If you think electric cars are just some sort of tech fad, well, don’t tell that to Volvo. The iconic Swedish carmaker – which is now owned by a Chinese holding group – just announced that every car it makes from 2019 and into the future will be an electric car, or a plug-in hybrid. A Volvo spokesperson said that the announcement marks the end of an era of Volvo producing cars powered only by gas engines.
Volvo is expected to announce five new models in 2018, including some high-performance Polestar variations. The new plan also sharpens Volvo’s focus on a key competitor: Tesla, which just announced that production of their Model 3 electric car is on schedule, if not a bit ahead of it. Tesla has over 400,000 deposits for the Model 3 in its back pocket, which represents a giant head start in the affordable all-electric car market. Can Volvo catch up? We’ll know more in two years.
Samsung is finding it’s not easy to keep up in the fast-moving world of AI digital assistants. The South Korean tech behemoth previewed Bixby in May and said it would be out in the wild soon, but if you live in China or an English-speaking country, Bixby is still a no-show on phones like the new Galaxy S8. Why? Well, apparently, it hasn’t learned enough “stuff” to figure out what English – and also Chinese – users are saying or asking it to do.
Samsung says work is continuing of course, but this is the third delay in getting Bixby up and running in two key markets. The new timeline? Samsung now says Bixby will arrive this fall, which is a pretty big window. Samsung acquired A-I development lab Viv last year, which is the same company that created Apple’s Siri. However, Samsung says Viv’s tech won’t come to Bixby until well after the initial debut, whenever that actually happens.
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Some new iPhone 8 stuff today. The lucky folks over at YouTube channel Everything Apple Pro have apparently gotten their mitts on a highly-accurate iPhone 8 mockup that a case-maker is using to design cases for the upcoming superphone – and it’s quite the mockup. Now, to be clear, the model of the phone is not from Apple and is the case-maker’s best guess based on CAD design details and other information, but we gotta admit – it looks pretty slick.
The full-coverage front display doesn’t work, of course, but the metal-and-glass model does show some key features, including the now vertically-stacked dual-lens camera array with flash and microphone, and this size comparison with an iPhone 7 shows it to be a bit wider than the current phone. But again, this whole case/model mockup is based on a lot of educated guesses, but we’d guess the real deal is going to be close to this form factor.
We won’t know for sure until September, when Tim Cook and company will show an actual working next-gen iPhone. Check out the whole video of the iPhone 8 mockup.
We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Close to the Metal (computers and such) on Tuesday, Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans) on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.
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