Alexa + Apple Siri has a bit more competition on its way as Amazon opens the door to Alexa in iOS through its Amazon app. What this means is iPhone users can talk to Alexa from their smartphone asking Alexa many questions you would normally ask the voice recognition technology. Buying things from Amazon? Of course. But also control some smart home products—although Smart Lock (which opens doors for Vivint and Kwikset) will not be available. The new roll-out is already starting, and should be fully available by next week, and will only be available to iOS users—not Android. Alexa is already available for iOS devices. But this is yet another route to bring Alexa into Siri's territory. (Via Apple Insider)
BMW boasts BMW says it will have a fully autonomous Level 5 car ready by 2023. Level 5 is the highest level a self-driving car can be—it means that no driver is needed to operate the vehicle, at all. For comparison, Tesla's Autopilot is a Level 3 as there are drivers who still man the car, and steering wheels are very present. (Elon Musk has said that his new cars will have the hardware that makes them capable for Level 5, but we're not there yet.) BMW is working with Mobileye (soon to be part of Intel) in developing its next-gen cars, which we will watch to see if they keep their promise of hitting the highway in the next six years. (Via Reuters)
Android payments Facial recognition features are coming to Samsung's Galaxy S8 which is expected to launch this month. The device will access fingerprints, iris data and facial recognition to make sure the smartphone is being used by the owner before launching apps including Samsung Pay. Bloomberg says this will be a first for Samsung to link facial recognition tech to payment apps. While smartphone owners are comfortable using biometric information such as fingerprints, facial recognition data has not been as widely adopted. Yet.
Swatch OS Swatch is making its own smartwatch operating system—choosing to develop its own rather than use one from Google or Apple. Swatch told Bloomberg that it expect the system to be ready by 2018, and expects it will be better at protecting data and also use less energy to run—important to the watch maker because they say batteries running low is one of the biggest problems for smartwatches.
Hot gadget You might not think you have a use for the device but think again. Maybe you want to make an infrared movie, or maybe you like fixing home repairs on your own (and want to make sure you don't hit live wires.) In either case, a thermal camera could be a gadget you add to a wish list. And we spent some time with one of the best: Flir One.