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The long goodbye for the 747 now certain, plus more tech news today

Plane geeks won't get too many more chances to fly in a 747, even if your packages will. And loads more tech news today!

Published onJuly 6, 2020

747 lufthansa

Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Monday, July 6.

1.The end of the 747

Boeing’s legendary 747, first built in 1968 and built continuously since then, is over. Finished. No more. Capiche?

(Photo credit: Lufthansa/Oliver Roesler)

The final 747 variant in production at Boeing, the 747-8F freighter jet, will reportedly cease production as fresh orders come to a halt.

And, as Jalopnik points out, for real this time. No, really!:

  • Ever-reliable Reuters reporting attributes sources within the industry confirming the end of production. Boeing hasn’t made it official yet, but the reporting matches declines in orders as airlines have shifted to newer, smaller planes.
  • The double-decker jumbo of old that defined commercial aircraft and travel has been on a long goodbye, but the end is now in sight.
  • Boeing still has 747 orders to complete, including retrofitting two already-built 747-8 Intercontinentals that will become Air Force One, or VC-25Bs. (I hadn’t heard this anecdote until now: “in a cost saving measure, the US Air Force had contracted to purchase two of the bankrupt Russian airline Transaero’s undelivered 747-8 Intercontinentals from Boeing, which was storing them in the Mojave Desert to prevent corrosion,” per Wikipedia.)
  • A 747 rolls off the line approximately every two months, with 15 orders remaining. 12 of those are for UPS, and three for a Russian cargo carrier deemed unreliable, so even now, this goodbye may be two years early, and the freight jets will continue flying for many years, even decades, to come. (UPS noted they carry a maximum payload of 307,000 lbs, or 139,252.86 kgs.
  • I know no-one sends letters anymore, but with the average letter weight 32 grams or one ounce, that’s about 4.9 million letters per plane.
  • Of a reported 27 747s still in use, Lufthansa and British Airways have the most active 747s in their fleet, assuming both survive the current pandemic and limited travel possibilities.

Twin-engines preferred:

  • But along with the much-faster death of the Airbus A380, airlines are going smaller. The newer 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A350 are much more popular for passenger flights, as twin-engine jets.
  • Boeing’s 777X, with its folding wingtips, the world’s largest twin-engine jet, is currently being certified to fly.
  • Longer range twin-engine jets (known as ETOPS) beat four-engine jets for fuel efficiency, and require less engine maintenance.
  • Why haul around four engines when you can do the same with two engines, is the overarching approach here.
  • The twin-engine world isn’t all rosy though: the 737 MAX remains problematic, and still dwarfs Boeing’s issues with the slow decline of the 747: Bloomberg reports the 747-8 has been a money-loser since 2016, which remains …baffling.
  • Plane geeks have usually loved the newer 747s, while I can personally vouch for the comfort of the A380. It’s just a shame wide-body aircraft aren’t as viable as hoped.

2. New Samsung Galaxy phone might get close to the 7,000mAh battery barrier (Android Authority).

3. “I wish the OnePlus 8 Pro was more like the OPPO Find X2 Pro” (Android Authority).

4. TikTok predicts staggering loss of cash following India ban (Android Authority).

5. What are Apple Car Keys (CarKey) and is there an alternative on Android? (Android Authority).

6. LG CX OLED TV review: New paper-thin C-series is really expensive, but it looks really, really good (Wired).

7. US sanctions make HUAWEI more of a security risk: UK to phase out HUAWEI network infrastructure, including already installed 5G, by end of 2020, says leaked report (Bloomberg).

8. A future Chrome update may extend your laptop’s battery life by up to 2 hours. Two hours?! Google’s own tests showed “an experimental feature in Chrome 86 will reduce energy use by shutting down unnecessary JavaScript timers and trackers when a tab is in the background.” (The Windows Club).

9. Nice insight into Sony’s secret weapon for PlayStation: a nearly all-automated factory, that pumps out a new Playstation every 30 seconds (Nikkei).

10. People have committed more than $300,000 for a NASA-designed perfume that smells like space. Spoiler: “The smell of space has been compared to many things over the years, including “seared steak, gunpowder, hot metal, and arc welding on [an astronaut’s] motorbike.” Mm, the smell of hot energy and radiation (Gizmodo).

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