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Tesla Delays Big Rig Debut, Focuses On Model 3 Production

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk has delayed the unveiling of the company’s big rig truck until mid-November, tweeting that the electric vehicle maker was diverting resources to fix production bottlenecks of its new Model 3 sedan and to help Puerto Rico.

Musk said Tesla’s Model 3 was “deep in production hell” echoing his own comments in July when he showed off some of the first cars of that model.

The Model 3 could help Tesla approach its goal of becoming more of a mass-market producer. Recent comments have tempered expectations about the speed of the increase in production, though.

The Palo Alto, California-based company delivered just 220 Model 3 sedans and produced 260 in the third quarter. It had planned to produce more than 1,500.

Musk also tweeted the company was diverting resources to increasing battery production to help hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, where most residents remain without electricity.

Earlier this week Tesla reported that “production bottlenecks” had left it behind the planned ramp-up for the Model 3.

In response to a Tesla customer asking if he would get his car delivered this year, Musk tweeted, “December will be a big month, so probably, but it is impossible to be certain right now.”

A Wall Street Journal report said parts of Model 3 were being made by hand as recently as early September, adding to production delays.

Musk also said Tesla would reschedule the unveiling of its semi-truck to Nov. 16 as it focuses on fixing production issues tied to Model 3 and increases battery production for Puerto Rico.

The unveiling of the truck, called Tesla Semi, has been delayed for the second time this year. Musk had initially said the truck would be unveiled in September, but he later rescheduled it to late October.

Reuters in August reported that the truck would have a working range of 200-300 miles.

Earlier in the day, Musk said the company will send more battery installers to Puerto Rico to help restore power after Hurricane Maria knocked out power on the island over two weeks ago.

Electric-hybrid Airliner Aims For 2022 Debut

October 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A Seattle-area startup backed by the venture investment division of Boeing Co and JetBlue Airways Corp plans to bring a small hybrid-electric airliner to market by 2022 that can dramatically reduce the travel time and cost of trips under 1,000 miles (1,600 km), it said on Thursday.

The first of several aircraft planned by Zunum Aero would seat up to 12 passengers and be powered by two electric motors.

Electric-vehicle batteries, such as those made by Tesla Inc and Panasonic Corp, would power the motor. A supplemental gas engine and electrical generator would be used to give the plane a range of 700 miles, Matt Knapp, co-founder and chief aeronautic engineer of the Kirkland, Washington-based company, said in an interview.

 Zunum has no commitment to Tesla or Panasonic.

A larger plane seating up to 50 passengers would follow at the end of the next decade, and the range of both would increase to about 1,000 miles as battery technology improves, Knapp said.

 The planes eventually would fly solely on battery power, and are being designed to fly with one pilot and to eventually be remotely piloted, he added.

Several companies, including Uber Technologies Inc and European planemaker Airbus, are working on intra-urban electric-powered self-flying cars.

Zunum does not expect to be the first to certify an electric-powered aircraft with regulators. It is aiming to fill a market for regional travel for airlines, where private jets and commercial jetliners are too costly for many to use.

“Airlines are very keen to know how to fly a shorter distance and make money on it,” Knapp said.

Recent advances in electric-vehicle and autonomous technology, along with lightweight electric motors and carbon composite airframes would reduce the cost of flying Zunum’s aircraft to about 8 cents per seat-mile, about one-fifth that of a small jet or turboprop plane, Knapp said.

“We’re getting airline pricing down on a small plane and doing it for short distances,” Knapp said. “That kind of aircraft doesn’t currently exist.”

Zunum announced plans for electric-hybrid aircraft in April, and revealed that Boeing HorizonX and JetBlue Technology Ventures had invested in its initial round of venture funding. On Thursday it disclosed specifications and a timetable for the vehicle entering service.

Is Tesla Giving nVidia The Boot

October 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla has delivered a blow to Nvidia’s plans to dominate the AI car industry by abandoning work in Nvidia chips and moving to develop its own.

To make matters worse for the Green Goblin, Tesla is developing its own chip using Nvidia’s rival’s AMD intellectual property and any chips will be made by GloFo.

On Wednesday Sanjay Jha, CEO of AMD spin-off GlobalFoundries, said at the company’s technology conference in Santa Clara, California, that the company is working directly with Tesla.

Tesla’s silicon project is bounding ahead under the leadership of longtime chip architect Jim Keller, the head of Autopilot hardware and software since the departure of Apple veteran Chris Lattner in June.

Apparently, Keller was not that much of a fan of Nvidia, although to be fair he worked for AMD twice.

Keller arrived at Apple in 2008 through its acquisition of Palo Alto Semiconductor and was the designer of Apple’s A4 and A5 iPhone chips, among other things. More than 50 people are working on the initiative under Keller, the source said.

Tesla has been becoming more AMD focused lately, hiring Keller, including director Ganesh Venkataramanan, principal hardware engineer Bill McGee and system circuit design lead Dan Bailey.

Nvidia’s stock sank slightly on the news. Investers are aware that Tesla is not Nvidia’s only car AI partner. Analysts insist that Nvidia chips will remain the engine behind Tesla’s AI systems, while AMD chips could be used for some specific jobs.

We are not sure how true that will be, as there appears to be a trend happening here and it is following Apple’s own chip development plans. Tesla wants its own chip and will use AMD technology to build it.  If it builds it, why would it need Nvidia? 

Courtesy-Fud

HTC Rumored To Be Launching New Bezel-less Handset

September 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

In terms of design, the HTC U11 is definitely different from its rivals. Instead of a more somber look, it has been given a rather bright and shiny finish, but if there was one thing we wish HTC could have done was reduce or eliminate the bezels like we’re seeing offered by the competition.

For fans of HTC who might have been wishing the same thing, you guys might be in luck because according to a report from French website FrAndroid (via GSMArena), HTC could be working on a handset known as the HTC U11 Plus that could be launching this November with a bezel-less display.

The handset in question is said to be codenamed “Ocean Master” which is something we have heard about in the past. It is said to sport a display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, a near bezel-less display with a QHD+ resolution. It is expected to be powered by the Snapdragon 835, come with 6GB of RAM, and will sport the same camera setup as the HTC U11, while also being IP68 certified and will also come with support for wireless charging.

It is a rather interesting rumor given that recently Google has announced that they’ll be acquiring some of HTC’s smartphone team, so take it with a grain of salt but with an announcement pegged for November, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to find out.

Wireless Charging Pads For New iPhones Go On Sale

September 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The new phones, unveiled during a special event at Apple’s new headquarters, will finally include wireless charging, a first for the iPhone line-up.

An Apple-designed charging pad, called AirPower, will be available in 2018; it will offer a large charging area that will allow up to three devices, including Apple Watch Series 3 and a new optional wireless charging case for AirPods, to power up simultaneously.

While add-on, external iPhone covers have allowed wireless charging for some time, the new line-up natively contains the wireless charging receiving coils.

As Apple was releasing the news around its new iPhones, Belkin and Mophie were making their own announcements about new iPhone-compatible wireless charging pads. The new chargers are small, round disks designed to charge one iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X at a time and no other devices.

Belkin announced its Boost Up Wireless Charging Pad, while Mophie released the wireless charging base for the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X. Both charging pads will we be available on Apple.com and in Apple stores, as well as on Belkin’s and Mophie’s websites for $59.95.

It’s unclear why Apple would release its own charging pad well after third-party manufacturers have beaten the company to the wireless punch.

Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8 Pre-orders Sets Record

September 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd announced that pre-orders for its Galaxy Note 8 premium smartphone have hit the highest-ever for the Note series, surpassing its predecessor Note 7 over five days by about 2.5 times.

Samsung is banking on the device to protect its market dominance as it competes with Apple Inc’s  latest iPhones due to be unveiled later on Tuesday. Note 8 sales begin in the United States, South Korea and elsewhere on Friday.

Pre-orders reached about 650,000 Note 8 handsets over five days from about 40 countries, making the initial response “very encouraging,” DJ Koh, president of Samsung Electronics’ mobile communications business, said at a media event.

The device succeeds the short-lived Note 7, whose battery fires resulted in Samsung pulling the device from the market after just a couple of months at a cost of billions of dollars.

Its reputation tarnished, the world’s biggest smartphone maker by market share nevertheless decided to retain the Note brand after a survey showed 85 percent of 5,000 Galaxy Note users expressed brand loyalty, Koh said.

The Note 8’s U.S. price of $930 to $960, including dialing and data plans, begins an era of premium-priced handsets which analysts expect to be joined by $1,000-plus iPhones.

Apple is widely expected to unveil a special edition iPhone commemorating 10 years of the handset, equipped with edge-to-edge screen and augmented reality, that will compete with the Note 8 for pre-holiday season sales in Western markets.

In China, the Note 8 is tasked with reviving fortunes in the world’s biggest smartphone market where local handset makers such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi Inc reduced Samsung’s market share to 3 percent in April-June, showed data from Counterpoint Research.

Koh said it will take time to recover in China but expects changes this year such as appointing a new mobile chief, restructuring and focusing on key buyers to be effective.

Fitbit Commits To Smartwatch Market With Ionic Launch

August 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Wearable device maker Fitbit Inc has launched its newest device, the Ionic smartwatch, with features ranging from fitness tracking to contactless payment, as it gears up to compete with rivals such as Apple Inc.

Once the market leader in wearables, Fitbit has recently struggled due to fierce competition and had earlier blamed a shift among consumers toward feature-rich devices and smartwatches for its revenue decline.

Ionic smartwatches will feature GPS, heart rate tracking, water resistance up to 50 meters, Fitbit Pay, onboard music, multiple clock faces and a battery that will last more than 4 days, the company said in a statement.

 “Over the coming months you will be able to add eligible American Express cards, as well as Mastercard and Visa credit and debit cards from top issuing banks in over 10 markets across the globe,” Fitbit said.

The watch also has a new sensor technology — relative SpO2 sensor — for estimating oxygen levels in the blood that have the potential to track sleep apnea among others.

With a price tag of $299.95, Ionic is priced above Apple Watch’s starting price of $269.

“Fitbit can take some market share from Apple by appealing to those who are more focused on fitness, however, we do not expect this to be a significant share of Apple’s overall smartwatch sales,” Wedbush Securities analyst Alicia Reese said.

Ionic will be available for pre-sale from Monday on Fitbit’s website and at some online retailers from Tuesday, the company said in a statement.

The company on Monday also launched Aria 2 smart scale and Flyer wireless headphones.

Tesla’s Electric Commercial Freight Truck Coming In September

August 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been teasing for a while now that the electric car company will unveil what he refers to as the “Tesla Semi truck” this September. The company even released a rendering of what it would look like.

Now, a report by Reuters says that the truck’s electric drive system will give it a range of 200 to 300 miles. That range makes it suitable for regional freight delivery, short of the long-haul trucks that travel the interstates.

Tesla will also test its autonomous driving technology for the freight truck.

The trucking industry represents a new opportunity for electric vehicles. With lower maintenance and fueling costs, electric trucks offer substantial benefits to fleet operators. Initial costs may prove prohibitive, but mass production of an electric truck holds the potential to rein that investment in.

Meanwhile, new electric vehicle start-up Chanje is betting that its electric vehicles will prove attractive for daily freight delivery in an urban setting, with limited competition in the niche. Tesla would be facing more entrenched competition from the likes of Kenworth and Daimler-owned Freightliner.

As Tesla has disrupted the passenger car market to some degree, it may do the same for a segment of commercial freight delivery.

Will Apple Drop The Fingerprint Reader

August 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple in a desperate move to increase margins on its failing iPhone, has decided to abandon the expensive fingerprint reader.

Mehdi Hosseini of Susquehanna Financial Group claims that Apple will ditch the fingerprint recognition system as it seeks to save money pay for the ramp up in production of the device with ” organic light-emitting diode ” displays, or OLED.

Hosseini thinks Apple is building about 90 million units of the iPhone 8 in the second half of this year, and that half of them will be using OLED display, with that percentage moving up to 60 percent in the first quarter of next year.

He said that the facial recognition software effectively makes the fingerprint reader redundant and it will get the chop.

The Tame Apple press has muttered that it is not entirely clear from Hosseini’s note if he means that Apple will remove “Touch ID” entirely from the iPhone, or if he’s presuming Apple will find a place for Touch ID other than under the screen. Samsung , for instance, has placed a touch sensor on the back side of its “Galaxy S8” flagship device.

However, why pay for a part which you can safely lose and no one will care about? It is much better to have a machine which can tell who you are by your vacant, open mouthed stare, and a smug aura generated by the fact that you have wasted cash on a better machine which could be had for half the price.

Hosseini confirmed that the delays with the iPhone had nothing to do with Samsung Display but were due to poor control design by Apple. The Tame Apple Press had been swift to blame Samsung Display for the delay to their favourite phone claiming that the OLED screens were faulty.  Foxconn had reported poor yields with iPhone units but did not say what the cause was.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Confirms Size Of New Galaxy Note 8 Phone

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung’s big unveiling of the Galaxy Note 8 — scheduled for next week — will put the big questions about its rumored specs to rest. Now, Samsung is teasing us with a video that is unmistakably Note 8.

The teaser video shows off plenty of vague buzzwords, but it also centers around the S-Pen stylus, the Galaxy Note series’ defining feature. A blue animation of the S Pen, flies in from the left to cross out concepts like “big” and point to a more ambitious concept, like “bigger.” So, “step” becomes “leap” and “think” becomes “do.” At the end, Samsung calls out the August 23 Unpacked event in New York and supplies a hashtag: #DoWhatYouCant.

There’s no doubt that the Note 8 is an important phone. Not only is it Samsung’s most premium phone for power users, but it could also help determine the fate of the Note line. Last year’s Galaxy Note 7 was recalled twice after faulty batteries caused the phone to catch on fire. Now Samsung has to use the Note 8 to prove that its phones are safe and that it can make top-tier phones are ready to face the of Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 8 and LG’s premium V30. Google is also expected to unveil the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.

The Note 8 is rumored to get premium features like dual-rear cameras, a 6.4 (or 6.3)-inch display, and now dual-SIM compatibility. One Samsung-watching blog reported a dual-SIM Note 8 in Samsung Austria’s support page. The report claims that the Note may house a SIM/microSD tray that can hold a SIM card and microSD or two SIM cards, giving you the option of expandable storage or an extra SIM.

The rumor also suggests that the Note 8 will get a European launch, which would be a welcome change after the Note 5 never made it to Europe, and the Note 7’s European release was cut short by the recall.

Hyundai To Shift Focus To Long-Range Premium Electric Vehicles

August 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Hyundai Motor Co has announced that it was placing electric vehicles at the center of its product strategy – one that includes plans for a premium long-distance electric car as it seeks to catch up to Tesla and other rivals.

Like Toyota Motor Corp, Hyundai had initially championed fuel cell technology as the future of eco-friendly vehicles but has found itself shifting electric as Tesla shot to prominence and battery-powered cars have gained government backing in China.

Toyota is now also working on longer distance, fast-charging electric vehicles, local media have reported.

The South Korean automaker is planning to launch an electric sedan under its high-end Genesis brand in 2021 with a range of 500 km (310 miles) per charge. It will also introduce an electric version of its Kona small sports utility vehicle (SUV) with a range of 390 km in the first half of next year.

“We’re strengthening our eco-friendly car strategy, centering on electric vehicles,” Executive Vice President Lee Kwang-guk told a news conference, calling the technology mainstream and realistic.

The automaker and affiliate Kia Motors Corp, which together rank fifth in global vehicle sales, also said they were adding three plug-in vehicles to their plans for eco-friendly cars, bringing the total to 31 models by 2020.

Underscoring Hyundai’s electric shift, those plans include eight battery-powered and two fuel-cell vehicles – a contrast to its 2014 announcement for 22 models, of which only two were slated to be battery-powered.

Hyundai also confirmed a Reuters report that it is developing its first dedicated electric vehicle platform, which will allow the company to produce multiple models with longer driving ranges.

Last year, it launched its first mass-market pure electric car IONIQ, but the vehicle’s per-charge driving range is much shorter than offerings from Tesla and General Motors.

In A Twist, Tesla Lowers Price Of Model 3 Vehicle

August 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Tesla Inc has reduced the base price of its Model X SUV to $79,500 and said improving margins were behind the move, which came as the automaker is ramping up production of its new lower-priced Model 3.

Some analysts have been concerned that the launch of the Model 3, whose base price is $35,000, would steer some potential buyers away from the Model X SUV to that lower-priced sedan.

But Chief Executive Elon Musk said earlier this week that demand had not waned for the luxury electric sport-utility vehicle.

“When we launched Model X 75D, it had a low gross margin. As we’ve achieved efficiencies, we are able to lower the price and pass along more value to our customers,” Tesla in a statement on Friday announcing it had lowered the previous $82,500 starting price of the vehicle by $3,000.

The most expensive version of the Model X, the P100D, with fastest acceleration and longer range, costs $145,000.

Musk said on a call with analysts earlier this week that the launch of the Model 3 had not cannibalized Model X sales, and that demand for the Model X as well as the Model S had actually increased with the release of the lower-priced vehicle.

The Model 3, marketed as a car for the masses, begins at $35,000 before incentives, but a longer-range version is priced at $44,000, to compete with high volume luxury sedans such as the Audi A4, BMW 3-series or Mercedes C-Class.

Tesla does not break out gross margins of its individual models, but overall gross margins excluding stock-based compensation and revenue from zero-emission vehicle credits fell to 25 percent in the second quarter from 26.4 percent a year earlier, due to the Model 3 build.

Google’s Renewable Energy Plan Includes Salt

August 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Google parent Alphabet has come up with a unique plan for storing renewable energy that would otherwise go to waste — and it involves vats of salt and antifreeze.

The plan, code-named “Malta,” has the potential to last longer than lithium-ion batteries and be as cost efficient as new hydroelectric plants and other existing clean energy storage methods, Bloomberg reported Monday. The market for renewable energy could see about $40 billion in investment by 2024, the news agency reports.

The plan is being developed by Alphabet’s secretive research lab X, which has a history of big “moonshots” focused on solving big problems in the world. The lab’s efforts have included self-driving cars and Project Loon, which uses weather balloons to bring internet connectivity to remote areas.

The system, which can be scaled to energy demands, absorbs energy in the form of electricity and turns it into streams of hot and cold air. The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze. Because salt maintains its temperature well, the system can store energy for hours, or even days, Bloomberg reports.

Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Will Apple Drop Samsung

July 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The iPhone 8 is expected to be the iPhone with an OLED display and that will be using Samsung’s finest.

But a report mill suggests that the inner circle of the Apple cult is worried about being dependant on Samsung and wants to create its own OLED panels.

ET News  -South Korea – reports the company has already acquired some chemical vapour deposition (CVD) machines that’ll play a role in OLED production.

Apple will need a major supply of OLED panels and it will have a year to do it.

Digitimes claims that Apple’s move will “break the dominant position” held by Canon Kokki in the CVD machinery market.

Canon Kokki supplies its machines to Samsung and LG, the only significant current OLED makers, but Apple got its machines from Sunic System.

Courtesy-Fud

Toyota Developing Longer Range Electric Vehicle

July 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Toyota Motor Corp is developing an electric car powered by a new type of battery that significantly increases driving range and reduces charging time, aiming to begin sales in 2022, according to an Chunichi Shimbun article.

Toyota’s new electric car, to be built on an all-new platform, will use all-solid-state batteries, allowing it to be recharged in just a few minutes, the newspaper said, without citing sources.

By contrast, current electric vehicles (EVs), which use lithium-ion batteries, need 20-30 minutes to recharge even with fast chargers and typically have a range of just 300-400 kilometers (185-250 miles).

Toyota has decided to sell the new model in Japan as early as 2022, the paper said.

Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi said the company would not comment on specific product plans but added that it aimed to commercialize all-solid-state batteries by the early 2020s.

Japan’s biggest automaker is looking to close the gap with EV leaders such as Nissan Motor Co and Tesla Inc as battery-powered cars gain traction around the globe as a viable emission-free alternative to conventional cars.

Whether Toyota will be able to leapfrog its rivals remains to be seen, however, as mass production requires a far more stringent level of quality control and reliability.

“There’s a pretty long distance between the lab bench and manufacturing,” said CLSA auto analyst Christopher Richter. “2022 is ages away, and a lot can change in the meantime.” How quickly the new EVs will catch on would also depend largely on battery costs.

Having long touted hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids as the most sensible technology to make cars greener, Toyota last year said it wanted to add long-range EVs to its line-up, and set up a new in-house unit, headed by President Akio Toyoda, to develop and market EVs.

Toyota is reportedly planning to begin mass-producing EVs in China, the world’s biggest auto market, as early as in 2019, although that model would be based on the existing C-HR sport utility vehicle and use lithium-ion batteries.

Other automakers such as BMW are also working on developing all-solid-state batteries, eyeing mass production in the next 10 years.

Solid-state batteries use solid electrolytes rather than liquid ones, making them safer than lithium-ion batteries currently on the market.

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