This Week in Tech News

Leo Reviews the Google Pixel

Episode 1333

Google Pixel

Leo got the Google Pixel and inevitably you're going to compare it to the iPhone 7. First off, it's expensive. Leo also says that the iPhone feels better crafted and better built than the Pixel. But Leo has always preferred the Android OS to the iPhone. Leo likes the aliases you can have with Android. Widgets are also great. The artificial intelligence called Google Assistant is remarkable. Light years ahead of Siri, which lately has gotten dumber. Speech recognition is nearly perfect on the Pixel, while Leo says he has a lot of trouble with Siri.

President Obama Orders CIA to Develop "Proportional Response" to DNC Hacking

Episode 1332

CIA

President Obama has ordered the CIA to develop a "proportional response" to the reported Russian hacking of the DNC which exposed emails about the Clinton campaign. But Leo says what could the CIA expose by hacking the Kremlin? Putin posts bare chested pictures of himself on Instagram? The man is embarrassed by nothing! And could such a response cause an escalation? Leo says that our utility infrastructure is vulnerable to hacking and such a cyber war could devolve into crippling our electrical grid ... or worse.

BlackBerry Gets Out of Hardware Business

Episode 1330

BlackBerry Q10

BlackBerry this week announced it would be getting out of the hardware business. When the iPhone came out in 2007, no one knew exactly what that meant. In fact, the CEO of Microsoft at the time, Steve Ballmer, publicly criticized it saying that it's too expensive. The lack of concern was just enough to throw them off their game for a couple of years. By 2009, when it became clear the iPhone was the future of cell phones, Microsoft and BlackBerry finally leapt into action. Unfortunately, it was too late at that point and Apple already owned the space.

Sony PlayStation VR Comes Out this Week

Episode 1330

Sony PlayStation VR

The Sony PlayStation VR comes out this week. If you have a PlayStation 4, all you'll need is the headset, Move controllers, and camera. It'll be the easiest way yet to get into virtual reality gaming. Leo has tried all of the virtual reality headsets, and so far he hasn't found any to be exciting for very long. He does think that as companies evolve the technology, we may see something miraculous years down the road.

Samsung's Battery Problems Continue with Replacement Galaxy Note 7 Phones

Episode 1330

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

There have been reports of replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones exploding, indicating that the problem may not be fully resolved. One of the stories was from a Southwest Airlines flight. A passenger's Note 7 got very hot, so he threw it on the ground, it started smoking, and they evacuated the plane. The phone had not only burned itself, but it burned through the carpet to the subflooring on the plane. Samsung still has to investigate, along with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to see if the phone really was fixed.

Google Announces Pixel Smartphones

Episode 1329

Google Pixel

Google announced the new Pixel smartphone and for the top of the line model, it's going to set you back nearly a thousand dollars. Leo is amazed by this considering you can get a desktop or even a laptop for half that.

iPhone 7 Has a 'Dummy' Speaker Where the Headphone Jack Was

Episode 1324

Apple iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Have you noticed the second speaker grill on the bottom of the new iPhone 7 in place of the headphone jack? It's not actually a speaker, according to an iFixit teardown. Instead there's a plastic piece which serves as a barometric vent that lets the inside of the iPhone equalize air pressure with the outside. This is necessary because the phone is waterproof and sealed up now. That vent is critical because otherwise the altimeter wouldn't work.

iPhone 7 Is Now Shipping

Episode 1323

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus

Leo was able to be one of the first to pick up the iPhone 7 Plus and he got it yesterday in the mail. But he had to settle for gold. How 2014. Leo says that just by looking at the front, you wouldn't know it's a new model unless you saw the missing headphone jack.And the irony is that it's got a dummy speaker grill replacing the headphone jack because of "symmetry." Apple says it's a baffle to equalize pressure between the phone and outside so it can use it's software altimeter.

Does Samsung Have a Kill Switch on the Note 7?

Episode 1322

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Reddit has an interesting conspiracy theory that Samsung is getting ready to flip the kill switch on all Galaxy Note 7s, so that they cannot work anymore and users will have to return them. Leo doesn't buy it, but he says that people should return the phone anyway, just in case. Airlines are even banning it. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a formal recall and made it illegal to sell them in the US.

iPhone 7 and Apple Watch 2 Announced

Episode 1321

Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus

Apple announced the iPhone 7 this week, taking the "courageous" step of removing the headphone jack in favor of lightning connected ones. They also announced AirPods, which are wireless Bluetooth 4 headphones with microphones in each ear. They cost $159. The iPhone 7 Plus has two cameras, one 28mm wide angle and one 57mm telephoto. The Apple Watch Series 2 was also announced and it dropped the price of the Series 1 by $100, making it almost in the same price range as the Fitbit.