Google is expected to debut the new Google phone at its Oct. 4 event and may fuse its two operating systems, Android and Chrome, into one. Andrew Tolve reports.
In the news
The buzz around Google’s upcoming October 4 press event hit a fevered pitch, as leaks and rumors dominated headlines for the past two weeks. Nothing is certain right now; that’s the point of a rumor mill, after all, which Google has encouraged with flashy teasers like this one from its senior vice president in charge of the Android mobile operating system: “I have a feeling 8 years from now we'll be talking about Oct 4, 2016.” So what’s rumored to be coming?
The first true Google smartphone, for one. The phones reportedly ditch the old Nexus brand name for the new name of "Pixel." There will be a Pixel and a Pixel XL, and though HTC is rumored to be making the phones, there will no longer be any sign of the manufacturer's name on the phone, as there used to be with Nexus. Just a big G for Google.
Google is also rumored to be rolling out pricing and release details on Google Home, its new in-home assistant that’s ready to do battle with Amazon Echo. An update on Daydream, Google’s new virtual reality platform, is also expected, with perhaps the first compatible VR device, rumored to be called Daydream View. And here’s the biggest one yet: That Google is about to fuse Android and Chrome OS into one super operating system — likely still under the Android name, given its global dominance. That would mean that every Android app is now available for laptops and tablets, and that developers would no longer have to worry about designing for two separate pieces of software.
In the money
Blackberry reported a net loss of $372 million in its second quarter, and a 31.8 percent revenue drop from Q2 2015. Just how ugly was this? So ugly that it finally got Blackberry CEO John Chen to confirm that Blackberry will no longer manufacture any of its own hardware; for the scant smartphone activities it pursues in the future, it will outsource overseas. Shares jumped 5 percent on the news.
Salesforce is exploring a whopper of an acquisition — Twitter. That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Twitter has never made a penny of profit but is still valued at $13 billion. Salesforce could look to integrate real-time news and social commentary from Twitter into its CRM platform, as well as bolster its shift into services like online marketing and advertising.
In other news
Snapchat changed its name to Snap. It also unveiled a new set of sunglasses with a built-in video recorder intended for recording snaps throughout the day. The glasses are called “Snap Spectacles,” come in a trio of colors and connect directly to Snap via WiFi or Bluetooth. Retail is expected to be $129.99.
Samsung is mired in a massive, multi-billion-dollar recall for its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, which have spontaneously combusted around the world due to a faulty lithium ion battery. The latest bad news: At least one person in China has reported that his replacement phone has caught on fire the same way the original phone did. CNN video here. A number of people in the U.S. have reported heating problems with their replacement phones as well. Oh boy.
Mercedes-Benz says that it wants to create an “Airbnb for cars.” Its vision: Mercedes and Smart car owners use an online platform to indicate when they won’t be using their cars (eg when they’re away on vacation or a business trip). Members of the platform can then reserve the car for those dates. No physical handoff is required. Unlock and drive will be controlled via smartphone. The company has a pilot underway in San Francisco with a second in the works in Germany.
Microsoft launched Skype for Salesforce in beta. The new integration builds Skype calling and real-time communication into the Salesforce customer relationship platform. That means that Salesforce users can now hover over a contact, see their availability, and reach out via text box or voice call. Salesforce users will need a Skype for Business account to access the service.
Apple wants to dominate the enterprise segment the way it does the consumer market, and it’s hired some big guns at Deloitte to make it happen. The consulting firm has created a dedicated Apple practice with 5,000 strategic advisors who will be on call to help businesses optimize their mobile workforce using the iOS ecosystem.
Mobile trading apps that make it a cinch to trade stocks on a smartphone are all the rage these days. One of the pioneers of the space, Robinhood, wants to cash in. The app launched a premium features service called “Robinhood Gold” that, for a price of $10 per month, provides users with instant deposits and an ability to double their account balance to trade on margin. The free version will continue without changes.
A new rival to Robinhood cropped up in San Francisco. Called Grow, the app does basically the same thing as Robinhood — allowing users to easily invest in markets on your mobile device — but curates investment opportunities for users based on social responsibility and environmental friendliness. The app allows you to choose the values that you care about most, then uses its proprietary Grow Analytics to analyze and present investment opportunities that best align with what you care about.
The Mobile Digest is a biweekly lowdown on the world of mobile, combining Open Mobile Media analysis with information from industry press releases.
Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to Open Mobile Media.