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Polestar unveils its all-electrical response to the Tesla Mannequin three

Judhajeet Das

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Volvo’s standalone electrical efficiency model Polestar launched Wednesday its first all-electrical car — a 5-door fastback that’s gunning for the Tesla Mannequin three.

Prior to now few years, each time an electrical car — idea, prototype, or manufacturing model — has been unveiled, the time period “Tesla killer” has been tossed about no matter whether or not that automotive will ever even come to market.

Within the case of Polestar 2, it’s unclear if it is going to be the “Tesla killer.” It’s attainable that a completely new group of consumers can be interested in the car. What is obvious: the Polestar 2 was designed to compete with the Tesla Mannequin three within the U.S., Europe and China. 

You’ll be able to watch the reveal on Polestar’s YouTube channel.

The specs

The Polestar 2 meant to be a efficiency electrical car. It’s outfitted with two electrical motors and a seventy eight kilowatt-hour battery pack that has an estimated EPA vary of about 275 miles.

The Polestar 2’s all-wheel drive electrical powertrain produces 300 kW ( an equal of 408 horsepower) and 487 lb-ft of torque. That is above the rear-wheel (and at present least expensive) model of the Mannequin three. It’s only a skoosh beneath the twin-motor efficiency model of the Mannequin three, which has an output of 450 horsepower and 471 lb-ft of torque.

The Polestar 2 accelerates from zero to 100km (about sixty two mph) in lower than 5 seconds — once more a stat that places it proper above the mid-vary Mannequin three and under the efficiency model.

Polestar 2-Exterior-Front

Android inside

In 2017, Volvo introduced plans to include a model of its Android working system into its automotive infotainment techniques. A yr later, the corporate stated it will embed voice-managed Google Assistant, Google Play Retailer, Google Maps, and different Google providers into its subsequent-era Sensus infotainment system.

Polestar has adopted Volvo. The Polestar 2’s infotainment system can be powered by Android OS and consequently, convey embedded Google providers comparable to Google Assistant, Google Maps, and the Google Play Retailer into the automotive.

This shouldn’t be confused with Android Auto, which is a secondary interface that lays on prime of an working system. Android OS is modeled after its open-supply cellular working system that runs on Linux. However as an alternative of operating smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so it could possibly be utilized in automobiles.

The Polestar 2 will even have so-referred to as “Telephone-As-Key know-how,” which principally means clients may have the power to unlock their automotive remotely utilizing their smartphones. This functionality opens the door — actually and figuratively — for house owners to lease their car out by way of automotive sharing or use a supply service to drop off gadgets within the car.

The function additionally permits Polestar 2 to sense the driving force upon strategy. 

Polestar 2-Interior

Market plans

The bottom worth of Polestar 2 is 39,900 euros ($forty five,389), the corporate says. Nevertheless, for the primary yr of manufacturing the pricier “launch version” will solely be obtainable at fifty nine,900, or about $sixty eight,000. (The costs are listed earlier than any federal or state incentives may be utilized).

Manufacturing of the Polestar 2 will start in early 2020 at its Chengdu, China manufacturing unit. The corporate is initially concentrating on gross sales in China, the U.S., Canada and a handful of European nations that embrace Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

Polestar, like its potential rival Tesla, can also be ditching the dealership. Polestar will solely promote its automobiles on-line and can supply clients subscriptions to the car. Subscription pricing can be revealed at a later date, Polestar stated.

The automaker can also be opening “Polestar Areas,” a showroom the place clients can work together with the product and schedule check drives. These areas might be standalone amenities and never inside present Volvo retailer showrooms.

Polestar was as soon as a excessive-efficiency model underneath Volvo Automobiles. In 2017, the corporate was recast as an electrical efficiency model aimed toward producing thrilling and enjoyable-to-drive electrical automobiles — a distinct segment that Tesla was the primary to fill and has dominated ever since. Polestar is a collectively owned by Volvo Automotive Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding of China. Volvo was acquired by Geely in 2010.

The corporate’s first car, the Polestar 1, was unveiled in September.  The Polestar 1 isn’t a pure electrical car; it’s a plug-in hybrid with two electrical motors powered by three 34 kilowatt-hour battery packs and a turbo and supercharged fuel inline four up entrance.

Polestar stated Wednesday that its subsequent car, the Polestar three, might be an all-electrical “efficiency SUV.” The corporate didn’t present any further particulars concerning the Polestar three.

Tech Passionate and Heavy Geek! Into Blogging world since 2014 and never looked back since then :) I am also a YouTube Video Producer and a Aspiring Entrepreneur. Founder, MyDroidDoes

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Opera’s VPN returns to its Android browser

Judhajeet Das

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Opera had a couple of tumultuous years behind it, but it looks like the Norwegian browser maker (now in the hands of a Chinese consortium) is finding its stride again and refocusing its efforts on its flagship mobile and desktop browsers. Before the sale, Opera offered a useful stand-alone and built-in VPN service. Somehow, the built-in VPN stopped working after the acquisition. My understanding is that this had something to do with the company being split into multiple parts, with the VPN service ending up on the wrong side of that divide. Today, it’s officially bringing this service back as part of its Android app.

The promise of the new Opera VPN in Opera for Android 51 is that it will give you more control over your privacy and improve your online security, especially on unsecured public WiFi networks. Opera says it uses 256-bit encryption and doesn’t keep a log or retain any activity data.

Since Opera now has Chinese owners, though, not everybody is going to feel comfortable using this service, though. When I asked the Opera team about this earlier this year at MWC in Barcelona, the company stressed that it is still based in Norway and operates under that country’s privacy laws. The message being that it may be owned by a Chinese consortium but that it’s still very much a Norwegian company.

If you do feel comfortable using the VPN, though, then getting started is pretty easy (I’ve been testing in the beta version of Opera for Android for a while). Simply head to the setting menu, flip the switch, and you are good to go.

“Young people are being very concerned about their online privacy as they increasingly live their lives online, said Wallman. “We want to make VPN adoption easy and user-friendly, especially for those who want to feel more secure on the Web but are not aware on how to do it. This is a free solution for them that works.”

What’s important to note here is that the point of the VPN is to protect your privacy, not to give you a way to route around geo-restrictions (though you can do that, too). That means you can’t choose a specific country as an endpoint, only ‘America,’ ‘Asia,’ and ‘Europe.’

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Razer hooks up with Tencent to focus on mobile gaming

Judhajeet Das

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Razer is summoning a big gun as it bids to develop its mobile gaming strategy. The Hong Kong-listed company — which sells laptops, smartphones and gaming peripherals — said today it is working with Tencent on a raft of initiatives related to smartphone-based games.

The collaboration will cover hardware, software and services. Some of the objectives include optimizing Tencent games — which include megahit PUBG and Fortnite — for Razer’s smartphones, mobile controllers and its Cortex Android launcher app. The duo also said they may “explore additional monetization opportunities for mobile gaming,” which could see Tencent integrate Razer’s services, which include a rewards/loyalty program, in some areas.

The news comes on the same day as Razer’s latest earnings, which saw annual revenue grow 38 percent to reach $712.4 million. Razer recorded a net loss of $97 million for the year, down from $164 million in 2017.

The big-name partnership announcement comes at an opportune time for Razer, which has struggled to convince investors of its business. The company was among a wave of much-championed tech companies to go public in Hong Kong — Razer’s listing raised more than $500 million in late 2017 — but its share price has struggled. Razer currently trades at HK$1.44, which is some way down from a HK$3.88 list price and HK$4.58 at the end of its trading day debut. Razer CEO Min Liang Tan has previously lamented a lack of tech savviness within Hong Kong’s public markets despite a flurry of IPOs, which have included names like local services giant Meituan.

Nabbing Tencent, which is one of (if not the) biggest games companies in the world, is a PR coup, but it remains to be seen just what impact the relationship will have at this stage. Subsequent tie-ins, and potentially an investor, would be notable developments and perhaps positive signals that the market is seeking.

Still, Razer CEO Min Liang Tan is bullish about the company’s prospects on mobile.

The company’s Razer smartphones were never designed to be “iPhone-killers” that sold on volume, but there’s still uncertainty around the unit with recent reports suggesting the third-generation phone may have been canceled following some layoffs. (Tan declined to comment on that.)

Mobile is tough — just ask past giants like LG and HTC about that… and Razer’s phone and gaming-focus was quickly copied by others, including a fairly brazen clone effort from Xiaomi, to make sales particularly challenging. But Liang maintains that, in doing so, Razer created a mobile gaming phone market that didn’t exist before, and ultimately that is more important than shifting its own smartphones.

“Nobody was talking about gaming smartphones [before the Razer phone], without us doing that, the genre would still be perceived as casual gaming,” Tan told TechCrunch in an interview. “Even from day one, it was about creating this new category… we don’t see others as competition.”

With that in mind, he said that this year is about focusing on the software side of Razer’s mobile gaming business.

Tan said Razer “will never” publish games as Tencent and others do, instead, he said that the focus is on helping discovery, creating a more immersive experience and tying in other services, which include its Razer Gold loyalty points.

Outside of gaming, Razer is also making a push into payments through a service that operates in Southeast Asia. Fueled by the acquisition of MOL one year ago, Razer has moved from allowing people to buy credit over-the-counter to launch an e-wallet in two countries, Malaysia and Singapore, as it goes after a slice of Southeast Asia’s fintech boom, which has attracted non-traditional players that include AirAsia, Grab and Go-Jek, among others.

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Review: Apple’s new iPad mini continues to be mini

Judhajeet Das

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The iPad mini is super enjoyable to use and is the best-sized tablet for everything but traditional laptop work. It’s very good and I’m glad Apple updated it.

Using Apple Pencil is aces on the smaller mini; don’t worry about the real estate being an issue if you like to scribble notes or make sketches. It’s going to fall behind a larger iPad for a full-time artist, but as a portable scratch pad it’s actually far less unwieldy or cumbersome than an iPad Pro or Air will be.

The only caveat? After using the brilliant new Pencil, the old one feels greasy and slippery by comparison, and lacks that flat edge that helps so much when registering against your finger for shading or sketching out curves.

The actual act of drawing is nice and zippy, and features the same latency and responsiveness as the other Pencil-capable models.

The reasoning behind using the old pencil here is likely a result of a combination of design and cost-saving decisions. No flat edge would require a rethink of the magnetic Pencil charging array from the iPad Pro and it is also apparently prohibitively expensive in a way similar to the smart connector. Hence its lack of inclusion on either Air or mini models.

Touch ID feels old and slow when compared to iPad Pro models, but it’s not that bad in a mini, where you’re almost always going to be touching and holding it rather than setting it down to begin typing. It still feels like you’re being forced to take an awkward, arbitrary additional action to start using the iPad though. It really puts into perspective how fluidly Face ID and the new gestures work together.

The design of the casing remains nearly identical, making for broad compatibility with old cases and keyboards if you use those with it. The camera has changed positions and the buttons have been moved slightly though, so I would say your mileage may vary if you’re bringing old stuff to the table.

The performance of the new mini is absolutely top notch. While it falls behind when compared to the iPad Pro, it is exactly the same (I am told, I do not have one to test yet) as the iPad Air. It’s the same on paper though, so I believe it in general and there is apparently no “detuning” or under-clocking happening. This makes the mini a hugely powerful tiny tablet, clearly obliterating anything else in its size class.

The screen is super solid, with great color, nearly no air gap and only lacking tap-to-wake.

That performance comes at a decently chunky price, $399. If you want the best, you pay for it.

Last year I took the 12.9” iPad Pro on a business trip to Brazil, with no backup machine of any sort. I wanted to see if I could run TechCrunch from it — from planning to events to editorial and various other multi-disciplinary projects. It worked so well that I never went back, and have not opened my MacBook in earnest since. I’ll write up that experience at some point because I think there are some interesting things to talk about there.

I include that context here because, though the iPad Pro is a whole-ass computer and really capable, it is not exactly “fun” to use in non-standard ways. That’s where the iPad mini has always shined and continues to do so.

It really is pocketable in a loose jacket or coat. Because the mini is not heavy, it exercises little of the constant torsion and strain on your wrist that a larger iPad does, making it one-handed.

I could go on, but in the end, all that can be said about the iPad mini being “the small iPad” has already been said ad nauseam over the years, beginning with the first round of reviews back in 2012. This really is one of the most obvious choices Apple has in its current iPad lineup. If you want the cheap one, get the cheap one (excuse me, “most affordable” one). And if you want the small one, get the iPad mini.

The rest of the iPads in Apple’s lineup have much more complicated purchasing flow charts — the mini does indeed sell itself.

Back even before we knew for sure that a mini iPad was coming, I wrote about how Apple could define the then very young small-tablet market. It did. No other small-tablet model has ever made a huge dent on the market, unless you count the swarm of super-crappy Android tablets that people buy in blister packs expecting them to eventually implode as a single hive-mind model.

Here’s how I saw it in 2012:

To put it bluntly, there is no small tablet market…Two years ago we were talking about the tablet market as a contiguous whole. There was talk about whether anyone would buy the iPad and that others had tried to make consumer tablets and failed. Now, the iPad is a massive success that has yet to be duplicated by any other manufacturer or platform.

But the tablet market isn’t a single ocean, it’s a set of interlocking bodies of water that we’re just beginning to see take shape. And the iPad mini isn’t about competing with the wriggling tadpoles already in the ‘small tablet’ pond, it’s about a big fish extending its dominion.

Yeah, that’s about right, still.

One huge difference, of course, is that the iPad mini now has the benefit of an enormous amount of additional apps that have been built for iPad in the interim. Apps that provide real, genuine access to content and services on a tablet — something that was absolutely not guaranteed in 2012. How quickly we forget.

In addition to the consumer segment, the iPad mini is also extremely popular in industrial, commercial and medical applications. From charts and patient records to point-of-sale and job-site reference, the mini is the perfect size for these kinds of customers. These uses were a major factor in Apple deciding to update the mini.

Though still just as pricey (in comparison) as it was when it was introduced, the iPad mini remains a standout device. It’s small, sleek, now incredibly fast and well-provisioned with storage. The smallness is a real advantage in my opinion. It allows the mini to exist as it does without having to take part in the “iPad as a replacement for laptops” debate. It is very clearly not that, while at the same time still feeling more multipurpose and useful than ever. I’m falling in real strong like all over again with the mini, and the addition of Pencil support is the sweetener on top.

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