Tech round-up for July 11: Prime Day 2018 is 36 hours long, App Store turns 10, Segway's electric skates, Surface Go revealed

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, the App Store turns 10, Microsoft announces the Surface Go, and Segway announces the existence of “e-skates”. But first, getting ready for Prime Day 2018.

Prime Day 2018 is next week

The retail steamroller that is Amazon just keeps rolling along, and to prove the point the company has expanded Prime Day 2018 to be 36 hours long.

It all starts at noon Pacific time (3 p.m. Eastern) on Monday, July 16, and ending at midnight Tuesday, July 17.

If you don’t already know, Prime Day is when Amazon offers up all kinds of exclusive deals to members of its Prime service. Exactly what will be on sale is always a bit of a surprise, but you can always find something that you can justify needing. Maybe you want to join the Instant Pot bandwagon. Or add to your Blu-Ray collection. You can get clothes, electronics, and kitchenware. You can even get books, in digital and print formats.

New this year are 30% discounts on Whole Foods products sold at Amazon.ca, and $10 off in-store purchases over $50 starting today and through next Tuesday. That’s what we get when Amazon buys companies.

You can spend your day staring at the Amazon storefront, or you can “Watch a Deal” and get notified when something you fancy goes on sale.

Only Prime members get to take advantage of this extravaganza. It costs $79 for a year and as a member you also get free two-day shipping on purchases, access to Prime Music, and Prime Video, which has exclusives like Goliath, The Man in the High Castle, and starting next season, The Expanse.

Apple’s App Store has been around for 10 years

For ten years, Apple has been making software for its mobile devices available through its exclusive App Store. What a decade it’s been.

One of the early iOS games that really proved what mobile gaming could be was Toy Bot Diaries, from Vancouver studio IUGO. More recently, the developer has become known for Knights & Dragons.

Other B.C. stalwarts include RAC7 (Splitter Critters) and Frosty Pop Corps (cranking out various apps and games at a rapid pace).

Hothead Games and Klei both got their start making console games but have pivoted to mobile titles with, respectively, Kill Shot and Don’t Starve, among others.

And that’s just on the west coast. Across Canada there are hundreds of other developers making games and productivity apps for iOS devices. Millions of people around the world are on those devices, using those apps.

We’re reading newspapers, magazines, and books, watching TV and movies, and listening to radio and podcasts all through software acquired through the App Store.

Critics might talk about the problem with the walled garden system, but it does benefit both developers, who have a consistent technology to work with, and consumers, who have a secure, curated space in which to shop.

As Apple’s mobile devices continue to advance, new experiences are becoming possible through the App Store. Augmented reality, in-real-life (IRL), and educational apps are the next wave.

Microsoft’s Surface Go starts at $529 in Canada

Microsoft’s Surface devices are hybrids, a little bit laptop and a little bit tablet.

Some of the models, like the Surface Book 2 ($1,599) and the Surface Pro ($1,049), are a little more laptop because they run the full version of Windows 10. The Surface Laptop ($949), weird given its name, is a little more like a tablet with a keyboard.

Surface Go is smaller, with a 10-inch screen, and has a lower end processing and graphics capability. The idea is to provide a cheaper and more portable Surface option.

While it’s priced at $529 (you get double the processing and hard drive space for $699), to get the laptop-like functionality with the Surface Go, you’ll be spending an extra $130 or so for a keyboard cover.

The Surface Go is available for preorder now and will be shipping on August 2. Microsoft says a model with LTE cellular functionality is coming later this year.

Forget rollerblades, Segway’s created electric skates

The Drift W1 e-Skates (what is with the product naming strategies these companies are using?) appear to be using the same self-balancing technology that the Segway scooter uses.

No word on pricing, but there’s a press conference in L.A. on July 24 when we should get more details on cost and release dates.

These seem to be made for Canadians, who already know how to skate.

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