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14 things you need to know in tech today

Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Wednesday, June 5, 2019!

1. The big things from WWDC 2019

E-mobility is an exciting transition sweeping the streets of many cities, although not always in a sensible or logical way.

A one-minute history, which may or may not align to your own timeline depending on your location:

  • Car sharing takes off via Uber and Lyft as the taxi industry is revolutionized.
  • Bike sharing becomes a thing. NYC’s Citi Bike is just one concept, and by 2017, cities are flooded with bikes that can be parked anywhere and are often trashed.
  • (Witness the abandoned bikes piled in China.)
  • Somewhere around 2017, electric scooters take off thanks to the likes of Bird.
  • Before long, cities are flooded with electric scooters that don’t last, aren’t economically viable for the companies providing them, and present a kind of weird dystopia.
  • E-bike sharing becomes real too, with Lime bikes providing a popular option.
  • In Berlin, electric scooters become legal on June 15th 2019, and based on a Green Tech expo I went to a week ago, at least five companies want to fight for the right to zip around the streets.

Now Bird is switching it up by revealing it is bringing out an e-bike cruiser, to sit somewhere in between all of the above options:

Bird Cruisers

  • Defined as a ‘seated electric vehicle’, the Bird Cruiser (with optional pedals) packs a 52V battery that will last for up to 50 miles per charge.
  • It will have disc brakes, a padded seat that can snugly fit two, and an LCD screen for speed, remaining battery, and so on.
  • We don’t know rental cost, or when the rollout will start, and how many cities will be Birded.

What’s the point?

  • E-scooters with small wheels and hard decks present a limited solution to getting around in cities and places.
  • Roads need to be smooth, the weather needs to be pretty good, and until recently, hills were a showstopper.
  • Could this Cruiser be a solution?
  • Possibly. . It has pedals, so it could go on the road or footpath and Bird has also said it will work to ensure users stick to maximum speed limits to ensure both are options.
  • Probably much more durable, much more of an all-weather device, with pedals for when the lights go out and the comfort to ride much further.
  • This is likely the best case for e-bikes, e-mobility, and more environmentally-friendly freedom in getting around.
  • Many questions remain, especially around price and durability, but this could be a sensible spot and crush e-scooters.

2. Spotify has a second app! Its lightweight listening app Stations has launched in the U.S. (TechCrunch)

3. Lenovo Smart Clock vs Google Nest Hub: Which is better for your bedroom? (Android Authority).

4. Instagram is this close to ruining itself (Gizmodo).

5. Also, this 84-year-old Japanese grandpa has rocketed to fame on Instagram (BuzzFeed).

6. Experts weigh in on Apple’s private sign-in feature (Engadget).

7. What does it mean when a product Is ‘Amazon’s Choice’? (Wired).

8. Firefox starts blocking third-party cookies by default, and this is great (VentureBeat).

9.  You don’t have to pay for movies: Sony Crackle is a great free streaming service for those in the US and Australia (Android Authority).

10. Also, X-Men Dark Phoenix reviews are in and they’re…. Not good: ‘Inexplicably boring’ doesn’t read well (CNET).

11. IKEA is working on robotic furniture for small apartments (Engadget).

12. Microsoft is making Xbox body wash, and Xbox smells like this: “the scent of pulsing green citrus” (GameSpot).

13. Michelin and GM bringing airless tires to the road in 2024 (CNET).

14. This guy built (in)famous Berlin techno club Berghain in Minecraft (r/minecraft).

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