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Why are tech companies making cars?

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Sony Vision S 01 and Vision S 02
Sony Vision S 01 and Vision S 02
Source: Pocketnow, Sony

Electric Vehicles (EVs) are all around us, and they have become popular in recent years thanks to appealing government incentives and low-maintenance requirements. Have you ever wondered why more technology giants are stepping foot in the auto industry? Seemingly, most existing technology giants want a slice of the EV market. Big companies like Google, Sony, Apple, HUAWEI, and even Xiaomi invest a lot of money to take on Tesla and other existing manufacturers.

Yesterday, Sina Tech (via ArenaEV) reported that Xiaomi would unveil an engineering prototype of its first EV in August. The company is in full swing to test and produce its first car and has reportedly already hired a PR director. The marketing campaign is expected to begin after the prototype is unveiled.

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Sadly, we don’t have any renders or photos of the upcoming vehicle, but we know that Xiaomi is planning on producing 150,000 vehicles initially by 2024. The company also has more than 1,000 employees in the R&D team, and Xiaomi reportedly plans to launch four different models across A+ and B segments.

The A+ model is expected to cost between RMB 150,000 and 200,000 ($22,200-$29,600), and it’ll come with Level 2 autonomous driving. The B segment vehicles will cost between RMB 200,000 and RMB 300,000 ($29,600-$44,400) and support Level 3 autonomous driving. These vehicles are unlikely to make it to North America anytime soon, but we look forward to learning more about them.

Why are tech companies getting into cars?

EVs are the future

HUAWEI AITO M5
HUAWEI AITO M5
Source: HUAWEI

Whether you like it or not, electric vehicles are the future and are here to stay. Most developed countries agreed to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars from 2035, and the time is quickly approaching for the next generation that is more environmentally friendly.

While we’re still more than a decade away from the ban, many are worried that we might not be ready to switch over just yet, since the infrastructure, renewable energy, and charging stations aren’t in place, but that’ll likely improve over the coming years as there’ll be more emphasis on new projects for making EVs more viable and consumer friendly.

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Tech giants can often more easily get government grants and have the funding power necessary to invest billions into technology that could yield them high return rates in the coming years. That’s why most companies are investing in developing autonomous driving, since the hardware and the software could be licensed to other companies, earning them massive profits in the next few decades.

News EVs are supercomputers on wheels

Electric vehicles are closer to technology than ever before and are very powerful due to the constant AI computing that goes on under the hood. Many new modern EVs have more cameras and sensors than you can count, all of which contribute to the mass network that these companies are working on building out. The more data that is collected, the safer these vehicles will be in the near future. Tech companies have all of the research and development facilities in place to develop better solutions than their competitors, making it easier to advance on existing technology. If you look at Tesla’s autonomous driving in 2019, you’ll see that it was impressive, but it’s gotten a lot better in the past three years.

No need to raise funds

Google Waymo coming to NYC

Another reason tech companies are joining the automotive industry is that they don’t require funding. Most of these companies already have billions in their pockets, ready to reinvest in new ventures that will hopefully generate even more money in the long run. Startups often fail, as they either run out of money, or are unsuccessful with their funding rounds, or both.

However, tech companies also often invest in startups, as it’s usually less risky for them than starting their own business. It’s easier to acquire a startup that has been investing heavily in EVs, than to create one from scratch. Big companies like Sony and Honda are also working together to produce and develop cars together, and they’ve already announced the Vision S-01 and Vision-S 02 vehicles back at CES 2020 and CES 2022.

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First Galaxy Z Flip 4 Color Sells Out

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The entire suite of new Galaxy products has been up for pre-order since Wednesday and we keep checking to see if any of it is selling out. So far, not much has outside of a single online exclusive color of the Galaxy Z Flip 4, while the Fold 4 and both Galaxy Watch 5 watches can still be had with August 26 launch day delivery.

The first color of the Galaxy Z Flip 4 to sellout is the “Navy” colorway. The pre-configured version with navy is listed now as “out of stock,” plus if you try and use the Bespoke tool to capture a Flip 4 entirely in navy, it’ll show there as soldout too. Interestingly, if you Bespoke tool a Flip 4 and only put navy as a single panel, you’ll get a 3-4 weeks estimate.

The only other item with even a slight delay is the goofy burgundy Fold 4, but it appears to be sticking to the advertised 3-4 week delivery. I wouldn’t actually consider it much of a delay.

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Whatever the situation is here, I’ve got to admit that I’m surprised that more of the new Samsung devices aren’t soldout or with extended shipping times. As of right now, all four of the main Flip 4 colors will arrive on time (see here), as will the three main Fold 4 colors (see here) and the Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro in all configurations (see here).

Compare this launch to the Galaxy S22 from earlier in 2022 and they couldn’t have hit differently. Samsung’s dates for the exclusive online colors of the S22 Ultra started slipping almost immediately, which we know first hand because of Tim’s struggles to land one. Within a week, the dates further moved with estimates a full month out or even later.

We’ll keep an eye on shipping times over the next week or so to see how this launch changes. Will the situation start to match the Galaxy S22 launch or are the minor improvements in this year’s foldable line-up not enough to get people to bite? In my first couple of days with the Flip 4, I can tell you that the phone is very much like the Flip 3, but that doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying the hell out of it.



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Telegram’s Big Update is for the Emoji Lovers

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A new update is rolling out to Telegram today and it is all about emoji. If you love emoji, custom emoji, animated emoji, or any other type of emoji, you are in for a special treat.

Telegram announced its new Emoji Platform “where anyone can upload custom packs with unique art styles and characters for Telegram Premium users.” Folks can use these uploaded custom emoji packs in messages or captions, plus premium users are getting access to another 10 emoji packs.

To make it more obvious that all of these new custom and animated emoji are available, you’ll see the sticker shortcut in the message box turn into an emoji shortcut as you type. That shortcut leads to a new emoji panel, where you’ll see suggestions and be able to browse your various packs. To make things (potentially) easier, typing shortcuts like :smile or :lol will give you all of the available options too.

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And finally, custom emoji can be interactive in 1-on-1 chats, so “any user can tap to play synchronized, full-screen effects” from all of the emoji you spam off to friends.

For iOS users, there are new sticker, GIF, and emoji panels “with separate tabs for stickers, GIFs and emoji – just like on the Android, desktop and web apps.”

In other Telegram Premium feature news, users will find a setting that allows them to control who is able to send them voice and video messages. The options now are Everyone, My Contacts, or Nobody.

There are additional controls that will let you choose specific people or groups, and of course, you can always convert audio messages in to text. The settings for all of this are in Settings > Privacy and Security > Voice Messages.

The last new feature for Premium users is an option to “share the experience with friends, family and coworkers by sending them a prepaid subscription for 3, 6 or 12 months – at a discount.” To do so, you can tap on the profile image of someone in a chat, then the 3-dot menu to “Gift Premium.”

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These updates appear to be rolling out right away, as I’ve already seen the update on Android.

// Telegram



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First Early Galaxy Watch 5 Pro Review Arrived

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Of the two new Galaxy Watch 5 models announced, the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is the one we’re most interested in. Not only is Samsung marketing it as an “outdoors” watch for the active type, they also gave it “Pro” name, as if it packs a number of extra features over the regular model. We don’t have one in for review (we did order one) yet, so we’re doing that thing we often do with Samsung launches – looking elsewhere for early impressions.

Thanks to Ray from DC Rainmaker, one of the best at reviewing sports watches, we have a first early Galaxy Watch 5 Pro review to analyze. He took the watch for a run to test GPS and heartrate accuracy, as well as battery life. The video he posted also compares some features of the Watch 5 Pro to the Watch 5, in case we didn’t do a good enough job of that earlier in the week.

The takeaways from this early and not-at-all-final review, show that the new Compass feature might have some initial issues, GPS accuracy is not bad and performs far better than the Apple Watch Series 7, heartrate accuracy was quite good after a slowish start, and that GPS battery life is probably closer to half of what Samsung is advertising. Daily battery without GPS is likely closer to 2.5 days vs. the 3.5 days advertised. Again, these are all early, first look numbers that could change over the coming weeks with more testing.

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The video also dives into “Pro” features here and laughs a bit at what that even means because there aren’t really any pro features when you compare to other outdoor-focused sports watches. And I would tend to agree with that. In fact, Tim and I were joking earlier in the week about Samsung’s forced “outdoors” push for this watch, when almost nothing about the watch makes it better for outdoors than other Samsung watches except for GPX support and backtracking when navigating. These are not “pro” features and the rest of the watch is just the same as the Watch 5. It’s just silly branding.

Anyways, we’ll have our Watch 5 Pro soon enough and will do out own testing. If you were trying to decide now to get in on this awesome pre-order promo ($50 credit, free Charger Duo, and $240 off trade-in) , give the video below a watch.



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