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Sony to cut down its smartphone division in half by next year

It was bound to happen

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It’s common knowledge in the tech space that Sony’s Xperia business isn’t doing that well, even in its home turf of Japan. Sadly, it seems like that struggle will turn into a shakeup in their mobile division soon.

Nikkei Asian Review reports that Sony will take off 50 percent of its smartphone workforce by March 2020. This means that 2,000 of the 4,000 employees will either be let go of or transferred to other divisions in Sony’s wide product portfolio.

Sony will reportedly focus the remainder of its smartphone sales on regions where it’s still popular, namely in Europe and China. Southeast Asia will be one of the first to see Xperia phones less often in stores.

Xperia smartphones were once part of an elite group of brands that innovated and sold well around the world. Unfortunately, rising competition from the likes of Samsung, Apple, and Huawei will lead to a possible third-straight year of losses for Sony since 2017.

The strength of rival brands isn’t the only reason for the drastic move, however. Global smartphone shipments in general have been declining each year since 2017, mostly thanks to mobile technology plateauing and consumers upgrading less often.

Despite the recent struggles, Sony managed to launch the flagship Xperia 1 and midrange Xperia 10 series just last month during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. There haven’t been any reports on the success of these models just yet.

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Sony now selling wearable air-conditioner Reon Pocket

Available only in Japan

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Remember Sony’s crowdfunding effort to bring wearable air-conditioners to the masses? The company has begun selling its soap-sized personal air-conditioner, the Reon Pocket.

It’s now available for purchase on all Sony stores, as well as Amazon Japan.

Sony initially promised to make this device available to the public by March 2020. However, they had to delay most likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After almost a year since it was revealed, buyers can now lay their hands on the portable air-conditioner by shelling out JPY 13,000 (US$ 121) for the device and JPY 1,800 (US$ 17) for the shirt.

Reon Pocket works by using the “Peltier effect.” It uses electrical currents to either cool down or heat up the body. Users have to insert the device into a tiny insert located on a specialized t-shirt to make the whole thing work.

They can control the device through an app. It not only acts as an air-conditioner, though. Through the app, users can adjust the device to make it a portable heater during winter.

The timing of this device couldn’t have been more fitting. July marks the beginning of summer in Japan. It should have also been a perfect companion device for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, which has unfortunately been delayed due to the pandemic.

Sony hasn’t yet announced the availability of Reon Pocket in other markets. It will remain a Japan-exclusive for the moment.

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Automotive

Land Rover launches hybrid electric SUVs, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport

Part-electric, all-terrain

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When you think of electric vehicles, you’re usually thinking of city driving or, at least, travelling through city roads. However, the electric vehicle segment has already developed cars that can traverse all types of terrains.

Recently, celebrating its 50th anniversary, Land Rover has launched its second set of hybrid electric SUVs, the Range Rover and the Range Rover Sport.

The plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) sport a 2.0L Ingenium turbocharged petrol engine complemented by an 85kW electric powertrain, churning out 404ps of horsepower and 640Nm of torque. Both engines have a 0-100km/h time of just 6.7 seconds. Both also have a top speed of 220km/h.

Either model will come in two modes: Parallel Hybrid mode and EV mode. The default Parallel Hybrid mode will use both the petrol engine and the electric motor to power the vehicle. In doing so, the vehicle can optimize usage of both engines, complemented by a smart computer analyzing driving conditions and destinations. Meanwhile, the all-electric EV mode will allow for a quieter, no-emission drive.

Using the default mode, drivers can reach up to a whopping 700 kilometers before needing a recharge or a refuel. On the other hands, the EV mode can reach up to 50 kilometers without the petrol engine.

Both models come with a 13kWh Li-ion battery that charges from empty in just 2 hours and 45 minutes. Both are covered with an eight-year, 160,000-kilometer warranty for when the battery dips below 70 percent health.

If you purchase either model, Land Rover will bundle a free Type 2 7kWh wall charge. However, you’ll still need to pay for installation fees outside of the price tag. The carmaker will evaluate households if their homes are compatible with installation.

The Range Rover PHEV starts at PhP 11,990,000. Meanwhile, the Range Rover Sport PHEV starts at PhP 9,490,000. The price tags already come with a wall charger. A second charger will sell for PhP 105,000, pending installation fees.

SEE ALSO: Jaguar launches the all-electric I-PACE

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Automotive

Jaguar launches the all-electric I-PACE

Two motors to power through the week

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In today’s tough times, an electric vehicle presents one of the most economic decisions when it comes to travelling around the metro. Besides an incredibly quiet drive, powering an electric vehicle is more affordable than chugging through liters of fuel every week. Unfortunately, the problem is still the same: the lack of infrastructure.

Fortunately, electric carmakers are working on building personal infrastructure for its customers. Particularly, Jaguar has launched its globally recognized electric vehicle, the Jaguar I-PACE.

Sporting 400ps of horsepower and 696Nm of torque, the I-PACE can effectively use 97 percent of its electric power, compared to a paltry 70 percent in traditional electric powertrains. Further, Jaguar boasts a 0-100km/h time of just 4.8 seconds, thanks to two motors under the hood. The company will also ship software updates over the air, preventing the need to visit service centers all the time.

With its 90kWh battery, the vehicle can drive up to 470 kilometers, a perfect distance for driving around the city. Charging from empty will take 12 hours and 48 minutes. Of course, since drivers won’t usually drive the maximum range every day, a weekly charging time should be enough.

The I-PACE comes with a future-proof 11kW on-board charger. Further, Jaguar is bundling a Type 2 7kW wall charger for households. However, the price tag doesn’t come with installation costs. The company will assess the homes of those interested in the electric vehicle, especially to accurately price the car. In any case, the battery comes with an eight-year, 160,000-kilometer warranty for when the battery dips below 70 percent health.

The all-electric Jaguar I-PACE will start at PhP 7,590,000, pending installation costs. The first charger will come with the price, but a second one will cost an additional PhP 105,000.

SEE ALSO: Land Rover launches hybrid electric SUVs, Range Rover and Range Rover Sport

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