Readying its live online TV service, Verizon is busy buying up streaming rights from TV networks, Bloomberg reports, citing sources. “The telecommunications giant plans to start selling a package with dozens of channels this summer,” it writes. “The live, over-the-internet TV service would be a first for Verizon -- separate from go90, a YouTube-like streaming-video service aimed at teens -- and also independent of its FiOS home TV offer.”
Beginning with Dunkin' Donuts, Waze is partnering with businesses to let people pre-order goods and services. If all goes well with the Dunkin' Donuts test, [the Google-owned app] plans to team up with other merchants so its millions of users can order pizza, reserve parking spaces, fill prescriptions and even buy groceries without having to open another app on their phones,” the Chicago Tribune writes.
Samsung just unveiled its first Wi-Fi system. Samsung Connect Home combines “the easy installation of a Google Wifi or Eero mesh router system, but with a SmartThings hub built in,” CNet explains. “It includes up to three identical hardware units … each of which is a compact wireless router with two network ports.”
Bixby is not your average voice assistant, The Verge reports. Rather, “Where Siri, Google, and Alexa are focused on collecting and understanding information out on the internet and then answering your questions about it, [Samsung’s new assistant] is trying to help you use your own phone,” it writes. “Samsung’s goal is to make it so that if you don’t want to, you don’t have to touch your device at all.”
Tinder is rolling out a Web-focused version of its dating app, this week. Regarding Tinder Online, TechCrunch notes that the new service “still requires that you sign on to your account through Facebook, and it doesn’t include any of Tinder’s revenue features like Tinder Boost or Super Like, for now.”
Amazon has agreed to buy Dubai-based Web retailer Souq.com, Reuters reports, citing sources. “Souq.com, which sells consumer electronics, fashion, household items and other goods, lays claim on its website to being the largest e-commerce site in the Arab world,” it writes. “For Amazon, Souq.com offers expertise and a foothold in a region where e-commerce is expanding quickly thanks to a young and tech-savvy population.”
Apple is buying Workflow, which TechCrunch describes as “a tool that lets you hook together apps and functions within apps in strings of commands to automate tasks.” And, in what TC calls a “somewhat uncommon” move for Apple, the app will now be given away for free on the App Store. Also of note: “This is not a ‘pure acqui-hire’ in that Workflow -- not just the talent -- is being purchased in this deal.”
Samsung just launched Bixby -- its first AI assistant. Comparing to other assistants, “Bixby is different in three key areas, the first being ‘completeness,’” 9To5Google writes. “Samsung says that unlike other assistants available right now, Bixby will be able to take complete control over supported apps, unlike its competitors which can only take care of limited tasks.”
SoftBank Group is reportedly rethinking its $100 million investment in Andy Rubin’s smartphone startup. As for why, sources tell The Wall Street Journal that the Japanese investor have become close with Apple, so it doesn’t make sense to get into bed with the creator of Google’s Android software.
Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 is expected to employ facial-recognition technology for mobile payments, Bloomberg reports, citing sources. The “cutting-edge security [will] help the marquee device stand out from rivals such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone,” it writes. “The Galaxy S8 to be unveiled later this month will blend fingerprint, iris and facial detection to verify users accessing mobile services including Samsung Pay.”