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December 2017

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Tesla Motors Inc rolls out new Wall Connector that is cheaper and has a new “power sharing” function that could be useful for owners having more than one Tesla Motors

While everyone was hooked on the new redesigned Model S with superior features and the opening of the Model X Design Studio, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) quietly rolled out a new “Tesla Wall Connector” on its online shop – Tesla Gears.  Although the new hardwired charging station has the same capability as the previous version, it is cheaper and has a new feature.
The Tesla Wall Connector, which provides home-charging for Model S and Model X owners or used at Destination Charging locations, offers up to 80 amps of operating current like its predecessor. However, now it retails for $500 ($250 less than the previous one) and it includes a “power sharing” feature.

Tesla Gear describes the new feature as: “Power sharing feature that allows a single circuit breaker to be connected and shared, servicing up to 4 Wall Connectors – an optimized solution for customers with multiple Tesla vehicles.”
 The new feature is an optimized option for owners with more than one Tesla car. Since the company has started increasing production rate of the luxury electric crossover at its Fremont factory and Model 3 will hit market by the end of next year, the new feature could be really popular for Tesla enthusiasts who already have the Model S.
The new charging station is now offered with a 24’ or 8.5’ cable and is configurable in 13 various circuit breaker settings, from 15 amps to 100 amps. Nowadays, many households already have 100 amps circuit breakers. Customers can either install the charger with an 80 amps or 100 amps circuit breaker.
Notably, Tesla also made 48 amps on-board charger standard with the refreshed Model S compared to the previous 40 amps chargers. The move brings the charging capability as good as the standard charger of the Model X.
According to Electrek, the new charger could provide range of 58 miles per hour to a Model S with a high amperage charger. The EV maker is expected to introduce its Designation Charging program in Europe soon. Thus, the European locations will have the chargers.

Google Chrome OS might finally come to tablets soon

Google announced on Tuesday that Chrome OS will soon come to tablets soon, also revealing two new versions of Chromebooks which were manufactured via partnerships with Asus and Acer. Both these Chromebooks will run on Chrome OS; the OS is user-friendly and lightweight and will now be seen in laptops and tablets.

Luckily, this operating system will not be limited to laptops and will be seen in tablets too. More chromebooks are expected to roll out in the future with this OS. For now, this software runs on convertible laptops and not tablet, which will soon not be the case.

This development was much needed for the Chrome OS, which did not show success symptoms as much as the company had hoped, but this addition might turn things around. When competitors in the market are as gigantic as the Android OS, such a software has very little chances of success. But it seems that Chrome will not go without putting up a good fight; it will still stick around and try to work its way up.

Google has plans to make Android and Chrome OS work better together in the future. An announcement was made in May which suggested that more than million Android apps will come to Chromebooks. The company made another announcement on Monday that said that Chromebooks will be supportive of Android apps.

Users will not have to worry about applications limitations as they switch from one operating system to the next, since the tech giant plans to support Android apps easily. There are speculations that an update of the software that will come later in 2017 and will even allow users to resize windows apps. Users might be able to have even more control in the future over what apps are ideal for them and the freedom to download whatever pleases them. Soon, users will be able to enjoy the OS on tablets with a wide variety of applications.

Alphabet Inc’s GCP Next 2016 conference reveals vision for cloud products that are user centric and brings machine learning and advanced analytics to its platform

Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) has outlined near term goals for its cloud platform at its Global Cloud Platform Global User Conference 2016. The company, which is among the most dominant cloud platforms, is reorienting its priorities towards being more user centric for starters. In terms of enterprise, meanwhile, Google is hoping to bring more machine learning and analytics functionality to its cloud platform with new product launches.

Eric Sheridan, analyst at UBS, analyzing on Google’s cloud ambitions in the wake of the conference, commented on the consolidation of Google’s technology on its cloud platform. To note, UBS has a BUY rating on Google’s stock with a price target of $875 that is rationalized by EV/Sales, EV/FCF and EV/EBITDA calculations. In the note, Sheridan addressed both the new customer-centric strategy that Google is now putting in place with regards to its cloud cliental, as well as the various machine learning and analytics features.

In terms of its customers, Google’s strategy is shifting towards understanding the needs of its customers and in line with this, the company is finally moving to provide PaaS/NoOps infrastructure to its cliental, giving them more flexibility in how they want to setup their cloud platform. This is a smart move and will definitely draw bigger enterprise fish to Google who has very specific needs and requires greater flexibility to adapt to their platforms in line with changing requirements.

The other big news is that machine learning is about to get a much greater role in Google’s cloud platform. Google’s expertise in Artificial Intelligence is universally acknowledged and it is way ahead of the game. The company already has powerful machine learning technology in its products such as its Google Now voice assistant. Machine learning technology is woefully absent from most cloud platforms so Google can leverage its expertise to differentiate its cloud services.

Other factors that give Google’s cloud a competitive edge are its reasonable price, its strong performance in comparison to competitors, good security and most importantly, Google’s focus on innovative new technologies. The company is investing heavily in cloud, cloud hybrid technologies and tools to speed adoption. 

In line with this, Google picked GCP Next to unveil a new cloud based machine learning platform as well Google Stackdriver to allow PaaS users to monitor, regulate and maintain their cloud platforms. Google will use this product to advertise the benefits of a transition of workloads to its own cloud.

 

UBS analysts are bullish on Microsoft Corporation’s commercial cloud business

UBS analyst, Brent Thill believes Microsoft Corporation’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) commercial cloud business has a potential to reach run rate as per company’s management guidance. The analyst based his opinion over second quarter performance of the company as commercial cloud revenue increased to $9.49 billion run rate which is 70% higher on year-over-year (YoY) basis. Therefore, Thrill is of the view that Microsoft’s commercial cloud business might achieve $20 billion run rate by 2018, as per management prediction.

The analyst also highlighted in the report that increase in revenue will further surge margins of the company, as Microsoft is much more focused on selling cloud solutions now. In the second quarter, cloud solutions became a reason for greater gross margin of 46%, which was higher than gross margin of 37% a year ago.

Moreover, Microsoft is expanding its addressable market through cloud business and other growth vectors, which will bring further upside to the margins and revenue. The predicted $185 billon plus growth is expected to come from CRM + ERP ($60Bn), Office 365 + Skype ($50Bn of new opportunity), Security ($30Bn), IaaS + PaaS ($30Bn) and Business intelligence/analytics ($15Bn).

However, Microsoft has to face some hurdles in its growth path, such as its earnings per share (EPS) which is stagnant between the $2.85-$2.73 range since the last five years – this is what the company needs to overcome. The other possible hurdle for growth will be the pressure to increase revenue and margins further if every customer switched to the cloud. Moreover, competition from Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) in the cloud business is another factor which can slow down Microsoft’s growth. Therefore, UBS reaffirmed its buy rating along with $60 as the price target. Microsoft stock was up 2.19%, at $54.71 yesterday as of market close.

The Country Caller shares Wall Street analysts’ outlook on Amazon stock

Since the start of this year through November 21, Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock has surged nearly 15%, outperforming the S&P 500 Index’s gain of 7.54% over the same time frame. The e-commerce giant has also gained immense momentum heading into the holiday season quarter, and especially this week’s Black Friday sales event.

Amazon has been very efficient in managing its online store, and several industry experts go to the extent of saying that although Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) and Target Corporation (NYSE:TGT) have not left any stone unturned to bolster their e-commerce segments, they are still decades away from Jeff Bezos’ company.

Moreover, people familiar to the industry also believe that the growth prospects in the brick and mortar business model are very bleak. Both Wal-Mart and Target own big stores, which have expensive leases. On the other hand, Mr. Bezos built his company keeping in mind the contemporary economic dynamics.

Yesterday, investment firm Cowen’s analyst John Blackledge released a research note, whereby he pointed out towards the fact that Amazon’s Prime subscriptions within the United States has surged to an all-time high of 49.5 million. The number was issued following the result of the analyst’s latest survey of 2,500 customers within the country. The subscription number has risen 23% as compared to the same period of previous year which was 40 million.

Amazon stock has been hitting 52-week highs sometimes twice or thrice in a single month, over the past couple of months. The stock trades between the 52-week range of $474 and $847.21.

A total of 49 analysts provide coverage on Amazon stock, with 44 analysts rating the stock as a Buy and the remaining five analysts advising a Hold on the stock. Due to the stock’s obvious bullish dynamics, none of the Wall Street analysts provide a Sell rating on the stock.

Trip Chowdhry explains why Tesla-SolarCity merger will be the “prime beneficiary” of Donald Trump’s presidency

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) and SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) held special shareholders meetings last week, followed by a overwhelming approval of a transaction worth $2.1 billion. However, the automaker’s stock price took a slide after the shareholder approval, due to on-going panic that Trump administration will end the incentives for electric cars and solar products.

While bulls and bears continue playing tug of war on Tesla stock, Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry believes that the investors merely approved the creation of a entire new industry. He noted that Tesla and SolarCity can create the “always ‘ON’ Home” market worth $88 billion.

The analyst crated an equation for new industry creation: “GigaFactory x (Power Generation + Power Storage) + Autonomy x (Power Consumption) + Sharing Business Model = New Industry.” The equation likely implies that Gigafactories for lithium-ion battery in Sparks, NV and solar cells in Buffalo, NY, consumption of fully self-driving Tesla cars and Tesla’s residential storage system, as well as the car-sharing platform ‘Tesla Network’ together is equivalent to a new industry.

Interestingly, Mr. Chowdhry thinks that Tesla and SolarCity union will be the “prime beneficiary” of the presidency of President-elect Donald Trump. He said that Tesla will be the “America First & Make in the USA by American Workers,” implying that the companies will be rewarded for building American cars in the US using American workforce, unlike the Big Three.

He added that Tesla is making the US vehicle manufacturing “SEXY again” and will create over 26,000 jobs in the US alone through its three main facilities:

Tesla Factory in Fremont, CA with 11.3 million square foot space to create 20,000 jobs. The battery Gigafactory in Nevada that will be the world’s biggest factory with 13 million square feet of space to create 6,500 jobs. The solar Gigafactory in New York will cover 1.2 square foot and will provide 500 jobs.

 Tesla shares have opened the market strongly today, as they are trading up 1.54 at $187.87 as of 9:45 AM EST. SolarCity’s stock trading stopped at $20.34 on Friday.

A top General Motors executive hit on Tesla, explaining how the Chevrolet Bolt – due to be released next year – would destroy Tesla’s Model 3, also slotted for rollout in 2017

Tesla Motors Inc.’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) upcoming mass market electric sedan, the Model 3, is staring at some worthy competitors, with General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) apparently on top of all others. America’s largest auto maker, which has already worked up a revamped version of the Chevrolet Volt –arguably the most successful plug-in hybrid model on the planet behind the Toyota Prius – has vowed on rolling out an all-electric Chevrolet Bolt mass-market vehicle next year. In fact, according to reports from the company, the vehicle is already in its pre-production stage.

General Motors chief of global propulsion systems and technology, Dan Nicholson, on Wednesday said in a speech in Detroit that the company’s Bolt is on track to go on sale before the Tesla Model 3 launches for the public. “I am very proud of the Chevrolet Bolt that’s coming out, which will be the first to market as a long-range affordable battery electric vehicle,” he said.

Taking a hit at Tesla, Mr. Nicholson said the Bolt would carry a range of over 200 miles and would be produced by the end of this year. Putting down a deposit of $1,000 to stand in multi-year long queues would not be necessary, he added.

Tesla’s Model 3, unveiled on March 31, has since taken in more than 300,000 orders. While that has excited investors, some analysts and potential customers are cringing, as they believe Tesla might take several years to meet literally the first week’s order flow.

The problem at the core is Tesla’s restrained production capacity. The company has a single manufacturing facility in Fremont, California that alone produces the Model S, the Model X – and very soon – the Model 3 for the US as well as international markets like China and Europe.

Topping concerns of the track record of slow initial rollouts of new models, are Tesla’s issues with suppliers, parts, design, and testing which caused the Model X alone to be delayed several times over the course of two years, before it was finally launched in September last year. Not only does Tesla need to launch the Model 3 in time now, it also needs to find quick means to ramp up production fast, if it is to stand a chance against a more-resourceful competitor like GM.

General Motors’ Bolt will cost customers $37,000, $2000 more than the Model 3. The designs are also far apart, with the Model 3 boasting a more sleek-sedan style look while the Bolt resembles more of a roomy crossover.

Tesla Motors Inc Model X windshield creates a double-vision effect for drivers, as they see two sets of headlights and brake lights of other cars at night

In an earlier post, The Country Caller discussed how Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) created “The Perfect Family Car” with the Model X, its safest and fastest-produced SUV to date. Now, some officials have gone on to claim that it is the most complex car to be built in the world. After the auto maker received a number of complaints related to the Model X’s falcon-wing doors, second and third-row seats, Jalopnik and CNET recently revealed that a number of Model X owners have been facing issues with the vehicle’s gigantic windshield.

After Tesla Motors Club (TMC) member rmiggins pointed out that he has experienced double vision at night through the vehicle’s windshield, a few more owners confirmed the same problem. The user stated that he saw two sets of headlights and brake lights of other vehicles through the windshield at night. He ensured that the problem had nothing to do with his vision, his 43 years of age, or even fatigue, as he blamed his 6’5” height and the windshield’s curve for the nuisance. However, he also added that moving his head roughly three inches solved the problem.

Another Model X user, Jeff McClure, reported facing the same issue this month, and suggested the company should either replace the compromised windshields or maybe add a tinted film to resolve the problem. Last month, another TMC member quartzav said: “I also see the astigmatism-like double slightly superimposed at superior to the actual tail lights of the cars in the front when its about 1000 feet. More noticeable when the cars’ tail lamp is LED light stripes such as Honda insight or Toyota Prius.”

In contrast, one of the affected members said that although the double vision at night was distracting, it did not seem serious enough to be called dangerous. Some owners have fixed the issue by changing seating positions or glasses or by tinting the window. However, it seems like the windshield’s “double vision” issue could be more widespread.

On a rather positive note, Tesla has acknowledged the issue. “Reflections (ghosting) occurs in all laminated glass to varying degrees,” said a Tesla spokesperson in an emailed statement to Jalopnik. “This is most frequently seen at night and can affect some drivers more than others. We have received only a small number of questions from Model X customers about the windshield and have taken action to address these unique cases.”

Baird’s Jeff Johnson expects Amazon and Patterson to announce a dental distribution agreement by tomorrow

Industry experts and analysts have suggested recently that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Patterson Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:PDCO) should join hands to reinvent dental distribution for the future. Today, an investment firm confirmed that both companies have come down to an agreement and the deal announcement is imminent.

Shares of both companies rallied on Monday. While the US biggest e-commerce company’s stock was up 1.35% at $770.39 as of 10:33 AM EST, the shares of the medical supplies conglomerate surged 3.38% to three-month high of $48.06 over the same time.

Baird Equities Research, which rated Patterson as Neutral and assigned price target of $49, published a report being optimistic on the company after speaking with industry resources over the past weekend. Jeff Johnson, analyst at the research firm, suggested that both companies have struck a deal on dental distribution.

Mr. Johnson expects both companies to announce the new partnership by tomorrow, November 22. Earlier this month, Patterson stock rallied after Northcoast Research advised it to collaborate with Amazon to reinvent future distribution of dental. Analyst Ed Snyder said that his comment could be more bullish in the future due to improving equipment performance, better growth visibility in the industry, and the contract with Heartland that could bump total dental internal growth by 120 basis points over the next calendar year.

The analysts believe that the dental equipment market is starting to heat up as more doctors are now focusing on digital assets. He said that the recent sell-off in dental shares is a good opportunity for investors to increase holdings in Patterson shares.

The report comes in on the heels of Patterson’s second quarter of fiscal year 2017 (2QFY17) financial results. Given Baird’s recent comments, it is likely that the company will announce the new Amazon deal through its quarterly report or conference call with analysts.

The biotech has to look for various options in order to patch the revenue loss due to HCV franchise revenue decline

Gilead Sciences, Inc (NASDAQ:GILD) stock is underperforming at a continuous pace and is now at a point at which it was two years ago. Investors are waiting patiently for the drugmaker to bounce back, but as the time passes, the progress of the company is on a downfall and is showing lack of commitment.

Piper Jaffray biotech analyst Josh Schimmer wrote: “Investors have broadly lost confidence in management’s ability to navigate the future competitive landscapes for its businesses and create value.” In July 2016, the biotech lowered its financial guidance due to the decline in the revenue generation of its hepatitis C virus (HCV) franchise, which includes Sovaldi and Harvoni. Overall, the prescription number decreased in July and August 2016, which will definitely become apparent in the third quarter financial year 2016 (3QFY16). 

With the decline in the HCV segment, the company is now focusing on the HIV segment, which is showing growth of its newly launched drugs covering up the old HIV drugs, which are near patent expiration. Gilead has to face another threat as GlaxoSmithKline is working on two-drug combination formulation for the management and treatment of HIV disease and is optimistic that it will replace the standard three-drug combination treatment marketed by Gilead. 

Investors are looking on the drug pipeline of the company, which mainly includes oncology and hepatology molecules such as NASH, which is expected to generated revenue after its launch. Despite the competitive drug pipeline of the company, investors are not confident that it can produce desire results to come back in the pharmaceutical arena as biotech leader. 

Some of the investors are of the point that there is an urgent need to replace people in the Research and Development management, with Norbert Bischofberger, Gilead’s Chief Scientific Officer, being one of them. The drugmaker has to sort out the solution of the problem as day-by-day pressure is increased from the investor and shareholder sides. Gilead also has to work on merger and acquisitions (M&A) in order to rectify the revenue loss. 

The stock price of Gilead is depicting weak performance of -4.36% over the last seven days and overall decline of -24.44% in last one year.