. Extensions have been available on the desktop since last year.
Google is bowing the ability to send peer to peer payments with Google Assistant in the US. According to theverge.com, you will be able to use it on either Android or iOS and just tell it to send whatever friend on your contacts list the cash, and it will transmit it via Google Pay. If you are wondering what a hassle it is to set up, if you have used the little $ button in Gmail, your are already set! I’ll be waiting on my cash, LOL!
In an effort to power its global data centers with renewable energy, Microsoft has announced the biggest corporate buy of solar energy ever in the US….315 megawatts. Geekwire.com says the panels, etc., will go into two new solar projects in Virginia, and will cover 2,000 acres. When installed, they will give Microsoft 1.2 gigawatts of renewable power worldwide…which they say would light 100 million LED bulbs!
Galaxy S9 Will Clone Apple’s Animojis; Twitch Has Viewer Numbers of Cable News Nets; Amazon Rolling Own AI Chips for Alexa; Facebok Launches ListsPosted: February 13, 2018
Call it practical or insulting, but Samsung has done best with smartphones when they’ve stolen liberally from Apple. Now, macrumors.com says the Galaxy S9 will copy the iPhone X’s Animojis. Samsung teases that theirs will be 3D and be ‘more advanced’ than Apple’s. They will reveal the name of their clone when the phone rolls out on March 16th. The Samsung version, like Apple’s, will be powered by the Galaxy S9’s facial recognition system. Samsung’s facial recognition isn’t expected to be as secure as Apple’s, but Samsung will also include a rear fingerprint sensor and iris scanner.
Twitch has now become as big as the big cable nets in viewership. According to businessinsider.com, the Amazon-owned streaming service had 962,000 average viewers last month (January 2018). ESPN and Fox News have 1.5 million, MSNBC has 885,000, and CNN 783,000. Twitch channels are not all just gaming…there are also IRL streams (in real life) with massive amounts of content covering all sorts of subjects. Find them on the web at Twitch.tv.
Amazon has started designing its own AI chips to work with Alexa devices. Engadget.com says the custom silicon should enable the virtual assistant to respond more quickly by baking speech recognition into the devices that use it, rather than having to bounce to the cloud then back with a response. Alexa would still need to touch base with the cloud for more complex inquiries, but for simple requests, the chips will make it responses quicker.
Because they can never have enough of our information to sell, Facebook has launched ‘Lists.’ The new feature is rolling out today. Techcrunch.com reports that Facebook sees it as a way to get users to share more personal content. The lists can be To Do lists, Resolutions, eateries to try, bucket list travel destinations, or whatever. To entice usage, Facebook has included choices of colored backgrounds and emoji. It will appear in the ‘What’s on your mind’ status update box along with the other options.
Google sold 3.9 million Pixel phones in 2017. If that doesn’t sound like a record shattering number to you, you’re right. According to theverge.com, that’s about what Apple sells in iPhones in a week. The good news is, with the Pixel 2, the sales pace has doubled. If they can keep doubling periodically, it should be a success.
ALL 2019 iPhones Will Have OLED Displays; New Battery in Works-Lasts Longer Than Li-Ion and Won’t Explode; Twitch Rolls Out Pulse- a Twitter for GamersPosted: March 7, 2017
Numerous reports say the top line iPhone 8 will join Samsung and others in adapting an OLED screen this fall, but the 7S and 7S Plus will retain the current LCD screens. Macrumors.com says Apple plans to outfit ALL iPhones with the OLED displays, which have brighter colors and more vivid black, by 2019.
A team led by the co-creator of the lithium-ion battery is working on a replacement battery that lasts much longer and can’t explode! According to mashable.com, the so-called ‘solid state’ battery lasts up to 3 times longer and charges faster than lithium-ion. It also uses glass instead of liquid electrolytes, which don’t form dendrites that can grow, causing shorts and explosions. They also use sodium instead of lithium, which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly. Don’t hold your breath…there’s no timetable for these hitting the market yet.
Amazon owned Twitch has announced Pulse, which they call “a place where streamers can post and engage with all of their followers and the greater Twitch community right from the Twitch front page.” Theverge.com reports that the rollout will happen over the next few weeks, and that broadcasters will be able topmost to friends and followers a mix of text, links, videos, and pictures. The Twitter clone will hit the Twitch app later.
Comcast Partners with YouTube; Twitch Readying ‘Buy Now’ Button for Games; iPhone Getting Cam with 3D For Both Biometrics and Putting Users in GamesPosted: February 27, 2017
Comcast is partnering with YouTube, and will offer an app to watch it over their Xfinity boxes later this year. According to variety.com, no details are out about the deal, but you will be able to browse and watch YouTube’s entire catalog of videos, and use the X1 remote to do it by voice command if you like.
Twitch is getting ready to roll out a buy now button to allow you to pay streamers and buy games right in a stream you’re watching. Partnered streamers will get 5% share of the purchase, an game developers 70% of the revenue. Cnet.com says for starters it will only be available in the US to players with Amazon accounts. Ubisoft, Telltale Games and 11Bit are making their games available through Twitch stream.
Apple appears to be working on a camera for iPhones with ‘3D sensing and modeling capabilities,’ that will reinvent the user experience. Businessinsider.com reports that KGI Securities thinks it may appear in the new iPhone 8, but may well be improved on even more in a later phone. One application might be facial recognition for new biometric security, but another could be to put the user’s face into games on a character.
Samsung May Release Limited Galaxy S8’s Early; Apple Partnering with Zeiss on AR Glasses; Verizon & AT&T Trip Hammer on Legacy Data; TwitchCon Switches to Long BeachPosted: January 10, 2017
According to thenextweb.com, Samsung may drop a limited supply of Galaxy S8 smartphones a month of so before the official launch…shipping perhaps as early as February or March. Sammy is reportedly gearing up for a sizable production bump for the S8, partly to make up for lost units and the debacle with the Note 7.
Apple is said to be partnering with Carl Zeiss on AR glasses. Cnet.com says they are lightweight AR/mixed reality glasses. Visualize Pokemon Go through glasses, only with all sorts of interesting things overlayed on top of your field of view. Tim Cook had said in an interview last year he felt AR was the larger of the two, when compared to virtual reality. If Apple can build a cool looking pair of glasses or slightly more that aren’t dorky and work well, they could blow the AR market up like they did with the iPhone 10 years ago.
Speaking of smartphones, the Big Two carriers are taking slightly different tacks…but both aiming squarely at making users with legacy unlimited data plans miserable. Zdnet.com reports that Verizon users who use over 200 Gigs of data over several months will have to move to a new plan by February 16th or be cut off! Nothing like the subtile approach! AT&T, on the other hand, will start dinging people with grandfathered legacy data plans….like moi….an extra 5 bucks a month starting in March if they don’t move to a so-called tiered data plan. They just jacked up the grandfathered plans last February. So with both Verizon and AT&T you can either pay more, pay more, or be cut off. The ‘free market’ at work…
After a successful convention in San Diego, Twitch is moving TwitchCon 2017 to Long Beach. Engadget.com reports that the show will be at Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center in Southern California October 20th through the 22nd. Last year, the attendance jumped to 35,000 from 20,000 the previous year. They plan to incorporate even more non-gaming events this time, to attract a broader scope of attendees.
Amazon Game Studios rolled out the first titles that feature deep integration with Twitch at TwitchCon in San Diego Thursday. Amazon bought Twitch in 2014. Geekwire.com reports that they dropped Breakaway, a sport brawling game, and Stream +, a wagering system. They also tipped New World and Crucible, a couple of other games built for Twitch broadcasters, viewers, and players.
He’s Baaaack! Teddy Ruxpin, which was a huge hit years ago for about 5 minutes…only to fill an entire mall store in San Mateo at fire sale prices later, gets a makeover. TechCrunch.com reports that the v 2.0 has somewhat creepy LCD eyes and iPad connectivity, and comes with 4 gigs of memory for stories he can read to kids. Ted 2.0 was rolled out at the Dallas Toy Show, and should be available in 2017. No word yet on pricing.
After some stumbles with the Nearby feature, Niantic is testing out a variation of ‘nearby Pokemon’ with a subset of users now. There are a couple of tabs…Nearby and Sightings. The Nearby feature allows you to pan around a PokeStop for the little critter, while the Sightings tab doesn’t even give you the distance to the Pokemon…at least in the beta that’s out to the subset of users. Bgr.com reports that they have also restored the battery saving mode that had vanished from the last version of the iOS app.
In a big, but vague, rumor, Apple could be looking to launch a killer new product in the health area in 2017. According to appleinsider.com, who picked it up form Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, the product will ”accurately collect users’ personal daily life including heart rate, pulse, blood sugar changes and other information.” It’s apparently been in development for 2 years.
Amazon is going to stream a few of its original pilot programs on Twitch, which has been trying to expand beyond content for gamers. Twitch had dipped its toes into other content with old Julia Child and Bob Ross shows, but Techcrunch.com says Amazon will air 3 new pilots on the platform for 24 hours. They will still break on Amazon Prime Video first…on August 19th, but then will stream on Twitch for 24 hours on August 31st. Two of the pilots are ‘The Tick,’ and ‘I Love Dick.’ The third show wasn’t named.