Apple Snags WSJ for News Service; Qualcomm-New Wireless VR Headsets; Race to be ‘Netflix of Gaming’; BMW EVs Up Range Game

The New York Times and Washington Post passed, but the Wall Street Journal agreed, and will join Apple News and the new subscription service…a service that will be announced next Monday, March 25th at Cupertino’s Steve Jobs Theater. According to 9to5mac.com, the big stumbling block for the other publishers has been Apple’s demand for 50% of the revenue and ‘unlimited access to all their content.’ Apple News is expected to run $10 a month.

Qualcomm is apparently working on VR headsets that will work as wireless PC-connected head-mounted displays. Cnet.com reports that the hardware will start arriving later this year, and should be demoed at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The headset will be a stand alone device like the upcoming Oculus Quest, but when in range of a PC it can double as a wireless way to play games and use apps.

Just this week, Google showed off its new streaming service for games and controller. Google would like its Stadia platform to become ‘the Netflix of Games.’ While that sounds cool, there is a fair amount of competition to become Netflix-like when it comes to gaming. Businessinsider.com says Amazon is also working on a Netflix like service for game play, which would allow players to stream games rather than buy and download individual titles.

Verizon is also hard at work on Verizon Gaming, which would do much the same thing. They aren’t sitting on their hands in Cupertino, either…Apple is also working on a subscription based, Netflix of games…although theirs is reportedly in the early stages. Microsoft has said they will be going public later this year with their own streaming service, ‘Project xCloud.’ The difference is, it would be very xBox Centric, since Microsoft already has their own large catalog of games.

Sony has quietly been operating a subscription based video game service in their Playstation Now for 5 years. It hasn’t really gotten much traction so far as it has its limitations…and is pretty pricey for the general gaming public. Who will prevail? Like the old movies and TV series “Highlander,” companies will fall by the wayside until the Netflix of Games is left standing. “In the end, there can be only one.”

Like all manufacturers, BMW is running full speed ahead towards getting an EV fleet on the road. Engadget.com says BMW intends to produce EVs, hybrids, and gas cars on the same assembly lines, and has come up with a couple interesting innovations to do so. First, the EV ‘pack’, or module will bundle the electric motor and variable transmission, making it easy to drop into any car in the line…from the tiny Mini BMW makes to SUVs. It’s built totally in-house, so BMW can quickly upgrade or change it.

The electric motor uses no rare-earth materials…it’s a synchronous electric motor that just uses the copper windings to induce current. That’s cheaper…and doesn’t rely on rare earths that will only become more difficult to source. BMW says all future EVs will support fast charging up to 150Kw…that could give 15-20 minute recharges. Audi is going with 155Kw, but Tesla is upgrading its V3 Superchargers to 200Kw.

BMW says their battery packs will have a potential range of 420 miles, easily outstripping a lot of the competition. Over at Tesla, however, they plan a new model roadster with a 600 mile range. BMW says it will be able to adjust the chemistry of its battery packs, though…giving more torque and power to sports sedans, but more range to crossovers.

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