Today we’re running down what’s coming to Google IO 2017, the company’s annual software conference aimed at developers. This event takes place on May 17th, 18th, and 19th of May – that’s Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. We’ll be at the event series to get up-close-and-personal photos, video, and any hands-on bits that can be had. For everything else, there’s streaming video. Story TimelineEverything you need to know from Google IO 2016Google iOS app gets incognito mode, YouTube video playback in searchGoogle IO 2017 ticket details released, schedule incomingGoogle Maps for Android now uses Street View for directionsNetflix hidden from unlocked, rooted Android devicesVolvo is using Android for its new infotainment system [UPDATE: Audi too!]Republic Wireless lures new Android customers with six free months Google separates their Google IO schedule up into Tracks, Themes, Types, and Locations. The last two items there are inconsequential for everyone that’s not physically at the event. Themes for this three day set of events include Beyond Mobile, Building on Mobile, Platforms, and “Grow & Earn.” Tracks at Google IO 2017 include:• Accessibility• Ads• Android• Assistant• Cloud• Design• Firebase• IoT• Location & Maps• Machine Learning & AI• Misc• Mobile Web• Play• Search• VRChromeNoticeably absent from the list is “Chrome” – though that hasn’t really been a big theme at Google IO for a few years. That doesn’t mean that Chrome does not exist, just that there aren’t enough items in the schedule to create a full “Track” as such. Chrome is relegated to events like “Office Hours with the Chrome, Polymer, and Web team” – which takes place once each day for all three days.There is one event that works with Chrome that’s separate from office hours. That is “Android apps for Chromebooks and large screen devices.” That session includes “improving an app’s ability to provide better window management and implement different hardware inputs (trackpad, mouse, keyboard, and stylus) as frequently used with larger screen devices.” This session takes place on May 19th at 12:30 PM (Pacific Time) on Stage 5 – and will be streamed. AndroidThe main keynote takes place at 10AM on the 17th in the Amphitheatre – that’ll be with Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Android O is on the way and – outside the initial keynote – we’ll see what’s going on starting in a session about what’s new. It’s called “What’s New in Android” and it takes place on May 17th at 2PM in the Amphitheare. Probably the most interesting session on Android that’ll take place outside the initial keynote is the “Android Fireside Chat.” This session will take place on the 18th at 6:30PM and will feature a key team of Google’s Android developers. This team will include Rachel Garb, Tim Murray, Chet Haase, Dan Sandler, Dianne Hackborn, Adam Powell, Wale Ogunwale, Tor Norbye, Ben Poiesz, Xiaowen Xin, Brian Carlstrom, Dave Burke, and Rachad Alao.As it suggests in the event listing, Google will have “engineers from the Android framework, runtime, media, graphics, and other Android teams onstage, eager to hear your innermost quandaries.” This Android Fireside Chat will take place on May 18th, 2017. It’ll take place on Stage 2.Android AutoThere’ll be some significant amount of Android Auto business going on. “Assisting the Driver: From Android Phones to Android Cars” takes place on May 17th at 2PM on Stage 1. See our feature about Volvo and Audi for a primer on what’s going to be at IO.Android Things / Android AutoWhile it’s not spoken about all that extensively outside of developer circles, there IS such a thing as “Android Things.” That is Google’s latest effort in the Internet of Things space (IoT) and it’s been in the works in public since December of 2016. The main session on IoT for Android is “Bringing Device Production to Everyone with Android Things” and it takes place on the 17th at 4PM on Stage 3.There’ll be a little bit of Android Wear for those users wearing their software on their wrist. That’ll be “Android Wear: What’s new & Best Practices” taking place at 9:30AM on the 18th on Stage 1. Another Android Things session takes place that same hour on Stage 5.Android Instant AppsThough I’m still not completely convinced Android Instant Apps are anything other than webpages by a different name, it does appear that Google is doing more work in this space. “Android Instant Apps evolves Android apps to be able to run instantly, without requiring installation. The goal is to eliminate the friction associated with the discovery, installation and use of native Android apps, while maintaining the things that make them great. ”The session “Introduction to Android Instant Apps” will be taking place on May 18th at 1:30PM on Stage 2. This session – like the rest mentioned with times and places above – will be streamed for the public. Wrap-upWe do not expect there to be a whole lot of chat about Google’s Tango. We also do not expect a whole lot of out-of-the-ordinary news about Google Daydream – nothing interesting to anyone but a developer, that is. The good news there is that their main focus, as they put it, is to “make awesome easy” for users of VR and AR in the near future.Developers will also want to tune in for the Developer Keynote. The main Developer Keynote (different from the day 1 keynote) will take place at 1PM on May 17th in the Amphitheatre. That, like the rest of the items above (except where noted) will be streamed through the Google Developers YouTube Account as well as through our big Streaming Event page in our Android hub coming immediately if not soon!
That’s partly down to eero’s TrueMesh system – which allows individual routers to figure out the most efficient way of intercommunicating, blanketing a home with wireless connectivity – but also its app-based management. eero has pushed out almost 30 software updates to the platform in the past 12-18 months, though you might not guess the depth of what’s going on just from the simple UI of the app. In that period, of course, eero hasn’t managed to keep the segment all to itself. Most notably, Google waded into the mesh space with Google Wifi; not the most imaginative name, no, but a system that proved just as straightforward to use as eero’s. Meanwhile the traditional router-makers woke up and readied mesh systems of their own, while Qualcomm looks set to supercharge the segment in the coming months with its brand new, IoT-embracing wireless platform. What’s eero to do? Turns out, the answer to that is not only develop two new router models, complete with entirely new hardware, but begin the evolution of eero as an ecosystem and platform, an OS for the whole home. I sat down with Nick Weaver, eero CEO and co-founder, to find out more.Familiar, at least from the outside, is the new 2nd-generation eero. It sticks with the external industrial design of the old model, a vaguely-pillowy white box, though the silver eero logo is now raised. On the back, there are two gigabit ethernet ports – they can auto-detect whether they’re plugged into your modem, or a networked device – but power is now supplied via a USB-C port.Inside, though, it’s all changed. Completely rebuilt with all-new hardware, eero says the new router is more than twice as powerful as its predecessor. There’s triband WiFi – adding a second 5 GHz radio – with support for broadcasting on all three wireless bands simultaneously; indeed, eero claims it’s potentially twice as fast, wirelessly, as the 1st-gen router. It also gets a new radio technology. In addition to WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with 2×2 MU-MIMO and beamforming, there’s also Bluetooth LE 4.2 and Thread. The latter isn’t a household name yet, but it’s one of the new luminaries of the Internet of Things, promising a new, secure way for connected devices like smart locks, thermostats, sensors, and other low-power devices that eschew WiFi to connect. Why Thread, and not other existing IoT standards like ZigBee or Z-Wave? According to Weaver, it again comes down to security and convenience. Thread connections all use IPv6, and they’re all encrypted by default. While the primary use for the technology might currently be device-to-device intercommunication, according to the eero CEO that’s mainly because nobody has wanted to make a dedicated bridge yet. That’s something eero believes its new routers will address, opening the floodgates in the process. The 2nd-gen eero is only half of the equation, however. There’s also a new eero Beacon, half the size but promising around 30-percent more power than the original router. Inside, there’s dual-band WiFi, Thread, and Bluetooth support. It’s designed to plug directly into an outlet – it turns out many people, Weaver says, positioned their 1st-gen models in places wires might be in-conducive to safety, like corridors or stairs – and even has a sly motivator for you to keep it out and visible.eero’s concern, Weaver explained to me, was that people might plug the eero Beacon into an outlet behind a couch or desk, which could have an impact on performance. To dissuade them, it built an LED nightlight into the base of the unit: an ambient light sensor triggers it, adjusting brightness according to conditions in the room. Alternatively, it can be scheduled, or turned off altogether. Importantly, those with original eero systems aren’t left out in the cold. Since the new models run the same OS as the 1st-gen eero units, they’re backward compatible. The company will sell starter kits, as before, but you’ll also be able to buy 2nd-gen eero and eero Beacon units to add to an existing installation. That’ll have the side-benefit of instantly introducing Thread compatibility, too. Theoretically, Weaver told me, you might see a speed impact mixing old and new eero hardware together, compared to all-new. In reality, however, he explained, you’re unlikely to notice any difference, bar in a lab setting. Still, the advantages of the new hardware can’t be understated: the promise is that a two unit combo of a 2nd-gen eero and an eero Beacon is likely to outperform the three-unit original kit. eero has never just been about hardware, of course. The other half of the equation is the software, and there the company is aiming to make eero a platform, not just a way of beaming Netflix around your home, jitter-free. “Every home will need an operating system,” Weaver argues, and while initially it’ll be populated with apps and features of the company’s own creation, eventually there’ll be APIs and such so that third-party developers can get onboard too.The current vision, Weaver explains, is akin to Amazon Prime. eero Plus will be a single, $9.99 per month subscription (or $99/year) which will gradually grow in services as time goes on; it’ll be optional, but according to the company it addresses the top two requests from existing owners. That’s whole-home network security, and parental controls with content filtering.The former will monitor every device on the network, and block anything nefarious such as malware, ransomeware, and phishing attacks. The latter will be able to control filtering for individual devices or sets of devices, including that deemed illegal, adult, or violent, and even force SafeSearch to be switched on. eero Plus subscribers will also get VIP priority access to the company’s support team. Story TimelineEero wants to create mesh network for your home WiFi needsEero Wifi system update boosts speed with TrueMesh, enables Alexa skillsEero price cut as mesh routers prepare for platform play eero kick-started the home mesh WiFi revolution, now it’s rolling out two new models and a subscription based filtering and security service to keep its edge. The 2nd-generation eero, eero Beacon, and optional eero Plus network protection package promise more speed, more safety, and even more flexibility. Still, they also take pains not to undermine the reputation for plug-and-play ease that eero has become known for. As you might expect, the user-facing interface is simplistic to the point of minimalism. The security side is a single switch: you get a summary email periodically, detailing what was blocked and why, but otherwise it’s completely transparent. The parental controls build on eero’s existing family profiles: for each person’s group of devices, you can turn on filtering for the different categories. However, that simplicity hides a multitude of talents. eero is basically pulling together numerous enterprise-level filter and security systems and packaging them – with its own software – on the backend, Weaver says. That it’s delivered so invisibly to the end-user is part of the magic. You won’t need the 2nd-generation eero in order to use eero Plus, of course. If you’re tempted by the faster hardware, though, it’s up for preorder today, and expected to ship in a few weeks time. The company has organized it into three different tiers, kicking off with the Home WiFi System – comprising a 2nd-gen eero and an eero Beacon – for $299. $399, meanwhile, gets you an extended version of that, throwing in a second eero Beacon. Finally, there’s the Pro WiFi System, with three 2nd-gen eero units, for $499. Individual 2nd-gen eero routers are $199 apiece, while eero Beacon will be $149.
The war of the robot vacuums has claimed a new victim. iRobot has reached an agreement with Black & Decker, the two companies coming to legal blows over allegedly patent-infringing ‘bots. iRobot, which makes the Roomba, filed against nine different manufacturers of rival home cleaning robots back in April 2017. At the time, it argued that each of the nine companies infringed on one or more of six key patents iRobot holds. Some cover a variety of common robot vacuum behaviors, like using spiraling patterns to clean an area thoroughly, or using bump sensors to redirect a robot that meets an obstacle. Others, meanwhile, focus on broader robot vacuum ideas, such as how brushes, motors, sensors, and a centralized controller all interact. Black & Decker – along with Hoover – was arguably the most well-known brand name involved in the suits, certainly for the US market. It currently offers a couple of robo-vac models, with features like smartphone remote control and extra-wide sweeper brushes. Now, the company has come to an agreement with iRobot, that will see it discontinue sales of its robotic vacuum cleaners, albeit with a few provisos. For example, Black & Decker will be permitted to sell through its existing robot inventory before ceasing sales. It’s unclear how many the company has in its warehouses, though it might mean there are some bargains to be had in the weeks ahead. It’s also unclear for how long Black & Decker will hold off from the segment: the agreement says it will las “for a certain period of time,” but doesn’t go into any further detail. AdChoices广告“iRobot believes in the strength of its patents, and the agreement by Black & Decker to discontinue sales of any home robotic vacuums for a certain period of time signifies, yet again, the value of iRobot’s intellectual property,” Glen Weinstein, executive vice president and chief legal officer at iRobot, said of the deal. Black & Decker’s concessions see it removed from the iRobot US International Trade Commission (ITC) complaint. However, that’s still going forward with the other companies named: Bissell, Hoover, Royal Appliance Manufacturing Co., bObsweep, Shenzhen ZhiYi Technology Co., Matsutek Enterprises Co., Suzhou Real Power Electric Appliance Co., and Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology Co. iRobot says it expects the evidentiary hearing at the ITC to take place in March 2018, though it’s likely others in the suit will take this latest development as a hint that it might be worth negotiating before then.
You’d think that the next most recent Windows release would be the most popular, but Microsoft seems to have this tick-tock trend. Windows ME before Windows XP was a terrible flop. Windows Vista before Windows 7 was likewise. And though not to the same degree, Windows 8 never got the chance to overtake Windows 7, even with mitigations from Windows 8.1.Windows 10’s adoption was slow and forced. But even then it took this long for it to even get an edge over Windows 10. And it’s a tiny lead, 42.78% versus 41.86%, which could still change next month. And that even depends who you ask.Rival Netmarketshare’s numbers tell a slightly different story. There, Windows 7 still has the lead, but again a small one. It will only be a matter of time, especially as Microsoft winds down support for Windows 7 and continues shoving Windows 10 to everyone.AdChoices广告Still, it’s probably worth congratulating Microsoft for having even got this close. The two-year old Windows 10, after all, is up against a 8-year old operating system. And considering Windows 10 is being pushed as a continuing service, it’s going to be around for a long, long time. Windows 10 was launched in July 2015. It was off to a rocky start, but not as rocky as Windows 8 or even Windows 8.1. And definitely a lot, lot better than the now ridiculed Windows Vista. But while Microsoft might want to sing praises of Windows 10, because what else could it do, the fact remains that it still hasn’t overtaken the most popular Windows version there is. At least until now, because according to StatCounter, Windows 10 is just a tiny bit more popular than Windows 7.
Last week, the Oculus Go and the Lenovo Mirage Solo launched, both standalone mobile versions of virtual reality platforms. This week at its I/O developers conference, Google will undoubtedly make a case again for its Daydream VR platform, be it powered by smartphones or standalone, almost the poor man’s VR experience. None of these are entirely new. From the Google Cardboard to the Samsung Gear VR, mobile VR has been around for as long as “desktop” VR has and yet, unlike its bigger cousin, it has failed to gain long-lasting traction and support. That despite being potentially more affordable. Why has it failed and what does it need to survive and thrive? Here are some points to consider. Consistent commitment from companiesBut before developers and brands can even commit to mobile VR, they need to see that the companies behind the platform themselves are also heavily invested in mobile VR. Sadly, neither Google nor Samsung are poster boys for consistency and commitment. Google has already changed course from Cardboard to Daydream and Samsung has seemingly all but abandoned its Gear VR. Neither company has shown much enthusiasm about their own VR technologies beyond initial launch and a few sporadic announcements coinciding with some other event or movie premiere. If developers and brands are to sink their teeth, time, and money into mobile VR, they have to be reassured that the rug won’t suddenly be pulled from under their feet.Dependable SDKThe one technical thing that mobile VR needs is a good SDK. Yes, there is Unity 3D that targets every gaming platform in existence. That is fine for games but not for everything else. VR raises the difficulty of development exponentially so platform makers need to do everything to lower the barrier of entry and lessen the friction. And, being an SDK, it also needs to be dependable, consistent, and stable. Just like the platform makers’ commitment.Wrap-up: VR needs mobileIs mobile VR worth all this work? Do we even need yet another VR platform? Yes we do and even the bigger VR players have realized. Both Oculus and HTC VIVE have launched standalone and comparatively less powerful versions of their headsets. In other words, mobile VR versions of their platforms. Mobile hardware, thanks to smartphones, have reached a point where platform makers can offer comparatively similar, even if watered down, VR experiences on a more portable device.Not everyone can afford an Oculus Rift or HTC VIVE and the heavy rigs they connect to. But more can probably spare some money to buy a standalone headset or, at the very least, a $99 smartphone-powered gear. Just like with our smartphones these can become smaller, more mobile windows to virtual worlds. But if you can’t sell VR to consumers using a more affordable package, you will hardly be able to convince them that an expensive system will be worth their investment. More hardware? More apps? Not reallyYes, you do need VR hardware and, yes, you do need VR apps. But there are dozens of VR headsets in Cardboard’s time and Samsung’s first Gear VR headset had a longer compatibility list than the more recent iterations. There are also dozens of VR apps on Cardboard/Daydream and Oculus/Gear VR. Despite that, mobile VR remains almost like a joke, even more of a toy compared to the bigger VR platforms. While there’s definitely room for better hardware and more apps, mobile VR’s woes go much deeper and don’t have simple technical fixes.Mobile VR ChampionsMobile VR needs identifiable names, both in terms of apps and people. It doesn’t need hundreds of apps but it does need a handful of high-quality ones. Apps and experiences that will make people actually want to commit to a mobile VR platform and whatever purchases may be necessary. It needs people and brands to advertise the platform and build up trust and image. Yes, it’s practically a marketing tactic, but one that mobile VR needs to shed its “for geeks only” image.
HTC VIVE has announced a new platform for enterprise customers that includes the Vive Focus, a standalone virtual reality headset targeted at businesses. The hardware is part of a platform and software launching for enterprises in North America and Europe that want to create VR experiences for customers and employees. This marks its expansion outside of Asia. The Vive Focus standalone headset is claimed to be the most powerful model of its kind, at least as far as enterprise products go. As with other standalone VR headsets, Vive Focus doesn’t require a PC, external sensors, or base station to function.The model features a 2880 x 1600 resolution and Snapdragon 835 Mobile VR Platform, a 110-degree field-of-view, and world-scale tracking. The speakers are integrated into the headset, completely eliminating the need for any external devices or cables. A single battery charge powers up to three hours of active use.In addition, the company has launched its VIVE WAVE VR SDK, enabling developers to create experiences for these standalone headsets. Vive Focus utilizes both the Vive Wave platform and the Viveport, the latter of which provides access to content. The standalone enterprise headset can also be paired with Vive Enterprise Advantage professional services — both the Advantage and Advantage+ tiers — for things like service utilities and commercial licensing. Vive Focus is being made available in 37 new markets at $599 USD; there’s also a more expensive $749 USD Focus Advanced model.
Story TimelinePlex gets sleek new UI with improved navigation on Roku, Apple TVPlex expands TIDAL features with Artist TV music video streamingPlex improves Apple TV music experience and refines iOS controls Home entertainment software company Plex has pushed out an update for its Android app, adding a number of new features in addition to improved scrubbing capabilities. The update revolves around the Android mobile player and marks the public arrival of features previously launched under beta. Joining the new features is an overall UI update that mirrors the music interface. The most exciting addition to the Plex Android mobile player is the new picture-in-picture (PiP) mode, which is accessible by pressing the home button while playing a video. When enabled, picture-in-picture mode reduces the video to a small thumbnail window, providing the rest of the display for using a different app or browsing the Plex library.In addition to the picture-in-picture support, the updated Plex mobile app now offers new viewing modes, including fill and stretch options as alternatives to the video’s original size. These options are listed under the Playback Settings in Display Mode. As well as changing the viewing mode, users can lock the video playback in landscape for watching while holding the phone in its natural vertical position. Scrubbing through the currently playing video is easier under this update with the addition of a thumbnail preview on the seekbar. Users are also able to rapidly move backward and forward in a video by double-tapping the left and right sides of the video playback window.Finally, the Plex Android update adds support for preloading the next video, which starts to buffer the next video in the playlist when the current video’s post-play countdown begins. This enables the app to instantly start the next video in a manner similar to how Netflix jumps to the next episode while binge-watching. Navigating within videos is easier thanks to the addition of chapters support, as well.
If you want the luxury of an S-Class but the capacity of an SUV, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS is making a strong pitch to be the cosseting off-roader of choice. Debuting at the New York Auto Show 2019 this week, the all-new SUV is Mercedes’ biggest and most lavish, now larger, more powerful, and more well-equipped than before. As with the previous-generation GLS, there are three rows as standard. The 2020 GLS seats seven by default, though there’s now a six seat option, which has three rows of more luxurious Captain’s Chairs. It’s a no-cost option for the new model year. Outside, it’s an SUV with some serious presence. For a start, it’s huge: more than 17 feet in length and almost 6.5 feet wide, with 2.4-inches more wheelbase length than the outgoing model. However Mercedes’ latest design language has smoothed out some of the sharper crease lines. The upright front grille gets an octagonal pattern, while there’s plenty of chrome-plating trim. Two power-domes bulge in the hood, and there are Multibeam LED headlamps as standard. These feature a full 112 LEDs per headlamp cluster, along with three-segment daytime running lamps, and can adjust to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic while also maintaining maximum potential visibility. At the back, there are two-piece LED taillamps and more chrome trim. AdChoices广告Inside, meanwhile, the S-Class lends some design inspiration with a wraparound dashboard that flows into the doors. The wide, raised center console has grab-handles, though, as befits an SUV. 3.4-inches of extra legroom in the second row, when the seats are pushed back their furthest, makes maximum use of the extra wheelbase. The second row bench is 60:40 folding and 40:20:40 split. In the third row, Mercedes insists that the seating is sized for up to 6.4 foot tall adults. All of the seats are electronically adjusted, and the third row seats now have heating, too. Three-, four-, and five-zone climate control options are available; the latter uses a second, separate heater and air conditioning system for the third row zone. It’s not the only judicious use of new electronics, however. Under the hood are Mercedes’ new EQ Boost engines, either a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo in the GLS 580, or a 3.0-liter inline-6 turbo in the GLS 450. Both have an integrated starter-generator, an electric motor that works with a small battery to add up to 21 horsepower and up to 184 lb-ft of torque to the engines’ own power for short periods of time. The battery is charged through regenerative braking.The GLS 450 4MATIC has 362 horsepower from its own engine, and 369 lb-ft of torque. Mercedes says it will do 0-60 mph in around 5.9 seconds, and hit an electronically-limited top speed of 130 mph. The GLS 580 4MATIC, meanwhile, packs 483 hp and 516 lb-ft from its gas engine alone, and does 0-60 mph in an estimated 5.2 seconds. Both use a 9G-TRONIC 9-speed automatic transmission and have 4MATIC all-wheel drive as standard. E-Active Body Control, powered in part by the 48V battery system used for EQ Boost, can adjust spring and damping forces for each wheel individually, working with the air suspension. Mercedes outfits the GLS with road-facing cameras, that can preemptively adjust the ride settings to smooth out upcoming bumps. As for the gadgetry and creature-comforts, the new MBUX with voice control infotainment system is standard, and MBUX Interior Assistant with its hand-tracking 3D cameras is optional. The panoramic roof is now 50-percent larger, and there’s a new steering wheel with touch-control buttons. A 12.3-inch display handles the driver’s instrumentation, and a 12.3-inch touchscreen alongside it deals with multimedia and navigation. 64-color ambient lighting is standard, as is a Burmester Surround Sound audio system, wireless phone charging, nine USB ports, and a 115V AC outlet. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a variety of driver assistance and safety aids. These include blind spot assistance, active parking assistance with 360-degree surround view, and active parking assistance. Options include adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping, a head-up display, augmented reality navigation, a 3D Surround Sound audio system, and heated and cooled cupholders. The GLS 580 gets front massage seats as standard; they’re optional on the GLS 450. All that’s left to be confirmed is pricing and fuel economy numbers: we’re expecting the former to be fairly high, and the latter to be fairly low. That probably won’t dissuade 2020 GLS buyers, however, lured in by the combination of imposing road presence, a lofty ride height, and no compromise on cabin niceties. We’ll find out all the details closer to the luxury SUV’s arrival in US dealerships by the end of the year – and whether the new 2019 BMW X7 should be concerned.
Shares of drug wholesalers were slammed Friday amid signs that a price war has broken out in the sector, following a dour earnings report from McKesson Corp., one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S. McKesson sharply cut its annual profit outlook Thursday afternoon, citing the decelerating rise of drug prices and internal competition among the companies that bridge drug manufacturers with pharmacies. (Minaya, 10/28) Stat: New Cholesterol Drugs Aren’t Selling, And That’s Worrying Biotech The Wall Street Journal: FDA Rejects Sanofi-Regeneron Arthritis Drug Over Plant Deficiencies U.S. health regulators have rejected a promising rheumatoid arthritis treatment being developed jointly by Sanofi SA and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. over deficiencies found at a French plant, the companies said Friday. Sanofi, which had disclosed the deficiencies earlier in the day when it released third-quarter results, has submitted a plan to correct the issues, the companies said. (Armental, 10/28) The Wall Street Journal: Warning Of A Price War Among Drug Wholesalers Sends Shares Sliding A year ago, two new drugs that used a novel mechanism to drive down cholesterol levels came on the market, and were promptly crowned as blockbusters in waiting. Analysts estimated sales at more than $3 billion a year. But the two drugs have been commercial flops, in part due to a complicated reimbursement system that has frustrated doctors, confused patients, and left the biotech industry worried about the implications for other high-priced drugs in the pipeline. (Garde, 10/28) Previous, related KHN coverage: Tracking Who Makes Money On A Brand-Name Drug (Appleby, 10/6) There are early warning signs that the steady march upward of drug prices is slowing. That is bad news for drug makers and for all of the health-care companies that have profited from consistently higher prices. (Grant, 10/28) Stat: Drug Maker Faces A Shareholder Suit For Failing To Tell The Whole Truth Two Massive Commercial Flops May Send Chilling Effect Through Biotech Industry New cholesterol drugs that were expected to make billions failed to live up to their potential. And the disappointing sales has the new sector — which relies on the idea that the risky, expensive process of developing new drugs can one day pay off big — on edge. Meanwhile, the market is in flux after a dour earnings report from one of the largest pharmaceutical distributors in the U.S. Memo to biopharma executives: when talking to shareholders, take care to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. That’s the message delivered this week to Arena Pharmaceuticals after a federal appeals court ruled on Wednesday that shareholders can proceed with a lawsuit alleging the company deliberately withheld crucial information about a potential problem with a widely anticipated diet drug. At issue was a series of statements Arena executives made in 2009 about the progress they were making in winning US Food and Drug Administration approval for the Belviq diet pill. At the time, the drug was one of three forthcoming such medicines — which were being developed by different companies — that were closely tracked by physicians and investors, given the dearth of treatments for the overweight. (Silverman, 10/28) The Wall Street Journal: McKesson Sounds The Drug-Price Alarm And in other pharmaceutical news — This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
The House delivered a rebuke to President Donald Trump on Thursday by voting to condemn his administration’s move to restrict transgender men and women from military service. A non-binding resolution opposing Trump’s transgender ban passed 238-185. Every Democrat supported the resolution, while nearly every Republican voted against it. Five Republicans broke ranks and voted in favor: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana, Will Hurd of Texas, John Katko of New York and Tom Reed of New York. (3/28) Boston Globe and USA Today: Bed Sores, Smeared Faces, Helplessness: New Reports Paint Dismal Picture Of Care At VA Nursing Homes National Spotlight Has Been On Poor Quality Of VA Facilities, And Yet New Report Paints Still-Discouraging Picture Of Care From April through December 2018, outside inspectors found deficiencies that caused “actual harm” to veterans at 52 out of the 99 VA nursing homes they reviewed. “That is really bad. It’s really bad,” said Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, a New York-based nonprofit advocate of nursing home care improvement. From April through December 2018, outside inspectors found deficiencies that caused “actual harm” to veterans at 52 out of the 99 VA nursing homes they reviewed. In three facilities, they found veterans’ health or safety in “immediate jeopardy.” In eight, inspectors found veterans both harmed and in jeopardy. (Estes and Slack, 3/28) Arizona Republic: Arizona’s U.S. House Members Back Reform Effort To Improve Phoenix VA The Associated Press: House Votes To Condemn Trump’s Transgender Military Ban This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. In news from the military — Arizona’s U.S. House delegation has come together behind bipartisan legislation designed to improve the Phoenix VA hospital, one of the lowest-ranking facilities in the VA system. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., introduced the Phoenix VA Congressional Oversight Act in October, but the last Congress ran out of time to take action. (Egeland, 3/28)
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Canadian Club in Toronto on May 3, 2019.Peter J. Thompson/National Post Email Jason Kenney used his first major speech as Alberta’s Premier to try to convince Bay Street that what’s good for Alberta is good for all of Canada — a message that appeared to land on receptive ears.The self-proclaimed federalist, who often took a combative stance while campaigning on pledges go after those who hurt Alberta’s oil and gas industry, stressed common ground at a packed luncheon in Toronto on Friday, where he said the health of the energy sector is “a Canadian issue.”The standing ovation that greeted him surprised even Kenney, who laid out his plans to move quickly to establish Alberta’s “open for business” credentials with tax cuts and regulatory relief to speed up approvals.“I was frankly blown away by the response,” he said in an interview following the speech, adding that he has heard of some capital spending and real estate decisions being “unfrozen” in the wake of the election victory of his United Conservative Party last month. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney launches eastward and westward challenges as pipeline fight intensifies Ottawa will exempt oilsands from new reviews unless Alberta premier Jason Kenney lifts emissions cap HSBC defends itself after months of jabs from Jason Kenney over its oilsands lending policy But while appealing to Bay Street is key to his plan to make Alberta to “the most pro-business jurisdiction in Canada,” Kenney did not back off some targets that could chip away at that support.Among them is HSBC Holdings PLC, a global bank that had indicated it would stop funding oilsands projects or pipelines connected to them. Kenney also targeted large institutional investors, who he criticized for taking too narrow a view when making investment decisions based on environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations.“We think simply scoring carbon output is far too narrow a criteria for investors or public policy,” Kenney told the Financial Post, adding that he believes not enough weight is being given to social impacts such as labour rights, human rights and indigenous rights, as well as environmental impacts beyond emissions.“We are going to make the case to major institutional shareholders in Toronto, New York, and Europe that they need a broader matrix to make ethical investment decisions,” he said. “We believe on that broader matrix we would score ahead of the OPEC countries or Russia … in which all these companies invest.”We think simply scoring carbon output is far too narrow a criteria for investors May 3, 20198:56 PM EDTLast UpdatedMay 8, 20193:40 PM EDT Filed under News Twitter Barbara Shecter Reddit He acknowledged, however, that his message of unity faces real challenges on certain issues with other provinces, including British Columbia and Quebec, as well as with the federal government, which he is battling on several fronts from carbon taxes to legislation.“The problem is that we have in Ottawa a government that is layering more and more anti-business, anti-investment policies on top of one another,” Kenney said. “And obviously we have a challenge with B.C. on TMX (Trans Mountain Expansion Project) and Quebec on a proposed energy east pipeline.”But he pledged to sit down with his fellow premiers to try to find common ground, as long as it doesn’t interfere with Alberta getting a “fair price for our energy and a fair deal in the federation.”Kenney said he is also hopeful he can appeal to what he views as the “pro-business orientation” of the new Quebec government of Francois Legault.“Things have changed…. I’m hopeful we can find a win-win for them,” Kenney said.Even in B.C., he said he sees a possible wedge to counter resistance to increased oil shipments and that he will try make inroads as the province deals with what he called “sky high” gas prices.“So I think there are some openings for us to pursue with those provinces,” he said. As he discussed his distaste for such rankings, Kenney renewed his attack on HSBC, which he called a “high-profile hypocrite” on the issue. He pledged to try to recruit other provinces to join Alberta in retaliating against the decision not to fund oilsands projects by boycotting all government business with the global bank.“We’ll no longer accept the application of a double standard to our energy industry,” Kenney said. “If HSBC were to decide to leave fossil fuels altogether, fair game … but we’re sure as heck not going to allow them to (go unchallenged as they) finance Putin and Saudi (Arabia) while boycotting Canada.”HSBC, which has a Canadian unit, has pledged to continue doing business in Canada in the face of Kenney’s attacks. The Alberta Premier told the Financial Post he doesn’t think he has to worry about a similar fight with Canada’s large domestic banks.“A third of their book (of business) is based on energy (companies). They absolutely need them, and the Canadian economy needs us,” Kenney said. “So that’s my message today. It’s about shared prosperity, and the Canadian financial services industry — the banking industry — is inextricably linked to the Alberta energy sector.”Kenney met with Ontario Premier Doug Ford before his speech in Toronto on Friday, and he said the pair bonded on their shared “open for business” attitude.“I’m pushing on an open door” with Ford, Kenney said after it was reported that Ford called him a “great ally.”Newly minted Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks at the Canadian Club in Toronto on May 3, 2019. Share this storyJason Kenney’s ‘open for business’ message finds receptive audience on Bay Street Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Join the conversation → Facebook Comments Peter J. Thompson/National Post Comment More Jason Kenney’s ‘open for business’ message finds receptive audience on Bay Street ‘The problem is that we have in Ottawa a government that is layering more and more anti-business, anti-investment policies on top of one another,’ Kenney told the Post
During the first eight months of 2018, plug-in car sales amounted to around 190,046 (up 57%) at an average market share of over 1.6%.In August, cumulative sales reached 955,000, so the first million is expected at the beginning of October.Model ranking left people speechless. The Tesla Model 3 is not only out of range for any other plug-in, but is above the next three (including two Teslas) combined. Toyota Prius Prime remains the second best seller so far this year, but without momentum.Cumulative sales of the most popular models again is all Tesla Model 3, which is moving up so quickly that everything else seems like it’s in slow mo.Tesla already passed its milestone of 200,000 cars sold – now it’s time for General Motors, which will hit the line by the end of this year. Tesla Model 3 Breaks Into Top 5 Best-Selling Passenger Cars In U.S. Tesla Model 3 Sales Starting To Track Original S-Curve… and LOL-Curve Tesla Outsold All Of These Brands In U.S. In August U.S. Plug-In Car Sales – August 2018 Source: Electric Vehicle News The only way for plug-in car sales in the U.S. is up, up and away!August brings another plug-in car sales record in the U.S. of 36,380 (up 120% year-over-year).The latest results are simply amazing, better than July’s record by 23%. The market share of plug-ins reached a level not seen before of over 2.4%!Latest U.S. sales stats Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on September 13, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News
Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 2, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News There is a fair amount of number crunching going on here. Nyland has taken the time, though, to not only give us estimates for different road speeds, but also with different charging speeds for both 50 kW and 100 kW stations — note: the top I-Pace charging rate is about 84 kW, but Nyland tells us that Jaguar will increase that to 100 kW and possibly higher in the near future.Consequentially, the best speed to travel at, as well as how long you should stay connected to chargers, varies according to the charging speed you can get access to. A 100 kW DC fast charger will allow for faster driving speeds and shorter charging times than a 50 kW supply. Nyland offers up several charts throughout the video, using various configurations of the Tesla Model X for comparison. We’ve dropped in the most visually helpful one below.As you can see, 50 kW DC fast chargers are far less helpful than the more powerful 100 kW stations, and they also slow down your suggested cruising speed. Luckily, as Nyland notes, despite there being a bit of chicken and egg thing going on with electric vehicles and charging facilities, the number of fast charging stations continues to increase. This means, of course, our trip speeds will also increase.While this is great data, most owners are going to find their I-Pace does its job of carrying you about your daily routine quite well. For those longer trips, an initial amount of investigating might be in order to make sure your travel time doesn’t last any longer than it needs to. Generally, though, we make the same long trips repeatedly, so only the initial journey will require any amount of planning. Watch Jaguar I-Pace Accelerate To 125 MPH Source: Electric Vehicle News …and how does that change with different charging speeds?As we told you yesterday, the Jaguar I-Pace, like every electric vehicle, will return different range results depending on how it is driven. For long-distance trips, it would be nice to have a good strategy that takes driving speeds and charging times into consideration. Luckily for us, electric vehicle YouTuber Bjorn Nyland has put together a video (above) that does just that. Let’s take a quick look at his findings.More Jaguar I-Pace action TechnoBuffalo Calls Jaguar I-Pace The EV With Soul Jaguar I-PACE Tested At 350 kW Ultra-Fast Charger Source: YouTube
Source: Tritium The growing energy demand created by EV charging could threaten the stability of electrical grids unless utilities take a proactive approach to planning their future networks, according to a joint study from management consulting firm L.E.K. Consulting and Australia-based charging infrastructure company Tritium.“Preparing the Grid for the Uptake of Electric Vehicles” highlights a clustering effect in which a higher proportion of EV ownership in certain locations could overload local electricity infrastructure, particularly the feeder lines into a street or other location.“Utilities need to be proactive in planning for a future scenario of significant EV adoption, especially in a world where spending capex on additional infrastructure at the cost of the consumer is no longer a palatable response,” said Natasha Santha, Principal at L.E.K. Consulting. “The real challenge for utilities is managing peak demand increase and the greater unpredictability that comes with greater EV adoption. EV charging has an element of randomness that needs to be managed; this can stress local infrastructure and heighten the need for increased network investment.”The study outlines five measures utilities should consider to maintain the pace of EV adoption while keeping grids stable:Create demand response programs such as time-of-use EV tariffsUse managed charging software that schedules home charging throughout the night, averting the risk of EV owners all plugging in at once during evening peak demandProvide clear, detailed information to businesses and entrepreneurs looking to install public charging infrastructureAssess adjacent opportunities such as stationary battery storage that can reduce grid augmentation costs and enable charger deployment in areas of the network that would otherwise be prohibitiveWork with charging manufacturers to stay at the forefront of technology Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine
Despite being a little late to market due to “software issues”, Audi’s e-tron electric SUV is likely going to be the passenger electric vehicle with the fastest charge rate on the market – at least for the first half of 2019.It has now been spotted charging at 155 kW and it maintained a high charge rate for an impressive part of the session. more…The post Audi e-tron achieves 155 kW fast-charge rate with impressive full cycle appeared first on Electrek. Source: Charge Forward
Tesla’s construction of its next Gigafactory in China will be a historic event for several reasons. The facility will be of critical importance for the company, allowing it to deliver cars at competitive prices to the world’s largest auto market. Its accelerated development timeline – Tesla expects Gigafactory 3 to begin production this year – signals a new way of doing things in the auto industry. And finally, against a backdrop of global economic turmoil, Elon Musk traveled to China for a groundbreaking ceremony and met with the country’s leader, a symbolic move that many are hoping will herald a thaw in trade relations between the world’s economic superpowers.“We hope you can get a firm foothold and expand the market,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Musk. “We hope your company can become an in-depth participant of China’s opening and a promoter of the stability of China-US relations.”Apparently, Musk made such a positive impression that he was offered permanent residency. “I love China and want to come here more often,” said Musk, according to government news site Gov.cn. “If you do, we can issue you a Chinese green card,” the Premier replied.Tesla’s construction of the plant is a win for both parties. The trend-setting automaker has much to offer China, which aspires to become a player in the global auto industry. “Tesla has proprietary electric vehicle and battery technology and is willing to transfer its valuable physical production assets to assemble its vehicles in a wholly owned plant in Shanghai,” wrote Morgan Stanley Analyst Adam Jonas. “Tesla may have some negotiating power to secure more favorable (or less unfavorable) trading parameters for the import and sale of its electric vehicles in China while the plant is being ramped up.”The Chinese have rolled out the red carpet for Tesla – the new Gig is to be built with mostly local funding, and it will be the first auto plant in the country to be wholly owned by a foreign automaker. On his trip, Musk was “fed, feted and shown a lot of love…everything he’s been missing in the US,” as Bloomberg put it.“Can Mr. Musk’s ‘EV Diplomacy’ offer the bottom-up US corporate leadership that could potentially catalyze an improvement in trade relations between the world’s two largest economies?” Adam Jonas asks. “One of the most well-known US CEOs physically traveled to China. This alone, in our opinion, is notable given the current climate of elevated tensions.” Sources: Barron’s, Politico, Bloomberg Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine
Source: Electric Vehicle News BYD Brings Ex-Ferrari & Mercedes Designers On Board Comparison of BEV and PHEV sales: BYD Yuan BEV now selling at more than 10,000 per month!BYD surprised us in January by increasing plug-in electric car sales in China by 292% year-over-year to about 28,005, which is its third highest result ever.We must admit that after such a smooth transition from peak late months last year to a new year heralds a strong overall year for 2019. Even more so when you consider that the first two months in China are the slow selling ones.BYD news BYD Increases Investment In BYD-Daimler EV Joint Venture BYD Brings Electric Trucks And Van To Europe BYD plug-in electric car sales in China – January 2019The biggest news is that the all-electric BYD Yuan set its eight consecutive sales record in eight months on the market and with 10,093 sales, is #1 in the plug-in electric car segment in China. It’s also the first ever five-digit result set by a BYD plug-in model. It seems that the market for affordable ($25,000) subcompact crossovers with 42 kWh batteries and up to 300 km (186 miles) in NEDC range is vast.Great news comes also from Tang PHEV sales, which again slightly increased sales volume to 6,908 in its record run for five consecutive months.BYD sales breakdown:Yuan BEV – 10,093 (8th straight new record)Tang PHEV – 6,908 (5th straight new record)e5 – 3,968Qin PHEV – 3,023Song PHEV – 1,855Qin BEV – 1,155Song BEV – 1,003 Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on February 24, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News
Watch Jaws Of Life Demo On 2018 Tesla Model 3 Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on April 19, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News A couple weeks back we mentioned a person by the name of Travis Rabenberg, who had plans of converting a Tesla into a cool RV. He calls it the Tesla Roamer, and it basically swaps the back half of a Tesla Model S P90D for slab-sided living quarters with an expandable roof. In the most basic of terms, it’s a Tesla motorhome and the drawings made it look pretty cool, if a bit odd. As you can see above from Travis’ Instagram page, things have progressed beyond the drawing stage. Source: Electric Vehicle News Tesla Model S Roamer Motorhome Is The EV Camper Of The Future More Tesla Content 2019 Tesla Model X Long Range Tow Test: Video The original report mentioned the Tesla Roamer as having a public debut coming soon, like within a week. In an email to Motor1.com, Rabenberg explained that a debut should take place this week though it will only involve the exterior work. It’s not a completed prototype by any means; Rabenberg said the final version of the prototype is still months away and we’ll be able to see the interior then. But the Tesla Roamer does officially exist in real life, and yes, we’re grinning like crazy.When it’s done, the Tesla Roamer should have a bed, sink, toilet, and on-board water storage. The roof will incorporate solar panels to generate 1,000 watts of electricity, and yes, it will also go like a Tesla. In fact, Rabenberg is hoping to set a new Guinness World Record for RVs with his creation, and 150 mph is his target top speed. He’s also planning to take it on a cross-country tour when completed, and next year he’s planning an adventure across Europe to show the Tesla Roamer at the 2020 World Expo in Dubai.Source: travistravelsorg via Instagram The EV RV will seek to hit 150 mph with a bed, sink, and toilet in the back.We can’t begin to count all the news snippets, tweets, Facebook posts, and direct email queries we see on a daily basis that involve some kind of amazing new machine with fantastical abilities. Such things in the automotive realm often fall into the vaporware category – something incredible in theory but never evolving beyond a design sketch. That’s why we grin like crazy when one of these projects actually become a reality.