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1. The first car with Android baked in is (almost) here

The Volvo Polestar 2 is an interesting new electric vehicle, for many electric vehicle market reasons.

But what’s a new development is that it’s not just compatible with Android, but it is powered by Android.

  • No, Google isn’t running the electrics and motors, but will completely power the infotainment and displays in the Polestar 2.
  • The new Volvo includes an 11-inch tablet-sized floating display, a central part of the in-vehicle experience, as you’ll see below:

  • The big differentiation is that the car’s center console will be able to install apps from the Play Store, has Google Maps pre-installed, and offers native Google Assistant integration.
  • That changes the game – there’s no need to pair a smartphone to tap into Android Auto compatibility, and Google Assistant can control aspects of the car – both in and out.
  • Now, ‘Hey Google, turn on the heater and change the radio to SiriusXM 100’ or ‘Ok Google, roll up the windows and play AC/DC loud’ will work.
  • For Android owners, it’s no doubt going to have benefits in what you’d hope will be a smooth experience, although anything is possible with Google and a first-gen third-party collaboration.
  • It’s also an intriguing development both for iOS device owners and Apple.
  • Will iOS owners want to deal with Android, even in the heavily-masked Volvo appearance?
  • And a slightly odd but important question, will the car get regular Android security and feature updates?

On the car itself:

  • This is Volvo’s first all-electric car.
  • Polestar is Volvo’s performance brand – like AMG for Mercedes-Benz, or TRD for Toyota.
  • This sedan is squarely aimed at the Tesla Model 3.
  • How do we know? Because Volvo said so themselves, in a not-often-seen direct competitor mention by a car company: “Polestar 2 is the first electric car to compete in the marketplace around the Tesla Model 3, with the range starting at a guide price of 39,900 euros ($45,000).”
  • The Polestar 3, an electric SUV, is next.
  • It’s being produced in China from 2020, with pre-orders open now.
  • The cars will use the open standard CCS charging port which implies a decent charging network across the US and Europe, depending on where you live.
  • Would you rather own a Volvo with Google-powered AI or a Tesla with Elon Musk-powered vision and drive?

More: “Here’s how Polestar is coming after Tesla” (Jalopnik).

2. Best of MWC 2019 Awards: AA’s favorite products from the show (Android Authority).

3. Motorola confirms its foldable phone is coming (AA).

4. A phone with pop-out QWERTY keyboard is back: Fxtec Pro1 hands on (AA).

5. Redmi Note 7 Pro launched in India (AA).

6. Review of the new Shadow Ghost, a $140 streaming game console, which offers a cloud gaming service for $35 monthly. An old buggy service is now good, and it’s the future right now (TechCrunch). (Reminder: Google is rumored to be launching their own device next month, while Apple is cooking up its own service too.)

7. MIT asks Bill Gates to curate its top 10 breakthrough technologies for 2019 (MIT). I live for this stuff and I was still surprised by one or two!

8. Apple confirms that 190 employees will be laid off from its self-driving car division (SF Chronicle).

9. Medium has opened the paywall – free and unmetered – for Twitter users (TechCrunch).

10. Migrating blue whales rely on memory to find their feeding grounds (Ars Technica).

11. From upvotes to real money: Reddit tests tipping users, starting with the great Hell in a Cell memer, u/shittymorph (CNET). (This is a very weird development. Reddit takes about 18.5% off the top but that’s still better than nineteen ninety eight when the undertaker threw mankind off hеll in a cell, and plummeted sixteen feet through an announcer’s table.)

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