Phoning It In

As we continue to clean out the news chum, here are some cell-phone related articles of interest:

  • TAP your Phone. Two distinct articles discuss something interesting coming to the LA Metro: Cubic Systems has been awarded a contract to develop an integrated fare-payment mobile app. Cubic (NYSE: CUB) designed and delivered the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s TAP card, which serves 24 transit agencies. More than 2 million people hold TAP smart cards, which pay bus and light rail system fares when users hold them next to card readers. The card transmits data using near-field radio communication technology.  With the upgrades, riders will be able to use their TAP accounts to pay for third-party services such as ridesharing, bike sharing and parking. TAP will also support fare subsidy programs. In addition, Angelenos will be able to use their mobile devices in place of TAP cards when getting aboard buses and subways. That’s confirmed by an article in Curbed LA: Instead of swiping a TAP card, as most passengers do now, users of the new app will be able to simply scan their phones to pay a fare. The system is expected to be ready for testing this summer, with a full rollout planned for the fall, says Metro spokesperson Rick Jager. The system may also be able to give incentives for frequent riders or on smoggy days. I’m looking forward to this, as your phone account, unlike a tap card, won’t expire and is harder to lose.
  • Full Size Keyboards. One of the most interesting things about the Moto Z series are Moto-Mods: the ability to add modular additions to phones. It appears that a new mod coming this year will be a full-size keyboard. According to The Verge:Back in April, we were forced to acknowledge that the Indiegogo crowdfunded Keyboard Moto Mod was actually a real physical device. This year at CES 2018, Motorola has announced that you’ll actually be able to buy one soon for $99. The Slider Keyboard Moto Mod, developed by a third-party company called Livermorium, was the winner of Motorola and Indiegogo’s Transform the Smartphone Challenge, after which it was put through Motorola’s Accelerator Program where the cellphone company worked on the device alongside Livermorium. And now, a finished version of the mod is set to be released sometime in the next month or two.
  • New Phones Leaked. Going along with the above, a report just came out leaking the details of the upcoming Moto phones: the X5, Z3, and G6. According to the article, a sampling of the new features reveals: ♦ The Moto X5 will have a “notch” like Apple’s iPhone X;  ♦ The Moto X5 will include either 3D face unlocking or an in-display fingerprint sensor;  ♦ The Moto Z3 has a Galaxy S8-style infinity display;  ♦ The backs of the phones will be made of glass instead of metal;  ♦ The Moto G6 Play will have a whopping 4,000mAh hour battery;  ♦ There will be a 5G Moto Mod.

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