Tech Retrospect: MWC is through and Tesla plans a 'gigafactory'

Miss a few stories this week? We'll get you up to speed with this rundown of all the tech news.

It's been a busy week here in Barcelona, Spain, at Mobile World Congress, dear readers. Enough phones and tablets and other display-having devices were launched over the past five days to make even the most gadget-hungry enthusiast feel a bit overwhelmed. And, too, came a zillion wearables of various shapes and sizes, tracking all manner of biometrics.

So many devices that I could well and truly spend the entirety of this week's entry giving you the full rundown. But that'd be a shame, as you see our own Jason Jenkins has already done that for you, rounding up our favorite devices from the show in this handy list that's just a click away. So, as he's gone and done that, I'll now take you on a quick run through the other news that happened this week. Things that didn't go down in Barcelona and, so, may have been lost in the shuffle. A bit.

See CNET's full coverage of Mobile World Congress

Tesla wants all the batteries in the world -- and more

Tesla

As car companies go, Tesla is still very much wet behind the ears, but in terms of awareness and sales it must be treated very seriously indeed. CEO Elon Musk knows that the future is bright and so is making a big investment -- after making it possible for others to make their own investments. The company is taking on an additional $1.8 billion in investments to help gear up for production of the company's so-called "Gen III" car, the one that'll come after the ( recently delayed ) Model X and should be far more affordable than the company's current Model S.

More noteworthy, though, is a plan to build the world's greatest battery factory. Dubbed a " gigafactory " by Musk himself, the plan is to build a plant big enough to make more batteries in 2020 than the entire world produced in 2013. That is quite aspirational to say the least, but so is launching a satellite into orbit, and Musk's SpaceX has done that on numerous occasions. Look for the plant to begin construction sometime in the next year or two and, if all goes according to plan, it'll be based somewhere in the southwestern US, generating a healthy 6,500 American jobs.

Apple releases raft of security updates, fixes "gotofail" glitch

An excerpt from Apple's published source code. Note the repeated "goto fail" lines.

Your Mac just got a little more secure. Well, assuming you've run your system updates lately. And assuming you have a Mac, too. Apple released a series of software updates this week, including the (somewhat unsightly) "gotofail" bug that was caused by an errant line of code. Young coders: yet another reason to never use a goto.

AT&T offers free international texting, too

The golden goose that was revenue from texting is now on life support, done in by WhatsApp, iMessage, and various other free (or nearly so) services that remove any need to pay wireless carriers 10 cents per message. So, it's increasingly offered for free, and after Verizon went ahead and made international texting free , AT&T is now following suit . Verizon's move itself was a half-hearted response to T-Mobile making all of international data free, a generous offer that, as of yet, none of the other major US carriers are looking to emulate.

87 percent of American adults use the Internet

Got Internet? Yes, of course you do, and so does just about everyone else you know. According to a Pew Research survey , 87 percent of American adults now use the Internet, a staggering 97 percent of people aged 18 - 29. Sixty-eight percent of those people polled access the Internet through a cellphone. Those numbers are up hugely over the past decade, as you might imagine, leaving me wondering what numbers in another 10 years might look like.

Google Street View goes off-road in search of polar bears

Play

When Street View launched it was an interesting service that enabled you to get a better look at where you were going, and the various steps along the way. Increasingly, though, it's being used to take us to some locations that are otherwise difficult to get to. The latest? How about Churchill, Manitoba, home to one of the world's largest polar bear populations. The video above shows how they did it and, when you want to go on a virtual tour of your own, you can click right here.

About the author

Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to videogame development. Currently he pursues interesting stories and interesting conversations in the technology and automotive spaces.

 

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