Pebble’s downfall and the future of wearables

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With a recent flurry of notable activity, the wearable market looks to be in a state of flux.  

Activity-tracking titan Fitbit purchased smartwatch maker Pebble on Wednesday, and all reports point to the end of the Kickstarter-birthed brand’s line. 

Motorola publicly acknowledged its lack of interest in releasing another version of its Moto smartwatch anytime soon, with the company’s head of global product development admitting he doesn’t “see enough pull in the market.” LG and Huawei have confirmed they’re not re-entering the field in the foreseeable future, either. 

More about Smartwatch, Consumer, Fitness Tracker, Samsung, and Apple Watch

Brace yourselves — we might be getting a new iPhone color next year

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Let the Apple fanboy freakouts commence: we might be in line for a brand-new iPhone color. 

According to Japanese Apple blog Macotakara, a site that’s had a decent track record on Apple rumors, the 2017 version of the flagship device will be available in a red casing option. The outlet was also the first to float rumors of the removal of the headphone jack in the iPhone 7. 

That news, of course, wound up being very true (and a very big deal). 

Along with the new color, the report either confirms or quashes other rumors that have been floated through the news cycle.  Read more…

More about Colors, Iphone 8, Rumors, Apple Iphone, and Tech

Starbucks app to get voice ordering: One more way to avoid human interaction

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Expending the energy to swipe through the Starbucks’ app menu to order coffee first thing in the morning is hard, right? It would be much easier to just groggily command Siri to queue up the order — with extra sugar. 

At Starbucks Investor Day 2016, the coffee giant teased a new feature that will soon make its immensely popular mobile app even more intuitive: an AI-based voice command ordering system called My Starbucks Barista. 

An expansion of Starbucks’ new high-end Italian bakeries, Princi, was also announced at the event.  Read more…

More about Customer Service, Mobile Apps, Coffee, Artificial Intelligence, and Starbucks

Google’s Santa Tracker welcomes in the most wonderful time of the year

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring … because they were all staring at their phones tracking Santa’s location on Google. 

For 12 years now, an entire generation of excited kids have spent Christmas Eve with their eyes glued to the computer watching Santa Claus circle the globe. Over the past few holiday seasons, Google has pulled out all the stops for an interactive holiday experience that runs from the start of the month until Christmas Eve.

Every day, a new activity goes live in Santa’s Village along with the countdown to the big sleigh ride. These experiences range from games that teach basic coding skills, geography and languages along with introductions to charitable educational organizations.  Read more…

More about Santa Tracker, Christmas 2016, Google Maps, Tech, and Family Parenting

Netflix’s ‘Fuller House’ Mr. Bear toy is the shared-viewing experience we want

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Netflix is hoping to pull on some heartstrings this holiday season with a brand new way to snuggle up to loved ones near and far. 

The company announced the specs for “Connected Mr. Bear,” a plush teddy based on Stephanie Tanner’s beloved toy from the early seasons of the original run of Full House. The second season of the Fuller House revival series set to stream Dec. 9, so Netflix is hoping to double down on its nostalgia and sentimentality.   

Connected Mr. Bear promises a special Fuller House viewing experience. With one Mr. Bear in one living room and a second, paired bear in another house far away, their synced “cuddle sensors” blink three times and activate a Netflix-connected device, turning on Fuller House. That way, viewers can watch (and cuddle) together. This video shows how it works: Read more…

More about Github, Diy, Coding Toys, Toy, and Fuller House

The iPhone 6S battery problem is bigger than Apple thought

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It looks like the iPhone 6S battery woes might be a wider-ranging issue than Apple originally thought.

With reports of unexpected shutdowns plaguing phones with serial numbers outside of the previously announced “very small number” of iPhone 6S devices, Apple has once again issued a statement to reassure concerned customers that their voices have been heard. 

And once again, the company has only made this information available on its Chinese language website.   

The statement touts Apple’s achievement of the “highest customer satisfaction rating of any smartphone maker in China and around the world,” before rehashing the pertinent details of the battery shutdown saga. The new information comes at the very end, seen below: Read more…

More about China Chinese Apple Iphone, Replacement, Shutdown, Battery Life, and Iphone 6s

Samsung might kill the headphone jack on the Galaxy S8

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Apple killing the headphone jack was one of the biggest tech stories of 2016 — and it appears Samsung is looking to hop onto the trend, too.

Samsung-centric blog SamMobile reports it can “exclusively confirm” the upcoming Galaxy S8 will also ditch the classic 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of a sleeker, thinner design. The report doesn’t name its sources, so it’s fair to take the news with a healthy grain of salt.

For the musically minded, the blog claims the device will possibly compensate by integrating new stereo speakers made with tech from recently acquired Harman, since removing the only way to enjoy audio on the down low and replacing it with extra-loud speakers is a totally logical trade. Read more…

More about Samsung, Galaxy S8, Rumors, Headphone Jack, and Samsung Galaxy

Snapchat might be trying to bring video games to your Story

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If a flurry of 3D-centric job postings is any indication, your Snap Stories will probably be getting a lot more animated and interactive in the not-so-distant future. 

Business Insider noticed the influx of newly opened roles, which are mostly classified as being “Research” positions at Snap’s HQ in Los Angeles. The listings call for candidates with 3D design, animation, modeling, rigging and skinning experience.

While many of these positions point to the further development of the ways that we already use Snapchat’s augmented reality features (like its filters and World Lenses), others look to be branching out in a new direction, particularly in character design and gaming. Read more…

More about Snapchat Stories, Video Games, Snapchat, Tech, and Apps Software

Study: Hackers can get your credit card info in 6 seconds just by guessing it

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In troubling news, a paper from researchers at Newcastle University in the UK claims that Visa’s credit-card payment system can be compromised online in “as little as six seconds.” The security flaw was possibly the point of entry for the cyber-attack on the UK’s Tesco Bank that lost £2.5 million.

This isn’t some high-level hacking going on here either — all it takes for a determined thief to grab a treasure trove full of card data is a laptop with an internet connection and some basic guesswork, the paper says. 

The team of researchers, led by PhD student Mohammed Ali, call the method “the Distributed Guessing Attack.” It’s a simple approach: a thief generates random numbers to guess combinations of card numbers, expiration dates and CVV codes (that three-digit number typically found on the back of the card). The video below demonstrates just how easy it is to generate all of these fields quickly: Read more…

More about Hackers, Fraud, Online Security, Visa, and Tech

Apple addresses iPhone 6S battery problems — on its Chinese website

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Good news iPhone 6S owners with battery woes: Apple has finally issued a statement to explain those unexpected battery shutdowns.

Bad news (at least for non-Chinese 6S owners): It appears that the statement is only visible on its Chinese language website.

Turns out, the malfunctioning iPhones have batteries that degrade faster than normal because they were “exposed to controlled ambient air longer than [they] should have been before being assembled into battery packs,” Apple said in the statement, once again highlighting that this wasn’t a safety concern. Read more…

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