I made an appearance on this weeks episode of GeekWire Radio here in Seattle, Washington, and the episode is now live for you to listen to or download. It kicks off with a report from Microsoft’s Build conference in San Francisco, talking about all the Windows 8.1 news. I also share my thoughts on iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, along with stories from my participation in the Ford “Fiesta Movement” social media campaign.
We also talk about some of the top startup news of the week, including the cool Poppy device that turns an iPhone into a 3D camera, and an app called IdealSeat that crunches large amounts of data to tell baseball fans where they should sit for the best chance of catching a ball.
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Last night Tesla CEO and founder Elon Musk teased that the company would show off its battery swap service this evening, and lived up to the promise with an impressive demonstration. Tesla owners will be able to pull into a battery swap facility with their charge is running low, and a staff member will swap out the low battery with a full one. The kicker here is that the swap is performed faster than it takes to fill an empty gas tank at the pump--less than 90 seconds. Owners don't need to leave their vehicles, and the service is priced to be competitive with gas station services. The first swap stations will cost about $500,000 to build, and will appear in some of the busier Tesla corridors, including I-5 in California.
Swapping will take 90secs. You'll never get out of your car. Return the pack on your journey back or keep it & we'll bill you the difference— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) June 21, 2013
Check out the video after the break for the live demo, recorded from the crowd.
Tesla will be showing its new technology that allows Model S owners to swap battery packs in their vehicles as its design center in California on June 20th. CEO Elon Musk made the announcement on Twitter, reinforcing previous statements that Tesla would allow its customer to driver longer distances without the need to wait for the battery to charge at a Supercharger location.
We aren't sure if this applies to current Models S cards, or if this is a redesign that will be part of future models. Apparently, switching out the batteries takes just minutes--about the same amount of time that it takes an average car to be filled up with gas.
Live pack swap demo on Thurs night at 8pm California time at our design studio in Hawthorne. Seeing is believing.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 18, 2013
At the D11 conference, Tesla CEO Elon Musk just announced a major expansion to the Tesla Supercharger network. According to Musk:
"There's going to be a dramatic acceleration of the Supercharging network. By the end of next month, we'll triple the Supercharger coverage area. There's a map that'll go live tomorrow. By the end of this year, you'll be able to drive from LA to NY just using the Supercharger network. We're improving the density of Superchargers in well-traveled routes, as well as the overall coverage area."
This is huge, as there is always range anxiety for owners of vehicles that are 100% powered by electricity. Rapid expansion of Tesla's Supercharger network is essential to curbing that feeling. Tesla Model S owners using the Supercharger can go from 0% to 80% charged in 30 minutes. Of course, the Model S is a very expensive vehicle, but getting Superchargers in place for when Tesla expects to have a $30,000 range vehicle for sale (in about three years, according to Musk,) will go a long way towards buyer confidence.
The Tesla Model S has just received the highest form of praise from Consumer Reports--best car it has ever tested. That is quite an achievement, and an amazing vote of confidence for the small California-based car manufacturer. Consumer Reports even made sure to reiterate that it didn't just mean best electric car, but rather, the Tesla Model S was simply the best car Consumer Reports has ever tested, period. Standout features like a battery that allows the driver to go 200 miles before needing to be recharged (although that is a $10,000 add-on option,) incredible handling due to the weight and low placement of the battery, and the ability to go from 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. The vehicle tested would retail for $89,650, and to be honest, we'd expect a car that costs that much to be in the running for "best car tested" in any media outlet.
Get a look at the Consumer Reports Telsa Model S video review after the break.
New York City subway passengers now have access to Wi-Fi, voice, and data services in 36 subway stations. The Metropolitan Transit Authority has outfitted several major stations with the service, including Times Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center, and a bunch of stops on the West Side starting at 18th street, all the way up to 96th street. Wi-Fi is sponsored by Boingo, while cell service is limited to AT&T and T-Mobile at the moment, with Sprint and Verizon on the way soon.
Up next, Wi-Fi and cell service will come to Queens and the midtown area by 2014, followed by the Bronx and East Side Manhattan following. Here's hoping that it all holds up and doesn't crack under the pressure of the daily New York City commuters similar to the problems with the BART Wi-FI service in San Francisco.
[Photo courtesy of Hernan Seoane/Flickr Creative Commons]
No doubt about it, I'm a LifeProof case fan. So, it's only natural that I use accessories to accompany the Frē Case (see our Lifeproof Fre case review.) In this case, the car mount, which I found to be well designed with great fit and finish, and takes little-to-no effort to assemble and use. In my usage tests, I admired the attention to detail that LifeProof has put in to assure that the car mount is sturdy, yet gentle enough to safely cradle your iPhone in place for hands-free GPS navigation. I prefer using a smartphone for navigation since there's a slew of GPS apps at my disposal. Users will quickly find, as I did, that the car mount can be rotated in pretty much any direction. This is a huge plus, as it makes it easy to find that sweet spot when viewing at a glance while still practicing safe driving habits. The LifeProof Frē Car Mount is $39.99 online at Lifeproof.com or at your local Best Buy.
Also, be sure to check out our LifeProof Fre Belt Clip review.
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Ford and Spotify have announced a partnership that sees the popular streaming music service make an appearance in Ford vehicles. Spotify is now compatible with Ford SYNC AppLink, streaming its catalog of over 20 million tracks over the car radio. You'll need to download the new iOS or Android Spotify apps to take advantage of the new hotness. You be able to access your songs, playlists, and custom stations, and can even control things with voice commands. Aside from Spotify, Ford SYNC AppLink allows you to access other service, like Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, MOG, Slacker, and Rhapsody.
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SideCar, our favorite on-demand ride-sharing service, has just launched in three new cities. If you're in Los Angeles, Austin (right in time for SXSW!), or Philadelphia, grab the SideCar Ride app to grab a ride. The launching cities will have active SideCars from 5:00pm on Friday until 3:00am on the weekend days. Once demand goes up, they'll move to weekday service as well. Chicago, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. are up next. Read more about how SideCar works.
By the way, if you enter promo code ANDRU1 in the app, you'll get a free $10 credit!
Read More | SideCar Ride for iOS
Ford and Amazon have announced that Amazon MP3 for Android has been updated with Ford SYNC support, which means that you can use your Android device with Ford's admittedly awesome infotainment system to access all your tracks stored in your Amazon Cloud Player. As is typical with SYNC, you can even control playback with voice commands. Amazon MP3 2.8 for Android also includes the typical bug fixes, and the store has been redesigned to show more search results.
Read More | Amazon