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Volvo Trucks tests new hydrogen fuel cell semis

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Volvo’s commercial trucking division is testing hydrogen fuel cell semi trucks in the hopes of getting ahead of the maturing technology. With fuel cells built by CellCentric, a joint venture between Volvo and Daimler Truck Automotive Group, Volvo claims its trucks are capable of 1,000 kilometers of range (about 621 miles) and can be refueled in under 15 minutes.

Volvo Trucks has been “developing this technology for some years now,” said company president Roger Alm in a statement this week. Hydrogen fuel cells will be suitable for long-distance hauling and could work in countries with limited battery charging infrastructure, Alm said. The company started building battery-electric trucks in 2018, but they still aren’t widely in service in the US. Now with hydrogen fuel cell trucks, Alm says he expects growth in the supply of clean hydrogen in the next couple of years.

Volvo claims refueling its hydrogen-powered truck takes less than 15 minutes.
Image: Volvo

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and battery electric vehicles (BEV) are similar in that they are both propelled by an electric motor, but the former generates its electricity from the compressed hydrogen it carries, while the latter stores electricity generated from the area power grid. Both technologies are emissions-free “at the tailpipe,” meaning that they do not emit any carbon in motion. But there can be significant emissions released depending on the method of transporting hydrogen gas to stations, while BEVs are as clean as the power grid it relies on — which can vary from green sources like solar or dirty sources like coal.

A hurdle for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles continues to be the scarce availability of refueling stations. Currently, there are less than 60 stations operational in the US, and all of them are in California. And according to the California Fuel Cell Partnership website, the number of hydrogen fuel stations will increase to just over 100 locations by mid-2023.

The most viable use case for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is commercial trucking. With Volvo’s new truck, the company joins automakers like Toyota, which spearhead the tech in commercial and passenger application, and also GM, which is working with Navistar on a 500-plus miles semi and is also using the tech to build mobile power stations.



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Spotify stealth launched a hit show with this controversial duo

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Spotify has a brand new original topping its podcast chart, but it would probably prefer if you didn’t know about it.

Last week, Spotify launched a new pop culture show, Breaking Bread, on Spotify Live. Breaking Bread’s recordings now rank at number 11 on Spotify’s top podcast chart after holding the number two spot for most of the week, putting it just behind Joe Rogan. The show’s popularity — and the reason the company might be staying quiet about its new hit — is due to its two hosts: Jackie Oshry Weinreb and Claudia Oshry (aka Instagram’s girlwithnojob), who come with a huge built-in audience. While the sisters have delivered their massive fanbase to the app, they have a controversial history that could be problematic for Spotify at a time when the company is being extra cautious.

The sisters had a short-lived show in 2018 on Oath, Verizon’s now-defunct media brand, that was canceled after The Daily Beast reported that their mom is notorious conspiracy theorist and anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller and that the sisters had both previously posted racist and anti-Muslim statements on social media. The sisters apologized, deleted their Twitter accounts, and relaunched with The Morning Toast as an independent podcast. Some fans have been uncomfortable with their unwillingness to disavow their mother’s activities, but their audience is undeniable. The Oshry sisters have more than 3.5 million Instagram followers between them, their flagship podcast currently ranks in the top 100 on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and they maintain what appears to be a robust Patreon base (the stats are now private, but as of 2019, they had more than 9,000 subscribers). The Oshry sisters did not respond to a request for comment.

But if the Oshry sisters are controversial, you wouldn’t know it from their show. The Morning Toast is mostly run-of-the-mill pop culture fare, and Breaking Bread is much of the same: Kim Kardashian’s Marilyn Monroe dress, Hailey Bieber’s skincare line, Britney Spears’ wedding. The Spotify Live platform also allows fans to participate in the show, asking for advice on light topics like puppy training and bachelorette woes.

Following the model of other Spotify Live shows like After Hours with Alex Cooper and Dating Harry Jowsey, the original show takes place on the Live app and is posted as a podcast on Spotify later. Unlike those shows, Breaking Bread received no promotion from Spotify. The company did not issue a press release about the show and did not push it on any of its social channels. The only promotion seems to have come from the Oshrys themselves on their social accounts and podcast.

That may have something to do with the backlash Spotify has received for its nine-figure deal with controversy machine Joe Rogan. Rogan has the undisputed biggest podcast in the world, and as Spotify grows its podcasting might, the company needs him. But Spotify’s unfailing support for Rogan has caused some reputational, if not monetary, damage. Spotify declined to comment on why they chose to partner with the Oshry sisters or whether their past has anything to do with the lack of promotion for the show, but with the way the company has approached Breaking Bread, it seems to be going for the Oshrys’ substantial fanbase without the baggage.

Even if Breaking Bread itself is inoffensive, it is debuting at a time when Spotify is being particularly careful. Last week, the company announced a Safety Advisory Council to assist in its content moderation policies (a move Geller called “a government sponsored internal coup”) and cut a new deal with Integral Ad Science to firm up its brand safety analytics for advertisers.

But the company also is trying to boost its social audio app Spotify Live (previously branded Spotify Greenroom) at a time when social audio is flailing, and Breaking Bread may be its biggest hit yet. If the Oshrys continue to deliver numbers, the show will be hard for the company to ignore.





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 The Facebook Watch app may no longer support Apple TV

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Facebook’s app for smart TVs, which lets users tune into various videos, shows, and livestreams on the platform, may no longer be available on Apple TV, as first reported by 9to5Mac. Some users say they’re no longer able to access the app after its most recent update.

In a thread on MacRumors, one user shares an image of the notice they received after attempting to open Facebook Watch on their Apple TV 4K: “The Facebook Watch TV app is no longer available, but you can still find lots of videos on Facebook at www.facebook.com/watch.” Several other users report having the same experience.

Facebook rolled out its Watch app on Apple TV in 2017 after first launching it on Samsung smart TVs. The app is also available on various other smart TVs and consoles, as well as on Facebook’s mobile app and desktop site. Users who still want to use the Watch app on Apple TV should be able to cast Watch from their phone to their TV, but this obviously isn’t as convenient as simply opening up an app.

It’s unclear if the Facebook Watch app is no longer available due to a glitch triggered by the recent update, or if Facebook pulled the app from Apple TV entirely. Apple TV is still listed as one of Facebook Watch’s supported platforms. The Verge reached out to Apple and Facebook with a request for comment but didn’t immediately hear back.



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Apple’s mixed reality headset may feature an M2 processor

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The latest version of Apple’s long-rumored mixed reality headset features the company’s recently announced and 16GB of RAM, according to Mark Gurman. The Bloomberg reporter shared the tidbit of information in his latest newsletter – along with details on a “deluge” of devices Apple plans to release over the next year, including a new .

As , most recent reports, including those from Apple analyst and , have suggested the augmented and virtual reality headset would feature two processors. According to Kuo, one of the SoCs would have the same capabilities as the company’s M1 chip, while the other would be a lower-end chip designed to handle data from the device’s sensors.

After years of rumors, there’s been increasing evidence Apple is getting closer to the day when it will finally announce its mixed reality headset. In May, a Twitter user found evidence Apple likely used a shell company to for “RealityOS.” Earlier in the year, developers also to the operating system in App Store upload logs. More recently, Tim Cook told he “couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities” presented by augmented and virtual reality, and told the publication to “stay tuned and you will see what we have to offer” on that front.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.



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