Tech Digest daily round up: Virgin Media O2 announces new branding

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Virgin Media and O2’s new merged brand has been unveiled after the pair’s £31 billion tie-up was given the green light by regulators last month. Both household names are retained and unified as one, forming Virgin Media O2. The firm – jointly owned by Liberty Global and Telefonica – has pledged to provide “unbeatable choice” for consumers, as well as promising to “power the UK economy”. Though the company is not changing any of its existing services today, plans are underway to offer “seamless broadband, entertainment and mobile services all in one place” later this year. “With the fastest broadband and most reliable mobile network in the UK today, Virgin Media O2 is the complete package,” said Lutz Schuler, chief executive of the merged company. Yahoo!

Elon Musk has warned that Tesla has been forced to raise the prices of its cars due to a global shortage in computer chips. The Tesla chief executive wrote on Twitter on Monday that “prices [are] increasing due to major supply chain price pressure industry-wide. Raw materials especially”. Tesla raised the prices of its Model 3 and Model Y electric cars by $500 (£352) each last month, the fifth price increase made by the business in several months. The combined price increases have seen the price of some Tesla vehicles rise by thousands of dollars and as much as 8pc for specific vehicles. Carmakers have found themselves under severe pressure in recent months as they scramble to obtain the crucial chips needed to produce modern cars. A series of events including pandemic-induced shutdowns in Asian factories, a fire at a factory in Tokyo and severe weather in the US has caused the price of computer chips to skyrocket as production has dropped. Telegraph 

Cromer Pier

Mountain rescuers have questioned the accuracy of using a location app, citing dozens of examples where the wrong address was given to their teams. What3Words (W3W) divides the world into three-by-three metre squares, each with a three-word address. It is free and used by 85% of UK emergency services. Reasons for the errors were not given, but were likely to be things such as mispronunciation or spelling errors. W3W said human error was “a possibility with any type of tool”. The mapping system was created by an algorithm that assigned three words to each square in the world. Mark Lewis, the head of ICT at Mountain Rescue England and Wales (MREW), said that the use of the W3W app had been “testing” for rescue teams. He gave the BBC a database from the last 12 months which listed 45 locations across England and Wales that rescuers received from lost or injured walkers and climbers, which turned out to be incorrect. BBC

The International Space Station has been hit with a piece of orbital debris, leaving a sizeable hole in its 17 metre-long robotic arm. Experts from the Canadian Space Agency and Nasa found the puncture during a routine inspection of Canadarm2. The arm performs station maintenance, moves supplies – and even astronauts – and performs “cosmic catches” by grappling visiting crafts and bringing them to the ISS. The inspection, which took place on 12 May, found that the puncture came from a piece of space debris that was too small to be tracked – which accounts for rock or dust particles to flecks of paint from satellites, the CSA says. Any object the size of a football or larger can be tracked. “Despite the impact, results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the arm’s performance remains unaffected. The damage is limited to a small section of the arm boom and thermal blanket”, the space agency said. Independent

Global electric-vehicle battery sales more than doubled in the first four months of the year as the switch to environmentally-friendly cars gathers pace. Sales of EV batteries rose to 65.9 gigawatt-hours in the January-April period, from 26.8 gigawatt-hours a year earlier, SNE Research said Tuesday. Contemporary Amperex Technology Co.’s sales almost quadrupled to 21.4 GWh, cementing the Chinese company’s position as the world’s biggest EV battery maker with 32.5% of the global market. “Despite the hit of Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the company’s performance has rapidly resumed,” CATL said in a statement. The firm is focused on building “long-term cooperation with international automakers,” it said. CATL won about 16% of revenue from overseas sales last year up from 4% in 2019, according to BloombergNEF. Bloomberg 

Chris Price
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