Kia’s fast-charging EV6 electric crossover is coming to the U.S. in early 2022

The Kia EV6, an all-electric crossover that kicks off the automaker’s Plan S strategy to shift away from internal combustion engines and toward EVs, will come to the U.S. early next year, the company said Tuesday evening during a live streamed event in New York.

The EV6 is the first dedicated battery-electric vehicle to built on its new Electric-Global Modular Platform, a platform that is shared with Hyundai and Genesis as part of the Hyundai Motor Group. The EGM-platform is the underlying foundation of the new Hyundai Ioniq 5 compact crossover. And it’s one of 11 electric vehicles that Kia plans to deliver globally by 2026.

Kia said its new dedicated battery electric vehicles will all start with the “EV” prefix. A number will follow “EV” to indicate the vehicle’s position in the lineup. That puts the EV6 somewhere in the middle of its upcoming lineup.

While the global debut held earlier this year provided many of the details, a few new nuggets of information were shared, including that customers can make reservations for 1,500 first edition versions of the EV6 beginning June 3. The automaker has not revealed pricing for any of the vehicle trims.

The EV6 First Edition will be similar to the base model with lots of techie add-ons, including an augmented reality head-up display, remote smart parking assist feature, 14-speaker Meridian audio system and a two-year subscription to SiriusXM. There will be notable mechanical and exterior differences as well, including a wide sunroof, 20-inch wheels, dual-motor AWD and a 77.4 kWh battery.

2022 EV6 Image credit: Kia

Nuts and bolts

Kia designed the EV6 to look and perform like a roomy sports car. The four-door crossover has a low front end that moves up into a roofline, giving it coupe-like profile. The LED headlights have a segmented pattern and the traditional grille found on internal combustion engine vehicles is gone.

The EV6 has the same 114.2-inch wheelbase as the Kia Telluride, which gives some sense of its size.

The Kia EV6 will come with two Nickel-Cobalt-Manganese battery pack options — a 58 kWh or 77.4 kWh — with the larger one providing a targeted range of 300 miles. The vehicle is offered in both rear-wheel and AWD, which depending on the electric motor and battery configuration delivers between 167 and 313 horsepower. The EV6 GT, an AWD model that comes with the larger battery and powerful front and rear electric motors, delivers 567 horsepower. The GT model, which won’t be available until late 2022, can travel from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds.

Perhaps more importantly, is that the vehicle supports 400-volt and 800-volt DC charging. Kia claims that 800v DC fast charging from a 350-kW charger can add up to 210 miles to the battery in under 18 minutes.

Kia loaded up on various charging features. The EV6 has an onboard 11 kW charger for Level 2 charging that will power up the battery in about seven hours. There’s also what Kia calls vehicle-to-load functionality, which is jargony way of saying the EV6 can be a power source for appliances, tools and devices like a computer. It works by taking electricity from the battery to a charging control unit, which provides 1900 watts of power.

The user is able to plug into that power via a 100v outlet located in a socket on front of second row seat base. If the battery is fully charged, Kia says power  can be drawn from the vehicle for 36 or more consecutive hours. It can also be used to charge vehicle-to-vehicle, albeit at 1.1 kW, which is a glacial pace that is equivalent to a 110V charger.

Kia EV6

2022 Kia EV6 Image credit: Kia

There are numerous other driver assistance, safety and in-car tech features as well. Inside the vehicle, are two 12-inch screens that form a curved display and house the instrument cluster and infotainment center. There is Bluetooth functionality and wireless smartphone charging, which has become standard fare in modern vehicles.

For an extra fee, customers can add on a Wi-FI hotspot and the ability to update the maps and infotainment system software wirelessly. Other features include a in-car commerce feature called Kia Pay, a stolen vehicle recovery tracker, smartwatch accessibility that provides battery status, vehicle notifications and certain vehicle control through Apple and Android smartwatches and connected car functions for weather and routing.

Customers are also able to use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant through a smart speaker integration to remotely control vehicle functions such as remote start.

Four cameras outside of the vehicle give a 360-degree view and help with to detect obstructions while parking along with several other safety features including a safe exit assist that alerts the driver or passengers opening the door to not exit if the system spots approaching traffic.

There is also 21 standard active advanced driver assistance systems including a feature that keeps a set distance from a car in front and centers the EV6 in the lane. A newer version of this feature will be able to assist with assist with lane changes and adjust the lateral position of the car within the lane, according to Kia.

Apple slowly rolling out fix for 'grayed out' App Tracking Transparency option

Apple appears to be rolling out a fix for a bug that in some cases would prohibit users from enabling App Tracking Transparency functionality, a problem that was supposedly remedied with the release of iOS 14.5.1 earlier in May.

A growing number of users are reporting that the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” option in system settings is now available and can be switched on or off. When activated, users can decide to allow or deny an app’s access to their identification for advertisers (IDFA) tag.

Shortly after iOS 14.5 was released in April, some users noted the “Allow Apps to Request to Track” function was unavailable. Instead of seeing a working radio button, the option was deactivated and the menu selection was grayed out.

Apple said it patched the issue in an iOS update on May 3, but difficulties persisted.

“Allow Apps to Request to Track” is not a new feature for iOS, but it does play a slightly different role in Apple’s user privacy suite when combined with App Tracking Transparency features. With the launch of iOS 14.5, deactivating the function disallows apps from tapping into a user’s IDFA, effectively enforcing a blanket ban on all tracking requests.

By activating “Allow Apps to Request to Track,” users can permit tracking on a per-app basis. When opening an app for the first time — with “Allow Apps to Request to Track” enabled — users are met with a pop-up notification asking for permission to track across other apps and websites. The notices are required under App Tracking Transparency guidelines.

It is unclear what caused the issue and Apple declined to clarify the matter in release notes accompanying iOS 14.5.1.

Powerbeats2 owners begin to receive payments from $9.75M settlement

Owners of Apple’s Powerbeats2 headphones who filed as claimants in a $9.75 million class action lawsuit began to receive payouts this week, with some eligible for up to $189 per proof of purchase.

Customers who submitted claims informed MacRumors on Tuesday that funds resulting from the 2017 lawsuit are now being processed. A screenshot of one such receipt shows a payout of $114.12.

Filed in the Superior Court of California by plaintiffs Latanya Simmons and Kevin Tobin on behalf of a wider class of device owners, the case alleged Powerbeats2 hardware contains a design defect that causes the device to stop retaining a charge. Specifically, plaintiffs said the product failed to charge or turn on “after a short amount of time” during the course of normal use, including when coming in contact with moisture.

An initial version of the complaint targeted Apple’s advertisement of both Powerbeats2 and Powerbeats3, which touted product robustness, waterproofness and extended battery life. Apple’s warranty replacement system was also questioned in the suit.

Apple denied the allegations and no judgment was made in the case as both parties agreed to a settlement in January 2020.

Owners who bought a Powerbeats2 device prior to Aug. 7, 2020, were eligible to file a claim worth up to $189 with proof of purchase.

Powerbeats2 debuted in 2014 and was replaced by Powerbeats3 in 2016. The current iteration, Powerbeats4, hit stores in early 2020.

UTEC, one of Asia’s largest deep-tech investment firms, launches new $275M fund

The University of Tokyo Edge Capital Partners (UTEC), a deep-tech investment firm, announced the first close of its fifth fund, which is expected to total 30 billion JPY (or about $275 million USD) by June 2021. UTEC currently has about $780 million in total assets under management, and says this makes it one of the largest venture capital funds focused on science and tech in Japan, and one of the largest deep-tech funds in Asia.

UTEC is an independent firm that works closely with universities. It is associated with The University of Tokyo (UTokyo), where it has a partnership with its Technology Licensing Office (TLO) to spin-off and invest in companies that originated as research projects. It has also worked with researchers from Waseda University, Kyoto University, Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Cambridge University, the National University of Singapore and the Indian Institute of Technology, among other institutions.

A map showing UTEC's deep-tech investments around the world

UTEC’s deep-tech investments around the world

Broadly speaking, UTEC focuses on three areas: healthcare and life sciences, information technology and physical sciences and engineering. More specifically, it is looking for tech that addresses some of the most important issues in Japan, including an aging population; labor shortage; and the digitization of legacy industries.

“UTEC 5 will allow us to provide more funds from seed/early to pre-IPO/M&A stages in Japan and worldwide, on a wider scale and in a more consistent manner,” said managing partner and president Tomotaka Goji in a statement. “I believe this will further help our startups expand to address the global issues of humankind.”

The firm also partners with other funds, including Arch Venture Partners and Blume Ventures, to find investment opportunities around the world.

UTEC’s portfolio already includes more than 80 Japanese startups and 30 startups from other places, including the United States, India, Southeast Asia and Europe. So far, 25 of its investments have exited. Thirteen went public and now have an aggregated market cap of about $15 billion, and 12 were through mergers and acquisitions.

Some of its exits include 908 Devices, a mass spectrometry company that went public on Nasdaq last year; Fyusion, a computer vision startup acquired by Cox Automotive; and Phyzios, which was acquired by Google in 2013.

About half of UTEC’s portfolio are university spin-offs. For companies that originated in academic research, UTEC supports their commercialization by helping hire crucial talent, including executive positions, business development and go-to-market strategies. The firm’s first check size is about $500,000 to $5 million, and it also usually provides follow-on capital.

“We typically double-down on our investment in subsequent funding rounds of the company and can invest up to about $23 million per company over its lifecycle,” UTEC principal Kiran Mysore, who leads their global AI investments, told TechCrunch.

UTEC’s other investments include personal mobility robotics company BionicM, which started at UTokyo and spatial intelligence solution developer Locix, spun-off from U.C. Berkeley. The firm also helps startups collaborate with academic institutions. For example, Indian biotech Bugworks collaborates with the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Japanese industrial robotics startup Mujin now works with Carnegie Mellon.

Phil Schiller testifies about Apple data collection, App Store favoritism

Apple Fellow Phil Schiller took the stand for the second day in a row in the Epic Games v. Apple trial, revealing details ranging from data collection to an influencer program for Apple Arcade.

During his testimony on Tuesday, Schiller was asked by Epic’s lawyers about the kind of information that Apple collects from its users, including data for ad personalization, location “tracking,” and storage time limits for said information.

For example, Schiller shot down accusations that Apple collects data to track its users, claiming that location services is about “geographically relevant applications” and not tracking where users are. Epic’s lawyers pointed out that users can’t stop Apple from collecting this information, but can opt out of getting targeted ads. When asked whether Apple collects “a lot of information” about its users, Schiller said he didn’t agree.

The Apple Fellow also laid out some of the reasons why the Cupertino company does not allow stores-within-stores on the App Store.

“All the apps and services that are delivered through those stores are not reviewed by App Review,” Schiller said. Allowing alternate app stores could open the door to “an unbounded number of stores within stores,” he added.

Schiller also revealed that the company’s Apple Arcade team was working on a plan to reach out to internet influencers in an effort to boost the gaming platform. He defined influencers as “people who create vlogs on YouTube and other social media channels.”

The executive also defended a now-removed Apple guideline that instructed developers not to go to the press with their App Store complaints. Schiller said Apple didn’t want disputes with developers to be fought publicly, and said that media outlets often don’t have “all the facts.” That guideline has since been removed.

When questioned about whether Apple favors its own apps in App Store search ranking, Schiller refuted that claim. Instead, he says the algorithm uses 42 different factors that “help the customer find what they’re most looking for,” regardless of whether the results show Apple apps more prominently.

Schiller also discussed Apple’s use of open source software, the institution of in-app payments, differentiating iMessages from texts, Apple’s first-party Contacts app and more.

On Monday, Schiller revealed more about other Apple policies, including details on its premium content provider program and the fact that Epic Games’ lawsuit helped push through the small business program that slashes commissions to 15% for developers making less than $1 million on the App Store.

Financing for students startup StudentFinance raises $5.3M Seed from Giant and Armilar

Fintech startup StudentFinance – which allows educational institutions to offer success-based financing for students – has raised a $5.3m (€4.5m) seed round co-led by Giant Ventures and Armilar Venture Partners. It’s now raised $6.6m total, to date.

StudentFinance launched in Spain first, followed by Germany and Finland, with the UK planned this year. Existing investors Mustard Seed Maze and Seedcamp, along with Sabadell Venture Capital, also participated.

The startup, which launched at the beginning of 2020, provides the tech back end for institutions to offer flexible payment plans in the form of ISAs. It also provides data intelligence on the employment market to predict job demand.

It now has 35 education providers signed up managing over €5m worth of ISAs. It also works with upskilling platforms including Ironhack and Le Wagon. StudentFinance’s competitors include (in the USA) Blair, Leif, Vemo Education, Chancen (Germany-based) and EdAid (UK-based).

As for why StudentFinance stands out from those companies, Mariano Kostelec, co-founder & CEO of StudentFinance, said: “StudentFinance is the only platform in this space providing the full end-to-end, cross-border infrastructure to deliver ISAs for students whilst helping to plug the growing skills gap. Not only do we provide the infrastructure to support the ISA financing model, but we also provide data intelligence on the employment market and a career-as-a-service platform that focuses on placing students in the right job. We are creating an equilibrium between supply and demand.”

With an ISA, students only start paying back tuition once they are employed and earning above a minimum income threshold, with payments structured as a percentage of their earnings. This makes it a ‘success-based model’, says Student Finance, which shifts the risk away from the students. They are likely to be popular as workers need to resell with the onset of digitization and the pandemic’s effects.

The startup was founded in 2019 by Mariano Kostelec, Marta Palmeiro, Sergio Pereira and Miguel Santo Amaro. Kostelec and Santo Amaro previously built Uniplaces, which raised $30m as a student housing platform in Europe.

Cameron Mclain, Managing Partner of Giant Ventures, commented: “What StudentFinance has built empowers any educational institution to offer ISAs as an alternative to upfront tuition or student loans, broadening access to education and opportunity.”

Duarte Mineiro, Partner at Armilar Venture Partners, commented: “StudentFinance is a great opportunity to invest in because aside from its very compelling core purpose, this is a sound business where its economics are backed by a solid proprietary software technology.”

Sia Houchangnia, Partner at Seedcamp, commented: “The need for reskilling the workforce has never been as acute as it is today and we believe StudentFinance has an important role to play in tackling this societal challenge.”

Angel backers include investors, which includes: Victoria van Lennep (founder of Lendable); Martin Villig (founder of Bolt); Ed Vaizey (the UK’s longest-serving Culture & Digital Economy Minister); Firestartr (UK-based early-stage VC); Serge Chiaramonte (UK fintech investor); and more.

Google is making it easier to bring Android apps to your car

By the end of the year, more than 10 car models from Volvo, GM, Renault and Polestar will be powered by the Android Automotive operating system — and all of the built-in Google apps and services that come with it. Now, the company is making it easier for third-party developers to bring their navigation, EV charging, parking and media apps directly to a car’s screen.

Google announced Tuesday at its annual developer conference that its extending its Android for Cars App Library, which is available as part of Jetpack, to support the Android Automotive operating system. This is good news for developers who can now create an app that is compatible with two different, but sometimes overlapping platforms: Android OS and Android Auto. It also means developers can create one app that should work seamlessly between various makes and models of vehicles.

Google said Tuesday it is already working with Early Access Partners, including Parkwhiz, Plugshare, Sygic, ChargePoint, Flitsmeister, SpotHero and others to bring apps in these categories to cars powered by Android Automotive OS.

PlugShare Google Android Automotive OS

Image Credits: Google

Android Automotive OS shouldn’t be confused with Android Auto, which is a secondary interface that lies on top of an operating system. Android Auto is an app that runs on the user’s phone and wirelessly communicates with the vehicle’s infotainment system. Meanwhile, Android Automotive OS is modeled after its open-source mobile operating system that runs on Linux. But instead of running smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so automakers could use in their cars.  Google has offered an open source version of this OS to automakers for sometime. But in recent years automakers have worked with the tech company to natively build in an Android OS that is embedded with all the Google apps and services such as Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store.

Many third-party developers like Spotify have used the Android for Cars App Library to create and and publish their Android Auto apps to the Play Store. By extending the Cars App to the operating system, developers will only need to build once.

Two years ago, Google opened its Android Automotive operating system up to third-party developers to bring music and other entertainment apps into vehicle infotainment systems. Polestar 2, the all-electric vehicle developed by Volvo’s standalone electric performance brand, was the first. And more have followed, including the Volvo XC40 Recharge.

Companies interested in participating in the early access program will have to fill out this interest form, according to Google.

Roofr just nailed down a second seed round to make new roofing sales a cinch to close

Roofer Pro. Roof Snap. Acculynx. There’s suddenly no shortage of companies offering software to make the lives of roofers and their customers easier. Among these is Roofr, a five-year-old, San Francisco-based, 31-person sales platform for roofing contractors that just raised $4.25 million in post-seed funding led by Bullpen Capital, with participation from Avidbank and previous backer Crosslink Capital.

Cofounder and CEO Rich Nelson is aware of the competition. But as a third-generation roofer by trade, he also knows well that the industry is far from overcoming its reputation as rife with sketchy, flaky contractors whose customers often question whether they need a new roof or suspect the estimates they are given are wildly inflated.

He also knows — as do his investors — how big a market opportunity Roofr and its rivals are chasing. “It’s a massive, massive market,” says Nelson. “On average, every year, roughly five million buildings in the U.S. have their roof replaced” and they spend $50 billion toward that end, he says.

Right now, Roofr is focused exclusively on the helping close that initial sale. It all starts with a picture of a roof that Roofr obtains from partner companies like Nearmap, whose planes cover cities at low altitude to take high-definition pictures, including of roofs; Roofr software then allows these contractors to draw their own roof measurement reports through these drone, blueprint, and satellite images and produce a report, or they can pay Roofr $10 per report to measure the roof for them.

Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 made the software more attractive to both roofing contractors and customers who weren’t keen on being in close proximity during the pandemic. Offerings like Roofr’s made it possible to quickly and easily send a potential customer a quote without visiting the job site. The bet now is that growing awareness over the product will continue to fuel that momentum.

The company also has new offerings in the pipeline that may also make it more compelling to both roofers and their clients. In addition to quickly providing roofers with measurement data, for example, roofers can now pay a monthly fee to have Roofr auto-populate an estimate based on a specific materials list, as well as the profit margin the roofer wants to incorporate; it also now provides and preserves digital contracts.

As for its current customer base, Nelson says that it includes the largest roofing contractors in North America but that Roofr is even more interested in small businesses, which, while fragmented, represent a much bigger opportunity. He says that there are more than 100,000 registered roofing businesses in the U.S., and that the vast majority are comprised of five employees or less. (Roofr also sells its software to independent insurance adjusters.)

The new round brings Roofr’s total funding to $8.25 million. Crosslink led its initial seed round in early 2019. Roofr also raised money from Y Combinator when it passed through the accelerator program in 2017.

Pictured above from left to right: Roofr cofounders Kevin Redman and Rich Nelson. Redman is the company’s CTO; Nelson is its CEO.

Apple TV+ orders Jack McBrayer kids series 'Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show'

Apple TV+ has ordered a new kids series called “Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show,” co-created and hosted by Jack McBrayer.

The show is said to invite preschoolers into a world where “a little act of kindness can change the world,” according to Variety. McBrayer and a host of guest stars will inspire kids to solve problems with the “Three C’s — caring, connecting, and cascading from one person to another.”

McBrayer co-created the series with Angela C. Santomero. It will feature original music from the band OK Go.

McBrayer is best known for his role as Kenneth Parcell in NBC sitcom “30 Rock,” which earned him an Emmy nomination in 2009. Santomero has a history in children’s television, having co-created “Blue’s Clues,” among other series.

Both McBrayer and Santomero will serve as executive producers on “Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show.” It will be produced by 9 Story Media Group and animated by Oscar-nominated studio Brown Bag Films.

Tony Hernandez, John Skidmore, Wendy Harris, and Vince Commisso will also executive produce the series. Guy Toubes will serve as showrunner, while early childhood education professor Junlei Li will serve as the show’s “Kindness and Human Connection Expert.”

Daily Crunch: How Expensify maintained its early-stage startup culture after 13 years

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here.

As summer kicks into gear, the IPO market is mimicking the season by cranking up its temperature. Today, TechCrunch explored the IPO filings from venture-backed Marqeta and software startup WalkMe. Squarespace direct lists later this week, along with public debuts from Oatly and Procore on Thursday. All this is great news for late-stage startups and their backers. Not to mention lots of tech workers around the world.

Also today, the fine folks at the Webbys announced that TechCrunch’s flagship podcast, Equity, is the best of its kind in the technology category. We’re stoked! — Alex

TechCrunch Top 3

Google hosts its yearly developer event: The advertising search company kicked off its yearly developer confab today, with the remote event showing off new tech including the ability to have a conversation with Pluto. Or a paper airplane. In more serious terms, Google has new AI chips that look pretty darn cool.

Our deep-dive into Expensify continues: As Expensify gets closer and closer to its public offering, TechCrunch’s coverage of the company’s history and growth continues. In today’s entry we also got to feature my favorite quote in years. Per CEO David Barrett, “Basically everyone is wrong about basically everything.” Agreed.

Piano shows there’s big money in subscription tech: We have a sheaf of funding round below, but the Piano deal stood out as it’s actually tech we use at TechCrunch. So, we’re super familiar with it. The news is that Piano has just closed an $88 million round, a deal that includes LinkedIn as an investor. Both the dollar amount and the investor list that the transaction sports are notable.

Startups and VC

TechCrunch covered our usual daily delivery of funding rounds today, a list that skewed later-stage today. So, from the land of big dollars:

Explorium scores $75M Series C: This new deal comes less than a year after Explorium closed its Series B round, so something is happening at the company that has investors taking note. In short, Explorium helps “data pros find the best data for a given model” according to our own Ron Miller. And it’s apparently big business.

Extend raises $260M at a $1.6B valuation: The warranty space is pretty hot at the moment. Just days after M25-backed Upsie raised an $18.2 million round, Extend picked up just over 14x as much capital to help retailers and brands offer warranties more efficiently, and, as Ingrid Lunden reports, help “consumers buy and file claims against them.”

Vise raises $65M Series C: The fintech world is hot, but not only when it comes to backend-infra services like Plaid, or shiny consumer plays like Chime. Vise provides portfolio-crunching services to indie financial advisors (hence its name, we presume), and has made enough process since its last round to entice Ribbit Capital to lead its latest private cash infusion.

Klayvio raises $320M at a $9.5B valuation: Recent EC-1 subject Klayvio’s latest round is proof that email is far, far from dead. The email marketing company told TechCrunch that its customer count “doubled over the past 12 months and [that it] now serves over 70,000 paying customers, a more than 110% increase from 2019.” That explains the new raise, and its nearly decacorn valuation.

In the honorable mention category, Styra raised $40 million (it’s best known for Open Policy Agent), commission-free trading startup Stake raised $30 million to expand in Europe, and Beta Technologies raised $368 million to keep working on electric airplanes.

Want to double your rate of return? Seek counsel from experienced executives

As a rule of thumb, it takes 7-8 years for a successful startup to achieve an exit. But there’s a simple way to speed up the clock: Bring in one or more founders who have previous executive experience.

According to data gathered by Rob Olson, partner and head of data strategy at venture engine M13, startups that have two or more experienced founders tend to exit 33% faster and raise 34% less capital.

“Combined, these two improvements can nearly double an investor’s rate of return,” says Olson.

(Extra Crunch is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Introducing TechCrunch Experts: Email Marketing

Image Credits: Getty Images

Who do you turn to when you need to know how to lay out your content, how to improve your open rates, or for general email marketing advice?

TechCrunch wants to find the top growth marketers in tech! We’re looking to founders for their recommendations on email marketers.

Fill out the survey here.

As the recommendations come in, we’ll begin sharing them publicly so that startups can find the right expert for what they need. This feedback will also help shape our editorial coverage moving forward, so make sure your voice is heard. Find more details at techcrunch.com/experts.

Big Tech Inc.

Today’s Big Tech news is all about Google and its I/O event. If you are super busy and just want the highlights, here you go:

  • AI: Google has new AI chips that it is super proud of, and announced Vertex AI, a “new managed machine learning platform that is meant to make it easier for developers to deploy and maintain their AI models.” Keep in mind how competitive and cutthroat the public cloud world is. Here’s Google taking a stand from third place in that particular scrap.
  • Android: We all knew that Android was popular, but I have to admit that I did not expect the software service to have found a home in some 3,000,000,000 devices. That’s nearly one device for every two humans and Google is keeping the ball rolling by teasing Android’s 12 iteration at I/O.
  • Smart Canvas: Google’s various productivity apps are getting needed love, the company announced. In the mix is the news about Smart canvas, which we described as a “set of new collaborative workspace tools.” What matters more than any single point of news about Docs and friends is that Google is not giving up on them. Which means that, for those of us like myself who live in Google’s productivity suite, we have goodies coming. Good.

Community

As you pour through the news out of Google I/O, we wondered … does the latest Android 12 preview make you want to switch from an iPhone? Let us know.

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