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Can Tesla’s stock rally pay for Twitter?

Plus, SoftBank sells off key assets in the fight for survival and the $600mn debt deal that was set up to fail

Layoffs during a jobs boom: the paradox of the US labour market

Worker shortages have coincided with headcount reductions at a time of low unemployment

US poised to negotiate drug prices despite fierce pharma lobbying

Makers of blockbuster drugs including Eli Lilly, AbbVie and AstraZeneca face new curbs

Endgadget

Google Fiber is expanding again after years of inactivity

Google Fiber's expansion activities have always been deliberately slow, but there was a time when it was announcing new coverage areas on a more regular basis. Now, Dinni Jain, the Alphabet subsidiary's CEO, has announced Fiber's first expansion plans in years. The company has been working on connecting West Des Moines to its network, making Iowa its first new state in five years, and will soon start building infrastructure in Des Moines. In July, it announced that it's building a network in Mesa, Arizona, and now it has revealed that the service is also making its way to Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Idaho.

According to Reuters, the company decided on its new locations based on its findings on where internet speeds lag the most. These new locations will be Fiber's main focus over the next several years, though it will continue expanding availability in cities where it already has a network, as well. Jain told the news organization in his first interview since he took on the role of Fiber's CEO: "There was an impression 10 years ago that Google Fiber was trying to build the entire country. What we are gesturing here is, 'No, we are not trying to build the entire country.'"

Since some Alphabet subsidiaries have had to raise funding outside of its parent company, Jain was asked where Fiber would get the money for its planned expansion. He declined to talk about the company's financial results or funding sources, though he said: Alphabet's "intent is to build businesses that will be successful in and of their own right and that is what we are trying to do at Google Fiber for sure." As Reuters notes, Fiber had to pare down activities to lower its usual hundreds of millions of dollars in annual losses due to construction, experimentation and subsidizing home service over the past few years. It even minimized its West Des Moines expansion and stuck to making its service more available in metropolitan areas where it already has a network. 

Jain's blog post about Fiber's upcoming locations, however, sounds optimistic. He says the company is "thrilled to be expanding [its] geographic reach once again." Also, while Fiber's focus is on the states it has already announced, he said the company would still love to talk to and support communities that want to build their own fiber networks. 

The Morning After: First impressions of Samsung's newest foldable phones

While leaks meant there weren’t many surprises, Samsung officially revealed the latest evolution of its foldable phones and smartwatches. With the company’s fourth-generation foldables, each increasingly offers something a little different. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 continues the spirit of the Galaxy Note series, with a new taskbar to better manage multi-window apps, Samsung’s best mobile cameras and a whole lot of screen. Oh, and it works with a stylus.

Meanwhile, the clamshell Z Flip 4 makes more of its unusual form factor and keeps costs around the $1,000 mark. Compared to last year, Samsung hasn’t particularly shaken up the design of either phone, but it says it’s made further durability enhancements. We love to see it. I have more news from Samsung below, but all of the new devices are available to pre-order now.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

Disney+ ad-free streaming price increases to $11 per month in December

Facebook still has trouble removing white supremacists, study says

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Samsung's Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved audio and ANC for $230

Do you want a smart standing desk with a built-in display?

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Samsung's 1TB T7 Shield SSD drops back down to $100

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 hands-on

A design that works.

TMA
Engadget

Next to the Galaxy Z Fold series, the clamshell Z Flip phones are not as thick, not as big and not as expensive. While Google’s Android team is still getting to grips with the bigger-screened foldables, when it comes to the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Samsung just took the smartphone interface as we know it, and, well, folded it. We get better cameras, a bigger battery, faster charging and a ‘90s camcorder grip style.

Continue reading.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 and Watch 5 Pro hands-on

Barely there updates (and one new design).

TMA
Engadget

Compared to last year’s model, the Galaxy Watch 5 seems a little boring. The biggest change is a new skin temperature sensor, which won’t work at launch, while the other upgrades, like improved durability and curvature, aren’t immediately obvious either. There is a new Pro model, with a substantially larger battery and a layer of Sapphire Crystal glass. If you can’t wait till reviews are out, you can already pre-order the Galaxy Watch 5 starting at $280 (Bluetooth only; $330 for LTE) or the Pro for $450.

Continue reading.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 hands-on

Refinements and increased durability.

TMA
Engadget

The biggest changes for Samsung’s new Z Fold are improved cameras and Android 12L — an interface designed for larger and foldable displays. The company says the Z Fold 4’s internal display is now 45 percent stronger than the last generation, but the most noticeable change may be the relocated taskbar, which Samsung has moved to the bottom of the page instead of the sides.

Continue reading.

US Justice Department is reportedly poised to sue Google over its digital ad dominance

The DOJ may file its antitrust lawsuit in September.

According to Bloomberg, the DOJ is gearing up to sue the tech giant as soon as September, after a year of looking into whether it's been using its dominant position to illegally control the digital ad market. The Justice Department first filed an antitrust lawsuit against the company back in 2020, accusing it of having an unfair monopoly over search and search-related advertising.

Continue reading.

FCC rejects Starlink request for nearly $900 million in broadband subsidies

Officials aren't convinced SpaceX's outfit can fulfill its promises.

The FCC has rejected the SpaceX unit's bid to receive $885.5 million in aid through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The broadband provider "failed to demonstrate" it could deliver the claimed service. FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel said Starlink had "real promise," but suggested her agency couldn't justify 10 years of subsidies for "developing technology" that requires a $600 satellite dish. She added that the FCC needed to make the most of "scarce" funding for broadband expansion.

Continue reading.

Moto's Razr 2022 foldable gets the flagship processor it deserves

Motorola's last Razr was a nifty folding smartphone and $1,500 fashion statement, but the weak hardware kept it from flagship greatness. Now, the company has responded with the Razr 2022 that might live up to that promise and price, thanks to a true flagship-class Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, Engadget Chinese has reported. 

The Razr 2022 carries a new design along with the new chip, with the curved chin and top camera notch eliminated in favor of an all-screen design and punch-hole camera. That removes the classic Razr look, but it also drastically increases the screen ratio. 

It's equipped with a third-generation "Star Trail" hinge that offers a flatter crease and is more seamless when closed, but is also stiff enough to stop at any angle. It weighs 200 grams, and is just 7.62mm thick when open. There are now two rear cameras instead of just the one on the previous model.

Moto's Razr 2022 finally packs a flagship processor
Motorola

On top of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, you get up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, along with a much larger 3,500mAh battery (compared to 2,800mAh before). The 6.7-inch FHD+ OLED display runs at up to 144Hz, while the secondary, 800 x 573 OLED display can do nine functions including call notification, camera, weather, navigation, fitness tracking and more. 

The cameras look solid too, with a 32-megapixel interior camera, a 50-megapixel OIS main camera and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera. The Razr 2022 is going on sale in China with prices ranging from 5,999 - 7,299 RMB ($890 - $1,380), but there's no word yet on US availability. As a reminder, the last model was sold in the US as a Verizon exclusive for $1,500. 

Moto's Razr 2022 finally packs a flagship processor
Motorola

Along with the Razr 2022 Moto also unveiled the X30 Pro and S30 Pro, successors to the Edge X30 and S30, and probably destined mainly for the Chinese market. The X30 Pro is the most interesting, as it also packs a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip. It also comes with Samsung's impressively pixel-dense 200-megapixel ISOCELL HP1 sensor, along with a 50-megapixel ultra-wide angle, 12-megapixel 2x telephoto and 60-megapixel selfie camera. 

Other features include a 6.67-inch FHD+ 144Hz OLED display, a 4,600mAh battery (with up to 125-watt wired, 50-watt wireless charging and 10-watt reverse wireless charging). It offers up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage for a starting price of 3,499 RMB ($519). 

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