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March 26, 2021
Another EV maker?

Reuters has the scoop today that Xiaomi might be about to announce it is making EVs.

Quote:

  • “China’s Xiaomi Corp plans to make electric vehicles (EVs) using Great Wall Motor Co Ltd’s factory, said three people with direct knowledge of the matter, making it the latest tech firm to join the smart mobility race.
  • Xiaomi… is in talks to use one of Great Wall’s plants in China to make EVs under its own brand, said two of the people, who declined to be identified as the information is not public.
  • Xiaomi will aim its EVs at the mass market, in line with the broader positioning of its electronics products, the two people said.
  • Great Wall, which has not before offered manufacturing services to other companies, will provide engineering consultancy to speed up the project, said one of the people.”

Xiaomi’s incredible range of products has included the automotive world before, with some involvement with the Redmi Bestune T77, an SUV that was more Bestune than Xiaomi and a collaboration with Lamborghini for a supercar-inspired kart called Ninebot GoKart Pro.

Apple, Huawei, Baidu, and now Xiaomi:

  • With Apple and Huawei previously reported to be exploring a partnership with car manufacturers to develop a new EV, Xiaomi’s move isn’t a huge surprise.
  • And Xiaomi’s wide range of products may support the move — it has a well-rated scooter, its hardware and software in smartphones is getting better, and Great Wall may act as a conduit towards rapid EV manufacturing.
  • Great Wall made 1.11 million vehicles last year, per Reuters.

But:

  • Cars are a whole new game. And hard. 
  • The premium looking Dyson EV was developed at a cost of 500 million pounds, before being shelved as too expensive, and too hard.
  • Electric startups have struggled to get out the door, with the blowup around Nikola(Business of Business) the most significant in some time.
  • Xiaomi’s approach with its current array of devices has generally been around attractive pricing — rarely the best, but always competent, and able to match the competition in most essential ways.
  • Could that work in vehicles? Possibly. I wouldn’t rule Xiaomi out on anything. But cars are ferociously competitive, difficult, and will require a lot more trust than picking up a cheap and cheerful smartphone. 
  • It’s incredibly likely this is only seen in China, possibly as a small-scale test or pilot, before opening up towards other regions.
Roundup

👋 Meet this year’s mainstream processor: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 780G, the next-gen up from the popular Snapdragon 765/765G. Coming to a 2021 Pixel or a OnePlus Nord near you? (Android Authority).

👉 Xiaomi hints at a new custom processor coming next week — most likely an additional chip, rather than custom SoC, but we don’t know much about this yet (Android Authority)

🤔 Motorola’s G100 is the first Moto G phone with a Snapdragon 800-series chip, 90Hz and 5,000 mAh batteries, but not coming to the US for some reason (Android Authority).

📸 Vivo X60 Pro Plus review: A flagship for camera enthusiasts (Android Authority).

Amazfit T-Rex Pro review: Rugged and respectable (Android Authority).

🧱 Fairphone suggests Qualcomm is the biggest barrier to long-term Android support, something I’ve heard from Fairphone themselves as well. Qualcomm doesn’t support its chipsets long-term (Ars Technica).

⚖ Reports from the congressional hearing: Congress questioned Big Tech CEOs for 5 hours without getting any good answers(Engadget), and: Social media CEOs can’t defend their business model (Wired).

🟨 Erm: Amazon clumsily denies stories of workers peeing in bottles, receives a flood of evidence in return (The Verge).

🚚 Waymo provides look inside self-driving truck testing — not a lot of juice here but still good info (Transport Topics).

🏎 Formula One returns to the track today, hype! (formula1.com).

🌓 “If you are 6x lighter on the Moon than on Earth, does that mean you can fall from a distance 6x farther than on Earth without sustaining injury?” (r/askreddit).

Friday Fun

So the titans of social media were grilled by Congress yesterday. and the biggest thing out of the whole event is… a weird clock on Jack Dorsey’s kitchen counter:

blockclock

Now, make no mistake, the background and setting of these events isn’t by accident, and the inclusion of the counter/clock was intentional.

  • Some tried to figure out the timezone which uh, didn’t go well.
  • But it wasn’t long before the true nerds stepped in to reveal it as a BlockClock Mini, showing the number of Bitcoin satoshis or sats to USD. (One satoshi is one hundred millionth of a single Bitcoin).
  • It’s $400 (or 0.0075 BTC).

Gizmodo helpfully describes it as an “insufferable device”. Ha.

Have a great weekend,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor.

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