Amazon Building Alexa ‘Command Center’-Possible Wall-Mounted; British MPs Lobby Apple to Build Car in UK; US Drops Suit vs California Net Neutrality Rule; Reddit Raises $250 Million in New FundingPosted: February 9, 2021
Amazon continues its relentless effort to further weave its Alexa assistant into the fabric of homes around the world. Theverge.com reports Amazon is working on a thin Echo screen that could act as a ‘smart home command center,’ and it is reportedly designed to be wall mounted. The device would be a 10 or 13 inch touch screen, and be capable of controlling smart home devices, playing music and videos, and video chatting thanks to a built-in camera. The as yet unannounced Echo would sell for between $200 to $250, and be released either late this year or early in 2022.
Some British Members of Parliament (MPs) are pressing the government there to make a bid to get Apple to build its expected electric vehicle there. A port city in NE England, Sunderland, is already home to a factory for the Nissan EV. although…as reported here…Hyundai has said they (and subsidiary Kia) are out of Apple talks (which seems unlikely), Kia has the only production plant that has been discussed…the one in West Point Georgia in the US. It remains to be seen if notoriously secretive Apple would even entertain discussing a deal with a government…which are even more porous than firms such as Hyundai.
The Department of Justice has dropped a suit brought under the Trump Administration that was intended to block California’s net neutrality law. Arstechnica.com notes that even with the dismissal of the case, it’s not the end of the fight over this rule. There is still a suit in progress brought by groups representing major broadband lobbying groups…which represent the biggest ISPs and some smaller ones. California agreed back in 2018 to suspend enforcement of the law until litigation is over. Meanwhile, the FCC is likely to reinstate net neutrality rules. This will likely happen after a new Democratic commissioner is nominated by Biden and approved by the Senate.
Reddit has raised an additional $250 million in funding. Techcrunch.com notes that this comes shortly after the increased visibility for the platform from Redditors joining together to bid up the stock in GameStop. Reddit ran a 5 second ad in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Reddit said in a statement that “now was the right opportunity to make strategic investments in Reddit including video, advertising, consumer products and expanding into international markets.”