Everybody hates the key card. Will your phone replace it?


Hilton has installed its Digital Key technology at more than 4,250 properties over the past five years.

Technology that allows hotel guests to use their phones as room keys is expanding, taking aim at those environmentally unfriendly plastic cards.

The demonstration using the cellphone as a digital hotel room key didn’t quite go as planned. The hotel manager held his phone up to the room’s door lock and nothing happened. Realizing his Bluetooth was turned off, he tried again. Now the door’s sensor flashed green, while the phone screen informed him that the door was unlocked.

Like the majority of travelers, I had never before used a mobile hotel key, even though the first version of the system was installed nearly a decade ago. Today, about a million hotel rooms worldwide are estimated to have some version of a lock that can accept a cellphone-generated digital key, according to Nicolas Aznar, president of the Americas division of the Swedish-based lock maker Assa Abloy. Hotels are accelerating the installation of these systems to increase revenue, drive customers to their loyalty sites, and offer a better guest experience.

Continue reading… “Everybody hates the key card. Will your phone replace it?”

What the hell is a blockchain phone—and do I need one?


The first wave of crypto-focused smartphones from big players like Samsung is a small step toward a decentralized web.

The crypto world is full of buzzwords, but if you can peel away the marketing fluff, you sometimes find innovation beneath the surface. You are often also reminded just how early it is in the history of this technology. Case in point: the blockchain phone.

All of a sudden, several crypto-focused handsets are hitting the market, or will soon. The biggest player in the new game is Samsung, which confirmed this month that the Galaxy S10 will include a secure storage system for cryptocurrency private keys. It joins HTC, which for months has been touting the Exodus 1; Sirin Labs, which used proceeds from a huge ICO to build the Finney; and Electroneum, which this week began selling an $80 Android phone that can mine cryptocurrency.

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LG’s new smartphone unlocks by recognizing the veins in your palms — here’s how it works


  • LG introduced a brand new way to unlock smartphones with its latest G8 smartphone.
  • The LG G8 uses its front cameras to detect the veins and other characteristics on your palms.
  • It’s a little awkward to use, but it could make it easier to unlock the phone while it’s resting on a table.

LG announced its new G8 ThinQ smartphone on Sunday, and it comes with a unique trick to unlock the phone: vein recognition.

Indeed, the LG G8 uses the veins in the palms of your hands to unlock the phone, which the company calls “Hand ID.” It’s a novel method, but it’s the same idea as advanced facial recognition.

Continue reading… “LG’s new smartphone unlocks by recognizing the veins in your palms — here’s how it works”

Here is how much sexting among teens has increased


Guess what, people are more likely to sext or receive sexts if they have smartphones. Yes, somehow sexts aren’t quite the same with a rotary phone or semaphore flags. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics revealed that sexting (which is the electronic sharing of sexually explicit images, videos, or messages) has increased among teenagers since 2009. Oh, and the number of teenagers with smartphones has also increased since 2009. Coincidence?

The study found that about 1 in 7 (or 14.8%) of those between the ages of 12 and 17 had sent sexts and approximately 1 in 4 (27.4%) have received them. Hmm, sounds like not all sexting is being reciprocated. More on this later. These numbers are significantly higher than those from a 2009 Pew Research Center study that revealed that 4% and 15% of 12 to 17 year olds had sent and received sexts, respectively.

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Cracked smartphone screens are about to become a thing of the past


Changes in design and materials are good news for those of us with slippery fingers.

One of the biggest problems with smartphones is that they break. Screens are the most common culprit—smashed and cracked displays make up roughly 50 percent of all smartphone repairs. Water damage, malfunctioning charging ports or connectors, or nonfunctioning buttons are also popular reasons smartphone owners head to the repair shop. While talk of planned obsolescence—the idea that smartphone-makers purposefully design their products to eventually fail, forcing you to upgrade to a newer model—often comes up, these issues just happen with use over time. Over the past few years, smartphone companies have been taking small steps to make their phones more durable. Now, it seems we may be commencing an era of nearly unbreakable phones as hardware-makers develop less fragile display and body materials and continue to shore up devices against threats like dust and water.

Continue reading… “Cracked smartphone screens are about to become a thing of the past”

How long before we have self-healing smartphone screens?

cracked phone screen 8hf6

“When I was young, my idol was Wolverine from the X-Men…He could save the world, but only because he could heal himself,” researcher Chao Wang recently said in a press release from the American Chemical Society (ACS). Wang began working on a self-healing material that could stitch itself back together after damage, and came up with a game-changing polymer.

The key to the the material’s crucial new powers? Chemical bonds. Check out this video.

Continue reading… “How long before we have self-healing smartphone screens?”

Wearable usage in the U.S. will jump almost 60% in 2015


We will continue to see double-digit growth in the number of Americans using wearable devices over the next several years, according to eMarketer’s first wearables forecast. In 2015, 39.5 million US adults 18 and over will use wearables, including smartwatches and fitness trackers. That’s a jump of 57.7% over 2014. While penetration among US adults is just 16.0% this year, eMarketer expects that to double by 2018, to 81.7 million users.

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Voyo – an OBD-II device that will make your car smarter and safer


As tech companies and automakers race to get more connected cars on the road, many consumers are missing out on some of the fuel savings, security, and diagnostic tools that come standard, unless they have a few grand to spare on a new vehicle.

Continue reading… “Voyo – an OBD-II device that will make your car smarter and safer”

Yahoo: The number of mobile ‘addicts’ up 60% in the last year


Are you constantly checking your smartphone?  Are you opening apps on it more than 60 times a day?  If so, you are not alone.  Right now throughout the world there are more than 280 million of these so-called “mobile addicts”, according to recently shared statistics by Flurry, an app analytics company that Yahoo bought last year.   Continue reading… “Yahoo: The number of mobile ‘addicts’ up 60% in the last year”

Bionic Bird: A flying bird-shaped drone controlled with your smartphone

bionic bird

Bionic Bird

Bionic Bird isn’t a bird or a plane. Bionic Bird is a bird-shaped drone. This new mechanical bird, due to land this December, will be app controlled, using a Bluetooth 4.0 link to support 100 meters of remote controlled flight from your smartphone or tablet. (Videos)



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