SRAX Recap: Amazon & Apple Partner, Google boosts mobile network, Microsoft debuts Surface Go

In this week’s digital news, Amazon makes a deal to sell Apple products, Google bolsters its cellular network service, Microsoft opens Surface Go orders, and more.

Amazon to sell Apple products

After a recent deal, a plethora of Apple products will now be available on Amazon. As will the iPhone XS, Apple Watch Series 4 and Apple’s line up of Beats headphones. This partnership should go into effect in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and India later this year. From here on out, only Apple-authorized resellers will be allowed to sell Apple and Beats products on the Amazon marketplace. Unauthorized sellers will have to apply and await approval to get the necessary accreditation. Unsurprisingly, the platform will not sell Apple’s HomePod speakers, as they are the direct competitor to the Amazon Alexa.

Google enhance cellular network

Google’s Project Fi mobile virtual network service was outfitted with some enhanced features this week. Project Fi uses a VPN to hop between the Wi-Fi and cellular networks of T-Mobile, Sprint, U.S. Cellular, and Three. This jumping between providers gives users constant access to the best reception available at any given moment. Users pay $20/month for unlimited calls and texts, and $10 for every GB of data they use. The new enhanced network will bring this same VPN technology to all users’ connections, including Wi-Fi networks that aren’t part of Project Fi. This addition also ensures all of your activity is encrypted and securely sent through Google’s VPN with every network users choose to connect to. The new feature became available this week, and can be accessed within the Project Fi app.

Google unveils Night Sight for Pixel phones

Google announced that the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL will now come outfitted with a photography mode called Night Sight. The mode improves the quality of photos captured in low light using machine learning and computing power. It brightens pictures and selfies captured in dark settings, as well as restores their color and sharpness. The feature doesn’t discriminate against older models, though, as it will be released as an update on the Pixel 1 and 2 as well. Here’s a short rundown on how it works. First, the tech detects and rejects misaligned pieces of frames to create a brighter image. And on the Pixel 3, it averages multiple images together to improve detail in zoomed-in shots. The algorithm for Night Sight can also detect a poorly balanced one. If it does detect one, it automatically suggests how to shift the colors.

Microsoft’s LTE-enabled Surface Go laptop is almost here

The software company’s LTE-enabled Surface Go hybrid laptop-tablet is finally available for preorder. The consumer version is going for $679, while the business-focused model is going for $729. It will officially go on sale in the U.S. and Canada on November 20 of this year. Cellular connectivity is a huge selling point for the new model, as many consumers noted the lack of LTE as a crucial flaw last time around. Other than some variation in storage options, the main difference between the consumer and commercial Surface Go devices is that the former ships with Windows 10 Home in S Mode, while the latter comes with Windows 10 Pro as the default. While the list price may seem high, it’s technically only 24 percent more expensive than the non-LTE version with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage.

Lyft to implement default 5-star rating and automatic tips

Lyft has been increasing in popularity over the past year, and this week they announced a few new features to stay top-of-mind. First off, they’re adding a preset tipping option so that riders can choose a percentage to automatically tip drivers. Users will also be able to tip during their rides as well, instead of waiting until the end. Plus, drivers will be given a five-star rating unless the passenger interjects. Riders who don’t give any rating, so the logic goes, are more likely to have been happy or indifferent, and likely forgot to tip. Lastly, a new home screen tool will show available bonuses and local events that may drive up demand, as well as a graph of the hours of the day which are likely to be busiest. Drivers are being prioritized at the company, and that’s a beautiful thing.


Published on November 16, 2018

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