Thurrott Daily: April 7

Thurrott Daily: April 7
Paris, by Céline Auffret with a Huawei P9 smart phone

Tech tidbits from around the web.

4/7/2016 12:21:54 PM

Microsoft has purchased MileIQ

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Which I know because they are advertising it everywhere now, including via email and on, where it’s described as a recent addition to the “Microsoft family.” Meaning that Microsoft is now the Corleone of software, I guess. Anyway, Windows phone fans can not that [MileIQ]**( is only available on Android and iPhone. Here’s the sales pitch.

MileIQ is the leading automatic mileage tracking app that saves people an average of $6,500 per year in business mileage deductions or reimbursements and hours of time each week.

As part of Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, we’ve recently welcomed MileIQ to the Microsoft family.

“What the Apple Watch Does, One Year Later”

Not meet Apple’s expectations. Hence the unprecedented price cut.

Minecraft: Story Mode skin pack update is now available

I’ve never tried Minecraft: Story Mode, but Microsoft reports that the skin pack update isnow available.

The Minecraft: Story Mode skin pack update is now available for the Windows 10 Edition, the Pocket Edition and all the Console Editions. You can get the entire pack for free for the first week on Windows 10 and Windows phone, and you can buy it for $2.99 after April 13th.

The new Story Mode skin pack brings characters from the beloved Telltale Games series. Play as one of the various Jesse options, the TNT juggling Magnus, the scheming Ivor, or one of the many other Minecraft: Story Mode characters.

If you have the Windows 10 Edition, you can also assemble a team of adventurers and see how long you can survive in Soren’s mob grinder with a free Story Mode-themed arena map!

More here.

New Huawie smart phones features dual Leica cameras, takes fantastic photos

Andrew forwarded me a link to this PetaPixel story about the new Huawei P9, which I may need to pick up when I’m in Europe this summer. (It’s not coming to the US, sadly, at least not in the short term.)

The long-awaited, much-rumored, and much-leaked Huawei P9 has arrived.

The P9 is Huawei’s new flagship phone, and the crown jewel (or jewels, in this case) of the phone are obviously its dual, Leica-branded cameras. Both are 12 megapixels, with one shooting color and the other monochrome. Together, the two sensors supposedly improve contrast by a whopping 50 percent, and increase the amount of light the camera can detect by 300 percent.

Leica’s fingerprints are all over this camera. The phone’s camera app was designed with their help, and includes a “pro” mode that gives you full control of the camera settings, as well as several Leica color profiles.

The hybrid focus system is “laser assisted,” which means it uses laser, depth calculation, and contrast to nail focus in the best possible way given the shooting situation. And since you’re using dual cameras, you can, of course, control focus and depth of field after the fact.

This looks really impressive. Be sure to check out The First Photos Taken with the Leica Co-Engineered Huawei P9 too.

“Why Is Microsoft Delaying The Surface Phone?”

Why is Microsoft even making the Surface phone? Oh, right. We don’t even know that they are.

Samsung revenues up on strong Galaxy S7 sales

It looks like the Samsung Galaxy S7 is succeeding where its predecessor failed, with sales up 10.4 percent year over year. The WSJ reports:

Several analysts recently increased their estimates for shipments of the Galaxy S7 and its curved-screen variant, the Galaxy S7 Edge smartphones for the first quarter, attributing the figures to an earlier rollout combined with the introduction of an aggressive upgrade program in select markets.

Analysts now estimate that Samsung shipped as many as 10 million units of the two Galaxy S7 models in the first quarter, which is about 30% to 40% higher than what the market had previously forecast, putting the S7 series on track to outperform the preceding models.

Google expanding self-driving vehicle testing to Phoenix, Arizona

Reuters reports:

Alphabet is expanding its testing of self-driving cars to the Phoenix, Arizona metro area, the company said on Thursday, making it the fourth U.S. city to serve as a proving ground for the autonomous vehicles.

“Arizona is known as a place where research and development is welcome, innovation can thrive, and companies can set up roots,” said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google Self-Driving Car project. “The Phoenix area has distinct desert conditions, which will help us better understand how our sensors and cars handle extreme temperatures and dust in the air.”

Having lived in Phoenix, Arizona, I can assure you that more than one of these self-driving cars will be killed when a motorist fly through red lights in those giant intersections.

You will soon be able to remove Apple’s crapware from iOS devices

This is great news for iPhone and iPad users. From AppAdvice:

Apple has added two new keys labeled “isFirstParty” and “isFirstPartyHideableApp” in iTunes metadata. These two new values started showing up a few weeks ago on every app in the App Store … The new keys suggest the ability to remove apps such as Stocks, Compass, and Voice Messages is coming very soon.

Back in September, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Buzzfeed “There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. ”

Well, it’s not all good news.

The keys feature a boolean value (true/false), which also suggests not all of the apps will be hideable.

Actually, I guess that makes sense. Some core apps shouldn’t be removable. You know, like Stocks.


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