May 2018


The smartwatch is perfect for parents who wish to keep track of their kids at all times

Xiaomi has done the unthinkable and has released an affordable smartwatch for kids. The device costs no more than $59 and comes packed with features that should keep things interesting.

Taking a closer look at the smartwatch, it is exactly what is to be expected of a device designed for children. The Mi Bunny is offered in two colors, blue and pink, and has a cute exterior. Even though it is not extraordinary, it is quite handy especially for parents, who wish to keep track of their children.

The Mi Bunny has a GPS tracker, which it makes it easier for parents to keep track of their children’s whereabouts. Additionally, it also allows parents to set zones, which gives them notifications when their children enter zones that they are not supposed to enter.

The device offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and even has a SIM card slot. Moreover, it has a 300mAh battery which can easily last up to six days without breaking a sweat.

The Mi Bunny is compatible with devices with Android version 4.2 and above. As for Apple devices, it supports iOS 8 and above. The best part is that the smartwatch is not locked onto Xiaomi’s range of smartphones.

Other features include being able to make and receive calls. Additionally, it features an SOS button, which when pressed will started recording audio, and will then be sent along with a child’s location to their parent’s smartphone.

That being said, the smartwatch is already available for sale on the manufacturer’s website, for $59 as mentioned earlier. When compared to other smartwatches out there, it is by far the most affordable and is perfect for parents that are concerned about their child’s well-being. Taking its price into account, its offerings are more or less sufficient. Furthermore, it serves as an excellent gift for children who can’t wait to their hands on a smartwatch of their very own.

Single Screen Multiplayer is finally here

One of the most underrated racing games of 2016, Mantis Burn Racing, just got its first ever major update for the Xbox One. The update has added in single screen multiplayer options, online improvement, and a lot more. So if you haven’t played Mantis Burn Racing as of yet, we highly recommend you to do so, especially after the update as this game is incredibly addictive.

The developers behind the game, VooFoo Studios, has just launched its first ever update for the Xbox One. According to the official blog post, apart from the all new additions and features, it fixes some of the game’s most annoying and recent bugs, for instance, the resolution-crashing glitch. Check out Mantis Burn Racing’s latest update’s entire changelog:

New ‘Spotlight’ event added – Play single-screen multiplayer in a battle to remain within the spotlight and be the final racer standing! AI drivers can now be selected to fill the grid of online races Extensive online stability improvements Improved online lobby structure to allow players to race against AI while their lobby fills with human opponents ‘Punching above your weight’, ‘The bigger they are’ and ‘I’ll bring it back without a scratch’ trophies now never blocked from being unlocked New ‘Far’ camera option Players XP level now displayed in online lobbies Gear reward summary now is shown post-race Online leader board now shown post-race Improved car-to-car collision physics Mechanic tutorials added for Overtake and Hotlap events as well as x2 upgrades Boost color now shown dynamically in the garage Improved vehicle stat bar calculation Option to permanently show players Gamer Tag above their vehicle Ability to fast switch between career seasons Highlighted career events now auto-scroll when joystick held in any direction Time bonus for overtaking vehicles in the weekly Overtake challenge XP line UI graphic tweaks Weekly Challenge distance units now change dynamically with players selection Overtake bug fixed that could cause the event to end prematurely Improved logic for vehicle overtaking Frame rate performance enhancements AI tweaks Audio tweaks Extensive engine audio enhancements General bug fixes and polish Fixed an issue where certain Achievements would be unlocked at the wrong times Fixed a potential crash when changing screen resolution. Minor cosmetic bug fixes

Comment below and let us know what you think of Mantis Burn Racing and its latest Xbox One patch.

Tesla reveals the potential of its Powerwall battery system, while Carl Icahn reportedly aims to reinvest in Netflix

Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) closed the market on higher notes this Friday, after facing heavy beatings throughout the week. While the auto maker revealed pricing and other relevant information for its commercial battery system, the Powerpack, shares of the streaming video giant sparked on reportedly reignited interest of billionaire investor Carl Icahn.

Tesla shares hit an intra-day high of $254, up 2.29% from yesterday’s trade; they closed the trading session at $253.75, up 2.20%. Meanwhile, Netflix stock surged as much as 1.80% as they hit a session high of $96.69, before they closed the day at $95.90, up 0.97%.

Tesla Energy updated its website yesterday, and added “Design Your Powerpack System” feature, allowing businesses and utilities to configure the capacity as per their requirement. Customers can place minimum orders of two and a maximum order of 54 Powerpacks, costing between $162,000 and $3.2 million, excluding installation costs.

The auto maker also shared details of grid interface products for the Powerwall and testimonies of early pilot-project customers, including Target, Jackson Family Wines, and Advanced Micro Grid. The technology can be used for demand response, emergency backup, load shifting, and peak shaving.

Although Tesla Powerwall, the home-battery system, is far more popular than the Powerpack, the commercial stationary battery is expected to be more successful. Since a Powerwall costs $3,000, a Powerpack system is equal to 54 Powerwall systems. Additionally, commercial clients usually have more buying power compared to households. Overall, Tesla Energy’s revenues could outpace Tesla’s automotive revenues in the coming years.

Carl Icahn divested all his holdings in Netflix in June 2015 and invested his sale receipts in Apple, a stock which presents an opportunity similar to that of the world’s largest online TV network. He made a hefty profit of $700 million through the transaction.

The shares received a boost after reports that Carl Icahn is considering investing in the company again. On Friday, Netflix originals outperformed at the annual Peabody Awards, scooping three honorees for 75th Annual Entertainment & Children’s Programming. Netflix’s first movie Beast of No Nation, the superhero saga Marvel’s Jessica Jones, and Aziz Ansari’s Master of None made it to the list.


Piper Jaffray keeps an Overweight rating on Apple

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released the much anticipated iPhone 7 in September, which has led many to speculate over the product’s performance in the market. In an updated research note sent out to clients and investors today, investment firm, Piper Jaffray, weighed in on this regard.

The firm recently conducted a survey across 134 Apple Stores in US and concluded that the availability of the device is still restricted. According to analysts at the firm, iPhone’s availability in China is comparatively low, at 12%. Analysts believe that that constraint supply for the iPhone would result in demand moving from September to December. This would in turn create a much bullish picture for the company for the next quarter. Piper Jaffray currently has an Overweight rating and a $151 price target for Apple stock.

Investment firm, Stifel, weighed in on Apple earlier this week and increased its estimates. Analysts at the firm believe that revenue from iPhone would go beyond consensus estimates. According to estimates, Apple has a user base of 700 million. Additionally, the firm highlighted that this time around Apple’s December quarter has one extra week as opposed to last year. The firm projects that Apple’s guidance for December quarter EPS would surpass consensus estimates. The firm bumped its price target to $130 from $120, and reiterated its Buy rating.

In a research note sent out the same day, UBS expressed similar sentiments. The firm believes that Apple’s guidance for the fourth quarter would come in above the Street’s expectations. The firm attributes this on the extra week in the December quarter this year. According to the firm, the demand for the iPhone 7 is better than its predecessor the iPhone 6s. Apple stock declined by 0.01% in late trading hours, today.

Tesla installs eight Superchargers in Nevada, as it strengthens its charging network for Model S and Model X owners

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has been splashing large amounts of cash and burning its reserve at a faster pace. Well, why would it not? Apart from ramping up its vehicle and storage battery production, installing Model 3 production machinery, and opening new stores and service centers, the company has been aggressively expanding its global Supercharger network.

The automaker recently opened a new charging station in Nevada, the home-state of its $5 billion lithium-ion battery plant, called the Gigafactory. The Supercharger is located at Stagecoach Hotel and Casino in Beatty, a census-designated place and an unincorporated community. It has eight charging ports and offers free charging 24/7 to Tesla Model S and Model X drivers.

Tesla’s website now shows one store and one service center in Las Vegas, eight Superchargers, and 27 Destination Charging locations across Nevada. Beatty Supercharger is located 118 miles from Las Vegas Supercharger to the east, 115 miles from Lone Pine Supercharger to the west, 141 miles from Inyokern Supercharger to the southwest, and 190 miles from Mammoth Lakes Supercharger to the northwest, according to Google Maps.

Thus, the new charging station liberates Eastern California and Central Nevada to Tesla owners to explore, and establishes a route for Californians to visit Las Vegas casinos without any recharging issues. Drivers could also rest at nearby locations, such as Denny’s, Subway, and Stagecoach Hotel and Casino, while their vehicle recharges.

Nevada is a key state for Tesla’s quest of accelerating the world’s transition to green energy, as it contains the world’s largest lithium-ion battery factory. It would produce 500,000 batteries per year for its vehicles, along with energy-storage batteries, and would reduce battery cost by at least 30% once its fully operational.

The world’s most famous EV company plans to deliver 500,000 EVs by 2020 through the Gigafactory and the mass-market vehicle, the Model 3. Surely, it requires establishing a vigorous Supercharging network across the globe. Tesla has 602 Supercharger chargers with 3,519 charging ports across the globe. This year it plans to add 300 of such charging locations, which can power 170 miles of range in just half an hour. Tesla has allocated capital expenditure of $1.5 billion for 2016, compared to $1.6 billion spent last year.


Tesla Model S and Model X buyers will not get incentives if the new EV incentive program is approved in France

In May, Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) issued a blog post on its German website, claiming that it was purposely left out of the new electric vehicle (EV) incentive program. Under the program that was partly funded by German car manufacturers, only vehicles with retail prices of less than €60,000 ($67,500) could quality for discounts, compared to Model S base price of €76,600 in Germany.

Now, another European powerhouse, France, is trying to follow its neighboring country by changing the policy of its existing policies for EV incentives, excluding the young Californian EV maker, Electrek reported (via Autoactu). The government will provide discounts on new battery-powered vehicles that has price of lower than €40,000, while the Model S starts at €70,900 in the country.

The changes, which would effectively exclude both the Model S and Model X, still requires to be approved into the “Finance Act” in December to ensure that the new rules are applicable next year. French customers considering purchasing a Tesla car must place orders now to get their deliveries before the end of this year.

While the new price cap is the biggest change, there were some other adjustments in the program. The government will reduce the incentives for buying a new EV by €300 to €6,000; however, the buyers will be given additional €4,000, if they agree to trade a diesel engine vehicle having life of at least 10 years.

Moreover, the incentive of €750 on hybrid electric vehicles will be waived off, while maintaining the inventive of €1,000 on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Currently, there are incentives worth €6,300 for Tesla cars in France; yet, the automaker cannot sell large number of vehicles in the country. According to registration data collected by EV Sales Blogspot, Tesla sold just 485 Model S’ in the country during the first eight months of 2016, and 708 sedans in 2015. French consumers usually opt for their local brand, Renault, and its strategic partner Nissan.

Only Tesla Model 3 will be able to qualify for the incentives in France, which means that Tesla sales will decline through the next year till the compact sedan is available for the French public. The company has 11 stores, four service centers, 41 Superchargers, and 100 Destination Charging locations in the country.

The Country Caller takes a close look at the top pre-market gainers today

Skullcandy Inc (NASDAQ:SKUL), Direxion Shares Exchange Traded Fund Trust (NYSEARCA:JNUG), LendingClub Corporation (NYSE:LC), and Hydrogenics Corporation (USA) (NASDAQ:HYGS) are the top pre-market gainers today. The Country Caller takes a close look at the possible reasons for price hike.

Skullcandy Inc (SKUL) stock was up by 17.05% to $4.6 in the pre-market trading session today. The company has recently announced that it is the official audio partnership of The Berrics. There is no analyst coverage currently available on the stock.

Direxion Shares ETF Trust (JNUG) stock was up by 8.54% to $159.99 in the pre-market trading session today. The ETF mainly deals in gold, while gold prices have also suppressed by almost 8% in May. FED’s upcoming policy will have a profound impact on the company stock. Gold investors are bullish on the commodity after Yellen’s speech.

LendingClub Corp. (LC) stock was up by 6.83% to $4.69 in the pre-market trading session today. The company has delayed its shareholders meeting, which is the reason for BTIG to be bullish on the stock, with an indicative TP of $9. BTIG feels that the company’s ongoing deal talks with Citigroup will prove to be helpful in improving the financial position.

Hydrogenics Corporation (HYGS) stock was up by 6.81% to $8 in the pre-market trading session today. The company announced today that it has entered into a partnership with SinoHytec for the delivery of fuel cells in China. The contract, approximately worth $13.5 million, is about the installation of power systems in Chinese buses and truck models of various Chinese automotive manufacturers.

Google is highly tipped to release Android Wear 2.0 Angelfish and Swordfish by early 2017

According to renown leaker, Evan Blass, Alphabet Inc. is set to welcome two new Android smartwatches in its wearable lineup. According to Mr. Blass, the search giant may announce two new smartwatches within three months of 2017. These smartwatches are expected to be powered by the latest Android Wear operating system (OS).

Previously, rumors said that Google may roll out two new smartwatch models, codenamed Swordfish and Angelfish. However, the tech giant’s decision to delay Android Wear 2.0 until next year put an end to all such hopes and speculations. As 2016 is almost over, fresh speculation is on the rise about Google’s next generation of smartwatches.

If earlier rumors are to be believed, then the upcoming Android Swordfish will be an entry level addition to Google’s wearable arsenal. The larger Android Angelfish will incorporate high-end features, including LTE and a built-in GPS system. Unfortunately, such connectivity features are not expected on Google’s upcoming entry-level smartwatch.

The best aspect of the upcoming smartwatches is that both devices may run on the search giant’s latest Android Wear OS, which is set to incorporate numerous upgrades and enhancements, compared to its previous version. Interestingly, Android Wear 2.0 is designed to allow compatible smartwatch devices to operate certain specific commands on their own, without the need of a connected smartphone.

Google has confirmed that every wearable running on the current generation Android Wear OS will get the update for Android Wear 2.0 once it is officially rolled out. Furthermore, Android Wear would avail the upcoming major software update for free. Stay tuned as we keep you posted about all the latest news and updates regarding Google’s upcoming wearable devices.

The phenomenal reception of the iPhone SE, soon-to-be-released iPhone 7, and supply-chain checks indicate Apple’s iPhone sales would rebound this year

When Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) decided to roll out a new iPhone this year in the old, 4-inch form-factor, the company might not have imagined that it would soon run out of inventory. Orders for the iPhone SE are already facing shipment delays; this, combined with positive comments from Apple suppliers, suggests that the company is due for a rebound in iPhone sales.

Brian White, an analyst at Drexel Hamilton, currently maintains a Buy rating and $200 price target on the stock. The research firm held checks with Apple suppliers, which revealed that the company is on its way to experience a seasonal high in iPhone demand. According to the equity research firm, some of Apple’s Taiwanese suppliers have revealed that Apple’s iPhone sales for March were above-average compared to the last 11 months. Mr. White believes that sales will only get better for Apple this year, considering the imminent release of its iPhone 7 with the subsequent cycle driven even further from the company’s foray into new geographic territories.

According to Drexel Hamilton, in March, sales of “Apple Monitor” companies – Apple suppliers in Taiwan – rose 42% from the prior month, compared to the 11-month average of a 30% month-over-month increase. This spike portends well for Apple’s sales growth. It’s true that Apple’s first quarter of fiscal year 2016 was a disappointment as Drexel’s Apple Monitor reflected a 35% sequential decline in sales, which was pretty bad given that the average decline over the last decade has been only 17%.

Apple has guided for further decline in sales – a 30-35% sequential one – for the second quarter of the year. On the other hand, key Apple Taiwanese supplier Hon Hai has reported 21% growth for March, which bodes well for the iPhone maker, given that its sales pattern has been congruent to Apple’s sales growth pattern over the past 10 years.

To top this, analysts have pointed out the fact that the inventory of the newly-released iPhone SE is short of number of orders, as Apple struggles to keep up with a backlog of orders and has delayed shipment for several orders for over a fortnight. The iPhone SE’s success is evident by the fact that even though the model goes against the market trend of bigger-screen smartphones, with it, Apple has created a runway success from what was simply an upgrade to the iPhone 5S. In order to keep up with rising demand, the $606.5 billion company might have to keep churning out iPhone after iPhone.

Tesla’s driver automation to be assessed by the NTSB in the wake of first fatal crash

Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) automated self-driving mode is going to be scrutinized by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) after the recent fatal crash in Florida that took the life of a Tesla driver. The NTSB wants to determine if Tesla’s self-driving mode is safe to use under all conditions or not. Tesla is under increasing pressure to revamp its autonomous driving mode which is predicted to cause more fatality due to the blind trust emitted into the new technology. Here is The Country Caller’s take on NTSB’s probe on Tesla’s self-driving mode.

Tesla developed its autonomous self-driving cars after there had been a call for sensors and automation to prevent fatal car accidents due to human error. However, it seems Tesla has not yet perfected its autonomous technology after the fatality that occurred in Florida. After its investigation of the fatal accident, NTSB has warned against using this autonomous technology which can be a cause of more similar fatal accidents in the near future. NTSB claims that Tesla’s autonomous driving mode is not street ready after it mistook a tractor trailer for a highway sign which was caused the fatal accident in Florida.

Tesla maintains that it has always warned its customers of the consequences attached to its self-driving cars. The company stated that it always makes it clear to its customers that the autonomous driving mode on a Tesla is still in its Beta testing phase and requires the driver to be alert and ready to take manual control at all times. Tesla has countered back at NBPT’s claims and reinstated that the recent fatal car crash is not its fault as the driver should have been more alert to his surroundings.  

Interestingly, it is very rare for NTSB to openly investigate into a fatal highway accident which makes the announcement that it will be assessing Tesla’s case even more significant. The National Transportation Safety Board is not just investigating as to what caused the fatal car accident but also to determine if it’s safe to implement such autonomous driving technology any further. The future of self-driving cars might be resting on this case and Tesla owners will be hoping that this recent incident was nothing more than just a one-off.

 Whatever decision is taken will not change the fact that we all should stay fully focused and in control of our vehicles on the road, regardless of if we are driving an autonomous car or traditional combustion vehicle. Better to be safe than to be sorry.