Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Thursday.
1. Samsung officially announced the Galaxy Note 8, coming on September 15. The successor to the ill-fated Note 7 has design and specs similar to the Galaxy S8+, but adds a dual camera setup, the signature S-Pen, and a starting price of $US930 (£750).
2. Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth is reportedly taking over all of Facebook’s hardware efforts, including the company’s famous Building 8 and Oculus. His team is already working on a video-chat device, which will be the first of a series of consumer gadgets such as a Echo-like smart speaker, 360-degree cameras, and “futuristic wearables.”
3. Apple is reportedly lagging behind its competitors in the self-driving technology race. A person who worked on the project told Business Insider that Apple is now “where Google was three years ago,” and that the scaled down team working on the technology is “still in turmoil” after last year’s major internal reorganisation.
4. The US Federal Trade Commission has approved Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. In a statement, it said that it was no longer investigating into the $US13.7 billion (£10.7 billion) deal, initially deemed as potentially anti-competitive.
5. Samsung Mobile’s president DJ Koh said that the company is working on a smart speaker. It’s not clear whether the device will use Samsung’s own Bixby smart assistant, but it will compete directly against products like Google’s Home and the Amazon Echo when it launches.
6. Snap’s vice president of content Nick Bell said that he expects the company to publish scripted shows on Snapchat by the end of the year. He claimed that “mobile is not a TV killer,” and that with its mobile-focused programmes Snap wants to “complement” television instead.
7. Elon Musk revealed the design of SpaceX’s new space suits in an Instagram post. The CEO made it clear that the suit shown is not a mockup but an actual render, and that balancing the aesthetics with usability was “incredibly hard.”
8. Facebook is rolling out a new feature that will allow users to take 360 degree photos from inside the app. Users will then be able to share the picture or use it as their new cover photo.
9. Google and Walmart are partnering to offer voice shopping through Google Assistant on the Home smart speaker. Specifically, consumers will be able to use Walmart’s “Easy Reorder” feature that works integrated with Google’s “Express” shopping service.
10. Google will now offer a clinically validated screening quiz to users searching for “depression” on the web engine. The feature is currently live exclusively in the United States, and only works on mobile.