Tesla Pi gets my motor running

Tesla Pi gets my motor running

I admit it, I'm getting excited about the Tesla Pi phone due out this year. The rumours have been flying fast and furious but there are some seemingly solid predictions. The phone will have a specially designed CPU. It will have a nice screen just under the 7-inch mark, four cameras and be deliberately priced a few hundred dollars under the top-of-the-line Apple phone. There is apparently some bad blood between Elon and Apple so that last one is a deliberate choice. Like the next Samsung range, it may have an under the screen front facing camera. There'll be lots of memory and a bunch of Tesla-like features with apparently a solar charger built into the back so you can always recharge during the day. I'm due for a new phone this year so I'll be holding off on the new Samsung and waiting to see what comes out.

- It is CES time again so lots of new consumer technologies to drool over. The new TV ranges look sharper and thinner than ever and the OLED-like technologies are coming down in price. The Why? Award goes to the eInk body on the BMW iX that allows you to change the car colour between two options. Great for getaway vehicles I guess but they are a long way away from more than two colours, in this case black and white. I also don't understand why phones were featured so prominently when the newer models are a month or two away for some manufacturers. There were some smartwatches but the newer Samsung Wear OS3 is poorly supported so far. That may change with the upcoming Pixel watch so we will need to wait and see. Garmin was underrepresented with all but two of their new range missing from the booths including the eagerly awaited Fenix 7 and the new Forerunners.

- There were of course new notebooks and I liked the Asus Zenbook 17-Fold concept with the foldable OLED screen giving you a 17.3- or 12.5-inch folded full-colour screen and different keyboard configurations. Then there were the devices you didn't even know you needed like the Sengled light bulb that uses radar to monitor your sleep, heart rate, body temperature and even detect when you have fallen down if networked. I don't even have a comment for this one. There are of course lots, lots more so drop "CES 2022" into a search engine if you're interested in what will be available in the coming year.

- Covid remains the gift that keeps on taking and people across the globe are still in lockdown or under restricted conditions. This is affecting supply chains so if you see something you like at CES 2022 and order it there will be delays in you getting it. Many are still hoping Omicron will save us from this insanity.

- At the end of last year, Microsoft released the Surface Laptop SE for schools and students. This was after Google Chrome sales dropped off, because of market saturation. It was sold as repairable and upgradable. In a recently released video a Microsoft engineer shows how easy the teardown is. You will need a torx screwdriver, the one with the six-lobed, star-patterned end, and some tweezers. In the video the screen comes off easily as does the battery and speaker module. So far so good until you noted that the RAM and CPU are solidly soldered onto the motherboard. The word "upgradeable" typically covers memory and the CPU so Microsoft still has a long way to go, but it is way ahead of those manufacturers that fill the inside space with glue.

- This morning as I type this both my work and home PCs demanded that I update them. This is for the first Patch Tuesday of 2022 from Microsoft and includes 96 new critical and important fixes for their Windows products. Looking through the list, it covered a wide range of products. Unlike some other updates this one didn't take all that long.

- Remember that prediction of PC sales dropping? Thanks to stay-at-home work and lockdowns, PC sales jumped worldwide by 15% to 341 million. This shows how predictions in any industry can be turned around without warning. One hot item at the CES were turntables, yes record players. I thought that they were dead and buried. Even my niece has one now.

- Apple's dominance was challenged by South Korea recently when they passed a new law in 2021 banning big tech from forcing users to only use their payment options. Apple folded with the following announcement: "Apple has a great deal of respect for Korea's laws and a strong history of collaboration with the country's talented app developers. We look forward to working with the Korea Communications Commission (KCC) and our developer community on a solution that benefits our Korean users." Google had already complied in November last year.

James Hein is an IT professional of over 30 years' standing. You can contact him at jclhein@gmail.com.

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