Weekly Bytes | Tesla Model S ‘Plaid’ launch, Facebook building smartwatch, and more

Tesla Model S Plaid. | Picture by special arrangement.  

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Tesla begins Model S Plaid delivery

Tesla on Thursday started the delivery of its Model S Plaid, a significantly improved version of the original Model S from 2012. According to CEO Elon Musk, the Model S Plaid is the “quickest production car ever made of any kind,” and can go from 0-60mph (96 kmph) in under 2 seconds. Model S Plaid with a tri-motor powertrain can offer 390 miles (627 km) range and can be supercharged to give 187 miles (300 km) of range in 15 minutes, as per Tesla. The vehicle has a top speed of 200mph (321 kmph) and comes with a $129,900 (about ₹95 lakh) price tag. “We’ve got to show that an electric car is the best car, hands down,” Musk said at the delivery event. “It’s got to be clear [that] sustainable energy cars can be the fastest cars, the safest cars, [and] can be the most kick-ass cars in every way.” In another development, long-time Tesla Inc executive Jerome Guillen, who oversaw its Semi electric trucks slated to be launched this year, has left the company, Tesla said on Monday.

Facebook building a smartwatch

Facebook is working on its smartwatch and plans to release the device next year, according to a report by The Verge. The wearable will feature a display with a front camera that can be utilised for video calling; a 1080p, auto-focus rear camera that can be used “when detached” from the wrist frame; a heart rate monitor; and LTE connectivity. The wristwear device will expand the company’s hardware portfolio, which includes Oculus VR headsets and Portal video calling devices. The report also noted that Facebook has spent about $1 billion to develop the first version of its watch, and is working on second and third generations as well. Furthermore, subsequent versions of the smartwatch could also control Facebook’s planned augmented reality glasses. In another update, Facebook will soon roll out a new payout interface on its platform to show creators how much other companies including Apple and Google take from their earnings in the form of fees and taxes.

Archer unveils eVTOL aircraft ‘Maker’

California-based Archer, a company designing and developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, debuted its Maker aircraft on Thursday. Archer’s first demonstrator aircraft is capable of a 60-mile (96 km) range at 150mph (241 kmph), it said. “Maker’s unveil has been years in the making and marks a pivotal juncture for the eVTOL industry and future of transportation,” Archer co-CEO Brett Adcock, said in a statement. In February, Archer announced its merger with Atlas Crest Investment Corporation, and also entered into an agreement with United Airlines. As part of the agreement, United placed an order for $1 billion of Archer’s aircraft, with an option for an additional $500 million of aircraft. United estimates that using one of Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by up to 50% per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport. In a separate development, for the first time in history, an unmanned aircraft refuelled another in mid-air.

BMO partners with AWS to accelerate digital transformation

One of Canada’s largest financial institutions BMO Financial Group (BMO) has partnered with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to modernise its banking platforms and build digital financial services applications as part of the company’s ongoing digital transformation. Using AWS’s portfolio of cloud capabilities, BMO will develop and scale digital platforms and services for its global customers, meeting and strengthening stringent security and compliance standards. The financial institution has over 12 million customers and $950 billion in assets. The bank is also moving strategic workloads to AWS that support its retail and commercial banking, investment banking, and wealth management operations, as well as migrating its online and mobile banking applications to the cloud platform. In another update, Britain's competition watchdog is planning a formal competition investigation into e-commerce company Inc.

Smallest mobile image sensor for 50MP cameras

Samsung on Thursday said it has produced the industry’s smallest 0.64μm-pixel mobile image sensor that offers 50-megapixel (MP) options for both front and rear-facing cameras. The JN1 is equipped with the latest pixel technologies such as enhanced ISOCELL 2.0, Smart-ISO and Double Super PDAF. A new addition to Samsung’s high-resolution image sensor line-up, the JN1 employs ISOCELL 2.0 technology with added enhancements that are said to improve light sensitivity by around 16%. “The new ISOCELL JN1 at 0.64μm will be able to equip tomorrow’s sleekest smartphones with ultra-high resolution mobile photographs,” Duckhyun Chang, EVP of the sensor business at Samsung Electronics, said in a statement. The image sensor is currently in mass production, according to the company. In another development, Samsung researchers are exploring stretchable displays that can be expanded in any direction like rubber bands to change their shapes.

Meet’s new background replacement options

Google Meet users on Android will now be able to blur or replace their background using select images like office spaces, landscapes, and abstract backgrounds during video calls. Google said it has started rolling out the feature and soon plans to bring support for iOS devices, as well as custom image backgrounds. For Meet users on the web, the company has added the option to replace their background with a video using select videos such as a classroom, a party, and a forest. The tech firm said it has started rolling out the feature and will bring more video background options, along with support for mobile devices in the coming months. Starting June 30, the replace background feature for both video and image backgrounds will require Chrome version M87 or later, the search giant noted. This week, Google also said it is building an open subsea cable that will connect the East Coast of the US and Las Toninas, Argentina with additional landings in Brazil and Uruguay.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 11:13:07 AM |

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