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Telstra releases HTC 5G Hub online

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(Image: Telstra)

Telstra has released its HTC 5G Hub for online ordering, laying claim to being Australia’s first telco to have a 5G mobile device.

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At the start of the year, Optus switched on its fixed-wireless 5G Home Broadband network in Canberra and Sydney.

Plans for the device begin at AU$70 a month for 10GB of base data with a 15GB bonus. The other two plan options are AU$94 a month for 30GB base and 30GB bonus, and AU$104 monthly over 24 months for 80GB base and 20GB of bonus data.

The 5G Hub is able to work on 5G and 4G networks, can support up to 20 devices via Wi-Fi, and has a single Ethernet port and USB-C port. The Hub is said to be capable of up to 24 hours of active use, runs Android 9 Pie, and has a 5-inch touch screen.

The Hub is available online from today, and will be sold in Telstra stores from May 28.

Since October, Telstra has switched on parts of its 5G network across Australia even though there was a lack of devices capable of using it.

In the 5G spectrum auction that occurred in December, Telstra paid AU$386 million for 143 lots, made up of 12 each in Sydney and Melbourne; seven in Adelaide; six each in Brisbane, Canberra, and Perth; 10 each in northern Queensland, central Queensland, northern NSW, southern Queensland, Tasmania, and regional Victoria; as well as 15 in regional South Australia; and 16 in regional Western Australia.

The telco now claims to have between 60Mhz of contiguous 5G spectrum in all “major capital cities”, and between 50 and 80Mhz of contiguous spectrum in regional areas.

The Australian incumbent telco previewed the HTC Hub in December, and at the same time said it had been working with HTC, ZTE, and Inseego on a 5G prototype handset.

“Our launch of the HTC 5G Hub is the moment 5G becomes a reality for Australian consumers,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said.

“Since 2016, we have been working with some of the world’s leading technology brands to ensure Australians are among the first in the world to be able to access 5G.”

In South Korea, where the nation’s 5G networks were switched on in April for it to claim the “world’s first” set of commercialised 5G networks, 260,000 people have moved onto the networks as of the end of April.

All consumers moving to 5G had to purchase a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, as it was the only handset available.

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Hyperion XP-1 hydrogen supercar has landed in Las Vegas

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The Hyperion XP-1, touted as the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell supercar, has recently landed in Las Vegas to the delight of onlookers, residents, and motorists alike. However, it came to celebrate the first virtual CES 2021 instead of attempting to break the speed barrier.

The last time a supercar went to Vegas (and attempted a speed record run), it drew a ton of controversy. We’re talking about the SSC Tuatara, and it’s claimed two-way average run of 316.11 mph (508.73 kph) last October.

Meanwhile, Hyperion is taking it easy with its newest XP-1 supercar. Instead of ringing out every last ounce of power from its hydrogen fuel cells, the car was seen gallantly cruising past the historic Fountains of Bellagio and the Nevada desert.

It’s hard to believe the Hyperion XP-1 started life as an educational tool. The car is wearing some funky camouflage in the video, but we’ve all seen the XP-1 sans its vinyl covering. It has a carbon monocoque frame with titanium-infused body panels to reduce weight. And since it has no battery pack, the XP-1 tips the scales at 2,275 pounds (1,248 kg), which is around 475 pounds less than SSC’s Tuatara.

The XP-1 has carbon-fiber tanks to store hydrogen, and the entire fuel cell supplies power to four electric motors, one for each wheel. Each motor pumps out 500 horsepower for a total output of 2,000 rampaging horses. With that much power, the XP-1 is a scorcher. It accelerates from zero to 60 mph in under 3.0-seconds and has a top speed of 221 mph.

When you run out of juice, the XP-1 is as easy to fill up as a gasoline-powered car, provided there’s a hydrogen refilling station nearby. With a full tank (or full tanks) of hydrogen, the XP-1 achieves 1,016 miles (1,635 kilometers) of driving range. Theoretically, the XP-1 can probably go longer than that with its array of solar panels on the sweeping C-section behind the doors.

The Hyperion XP-1 is slated to go on sale in late 2022, with the first customer deliveries arriving in early 2023. The company is only making 300 examples of the XP-1 at a still undetermined base price.

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Rumor claims upcoming Toyota GR Corolla won’t use hybrid power

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Rumors have been swelling that Toyota is looking to add another hopped up compact car to its GR line of sports cars. Americans can’t get the cool GR Yaris, which we are rather bummed about. Rumor has suggested that Toyota will launch a GR Corolla sometime in 2023. Toyota has filed a trademark for the GR Corolla name, and insiders claim the car is definitely coming.

However, rumors suggest that the GR Corolla won’t use electrification. Odds are, the Corolla would use the same engine as the GR Yaris, which Toyota reportedly spent significant sums of money developing. The GR Corolla is expected to use the same platform as the GR Yaris, which would mean 257 horsepower and all-wheel-drive with rear-biased torque.

Pricing is a bit of a mystery as rumor sources haven’t shed any light on that front. It would undoubtedly cost more than the GR Yaris, priced in Europe at £33,000 for starters. The assumption would be a GR Corolla would be priced on par with rivals like the Golf R.

We’d love to think that Toyota’s need to recoup its development costs on the turbo three-cylinder engine used in the GR Yaris would mean the car would eventually come to the United States. There is no indication of that, and odds are American buyers may not want to spend what Toyota would try and charge for the car stateside.

We believe there is certainly a market left for hot hatchbacks and sporty cars in the United States. We love to see the segment make a comeback. It is also nice to hear that Toyota still plans to use non-electrified power plants in its performance cars for now. Many automakers are moving towards less powerful combustion engines supplemented by electric systems.

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BMW ends its car subscription program

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For a while, it seemed as if the future of owning an automobile would be a subscription where you paid an ongoing monthly fee and had access to multiple car models from a single brand. Subscription programs were available from BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and others for a while. BMW recently announced that it was canceling its subscription service that began in 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The subscription service cost more than $2000 per month and allowed subscribers to access different BMW vehicle models depending on their needs or wants at the time. We have to think the high price was part of the reason the service didn’t work. As for why it’s ending the subscription service, BMW has said that the program reached its capacity limits.

The service, called Access by BMW, never shared subscriber numbers, so it’s unclear how many people subscribed. BMW also says that Access by BMW was never intended to be more than a pilot. There were two tiers to the service, with entry-level users paying $2000 per month to use the X5 SUV and 4 or 5-series sedans.

Those wanting access to the exciting BMW vehicles had to pay $3700 per month. Those subscribers had access to the M4, M5, M6, and X5M. While many automakers are canceling their car subscription programs, Porsche is doing very well with its subscription service. Porsche caters to a more enthusiastic crowd than some luxury brands, which could add to its success.

Mainstream automakers, including Ford, also tried a subscription service, but Ford sold its service in 2019. Audi announced earlier this month that it was also ending its subscription service by the end of January. Audi has promised to create a new innovative experience for customers based on insights gained from its subscription service.

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