We hope you had a chance to see the amazing eclipse yesterday, but if not, good news: the next one to cross a major portion of the U.S. — and Mexico — is just seven short years away, so start planning your trip now. Anyway, there’s lots going on in tech today, including a reshuffling by Verizon of their “unlimited” cellular data plan, which will now consist of two unlimited plans that include many more limitations.
The basic “unlimited” plan, known as the Go Unlimited plan, restricts video playback to a nearly unwatchable 480P on phones and 720P on tablets, along with a long list of other restrictions, including giving Verizon license to throttle your data stream any time they want, all for just $75 a month. Add a few more dollars for the oxymoronically named “Beyond Unlimited” plan and you bump up video to 720P on phones – but that’s it.
That’s right, no Netflix or Amazon Video or HBO GO in HD for you or anyone using the Verizon network, apparently. Seems like actually giving people actual “unlimited data” isn’t a great business plan, thus the growing list of limitations. Here’s an idea: if it’s not an actual “unlimited data plan,” then stop calling it that.
When Apple deleted the headphone jack from the iPhone, lots of people thought it was mostly a ploy to force – or at least strongly suggest – that a pair of wireless Apple-owned Beats headphones would be accessory number one. That really hasn’t happened, but it looks like Google was taking notes, and now 9to5Google is saying Google may be working on a pair of “smart” headphones to pair with its upcoming Google Pixel 2 smartphone.
9to5 says they found reference to a product code-named “Bisto” that appears to be a wireless headset with Google Assistant tech built in. Apparently, Google Assistant will be able to vocalize notifications and you can respond via voice, which would be pretty cool. No design info for the Google cans was discovered. It’s all conjecture at this point; Google may or may not even make the headphones, but it does kind seem right in line with their overall plans.
The bus we all truly want to take
If you’re a vintage VW fan, great news: positive reaction to Volkswagen’s recent unveiling of their I.D. Buzz microbus concept car has been so strong, Volkswagen says they are going to put it into production with a release date of 2022. Lots of good news here too: the new microbus will be a full-on electric vehicle, and with that relatively long wheel base, that means room for lots of battery storage – and therefore some decent range and power – maybe upwards of 300hp.
Additionally, the rig will be packed with assisted driving tech, although the fold-away steering wheel for autonomous driving shown in the concept model will likely not make it into the production – at least at the start. Now, about that name: I-D Buzz may need a rethink. Let us know what you’d like VW to call the new microbus in the comments section.
We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans) on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.