Samsung Working on Smart Speaker With Bixby; Valve Founder Raises $$ for New Startup; Texting Makes You Walk Funny

With Apple now getting ready to enter the smart speaker sweepstakes along with Amazon and Google, Samsung appears poised to join the party. The Wall St. Journal says it will use Bixby, the voice assistant that has been late rolling out on the Galaxy S8 due to issues with English! It will be a touch market, with Amazon’s Alexa presently holding 70% of the US market, and Apple not even in the market until the end of the year. Microsoft also has a voice controlled speaker using Cortana called Invoke, which hits this fall. If Samsung can get Bixby working in English like they plan, they could have a edge in the Internet of Things, since they actually produce some appliances like TVs and fridges.

Rick Ellis, who founded Valve’s Steam gaming platform is on to another startup…he’s raised $1.25 million for Sharkbite Games. According to geekwire.com, the new company is already working on two games…the first is a casual mobile game that will be out later this year. The other will bow in 2019, and is an ambitious multiplayer game that will run on PC and mobile, and which Ellis says is aimed at the ‘mid-core’ space. He has hinted that they were looking at virtual reality in the future.

Quick— call the Ministry of Silly Walks! A study from Anglia Ruskin University indicates that people walk funny while texting, reading text, or chatting on phones! Cnet.com reports that phone users spend 61% less time watching out for obstacles, and lift feet ‘higher and slower’ over them while walking…adapting a ‘cautious and exaggerated stepping strategy.’ Or…as most of us call them….smartphone zombies, often shortened to smombies!


The Genius Bar Goes Concierge

A makeover is coming to Apple’s Genius Bar. 9to5mac.com says they’re launching what they call a Concierge service. Once you’re in the store and the problem is inputted in their system, they will send you text messages…freeing you to go shop elsewhere while you wait.

Google Glass’ demise is apparently greatly exaggerated. According to bgr.com, Glass 2 prototypes are already in the hands of developers. This time, it’s a very small selection of trusted developers, and no word yet on what improvements Google has made.

Valve is jumping into the virtual reality market. Geekwire.com reports that the Steam games developer will show a new VR hardware system at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week.


Sapphire Glass on All iPhone 6 Models

Earlier rumors have said Apple would only be able to use sapphire glass on its larger iPhone 6, but macrumors.com now says there’s enough for the 4.7 inch iPhone 6, the 5.5 inch model, AND the iWatch, with room to spare. The nearly unbreakable screen will be welcomed by klutzy or unlucky iPhone users.

Still looking for an angle to claw back market share, Blackberry has launched BlackBerry Messenger Protected. Techcrunch.com reports its a confidential instant messaging system. It’s primarily aimed at government, government contractors, corporations, and law firms that have extra concern about secure messaging.

No Steam gaming machines from Valve or any of its suppliers this year, but geek.com says a team is working on a handheld dubbed the Steamboy to be out early next year. It’s not expected to be robust enough to play the most robust games, but hey…it’s portable.