Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8: Pretty close to the Note 7, but with less heat

Back to base

Samsung has taken the wraps off the questionably named Galaxy Note 8, the phone they hope wipes away the memory of the somewhat flammable Note 7, which is why they named it the…. Note 8… Anyway, poor name choices aside, the phone is out, and we’ve managed to get our mitts on one for a long look, and we can say at this point the phone appears to be very, very safe, and we mean that in several ways.

DT’s Andy Boxall says yes, the phone is capable, functional and very nice. The problem is it breaks almost no new ground –which the Note 7 did – with the S-Pen stylus and a dual-lens camera setup being the primary factors separating it from the Galaxy S8 halo phone. Hey, we get it: The Note 7 was a near-death experience for Samsung – and several owners – so they played it safe here. Too bad, as it could have been a chance to really blow away those bad memories.

Color options and LED trim, please

If you’re still decompressing from the eclipse, here’s some cool stuff from uber spaceman Elon Musk: fashionable space suits. See, now you really do want to go to Mars, don’t you? Damn straight. Musk posted the pic to Instagram and says it’s no mock-up either, claiming it’s been tested to “double vacuum pressure,” and that it’s tough to make a space suit that both protects you from the numerous fatal aspects of space travel while making you look good as well.

In case you forgot, Mr. Musk is planning on building some super-sized rockets and lofting a million people to Mars, where they’ll turn the planet into the Earth-like home we always wanted Mars to be. And it seems the stylish spacesuit thing is a trend: NASA has also shown off these fashionable blue getups that include Reebok footwear for shooting hoops on the lunar surface.

Siri, drive me to Five Guys

If you’ve been saving your nickels for a down payment on the coming Apple iCar, you might want to put that cash towards an iPhone 8 instead. According to the New York Times, Apple’s initial bold plans to revolutionize the auto industry along the lines of how it reshuffled the computer, music and cell phone markets have been dialed back a bit.

Instead of making the whole widget – which is Cupertino’s typical approach – Apple will instead focus on developing autonomous systems and software that will only drive the vehicle – maybe any vehicle – which is more of a Microsoft approach, actually. Anyway, the Times says Apple will likely use employee shuttle buses to test out their self-driving tech, which could make for some interesting commutes.

In truth, this approach is a bit more sane – even Google says they’re probably not going to make their “own” cars, despite recently rolling out a number of these little self-driving gumdrops. Apple’s name for their test fleet? “PAIL,” as in “Palo Alto to Infinite Loop.” That’s awfully close to another word we hope doesn’t get associated with the program. Good luck, Tim.

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.