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Samsung snaps up AI startup Viv as Note 7 smokes out a Southwest Air flight

It turns out the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had good reason to ask passengers to leave their Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones at home, or at least not charge or otherwise use the devices while in flight. Unlike texting a buddy while taxiing to the runway, a real danger exists with having a potentially combustible phone on board, as evidenced yesterday, when a Southwest Airlines passenger’s phone caused an evacuation.

The plane was still boarding when the passenger’s Note 7 started to emit smoke, so it’s not as if the flight was in the air and forced to land, but the fact that the phone was a replacement model and meant to be safe is concerning. It’s one thing if a bad batch of batteries gets by the quality control folks, but if faulty replacements are going out after all this ruckus? Folks, that’s not good. So, the debacle continues. What will Samsung do next?

Samsung dives into AI with Viv acquisition

Actually, Samsung is making some pretty big moves not related to the Note 7 issue. Yesterday, it was announced the company was acquiring Viv, an AI startup that essentially built Siri, Apple’s digital assistant. It makes perfect sense, especially considering Google made it clear it is aggressively developing AI for use in its devices. Google’s assistant is already pretty smart for early-gen AI, and you know it will get smarter. Samsung has to compete in this space.

It’s easy to get distracted by the incinerating phone issue, but Samsung absolutely dominates the Android phone market, so if it wants to stay in that position, it needs to ready its own digital assistant. And it looks like it now has the talent and resources to do just that. Imagine, you’ll be talking to your Samsung refrigerator, washer/dryer, stove, AND smart phone in no time.  It makes us wonder if LG will soon follow suit.

Win a trip to Mars

Finally T-Mobile CEO — and our favorite cartoonish wacko — John Legere is giving away a free trip to Mars — which we’re pretty sure is his motherland. It’s true. If Legere’s recent tweet hits 1 million retweets, one lucky retweeter will win a trip to the red planet. No word on whether the trip will include a ride back to earth. And, actually, that’s kind of the trouble with this stunt. We don’t have a way to get to Mars in a timely manner, much less get back.

It’s a good thing, then, that there’s a cash prize alternative. If you don’t feel like holding out for a radical revolution in space flight, you can opt for $200,000. If the retweets don’t make a million but exceed 100,000, the winner will get a zero-gravity adventure of some sort, and 50,000 retweets gets you a zero-gravity chair. IF Legere somehow only gets 10,000 retweets, then the prize is a flight anywhere in the US, up to $800 airfare.

Would you take the $200 G’s or hold out for the Mars flight? Let us know in the comments below. And thanks for checking out DT Daily today.