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Who says no to $100/month for the SpaceX Starlink beta, and more tech news today
Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Wednesday, 28 October 2020.
1. $100 a month for SpaceX Starlink seems really good, and more
SpaceX has announced its (US-only) Starlink public beta will begin, under the name the ‘Better Than Nothing’ beta. In an email to some newsletter subscribers, the company revealed some information including the all-important speeds, data cap, and pricing.
- “Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mbps to 150Mbps and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all.
- “As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations, and improve our networking software, data speed, latency, and uptime will improve dramatically. For latency, we expect to achieve 16ms to 19ms by summer 2021.
- “The Starlink phased-array user terminal, which is more advanced than what’s in fighter jets, plus mounting tripod and Wi-Fi router, costs $499 and the monthly subscription costs $99.”
So, $100 a month plus $500 upfront with no data cap, decent speeds, and latency low enough for most normal purposes. That’s really good! The occasional outage as more satellites wait to get into orbit to create more bandwidth overlaps makes sense, even if it may be a touch annoying depending on how quickly outages come and go.
- That pricing for cable or DSL options sounds expensive but for rural internet where service is usually unreliable and expensive, it is potentially a game-changer.
- The up-front antenna fee is lower than expected too. Reports were SpaceX was trying to breach the $1,000 per antenna mark, so this might be an early-adopter discount.
- Fittings for roofing may be required too, depending on house steups.
Discussion on Reddit seems to indicate that Starlink is being made available to those in a latitude range above 44 ° N, which isn’t much of the population of the United States. (Chicago sits at 41.9° N)
- It’s nearly all of Montana, and all Washington, parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota, but not much of any major major cities for now, as this map shows:
- An app on Apple’s App Store and Google Play is available to help users set up and manage their service.
- The iOS app has an AR feature to help you place the phase antenna array, too, which is a clever usage.
- Early shipping confirmations are appearing for those who opted in.
2. “The OnePlus 8T has a Nord problem” (Android Authority).
3. What is glass-ceramic? Apple’s Ceramic Shield explained (Android Authority).
4. TCL 10 5G UW review: Bringing affordable 5G to Verizon customers (Android Authority).
5. Apple develops alternative to Google search, writes the FT: ‘In the latest version of iOS 14, Apple has begun to show its own search results and link directly to websites when users type queries from its home screen.’ Interesting! ($, FT.com). The report has no quoted sources but joins the dots: we’ve known John Giannandrea and the Siri team have been working on search outside of Apple’s current engines in Apple Photos, the App Store, Apple Maps, etc, and making Siri more useful seems absolutely necessary, and useful to Apple users, plus the increase in web crawler traffic adds more data against the noise. But a general search engine to take on Google would be another big step, even for Apple.
Also another interesting Apple report via The Information: “Profit margin tensions souring relationship between Apple and Foxconn” (MacRumors).
6. The iPhone 12 could support reverse charging in the future, FCC filing hints (Engadget).
7. Microsoft gets a pandemic boost thanks to Surface, Xbox, and cloud services (The Verge).
8. PS5 vs. Xbox Series X: The next-gen consoles in photos (The Verge).
9. Logitech improved on the nearly flawless trackball, with the new $50 Logitech Ergo M575 for the thumb-oriented (Gizmodo).
10. Daimler (aka Mercedes-Benz) signed an agreement with Waymo (Alphabet/Google) to make an L4 autonomous truck, with Daimler Trucks developing a customized Freightliner Cascadia truck chassis. No timeline or price-point (The Verge)
11. Harley-Davidson unveils a gorgeous new electric bike called Serial 1. Wow — on sale in March 2021 (The Verge).
12. Cyberpunk 2077 delayed to December 10. Quite a few people are mad but it’s ok to get things right (Twitter).
13. What comes after the International Space Station? (Wired).
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