Google Announces Native Android ‘Foldables’ Support; Coming-Facebook 10 Minute Grace Period to Unsend Messages; Mercedes’ AI Package Delivery Tech

With a maker in China already having released a folding smartphone, Samsung releasing more about their Galaxy F, and LG on the verge of unveiling one, Google today announced Android support for a ‘foldables’ category. 9to5google.com reports that the new category of phone that unfolds into a tablet will have native Android support, allowing for makers to give you a phone with a screen like we all have, but unfolding to reveal a larger, phablet screen on the inside that is double the size of the ‘outside’ screen. Google’s ‘screen continuity’ will allow you to start with an app on the outside screen, then unfold and seamlessly continue on the bigger inner screen without a hitch. Samsung has been working closely with Google on this Android category, and is expected to release the Actual Galaxy F model early next year. The internal screen is said to be 7.3 inches.

If you have sent a Facebook private message, and instantly regretted it, you will like this. For some time, Facebook has had an ‘unsend’ feature for their top brass. Now, according to engaeget.com, the social media giant may be getting set to release the feature to everyone. It’s not an hour to change your mind like What’sApp, but a 10 minute grace period ought to be enough for people who hit send, and have nearly instant remorse. Of course, even with this feature, if the recipient has already seen the message within the 10 minute period, the deletion won’t undo whatever damage has been done to your relationship with them!

The engineers and programmers at Mercedes have been experimenting with a number of different ways to help automate delivery vehicles, so the driver/delivery person can get packages to you more quickly and efficiently. Some have ended hilariously…like one with a Ferris wheel and baskets…that one ended when a gallon of milk basically exploded all over a van. Now, the German conglomerate is trialing its latest idea. Cams and sensors light up shelves, and show the driver which shelf and spot is best for a package…lighting up green. On arrival at a drop off, it lights up green again…and everything flashes red if the person grabs the wrong item. The built in sensors also allow for less hand scanning, which should shave additional time off deliveries. AI not only helps figure out the best spot in the truck for the packages, but plots out the delivery route based on what packages are loaded and their destination addresses. Mercedes thinks this system will help the likes of FedEx and UPS, but will be even more beneficial to smaller delivery company, like those indie operators contracted by Amazon.

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UPS Adds Wild Looking Electric Trucks; iPhone X Lite Getting Brighter LCD Screen; US Announces Drone Lotto Winners

UPS has rolled out electric delivery trucks that seem to be right out of the cartoon ‘Cars.’ Engadget.com says the pilot fleet of lightweight electric vehicles…made by Arrival…can get 150 miles per charge. UPS plans to test them out in London and Paris. UPS is already running 300 electrics and 700 hybrids in the US and Europe. They also have 125 of Tesla’s electric big rigs coming.

Apple’s cheaper 6.1 inch iPhone ‘X Lite’ may sport the same ultra bright, low power LCD screen as LG’s G7 smartphone. This according to macrumors.com, who picked up word from Patently Apple. The difference between this panel and regular LCDs is it has 4 sub-pixels instead of 3…the traditional red, blue, green, and an additional white one. Besides being cheaper than OLED, the phone will also cut corners with an aluminum frame, single-lens rear cam, and may not have 3D Touch. Still…if it’s priced at $700-$800, it will sell like hotcakes.

The US government is testing out how to regulate and integrate drones safely into US air space. According to reuters.com, they have tapped 10 projects out of the 149 bids they received. Among the winners: Apple, Intel, Airbus, Uber, FedEx, Microsoft. Snubbed: Amazon, and China’s DJI. Don’t shed any tears for them, though. The Department of Transportation said others would be added over the next few months, either through granting waivers, or under existing rules.


Facebook Privacy Issues Multiply & Their Damage Control; iPhone X Will Add a Color; FedEX Orders Tesla e-Big Rigs; Google Assistant Gets Philips Hue Scene Support

Over the weekend, Facebook ran full page ads in several US and British newspapers, with an apology from Mark Zuckerberg for the recent data privacy scandal involving Cambridge Analytica. Since the ads ran, a new report from arstechnica.com says in some cases, Facebook’s Android apps will keep logs of the names of people you called and texted, how long the convos were, and the other person’s phone number. Users are now madder than ever. Facebook claims it got permission to scrape the call and text data, but that likely won’t help. A Reuters/Ipsos poll came out Sunday indicating less than half of Americans trust the social media giant to obey US privacy laws. It’s 41% that trust Facebook, compared to 66% trusting Amazon, 62% trust Google, 60% trust Microsoft, and 47% Yahoo. The Federal Trade Commission has an investigation underway into Facebook now.

After production problems limited the iPhone X to two colors, it looks like Apple will add another color to try to boost sales of the successor phones out this fall. According to 9to5mac.com, it will be a ‘blush gold’ tone. A more iffy rumor also has a (Product)Red iPhone in the mix. Apple’s education event in Chicago is Tuesday…we’ll cover what they bow there…a cheaper iPad is expected.

FedEx has preordered 20 electric big rigs from Tesla. The rigs go into production next year, and rival UPS has preordered 125 of the e-rigs. Techcrunch.com says each of these orders is a pretty small pilot fleet, but will jump start the Tesla truck production. Tesla is already running test rigs between the Gigafactory in Reno, Nev. and the production factory in Fremont, CA.

Google Assistant has picked up a handy feature…native support for Philips Hue scenes. 9to5google.com reports that Assistant has been supporting Hue lights since it came out, but that support didn’t extend to the preset ‘scenes’…which the Hue app and Amazon Alexa could control. Now, Assistant can use them, too. One note…you may have to delete and re-add your Hue lights to Assistant, or at least sync before the new feature works. A lot of users find it quite handy to be able to adjust colors on several lights or in multiple rooms with just a voice command.


Amazon Readies Huge Expansion of Prime Air; EU Announces Deal to End Wireless Roaming Charges

Amazon is getting set to drop about a billion and a half dollars beefing up its worldwide air cargo hub at the airport in Hebron, Kentucky, South of Cincinnati. According to cnet.com, it will create 2700 new full and part time jobs. This should send shockwaves through the shipping and fulfillment sector! Amazon already is flying 16 leased Prime Air planes, and will continue to add until their fleet numbers 40. The Hebron hub will load, unload, and sort packages, and has the potential to cut into UPS and FedEx. Right now, Amazon says it’s mainly interested in fulfilling its own shipping needs. The project will take 5-7 years to be up to full speed.

Venturebeat.com reports that the EU has made a deal that will end all roaming charges for consumers across the entire continent. The carriers objected strenuously to this plan when originally presented, but EU negotiators have worked out an agreement on sharing carrier costs and a gradual phase out of ALL caps on data usage. Now, if we could only get that in the US!


Amazon Angling to Take UPS & FedEx Business; Rumor- Apple May Jump Right to iPhone 8 Next Year; Blackberry-End of an Era

We reported earlier about how Amazon has been quietly building out its logistics network…leasing planes and a facility formerly used by DHL. Although Amazon publicly says it’s meant to complement existing delivery partners, like FedEx and UPS, the Wall St. Journal reports that Amazon has is looking to do much more. Eventually, Amazon plans to build a full-scale shipping and logistics network that will not only ship products ordered from Amazon, but will also ship products for other retailers and consumers. Businessinsder.com (which Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has an interest in) says Amazon is looking to complete against FedEx and UPS. Internally, some Amazon execs call the plan “Consume the City.”

According to bgr.com, Apple may skip the 7S designation next year, and go right to 8 for what’s widely expected to be a radically redesigned iPhone handset. An Israeli Apple employee let the moniker slip in an interview with a reporter. He also said the 8 will have a better camera than the 7…no shock there…but also said cryptically that the phone will be ‘different.’

In what is unquestionably the end of an era, Blackberry will no longer make its own phones. Thenextweb.com says they will focus on software. Future ‘Crackberrys’ will be rebadged Android phones. On the plus side, by ditching the capital sucking hardware division, they can focus on software, where Blackberry more than doubled revenue last year. A moment of silence please ____________.


Amazon Gets Planes for Logistics; Ear Echoes for Bio-Identification

We have reported that Amazon was looking to go full tilt into logistics, cutting out UPS and FedEx to a great degree, and how they were working to acquire planes. Now, zdnet.com reports that they’ve inked a deal with Air Transport Services Group to lease 20 Boeing 767 freighters to expedite order deliveries for Amazon Fulfillment Services. ATSG will operate the planes, along with ABX Air and Air Transport International. It’s a 5 year deal, and Amazon has rights to acquire just under 20% of ATSG over that period.

Biometrics seem to be a pretty rock solid method of identifying a person…unless it’s a James Bond movie, no one is going to poach your eyeball for an iris scan in real life. Here’s one that goes even deeper…NEC has developed an earpiece with a tiny speaker and microphone that detects the unique echo in your earhole. Geek.com says the device looks and works like a regular earbud you listen to music through. When identification is needed, it sends a series of sounds, the mic detects them and they’re compared to an earlier recording. It takes less than a second. NEC expects to have the tech out commercially by 2018. In addition to transactions, it could even replace the venerable key card you use to get around in the building at work!


Amazon Rolling Own in Air Cargo; Messenger Fastest Growing App

AmazonAir

In a move that should strike terror in the hearts…or at least indigestion in the bellies…of competitors, Amazon is talking to Boeing about acquiring 20 767 freighter jets. Geekwire.com reports that as of last month, some unknown firm, now presumed to be Amazon, was flying 4 cargo flights a day out of Ohio’s Wilmington Air Park…which was a DHL facility until 2008. They were bound for Allentown, PA, Ontario CA, Tampa, and Oakland…all close to Amazon distribution centers. DHL previously had 7500 employees at the air park. Earlier this month, Amazon bought thousands of truck trailers. They are getting ready to disrupt shipping and logistics….look out FedEX, UPS, and Post Office.

A lot of people questioned Facebook calving off Messenger into a separate app, bout according to Nielsen research picked up by techcrunch.com, it was a brilliant move. Facebook remains the top app of 2015, but Messenger is now the fastest growing app installed on smartphones. It’s not up as much as last year, when Facebook split it off and growth was 242%, but still up 31% from 2014. Now, Facebook has broken off its private photo-sharing feature into the Moments app. The second fastest growing app was Apple Music, at 26% increase year over year.